Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'm not sure if anyone follows this blog anymore, given my long absence from writing anything meaningful on these pages. I've left it standing, however, because I think that the older posts have something to offer (and I always have the "good intentions" of writing something new). If there is anyone out there who still visits these pages from time to time, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Another reason for my absence is that I sometimes feel that it would be best to simply be part of the local church, leaving the contentiousness and fractiousness of the online face of Anglicanism to one side for a time. However, we continue to see the drama of this fractiousness lived out in "the real world." Rome "invites" disaffected Anglicans into the "fullness of the faith" and the media has a field day with it, when it was (and is) nothing more than the Pastoral Provision writ large. However, this news does again make us face the decision as to what we Anglicans want to be--Anglicans or Romans? Some will be happy (or happier) making the move to Rome and the aura of stability that this offers. Others will move away from this. We have seen episcopal movements from the Anglican Church in America to the Anglican Catholic Church and from the United Episcopal Church to the Reformed Episcopal Church/Anglican Church in North America. If we look for the reasons behind these moves, we will hear those who moved explaining that they did so because they believed their new home offered them a place to be more fully Anglican.

As the Anglican world continues to undergo sometimes turbulent change (even within the traditionalist bodies and the Continuum), let us pray to be ever mindful of what Anglicanism was always meant to be: A Via Media between groups in error, the radical reformers on the one hand and the Church of Rome on the other. The Church of England was to be tolerant and charitable in non-essentials, but Catholic and Orthodox in the foundations of the faith. However, in the mainline churches of Anglicanism the non-essentials became almost everything: If you said anything was essential (like the Trinity) you were a de facto fundamentalist. In many of the Continuing Churches the essentials became whatever the bishop (or rector) felt to be essential, down to the manner of bowing and when and where the people should genuflect and make the sign of the cross (it's all spelled out in the little booklet that often replaces the Book of Common Prayer in the pew).

What unites Anglicans must be a common core that we have from the Bible, the ancient Councils, the doctors and fathers of the ancient Catholic Church, and the historic liturgies of the Anglican Communion. It is here we will find our unity and how strength. If we seek it elsewhere, in becoming as close to Rome in faith and liturgy as possible or in replacing our orthodox liturgies with pale imitations, we will lose the essence of Anglicanism itself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Defender of the Holy Catholic Faith
Rest in Peace Eternal

The Anglican Church militant has lost one of her most faithful sons.

He is now with the Lord.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Proud to be English?

From Christianity Today:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The New Creed. . .

Of course, as history has shown, this isn't all that far off the mark:

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Scriptural Way of the Cross

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger. Lamentations 1:12

ASSIST us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation; that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The First Station: The Last Supper
Matthew 26:26-29
26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 27And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it; 28for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom."

ALMIGHTY Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood; Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him, who in those holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal; the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Second Station: The Agony in the Garden
Luke 22:40-46
40And when He was at the place, He said unto them, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation." 41And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down and prayed, 42saying, "Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Thine be done." 43And there appeared an angel unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. 44And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45And when He rose up from prayer and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow. 46And He said unto them, "Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."

O GOD, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Third Station: Jesus is Arrested
Luke 22:47-48, 52-54
47And while He yet spoke, behold, a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him. 48But Jesus said unto him, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" 52Then Jesus said unto the chief priests and captains of the temple and the elders, who had come to Him, "Have ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against Me; but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." 54Then they took Him and led Him, and brought Him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off.

ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Fourth Station: Jesus is Brought Before the Sanhedrin
Mark 14:55-62
55And the chief priests and all of the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death, and found none. 56For many bore false witness against Him, but their witness agreed not together. 57And there arose certain ones who bore false witness against Him, saying, 58"We heard him say, `I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'" 59But neither did their witness agree together. 60And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, "Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee?" 61But He held His peace and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him and said unto Him, "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" 62And Jesus said, "I am; and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Fifth Station: Peter Denies Jesus
Mark 14:66-72
66And as Peter was below in the courtyard, there came one of the maids of the high priest. 67And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him and said, "And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth." 68But he denied it, saying, "I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest." And he went out into the porch, and the cock crowed. 69And a maid saw him again and began to say to those who stood by, "This is one of them." 70And he denied it again. And a little after, those who stood by said again to Peter, "Surely thou art one of them, for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto." 71But he began to curse and to swear, saying, "I know not this man of whom ye speak!" 72And the second time the cock crowed. And Peter called to mind the words that Jesus had said unto him: "Before the cock crows twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice." And when he thought thereon, he wept.

LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Sixth Station: Jesus is Brought Before Pilate
Luke 23: 1-5
1And the whole multitude of them arose and led Him unto Pilate. 2And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this fellow perverting the nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a king." 3And Pilate asked Him, saying, "Art thou the king of the Jews?" And He answered him and said, "Thou sayest it." 4Then said Pilate to the chief priests and the people, "I find no fault in this man." 5And they became the more fierce, saying, "He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place."

