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Thursday, 10 July 2008

More on the anglo-Catholic dilemma

In the combox, John kindly directed me to the website of the See of Ebbsfleet where you can read Bishop Burnham's Message after the General Synod's vote on women Bishops. He also has an excellent homily for the 3 June Sacred Synod of the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC). Traditional Catholics are sometimes puzzled by the tendency of some anglo-Catholics to follow the worst of modern customs in the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Burnham presciently addresses this in terms of remaining true to the anglo-Catholic spirit:
We shall need our pastoral experience, our inculturation, our catechetical and liturgical skill. We shall probably need to be a little less slavishly Roman: we shall need to be a bit more RSV and a bit less Jerusalem bible; a bit more on with fine liturgical music and a bit less indebted to 1970s folk masses; a bit more damask and a bit less polyester. It will require some of us older priests, brought up with Vatican II reforms, to be more patient and understanding towards some of the younger priests, with their maniples and miraculous medals. They come from a different culture, an age of heritage and retro, not an age of lunar landing and futurism.
This sensible recognition of where the anglo-Catholics need to be when coming into full communion with Rome is picked up by Damien Thompson in an article in this week's Catholic Herald that I missed in yesterday's roundup: Ex-Anglicans will bring new life to our Church. In the previous major wave of conversions in 1994, many anglo-Catholics were reluctant to cross the Tiber because of the awful state of the liturgy in many parishes. As Damien says,
The situation now is very different. Pope Benedict XVI is an old friend of conservative Anglo-Catholics in England and America; he shares their dismay at the shoddy state of the liturgy in many churches, and he is seeking to renovate the vernacular Mass by exposing Catholics to the treasures of pre-1970 Latin worship. All this would have been inconceivable in 1994, as would a Ratzinger papacy, and old-fashioned "Sandalista" liberals are still hoping to wake up from their bad dream.
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