For those who cannot understand why, here’s why….
Anglican on Purpose
Posted by Eric under O God, come to my assistance
It seems Anglicans across the blogosphere can’t help but post on the pope’s most recent apostolic constitution. I posted the letter from archbishops Rowan and Vincent from Canterbury and Westminster and that was all I planned on doing… until now.
If you’ve happened to see the conversations I’ve had with Nicholas or Chad via comments you will not be surprised that the Vatican’s latest action does not really impress me all that much. I do not mean that with any negative feelings toward the pope, the Vatican, or the Roman Catholic Church; I actually hold all three in great respect. But, it is times like this that we non-Roman Christians who adhere to the catholic faith can further reflect on why we are Anglicans, Old Catholic (See of Utrecht), etc.
To those for whom the pope’s announcement is a great blessing on their personal journeys into the Roman Catholic Church, I offer nothing but well wishes and blessings. That being said, I continue to have a concern about the inferiority complex of Anglicans (particularly Anglo-Catholics) that urges them to constantly seek the approval of the Vatican or one of the Orthodox patriarchs.
Believe it or not, there are some of us Anglo-Catholics who are Anglican on purpose – even Episcopalian. I am an Anglican because of the historic appeal to Scripture, reason, and canon law.* I am an Anglican because of our venerable liturgical tradition. I am an Anglican because of the via media.** I’m an Anglican because I hold Anglicanism to be one part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church but cannot stomach any claim by any ecclesial body to be the only part of it. I am an Anglican because I believe that all the baptized are welcome to receive communion. I am an Anglican because though I have a strong Marian devotion, pray for the dead daily as part of the Guild of All Souls, and find benediction of the blessed sacrament a powerful devotional experience I do not demand everyone do so. I am Anglican because I place much value in living a life of common prayer, but do not equate common with sameness.
I will continue to look to the day that Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism and/or Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy can come together in some visible manner, but until then I remain a catholic Christian in the Anglican tradition and I remain so on purpose.
*”Scripture, Tradition, and Reason” as an Anglican formula is far too often wrongly attributed to Richard Hooker. Not only did he never use the phrase, but he was probably referring more to canon law than some nebulous body of tradition (it is found in his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity after all). Also, it should be clear that any Anglicans who hold these three to be equal are standing apart from Anglican tradition which has always placed the emphasis on Scripture.
**Referring to a middle way between the poles of the Continental Reformation on one end and the Papacy on the other. I firmly reject this phrase as an excuse to water down anything and everything as a “middle way.”