An Interesting Write-Up

My article of yesterday The Quest for Recognition and Respectability has had something of a write-up by John Beeler in Splinter churches’ quest for recognition and respectability.

He took me up on my own observation that the fate of the TAC as it was under Archbishop Hepworth was predictable. Indeed, some of us clergy labouring under “perpetual irregularities” (ouch – but fortunately it doesn’t involve incarceration in the Castel Sant’ Angelo) were told there was going to be some kind of amnesty. That put us in an awkward position: Why go back to what we left, even in some kind of arrangement where we would be “protected”? Are we opportunists ready to get onto any old bandwagon if it would suit our selfish purposes as “charlatan” clergy? Good questions, usually coming from those who care only about cut-and-dried ideas, not about persons.

That last observation is a key to understanding many of the polemics of 2010-2011. The real powerhouse at that time was Christian Campbell’s The Anglo-Catholic, still in existence but totally inactive. It attracted the trolls like a rotting carcass appeals to flies! I set up a “rival” blog in 2010 which caused me to be locked out of the “distinguished staff” of Campbell’s blog. Those cold and heartless predators have few places to go now that Fr Smuts posts less frequently on his blog and shows no sign of having been swimming in “warm” water. Deborah Gyapong is still going with her Foolishness to the World but now writes on mostly Roman Catholic subjects and less frequently. Fr. Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment is the most lively. He watches his comment box very carefully. You can’t get in there and blithely crap on the floor!

Here on this blog, I have had long experience at keeping the poison dwarfs out, and by means that are completely acceptable to my blog provider. I simply have about thirty moderated e-mail addresses. They don’t get to crap on the floor, but like with Fr Hunwicke, they are filtered at the door.

John Beeler is a good sort of person, as fascinated with classic cars as I am with their counterparts on the sea, stout wooden gaff-rigged vessels. He idolises the 1950′s, a little like the “Romantic Ladies” of Aristasia, whilst I associate the whole of the century of my birth with the two world wars that marked the end of our civilisation. We can’t go back to any other era of history, but we can seek for better cultural references than prosperous post-war America. John is also one of those persons who self identify with a mental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome or simply high-functioning autism. That means that a person has no emotional relationship with other persons. At worst, they lack empathy like those suffering from more sinister personality disorders. I am sceptical about psychiatry as a science, and am persuaded that it is a moral problem for the most part, a question of being completely human.

Something struck me in a war film, when a German soldier was threatened at gunpoint by Allied men – This is not correct. He was concerned more for the respect of rules and procedure even than for his own life! It’s almost as if he was thinking in terms of someone simply violating the regulations of the Wehrmacht in such a narrow-minded way. The reality was that he was up against enemy soldiers and his life was threatened unless he released the Allied prisoners being held by the Gestapo. The surrealism is striking.

This is a characteristic of many religious apologists who lack human empathy and perceive their philosophy of life as an intellectual game. John Beeler, like many of us, has been seeking his happiness as a church-going Christian. Being an American, he could find a whole choice of churches, among which he would more or less find his way. He discusses the options and his own experience, but the bottom line for is like the German soldier – order, procedure and authority take precedence over everything. It seems far from Christ denouncing the Pharisees as did many of the Prophets before him. John simply cannot understand any human dimension of religion or spiritual life, at least as far as I read.

Thus the true Anglo-Catholics are the Affirming Catholics who stayed with the establishment. Don’t like it? You have to come Tiber-swimming in the “warm” water. The TAC, ACC and others are abject losers because we got out of the “system”. On the other hand, the SSPX is OK because its teachings are like the “old time religion”. This is a game, like many of the computer strategy games on today’s market – or good old-fashioned chess. I have always had pleasant correspondence with John, and I have often got on with people even if they never look you in the eye, and they can only talk about their interests (I suppose as I do on this blog).

After John’s reasoned piece, and he is entitled to his opinions and convictions, some of the comments are a little more “salty”. “Anti-Gnostic” discusses Eastern Orthodoxy.

I had dealings with “Conchúr” on the old English Catholic blog, someone who reminded me a little of some of the men attending talks held by the Catholic Evidence Guild and preparing for their Sunday afternoon heckling at Hyde Park Corner. I had a lot less experience of life in 1981 or thereabouts, but in hindsight I see always the same thing. It’s an intellectual “order” that they are trying to build and they don’t care about the person they are trying to convert. I may be wrong but I suspect that’s it.

