Michael Gollop on the Anglican Association pamphlet

11 06 2011

The Revd Michael Gollop SSC on the Anglican Association pamphlet:

Having obtained a copy of the pamphlet from the Anglican Association, “Is the Ordinariate for you?” a few months ago, I expected to find in it a full and fair discussion of the tangled historical context, the complex theological issues and the practical dilemmas which now face Anglicans who are being drawn to a consideration of the Personal Ordinariate.

Instead, I was soon perplexed by both the booklet’s  polemical, dismissive and minimising tone and by its failure to put forward any alternative strategy to the approach to unity outlined by Pope Benedict in Anglicanorum Coetibus – in short by its air of general destructiveness. If this booklet is a defence of anything (and I’m not really sure it is), it is a defence of an Anglicanism which would not only be  unrecognisable and unacceptable to most Anglo-Catholics, but which also clearly no longer exists and which cannot  be revived.

It is subtitled “Some considerations for thoughtful Anglicans…..” but conspicuously fails to give either a balanced or a thoughtful analysis itself in a situation which cries out for a more eirenic and prayerful response. Thoughtful? It calls to mind Bl John Henry Newman’s comment to Dr Pusey, “‘you discharge your olive-branch as if from a catapult.” The Church Union’s Tufton Tract, ‘The Catholic Church and England’ (2010) by the then Bishop Edwin Barnes, though written for a different audience, is a far more realistic and fairer popular discussion of the real situation facing ‘catholic’ traditionalists.

I kept quiet about this publication at the time because it didn’t seem a particularly good moment either to draw attention to the divisions among ‘orthodox’ Anglicans on the subject of the Ordinariate or to the grim prospects for those who seem to have make a conscious and final decision to remain within the (alas) increasingly insecure fold of the Church of England.

But I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to be disturbed, saddened and even shocked by the publication (Shocked? Well, perhaps I should get out more).


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