I am not American and have no experience of the “second wave” of dissidence from the Canterbury Communion. All the same, I’m not surprised. My attention has been drawn to ACNA’s Anglo-Catholic Exodus. One of the ANCA dioceses is splitting away to join the PNCC. I wonder if all the parishes and people are following.
A bishop (which “side”?) is saying that the ACNA wants to “complete the Reformation” and have women’s ordination. If any didn’t agree with that, they could go over to Rome. Some clergy have contacted the Ordinariate and others the Russian Western Rite. The movement to join the PNCC doesn’t seem to be unanimous.
I don’t want to give simplistic opinions on this, but from the little I have read about the ACNA, it was only expected from a communion that is low-church, in favour of the ordination (and episcopal consecration) of women, and seemingly differing only on the issue of homosexuality. It seems that some of their bishops are Calvinists, understanding the 39 Articles in their “plain and literal sense”. What does “completing the Reformation” mean? It seems like a purge of Anglo-Catholicism.
Read the article from the above link if it interests you. We have to remember that the same words mean different things to different people, Catholic in particular. I have occasionally come across Spanish and Portuguese south American Anglicans, and ask myself what is Anglican about them. They are just independent churches more or less imitating modern Rome. In October 2004, I attended an attempt in Portugal to form a communion of Old Catholic Churches, opposed to the ordination of women and thus separate from Utrecht. It involved the bishops of the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira founded by the dissident Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa. After a few days of this event, a bust-up happened between the Brazilian bishops, and I saw that the whole thing led by a certain Archbishop António José da Costa Raposo was in pieces and a totally pointless exercise. These men knew how to pull the crowds (and their money) in through mass hysteria more piously called Charismatic Renewal. This was not the ACNA, but shared a lot with several episcopi vagantes seeking to be legitimised and to belong to a Church that could afford to pay them and their families a living salary. That is about the top and bottom of it. It is an extremely extroverted kind of religion to which I absolutely don’t relate. Would Jesus relate to it either? I wonder…
About the Anglo-Catholics leaving the ACNA and joining the PNCC, I have met Bishop Flemestad of the Nordic Catholic Church who is a good pastoral bishop with a rich theological culture acquired through his having been a Lutheran. I am less sure about other PNCC bishops, some of whom are former modern Roman Catholics. That solution seems to be attracted because they have money and the possibility of giving priests full-time employment rather than their having to be “tent-makers” like us in the poor Continuing Churches.
When I see all that, I wouldn’t want to be an employee of such a church to be under threat of conforming to a new wave of convulsionaries of Saint-Médard or Bible-thumpers – or getting fired. The dream of sustainability is trickling away, even in the most mainstream Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, both cutting back on expenses, closing parish churches and leaving cultural treasures to rot. Decidedly, the Christianity of the future cannot be about propping up the dinosaur of clericalism and empty buildings, however beautiful they are. We are going back to the Catacombs, whether we are Catholics, Orthodox or Protestants.
There needs to be a new spirit (or even the promised new Spirit) and a new philosophy to give substance without which exterior appearances of bishops and church worship are only tinsel and glitter on a Christmas tree.