(…) passive-aggressive sniping at Rome and expounding an “idiosyncratic” ecclesiology that I’d be surprised would be regarded as doctrinally kosher by the ACC.

Hmm, interesting. I find the ACC very tolerant in matters of theology and research. I have not been taken to task for formal heresy, which is no real surprise since I assent to the teachings of our Church. In point of fact, I tend to be inspired by twentieth-century ressourcement theology, which in the minds of some is “tainted” by Modernism more than by Catholic / Protestant scholasticism.

“Diane” says “That is certainly my impression, from the very little I’ve ever seen of his blog. Is this a minuscule group? It certainly seems to be pretty teeny, but I would welcome real numbers, if available.

I don’t even bother responding, because this lady has certainly read my writings. Usual ploy, Chadwick’s blog is too radioactive to read, but I’m curious all the same! I think my bishop in England has written about numbers in our diocese. We are very small, though some building work is going on through house groups and new clergy coming in. We don’t have the right to get discouraged, but rather to rejoice in our smallness and family-like intimacy. This human quality certainly is far over the heads of the authoritarians and apologetics geeks of our world.

“Anti-Gnostic” comes back in with my Englishness. Sorry I can’t help it. That’s where I was born. I suppose we have no less of a choice of churches and denominations as the Americans. The comment seems something of a non-sequitur.

The saltiest is William Tighe. He is kind enough when he comments on my blog. I am grateful for the many books he sends me about things he finds I should know more about. I read those books and renew my thanks for these generous gifts. He too is an intellectual, a historian. I remember from my courses with Fr Bedouelle OP at Fribourg that studying history needs a clear mind uncluttered with our modern perspective. One example is our abhorrence of torture and gruesome executions, believed at the time (up to Enlightenment times) to be genuinely pastoral methods of ensuring the wrongdoer’s salvation.

I am not the historian Dr Tighe is, but I do get the impression that there have been times when the Church was understood differently. The plain language of the Fathers and the liturgy seems to indicate a rigid disciplinary and penitential way of thinking. At the same time, St Augustine opposed the rigorism of the Donatists, and the “gentle” approach was vindicated in time.

Ecclesiology is a relatively new discipline in theology. Until about the time of Möhler in the mid nineteenth century, the Church was defined in institutional terms and a sacramental notion was not yet developed. If one wants anything better than Bellarmine’s idea that the Church is visible like the Republic of Venice is visible, we need to have recourse to theology from our own times. That clashes with the certitude of the “pharisee”.

I am aware that no human ecclesial or theological system can rid us from all doubt and cognitive dissonance. We are plagued with incoherence wherever we turn, and peace will only ever be found at the level of the spirit. At the material and intellectual level, no inner certitude can be found except by way of delusion. As time goes on, I find that the less we try to solve these problems, the better it will be for our remaining belief and spiritual life. My fingers were burned long ago! Is the position of the Anglican Catholic Church perfectly coherent? I don’t think anyone’s position is immune to any criticism and challenge. We are all fragile. I am not “cradle” ACC. I was baptised and confirmed in the Church of England and foolishly left it long before women’s ordination in that quest for intellectual cohesion and perfection. Indeed, as the French say – Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien. That experience made me sensitive to the “Conchúr-type” who would proselytise you without once looking you in the eye.

Many of us have made mistakes in life, and will continue making them in our ignorance and being unprepared for the hidden small print on the back of the glossy paper. Am I making a mistake doing what I am doing? Perhaps. In trying to discern the right thing, we are just utterly alone and can only rely to some extent on our intuitions, betrayed as we are by exclusive use of reason.

None of us in the ACC would ever claim that our tiny community is the “one true church”, and that is one thing that attracted me to her. We can cope with doubt and insecurity, as God alone is our rock and sure foundation.

(…) complexities and incoherencies of an Anglo-Catholic ecclesiology implemented in “the real world”

What is the “real world”? Perhaps that real world is that dark mass of glass and concrete in central and eastern London, the vision of hell on earth I saw last May from my car as I drove out of the capital! I would find it difficult to believe that Dr Tighe’s Church is the hard reality of London’s financial empire. I expected something else of Christ and what seems to be implied in the Our Father and the Beatitudes.

