PEREGRINATIONS - Canadian Catholic Perspectives and Reflections by members of the PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER
Thursday, 28 December 2017
The Secularization of Anglicanism
It is some time ago that Dr. Ephriam Radner of Wycliffe College in Toronto lamented the state of Anglicanism in the West in contrast with the largely orthodox and growing Anglican churches in Africa and Asia which have more in common with the Catholic Church than with Western liberal Anglicans who promote radical changes to doctrine and morals.
Could the centre hold in the Anglican Communion, he was wondering. Well, apparently it has not.
In his speculations about ways forward, Dr. Radner neglected one development for Anglicans and that was, it turns out, the only hopeful sign in the long run for those those Anglicans who hold to the faith once delivered to the saints.
That development is the Personal Ordinariates that have been erected as a result of Anglicanorum Coetibus. This apostolic constitution put in place by Pope Benedict XVI welcomes individuals and communities of Anglicans who bring with them their patrimony of liturgy, music and pastoral practice that meshes with Catholic doctrine and moral teaching.
At the time of Dr. Radner's article “Anglicanism on Its Knees,” May 2014) in FIRST THINGS, I wrote:
"Ephraim Radner rightly points out that much of Anglicanism in the developed West has adapted to and largely adopted the “spirit of the age.” The Church of England was always in danger of being co-opted by the state—witness Keble’s Assize Sermon, which launched the Oxford Movement in response to state interference in the structure of the Anglican Church.
The fruit of the Oxford Movement and the recovery of the principles and authority of a unified sacramental Church can now be safeguarded only in one way. Sadly, Dr. Radner failed to mention the development that offers the last, best, and now only chance of preserving what is best in Anglicanism from the endless fragmentation it is increasingly suffering.
This development is the simple yet profound action initiated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 with his apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This formidable move in response to requests over the course of twenty years from Anglican bishops, priests, and laity offers a way for Anglicans and other Protestants as well as unconfirmed Catholics to be received into the full communion of the unified Catholic Church while retaining and developing the Anglican patrimony of liturgy, music, patristic theology, and pastoral care.
There is now really only one theologically, liturgically, and doctrinally consistent locus for Anglicanism to survive and thrive free from secular domination, state interference, and endless fragmentation. Returning to the rock from whence we were hewn, in repentance for rebellion against magisterial teaching, but with acceptance of all that is best in Anglicanism, is an option that serious Anglicans cannot dismiss."