This blog was founded by Albion Land who at some point became Orthodox and went to live in the islands of the eastern Mediterranean. He still has a presence on Facebook and is an interesting character. From a certain point, the blog was taken over by a couple of American priests in the ACC.
The position of the ACC has always been clear about Anglicanorum coetibus, and it is one reason why I joined it in 2013. It has to be said also that in the ACC, we have a certain diversity of “churchmanships” between Anglo-Catholicism in England and a “Classical Anglican” approach that is more widespread in the USA. That viewpoint emphasises a stricter adhesion to the Prayer Book (American 1928) and the Thirty-Nine Articles as a standard of doctrine. The more mainstream view in the ACC, as in some other Continuing Churches is adhesion to the Affirmation of St Louis with its more Orthodox ecclesiology and the notion of Tradition.
To the “Classical Anglican” view, Anglican-Papalism is foreign, perhaps even a red rag to a bull. It is understandable that the polemics in 2010-11 were particularly passionate, and I was not always very helpful in my postings to The Anglo-Catholic and my own defunct English Catholic. The Continuum, as Mr Bruce observes, is – we might say – not more than a shadow of what it was. Fr Hart sends in his sermons (written and recorded) and some nice spiritual and doctrinal reflections from time to time. Fr Hart has had some health problems, and the cause of the polemics no longer exists. The Ordinariate clergy have joined the Ordinariates, and others have stayed in their respective Churches.
I do remember everything getting quite out of hand mainly on account of the “Hepworth narrative” on the process leading to the Ordinariates. Fr Hart has remained very low key since then, even if he has “liked” some comments on Facebook postings asking for our prayers for his health. I think, however, that Mr Bruce could read through the Continuum blog to see that it is not merely a matter of Low Church against High Church. If you look on the site of St Benedict’s in North Carolina, it can be seen that Fr Hart wears vestments, has an Anglo-Catholic style altar and a High-Church style. However, his theology is more Tractarian than Anglican-Papalist. I think diversity in these matters in a charitable dialogue in a Church is a good thing. Mr Bruce would see these nuances if he cared to read through the blog and Fr Hart’s parish website.
Are “continuum” denominations without exception (…) shrinking and losing credibility? I don’t think so. We might be small, but we have learned many lessons from our experience, whether of squabbling bishops and priests in the 1990’s or Archbishop Hepworth’s attempt to be the chief mover of the Ordinariate movement. Our Churches are smaller, but better ordered and organised within.
I cannot foretell the future of Continuing Anglicanism. It may well die like other small Churches in history. It might persist for centuries. It might contribute to a “repairing” of communion at a grass-roots level like Forward in Faith. I am a priest in the ACC and have no plans of moving anywhere else. Certainly the events of those years did a lot of damage to the TAC, less to the ACC on account of its having remained quite aloof. The TAC is moving ahead slowly, and there are sincere dialogues between the TAC, the ACC and other Continuum bodies. Every little gesture means something and is positive.
Maybe in Mr Bruce’s mind, the Continuum should disintegrate and people be told that they have no alternative other than converting to mainstream American Roman Catholicism, but that they should be treated with prudence lest they should be tainted with “Anglican baggage”. I am not rising to the provocation here, nor is anyone else.
Maybe, our “prestige”, whatever that means, has been damaged. However, our life as Catholic Churches of Anglican tradition continues to worship God and witness to the life of the Gospel in our little way. The past is in the past, and those events are even less relevant to the ACC than the TAC and other Churches working for dialogue and unity. As for the “prestige”, I cannot say it worries me in the slightest.