Incarnate Christianity needs something tangible, since we are earth-bound creatures reliant on our five senses, and we have not experienced the larger part of the “multiverse”, universal conscious energy or whatever you want to call it. We as humans are of different temperaments. I am a Romantic and rely more on intuition and emotional empathy. My interlocutors in the blogosphere are often classicists, intellectuals, men of law, order and authority. Romantics give second place to such considerations, behind prophetic inspiration, art and poetry, the ecstasy of love and beauty. Law and authority are not of the esse but the bene esse of society, without which the arbitrary is of a much more fearful tyranny.

This is the fundamental difference between the way I feel and think and my critics. I am grateful that this article came up, since I believe in free expression of the convictions, beliefs and conscience of all. That is one great potential of the Internet.

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45 Responses to An Interesting Write-Up

  1. Dale says:

    I have just read the article posted by John Beeler, and the replies. Most of them were quite interesting the only one I found distasteful was the one by Dr. Tighe. For quite sometime I have tended to find Dr. Tighe to too closely resemble a rather self-important academic who tends to treat anyone who disagrees with him, or his sometimes odd ideas, very much like an 18 year-old undergraduate; it is tiresome.

    • Stephen K says:

      Yes, Dale, it is a little tiresome, but I suppose we don’t have to take too seriously anyone who appears to do so so unremittingly and so abundantly for themselves! This criticism of alleged unhistoricality is an old one but it’s irrelevant, since this blog is not a sterile regurgitation of historical precedents but an exchange of values and responses to ideas. In that sense, our intellectual engagement with the ideas and issues Father proposes evidences who we are or aspire to and thus, as Father suggests, a human or holistic exercise in considerable good will on the whole. I don’t see the life-stream that our reflections and analysis call “history” as any less mysterious than the current in which we find ourselves: we are ‘connected’ for sure in the complex matrix of cause, effect and influence but whatever our forebears did or thought does not bind us so completely that our religious or philosophical perspectives must never stray, or that we must cease to attempt an original or personal thought. Some people just can’t cope with what they think is heresy or error. I think it’s a mistake, on the whole: isn’t the saying or koan the fool thinks he is wise; the wise man knows he is a fool?

      • ed pacht says:

        I know Dr. Tighe personally. He IS an academic, a deeply informed and accomplished one. I wish I knew as much as he does. I do know enough to disagree with him often and we have had a number of conversations face to face in which to do so. He has strong opinions, as do I, and as do both of you, Dale and Stephen, but is both humble and gracious, and willing to discuss differences without personal rancor. Even when I’ve not agreed with his statements, I’ve never read a comment of his that was not worthy of consideration.

        All four of us have been accused of taking ourselves too seriously and writing too harshly in these online comments. It’s probably true for all four of us. Can’t we confine ourselves to discussing the issues at hand rather than always shooting the messenger? I know I need to hear that sometimes – maybe we all do.

        ed

      • Stephen K says:

        Very well, ed, let me restate the issue accordingly. A criticism of unhistoricality is in my view irrelevant to many of the comments on this blog. If it is relevant to dispute or consider what some antecedent may have said or done or what it is considered was thought or understood, there are people here who may expound on that. In general however, and speaking for myself, I do not consider my personal comments are unconscious of the general idea that everything has an historical context or causality, nor are they simply plucked out of a quarantined imagination, but that they reflect a distillation of whatever I have studied, read or experienced has led me to think may be a general value, principle or aspiration. That distillation changes and alters over time, necessarily. I respond to others in such vein. We each choose how we spend our time, what books we will read, what flowers we will plant, what songs we will sing or whether we do such things at all. Academic historicism has its place and I respect knowledge and competence in it as I would in all fields, but it is not the only prism through which we see light or communicate.

      • This issue of historical precedent against pastoral innovation was behind various decisions to allow some kind of uniatism in the Roman Catholic Church in an act of hospitality to dissident Orthodox centuries ago or Anglicans a few years ago. This is essentially the discussion between those who believe in “organic development” and those who believe that any variation is heresy (as in Bossuet and most post-Tridentine scholastic theologians). English law (I have not studied it) seems to work on a balance between jurisprudence and precedent, on one hand, and the work of Parliament in promulgating new laws and abrogating old ones that can no longer be applied. The system seems to work, and provides a lot of work to those versed in law. If no innovation is possible, then it is truly man being made for the Sabbath and not the Sabbath for man.

