I am reminded of the dotty “Romantic” ladies in England and the Great Invisible Empire to be contemplated whilst looking at a British flag and burning joss sticks before it! They had a “school” in England for a while, where young ladies could get their bottoms whacked with a cane. Then came Aristasia. I leave that subject without further comment.
I was looking through YF’s blog a few moments below and saw the final sentence of Catholic vs. classic Anglican debate:
It’s Rome or the abyss, folks. By Rome I mean our doctrine, not Catholic churchmen’s opinions, even the Pope’s.
I sent in a comment saying: This seems to suggest some very strange metaphysics. What happened to Bellarmine’s saying that the Church is as visible as the Republic of Venice? If the Church can subsist independently of the men and institutions in Rome, this idea is indeed far-reaching.
How indeed does one uphold the idea of a “true church” whose present authorities and institutions do not uphold it, nor even any Caudillo sending his critics and opponents to the garotte?
It is a long time since I had anything to do with the Society of St Pius X. They like to think of themselves as the “true church” whilst not being so at the same time. When I was at university studying philosophy, one principle of Aristotle’s epistemology was that of non-contradiction. Nowadays, we call it cognitive dissonance, someone holding onto a belief they know is not true. It’s something like the Workers’ Paradise in the days of Stalin, so beautifully portrayed by Orwell in his famous dystopia. You don’t think – you just obey the leader. In the light of twentieth-century European history, it is monstrous. The true church is its doctrine, but anyone can teach it or read it in books. Read this book and you will be saved! The atheists are laughing…
Oddly, the situation in the Roman Catholic Church and indeed all the mainstream institutions has brought about this dilemma. If we want to be ruthlessly logical, going from this assumption the idea of the Church is unmasked as a scam and a lie – or the Church consists of more than an institution. Therefore it subsists in more than one ecclesiastical institution, including Anglicans, Orthodox, Old Catholics, etc. – but such an idea is anathema to a conservative Roman Catholic apologist. I also came across this way of thinking with the sedevacantists. A typical case would be a priest having got Orders from an independent Vilatte or Mathew line bishop, and then he goes and claims to be a true Roman Catholic in contrast to all those he calls heretics and schismatics. His biggest problem is being canonically irregular through illicitly receiving orders. Such shenanigans have been going on for decades. Those who took the “true church” paradigm to the uttermost end of its logic are (or were) the home-aloners, lay people who reacted in the same way as the Безпоповцы Old Believers in the seventeenth century. It is one consideration that made me “cut the crap” and return to Anglicanism via the Continuers. Our situation is far from perfect, but we do what we can to do the work of Christ’s Church – whatever Christ meant.
Julius Evola made the point that such traditionalist groups do not have the authority to speak for the universal Church and the authorities of the same Church have poured out the baby with the bathwater. What is left? For Evola, there had to be another spiritual principle, a kind of lost “perennial tradition” – which like the Philosopher’s Stone has never materialised.
Should we dismiss it all as bunk and be materialists? Should we seek authentic spirituality and intelligence outside Christianity? Should we have a fresh and honest notion of the Church that relieves our cognitive dissonance? I don’t think any two human beings will have the same answer. All I can advocate is to make progress.