Monday, March 26, 2007

On Being Catholic and Anglican

This is part of a talk to be given to a Lenten discussion this week about Affirming Catholicism of which I am the SA convenor
The Anglican Church has always seen itself as Catholic, though not particularly Roman Catholic.
The name tags of the past don't easily describe where we are today, and they often are filled with prejudice.
I grew up in an English town where it was known who was Catholic and who was not, I had never been inside a Catholic Church until I was 18. And I considered myself to be a Protestant.
I can still remember the quiet scandal when my mother's cousin Geoffrey married a Catholic, he was the first member of our quite large family to convert. (This is the late 1950s early 60s I am talking about)
I had to learn what being an Anglican Catholic was about, and discovered in it something which deeply resonated with me.

Affirming Catholicism makes certain key affirmations about the nature of the Church and Christian Practice

· A belief that God’sChurch is holy and catholic, and that all Christians are being drawn into that mystery

· Disciplined lives of regular prayer, study and worship

· Commitment to the social and moral transformation of the world

· Models of love and community for all seeking to follow the Gospel

· A living Catholic tradition to carry the gifts of the past into the future

Some of the key issues are:
A number Traditional Catholic Societies have been captured by people promoting a reactionary agenda which seems to be exclusive and hierarchical. They promote a view which is opposed to the ordination of women, it is often pseudo Roman Catholic, and seems out of touch with the modern catholic movement in the Church today
Affirming Catholicism would suggest that the insights of the catholic movement have been widely absorbed by Anglicans at large, and such privileges as weekly communion, rich imaginative liturgy and a community which is inclusive rather than exclusive and wishes to affirmn these as important to Anglican life.

We would say that catholic means universal, that universal means all, that all means : men and women, clergy and laity, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, and no discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

This is, of course, not without controversy.