        There does need to be a historical reference, as the human body needs its skeleton. There also needs to be the possibility of adapting to situations of need. Uniatism (western Christians in Orthodoxy, Eastern Christians and Anglicans in Roman Catholicism) is a method of pastoral outreach to answer the request of such groups needing hospitality. Perhaps they should have been turned away until they “truly” converted. After all, schismatics and heretics are taken back as penitents, and have to expiate their sins! Human imagination is particularly good at making the punishment fit the crime! That is the historical way of looking at it. Alternatively, churches can refuse converts as we can tell a poor person to go and get a job or eat cake! Churches are groups of humans with vested interests, and will take those who are useful to them. Forget charity!

        It’s all rather academic. Some found their happiness. Others rebuilt their lives and others “died”. Human life seems as cheap now as in times past!

      • ed pacht says:

        Granted that historicity is not the be-all and end-all, it is still an essential part of any discussion. Conclusions that either ignore history or base themselves upon false history are simply not valid conclusions. One may accept or deny the lessons taken from history. One may use those lessons to buttress ones opinions or contrariwise to illustrate the fallacy of existing opinion. One may not, however, proceed without taking the past into serious consideration. I’m afraid I do not feel that historical considerations are irrelevant to any of what is discussed here.

      • Stephen K says:

        Ed, we are clearly – to me at least – talking about different things. You are saying that we have to take history into account, that historical considerations are relevant to what is discussed here. Well, that may be so. Indeed I think it may often be so. But what I said was largely irrelevant was a “criticism of ahistoricality”. How many of the comments here directly challenge historical facts or data? Have you or Dr Tighe written about events involved with a, b, or c that I have deliberately ignored or disputed? I would only dispute such a thing if (a) I had contrary research and (b) I was at all interested in debating history. This forum does not become a history debate unless someone asserts an historical analysis – as opposed to a personal spiritual or theological analysis – that others believe is incorrect, and then the academic gloves can come off if they so choose. Many of the comments here stem from personal experiences or perceptions or observations. How can anyone challenge these as such!

        If I say that the essence of the Church is x, what could possibly lead you to think that I don’t know that somewhere and in many places and times, other people have said that the essence is y or something else? What’s un- or anti-historical about finding religious meaning for oneself that does not accord with an orthodoxy?

        Indeed, I wonder whether by this criticism of unhistoricality here is actually meant nothing much more than plain old-fashioned “unorthodoxy”. In other words, so the argument might run, the Church authorities have never acted or taught in x fashion, and indeed on a, b and c occasions did y so thinking x is groundless and wilful and…..unhistorical(!) (Apart from the obvious logical defect in such an argument, I’ll leave aside and will not press the proposition that “history” is but the analysis by individuals of data and evidence related to antecedent events over which, despite scientific rigour, not every individual analyst may agree, i.e. “history” is, reduced, what historians tell us it is.)

        I hate to consider what other dimensions we might be thought to fail in.

      • Stephen K says:

        Having said all that, I went to – and have just returned from – our little village church. I went to get some restorative spirit. This coming Sunday will be Corpus Christi, and I read over the readings, prepared the altar, and went through the hymns I will play: “Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all” (Faber) – “Let all Mortal flesh” (which musicians will know as pasa sarx) – “Sweet Sacrament Divine” (Stanfield) – “Pange Lingua”(Aq.)

        I may be accompanying and singing, on my own, as at the previous Sunday two weeks ago. Hopefully, my friend C who normally sings with me will be there. My wife will be there to do the readings, and usually three elderly women also attend. A family of four from a nearby rural property might turn up. This is a perfect example of what Father Chadwick refers to and experiences as the small “two or three” model of post-modern Christendom. I am sometimes bemused that I, who do not think that the RC Church is some divine institution but a way (ed, in historical as well as theological terms), find myself in a situation where my wife and I are the only ones to keep the church open for business, ironing the linen, providing music and material, candles, wine etc. When the others don’t turn up, we make up the shortfall for the priest’s petrol etc.

