I realise I am getting tied up in knots responding to people I don’t know and whose “positions” could mean anything. Eventually, one becomes emotionally worn out and demoralised by the conflicts, and no progress is made. The restoration of pre-Tractarian “old high church” Anglicanism isn’t an issue in England, but in the USA. I am English. The ACC has a major presence in America, and also in England. We have our ways in England, and what I have recently found in England is stable and credible.
Serious steps are being taken, and the fruits are becoming apparent. The first steps are the obvious ones to make – reducing the number of institutional ecclesial bodies and keeping the number of bishops to the minimum. Also, raising standards of the clergy in terms of education and stability is doing a lot of good. Many of the divisive personalities and sources of instability of the 1990’s and earlier are now gone. The Ordinariate has received those who were inclined that way, and Orthodoxy in the USA has generally shown itself welcoming to Anglicans who are ready to comply with the tenets of that Church.
The “cat herding” is understood in different ways by different people. Some aim for a “more reasonable” basis of Anglo-Catholicism. Others would like comprehensiveness based on the Reformation formularies. Others would demonise Anglo-Catholicism and fight against it in a new Reformation, purging away “popery” as much as even the use of pagan Greek philosophy.
The ACC approach is solidly in the hands of its Bishops, and I am proud to belong to a Church that has recovered from a very serious state of conflict some fifteen years ago. Souffrir passe, avoir souffert ne passe jamais. Experience brings wisdom and prudence in a new era of peace, serenity and stability.
If we can in the next few years reduce the number of groups from six to two or three, we will have made excellent progress.
There are meetings between Churches, and progress is made. The quality of the clergy is improved by responsible behaviour on the part of bishops and keeping the “rats” out.
If we limit new causes of division and work on eliminating existing divisions, time will become our friend.
One of these causes of division is reigniting the old polemics, and we have to be careful on the blogs. I have been allowing some comments that really I should have censored and deleted. Perhaps the ACC is “narrow” in its policies and positions, but that’s the way it is. That is the ACC I voluntarily joined as an Anglo-Catholic priest coming from the TAC with fifteen years of my life as a Roman Catholic. We are what we are and the baggage we carry will help to enrich the Church and make the edifice ever more diverse and beautiful. I trust my Metropolitan Archbishop and my Diocesan Bishop. They are not infallible, but I consider that their judgement of things is likely to be better than mine. I have not yet been asked to do anything against my conscience!
This work of unity will take longer than the years we have yet to live. We must look beyond our own limits and selves, for the good of those who will follow us in the future. Bequeathing what we think precious is indeed an old-fashioned idea – perhaps futile – but what I believe in until someone comes up with something better.