        But I don’t resent it and am quite sanguine. Indeed, it simply validates my belief that religion is as much a personal predilection and hobby as it is a life-and-death affiliation. I understand RC-ism. I understand its vocabulary and the psychology of its diverse members. I can see both good and flawed in it. Never mistake that. Of course I am pro-test-ant. I accept that as a rational and human prerogative and consequence of following the commitment to Truth, however elusive and debateable that is. Cardinal Newman wrote a prayer that went to the effect that everyone had a purpose even if we never found out what it was. There may be lots of purposes, at different times, but it will only be in hindsight, often, that we see them. I am not a rubricist, but I understand the key to working it out, from my experiences and reading, and there’s no-one else here to get things working. So, all my childhood sensitivity, my religious training, my involvement in sacred music, my studies, etc have made it so that, in a kind of way, a purpose arises in helping provide an environment for the faith – in whatever degree – of a few elderly people. How dare I do other, understanding the culture, the theology, the very basic of human needs, than give them what they expect and are used to getting from the Church? Which is not to say that I don’t need it myself!

        Religion is an interesting business. It interests all of us. But huge numbers of people don’t agree. That’s sobering, I suggest. I get this sense, from observing that many old men and women often reach a place where petty disputation has no hold – yes, a kind of universalism – that we have to leave room for not being so attached to a hard, univocal idea of reality or truth. I entertain koans like The best Catholic is an agnostic or The best Catholic is an Anglican . (Obviously, these kinds of concepts are loaded with meanings I import, but they can be both useful and satisfying to discuss.) Just some thoughts.

      • Dale says:

        Yes Stephen, I so well remember the first time I was, as an undergraduate, told that I was being “unhistorical.” it was in a history class when the professor mentioned that World War II was the only war in modern history which could be considered as morally justified because it destroyed the fascist dictator Hitler. I mentioned that firstly Hitler was not a dictator, having been constitutionally appointed as Chancellor by legal means and that I found it interesting to imply a morality to the Allies’ war aims when our main ally during this war was Stalin, who most certainly was a dictator and a mass murderer; and that one could simply interpret the Allies’ victory in World War II as nothing more than giving much of central Europe and all of Eastern Europe to the Stalinists and hence, any implication of morality simply evaporated when this is considered. The Professor looked at me and simply declared, “That is unhistorical.” I am still wondering why.

        But then according to some more recent contributors to this blog, I am mentally insane.

        But then, “take your medication” is such a fetching come back!

      • Stephen K.

        Responding to your latest entry in this comment line, I am in complete agreement with your statements that religion should be personal and relational (and your exemplification of it in your own life, in the brief and touching recounting of how you had spent time in your small village church, and what you were going to do for the western feast of Corpus Christi, as well as your gnomic statement that ‘the best Catholic is Anglican’.

        As to your first statement, I too have been going for a quarter century to a small Russian Catholic church, which, as it is about a mile east of the Pacific Ocean, I and a few of my friends call ‘our church at the end of the world’. There, I have assisted, either as singer, cantor, assistant director, or full choral director, in helping the choir to sing some of the best of the Russian and Greek choral and chant traditions. I can not tell you how much the richness of ‘the beauty of holiness’ has informed my life, and has kept me as sane as my wicked life has been able to permit. It is a deep pity that, as Fr. Chadwick has said, most churches (whether British or North American) have become Blake’s ‘dark Satanic mills.’

        As to your second statement, I will admit that yes, the best Catholic is in fact Anglican, just as I believe that the best Orthodox is Russian. Christianity is impoverished when it does not connect with the culture around it, and Christians are impoverished when they do not seek the best that culture has to offer. Thus, my answer to Tertullian’s question: “What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens?” is “Why, everything, of course.”

        It has also been my experience that Anglicans, whether having swum the Tiber or no, are the ones who are the most careful and thoughtful with their faith, in the sense that whether through public school or university education, they have endeavored to dig more deeply than most into Scripture, Holy Tradition, or the teaching authority of the Church, and have brought the findings of their inquiries more deeply into their worship. We could certainly use a great deal more of that in other Catholic cultures than the Anglican!

    • Stephen K says:

      However, having said all that I feel no abiding rancour towards Dr Tighe or anyone else. I am looking out the window, and though it is winter here and summer over there, God’s sun is warm and shining on all of us. This I know.

  2. My comment was not meant to be disparaging in any way. Rather, my comment was directed to the fact that you have expended more effort than most in seeking an orthodox Church of English national and cultural expression. I think every nation should get its own Church. I have said though that I think there has been too much water under the bridge to try and construct a pre-Schism Rite and reclaim it for Orthodoxy. So – we go to the back of the line with the Byzantine forms like everybody else, and see what develops in a couple of centuries.

    The problem is that the State has abolished nations, so increasingly there’s no nation of which a Church can be a national and cultural expression. What is sometimes called “High Church” is becoming just a redoubt for older, white hobbyists. There are young families, but our retention rates are not good. Nobody seems to know what to do about it other than double down on “evangelism” or “outreach.”

    • Perhaps I could put it in a different way and venture to say that Eastern Orthodoxy has no place in the western world and should return to the “old” countries. Western Christians have no business looking at Orthodoxy, but should rather stay in their Churches of origin, join dissident groups like the SSPX for Roman Catholics or the Continuing Churches for Anglicans, or abandon Christianity.

      Perhaps that is nearer the mark, unless a given individual has been worshipping in an Orthodox church for several years, and wants simply to formalise his sacramental relationship with that church based on his being happy in that community.

      • Western Christians have no business looking at Orthodoxy, but should rather stay in their Churches of origin, join dissident groups like the SSPX for Roman Catholics or the Continuing Churches for Anglicans, or abandon Christianity.

        Well, that would be a bit awkward considering I am married to a cradle Orthodox. I ended up where I did because I felt Western Christianity made a number of very wrong turns, but that’s just me. I’m not out to convert anybody.

        The reality is we are advancing rapidly into the post-Christian era and in my opinion neither East nor West have any idea what to do about it. Perhaps, as a commenter at my blog put it, the future of Christianity is with a resurgent Russia/Third Rome, or in a Chinese Constantine after the Han abandon their current atheistic consumerism.

      • Life over the last thirty-odd years has taught me many things. I originated in the Church of England and showed little character faced with “Catholic Evidence Guild” and SSPX types back in 1980-81. The most serious indictment about Christianity is allowing itself to be used by the powerful as a means of controlling other people, and the same goes with Islam and every other religion whose adepts think that everybody else should join it. We have to live with the dichotomy of truth against tolerance. Until this question can be addressed, the accusation that Christianity is a force for evil in the world will stick and hold in our society.

        So, indeed, we advance into the post-Christian era and we see all we love devalued and trashed. Things are happening in the world, in particular the victory of capitalism in which each individual is worth his money and the complete ineptitude of socialism (which is reality is state capitalism). Russia or China? Many pinned their hopes on Hitler in the 1930′s including many RC bishops. I would be tempted to look to Russia for the future of Europe like what is happening in the Ukraine, but I suspect it would only lead to just another totalitarian tyranny if unchallenged.

        The Kingdom is within, in ourselves and our little groups who dare to challenge the “system” and be ourselves. We don’t need to be joining any queues of converts waiting to be “processed” into some institutional church. The Church is an “Idea” (if we express it in Platonic terms) and we can only live it in ourselves and our groups of “two or three gathered in Christ’s name”. We are only free through the imagination, like Oscar Wilde was free as he languished in his prison cell. That is the only way we will find peace, and not by searching outside ourselves for a Philosopher’s Stone or whatever image we choose.

    • Dale says:

      Yes, there is nothing so disgusting as “older, white” people! Says it all.

      • Jacob Flournoy says:

        I completely agree with Dale. Whenever certain groups have no logical facts to support their arguments or are unwillingly to accept the truth they turn their attacks toward “older white people”, after all we are the source of all the world’s ills. This is a common strategy used by many”liberal” groups within the USA. It truly is tiresome.

    • Dale says:

      Really, this posting is so offensive that one simply wonders. But at least you do show what the Byzantines really think like: my other favourite is this line: “[W]e go to the back of the line with the Byzantine forms like everybody else”; one suspects that this would also apply to “older, brown” Oriental Orthodox as well?

      • Also, take your medication.

      • Jacob Flournoy says:

        Ditto!

      • Dale says:

        Actually, I will thank Mr Anti-Gnostic, he has simply validated EVERYTHING I have been saying about the Byzantines!

      • Dale says:

        Oh and one of the posters on this site, Jules is not only a western rite Orthodox, but Black as well…so much for those absolutely dreadful, disgusting old white people whom Mr Anti-Gnostic so hates; and their culture as well. I really rather resemble that crowd by the way. I suspect that Mr Anti-Gnostic also believes in a vast right-wing conspiracy of angry white-males crashing the gates of oh so holy and pure Byzantium.

        It would appear that Byzantium is really not too much more than the remnants of the religion department of the Byzantine Empire at prayer.

      • Dale – You clearly have not clicked thru to my blog.

      • bernardbrandt says:

        It’s also obvious that Dale hasn’t been taking his meds.

      • This kind of personal swipe is unnecessary and not wanted on this blog. You may not agree with Dale’s opinion but I see no evidence of his being mentally ill. Please desist.

      • bernardbrandt says:

        My apologies. I shall attempt in future to comply. While I would prefer to have posted the following to you in a private e-mail, I am unable to find one.

        However, in my defense, I was simply agreeing with both the Anti-Gnostic and Jacob Flournoy, as you will observe from their earlier postings.

        But let me see if I understand the rules of this place correctly: Dale can repeatedly accuse the Anti-Gnostic of racism (both towards blacks and whites!), and be as personally offensive in the process as he can, but anyone who gives Dale a taste of his own medicine, even when he is agreeing with two other people who are pointing out the possibility that Dale might be a bit intemperate, is to be threatened with expulsion?

      • Dale says:

        I do not believe that Mr Anti-Gnostic was intimating that I am mentally ill, I think that he simply is implying that I am old…and he is correct. It is not racism that I have been accusing him of, but ageism.

      • Dale says:

        Also, Bernard, I was not the one who mentioned old white people, it was Mr Anti-Gnostic…

      • Jacob Flournoy says:

        bernardbrandt,
        I suggest you read my comments more carefully. In the first one I stated that I agree with Dale. The second reply, which read “ditto”, is directed toward Dale’s second statement. Therefore I have agreed with both of Dale’s statement. Please do no quote my comments in order to find an ally to justify your rude comment. It is very unlikely that I would disagree with Dales comments, even the very sarcastic ones.

      • Dale says:

        Hello Jacob, I had rather suspected that was the reality, but did not say so since it was up to you to to state such!

        Thank you for your support. it is strange that someone makes highly racial charged statements about old white people, and then is held up as a paragon.

      • Dale:

        As to your denial of accusing the Anti-Gnostic of racism, may I remind you of two particulars:

        …so much for those absolutely dreadful, disgusting old white people whom Mr Anti-Gnostic so hates; and their culture as well. (Dale, comments, Thursday 19 June, 2014 at 8:21 pm)

        and, in a response to a comment made by the Anti-Gnostic (18 June, 2014 at 11:52 pm), you write:

        “my other favourite is this line: “[W]e go to the back of the line with the Byzantine forms like everybody else”; one suspects that this would also apply to “older, brown” Oriental Orthodox as well?”

        So, either directly, or by innuendo, you have accused A-G of anti white and anti black (or brown, in this case) racism. Do please try to keep your stories straight while you are telling them.

        And now you are accusing A-G of ageism as well? How priceless. Do you have facts upon which to base any of these multiple accusations?

        Mr. Flournoy:

        My apologies for misconstruing your ‘ditto’. I had assumed, apparently mistakenly, that you were a reasonable man. I shall try not to make the same mistake again.

      • Dale says:

        Did Mr Anti-Gnostic says those things or not? I suspect you are blaming the wrong person, which does not surprise me, I have seen your vindictiveness on another site with Diane as well. if Mr Anti does not wish to be accused of such, why did he make the issue of “go to the back of the line with the Byzantine forms” racial in the first place, I am surprised he did not say bus. And, finally, it was he who made this issue racial with the following comment: “What is sometimes called “High Church” is becoming just a redoubt for older, white hobbyists.” Really, grow up.

      • Dale says:

        Oh, forgot, take your meds!

  3. May I invite readers to view my post under The Quest for Recognition and Respectabilty in the event (perish the thought) that I am not persona non grata.

  4. J Clivas says:

    I LIKE the idea of a Chinese Constantine!

  5. bernardbrandt says:

    I think that the concern of both the Anti-Gnostic and Dr. Tighe can best be summed up as the following: without a clearly articulated doctrine, and a strong advocacy by a hierarchical clergy of that doctrine, a national or local church is in danger of dissolving within a few generations. The examples of the Old Catholics or the Unitarians comes immediately to mind.

    But one concern of Fr. Chadwick, which I do not believe has been adequately addressed by any of the commenters, is that that those dangers of dissolution can also be found in the larger Churches, like the RC and Orthodox, largely because, while one can have all of the doctrine in the world, if the clergy have not been taught that doctrine, or no longer believe it, the result will be the same as if the Churches in question had no doctrine. Nemo dat quod non habet.

    Under the circs (as that eminent philosopher, Bertie Wooster, would say), I think that Fr. Chadwick has the right idea: one must start by building Church and community locally; and one must continue by providing those communities the most beautiful and inspiring liturgies that one can find. Tridentine plus Gregorian chant and Western polyphony, or Byzantine plus Greek or Slavic music, are among the most beautiful I have been able to find. And, most definitely, the Sarum missal, Sarum chant, and English polyphony of the Pre-Henrican to the Post-Elizabethan, can stand with the best of the first three that I have named.

    While some might think Fr. Chadwick’s mission to be Quixotic, or an act of madness, as a Yank like me who still loves William Blake’s Jerusalem, especially when sung to the setting Sir Hubert Parry gave it, I find it to be a fine madness.

    • Quixotic? You are probably right. I see no other way. Most of the Roman Catholics I know here in France are kind enough, and I have even been invited by the parish priest of Trinité sur Mer to register for next year’s Naviclerus regatta (50-60 priests and seminarians sailing 8 thirty-foot yachts for charity). The sympathy at a local level is palpable, but anything formal would have to go through Rome… Thanks but no thanks.

      Indeed, William Blake was a Romantic ahead of the time of most of the Romantics (1820′s-30′s) and saw the horrifying discrepancy between so-called “Christian” England and the exploitation of the poor. Anglo-Catholicism sprang from Romanticism, not some kind of aspiration to authoritarianism, conservatism and the Establishment.

      In human terms, what I do is futile. Nearly everyone I know is atheist or deeply agnostic, sometimes indoctrinated in Marxist ideology, and sometimes in the way of discovering a more critical assessment of injustice and exploitation. Indeed, as a schoolboy, I was part of a class that was taught to sing Jerusalem with Parry’s setting by heart. The dark satanic mills still exist and too many churches imitate them!

      Finally, I reflect a quote from The Mission, a film very close to my heart – If love has no place in the world, I have no desire to be a part of it.

      • bernardbrandt says:

        Please note that when I used the term Quixotic, my intent was to place emphasis on the synonyms of ‘audacious’ and ‘heroic’. I have nothing but the highest respect for your endeavours, not excluding your call for ‘New Goliards’.

        And I would disagree with you when you say, ‘[i]n human terms, what I do is futile.’ Rather, the individual actions which you are performing are the ONLY way in which new religions, or rather, developments in religions, have been accomplished.

        In matters RC, it is ONLY because of the actions of Ss. Benedict, Francis, Dominic and Ignacius that the Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit orders came into existence.

        In matters Orthodox, it is ONLY because of the actions of two saints, Cyril and Methodius, that the Slavic nations became Orthodox. And it is because of the many Orthodox monks who individually started sketes and monasteries in the backwoods that the Slavs, and particularly the Russians, were able to prevail against the Tatar and Turkish invasions.

        And in matters Anglican, it is ONLY because of the actions of the many individual pastors and scholars in the slum parishes and elsewhere that some alternative to the merely Protestant rot that had taken over England after Queen Bess could take root and develop into a genuinely Catholic faith.

        So I would encourage you to continue what you are doing. And, in closing, I would remind you of these words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  6. bernardbrandt says:

    Sorry, but of the list of three to which I referred above, I had meant to include Anglican worship (whether said from the Book of Common Prayer or the Anglican Missal), and the wealth of Anglican music from the time of Queen Elizabeth I to that of her namesake, HRH QE II. Please forgive the acronyms.

  7. I think the moral of this thread is not me policing and moderating (except for predatory trolling). It is for commenters to be temperate and reasoned in their arguments. When people write intemperately, the temperature rises and the thread is self-sanctioning. Nothing has been learned except the worst of human nature: conflict and war.

    I don’t know if many people outside our interest groups read this blog, but there are many who believe that religion is a mental illness or a personality problem, the source of all evil, that religion should be as unrespectable in society as racism and telling jokes about Jewish people and gas chambers. Are we going to be apologists for those who would trash every last trace of religious culture for the New Atheist Man?

    I am not going to censor and moderate, and I will leave threads to be destroyed by intemperate language. If something is bad, it has to die. It is the responsibility of everyone to lift conversations from that level.

Comments are closed.