ALMIGHTY God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Seventh Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned
John 19: 1-3
1Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged Him. 2And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe 3and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they smote Him with their hands.

O LORD God, whose blessed Son, our Saviour, gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst will to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that all the kindreds of the earth, set free from the captivity of sin, may be brought under his most gracious dominion; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Eighth Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
John 19: 12-16
12And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend. Whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." 13When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14And it was the Preparation of the Passover and about the sixth hour, and Pilate said unto the Jews, "Behold your king!" 15But they cried out, "Away with him, away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate said unto them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" 16Then he delivered Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him away.

O GOD, who by the passion of thy blessed Son hast made the instrument of shameful death to be unto us the sign of life and peace: Grant us so to glory in the Cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss; for the sake of the same thy Son our Lord. Amen.

The Ninth Station: Jesus Meets Simon
Mark 15: 21
21And they compelled one Simon, a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was passing by, coming from the country, to bear His cross.

DIRECT us, O Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Tenth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Luke 23: 27-31
27And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women who also bewailed and lamented Him. 28But Jesus, turning unto them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For behold, the days are coming in which they shall say, `Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore and the breasts which never gave suck.' 30Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, `Fall on us!' and to the hills, `Cover us!' 31For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Crucified
Mark 15: 22-27
22And they brought Him unto the place called Golgotha (which is, being interpreted, The Place of a Skull). 23And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh, but He received it not. 24And when they had crucified Him, they parted His garments, casting lots for them to see what every man should take. 25And it was the third hour when they crucified Him. 26And the superscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27And with Him they crucified two thieves, the one on His right hand and the other on His left.

O GOD the Father, Creator of heaven and earth; Have mercy upon us. O God the Son, Redeemer of the world; Have mercy upon us. O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful; Have mercy upon us. O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God; Have mercy upon us.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks from the Cross
Luke 23: 39-43
39And one of the malefactors who was hanged railed against Him, saying, "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us!" 40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art under the same condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds. But this Man hath done nothing amiss." 42And he said unto Jesus, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." 43And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise."

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and Circumcision; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us.
By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost,
Good Lord, deliver us.
In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

The Thirteenth Station: The Heart of Jesus is Pierced
John 19: 30-34
30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, "It is finished." And He bowed His head and gave up the ghost. 31The Jews therefore, because it was the Preparation, and so that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that Sabbath day was a high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32Then came the soldiers and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs, 34but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith there came out blood and water.

O GOD, merciful Father, who despisest not the sighing of a contrite heart, nor the desire of such as are sorrowful; Mercifully assist our prayers which we make before thee in all our troubles and adversities, whensoever they oppress us; and graciously hear us, that those evils which the craft and subtilty of the devil or man worketh against us, may, by thy good providence, be brought to nought; that we thy servants, being hurt by no persecutions, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Buried
Luke 23: 50-56
50And behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, and he was a good man and a just. 51(The same had not consented to their counsel and deed.) He was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself also waited for the Kingdom of God. 52This man went unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. 53And he took it down and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54And that day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. 55And the women also, who came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher and how His body was laid. 56And they returned and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.

GRANT, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world;
Grant us thy peace.
O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world;
Have mercy upon us.
O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

From our enemies defend us, O Christ.
Graciously look upon our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts.
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favourably with mercy hear our prayers.
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ.
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.
O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us; As we do put our trust in thee.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

(Scripture selections from Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Adapted with selections from The Book of Common Prayer and Lesser Feasts and Fasts)

Monday, March 30, 2009

When a bishop has to leave the Church of England to stand up for Christians, what hope is left for Britain?

By Melanie Phillips, writing in the Daily Mail

The resignation of Michael Nazir-Ali as Bishop of Rochester is a terrible blow, not just for the Church of England but for Britain.
The bishop says he is resigning so that he can work for endangered or beleaguered Christian minorities both abroad and in the UK.
What a shocking rebuke to the church, that he has to leave his post of influence and authority as a bishop in order to carry out the church's core duty to defend its own against attack.
Shocking - but hardly surprising. Across the world, in countries such as Nigeria and Sudan, millions of Christians are being persecuted at the hands of militant Islam, with forced conversions, the burning of churches and widespread violence.
Yet in the face of this global onslaught, the Church of England makes scarcely a peep of protest.
Worse still, when Dr Nazir-Ali warned last year that Islamic extremists had created 'no-go areas' across Britain where non-Muslims faced intimidation, he was disowned by his fellow churchmen who all but declared that he was a liar - even though he was telling the truth.
For this act of moral courage, he and his family had to be put under police protection, while his own church left him to swing in the wind of bigotry and intimidation.
Dr Nazir-Ali is one of the very few inside the church to make explicit the link between Christian and British values, and to warn publicly that they are being destroyed through the prevailing doctrine of multiculturalism.
That strong voice of protest has never been needed more than it is now. For Christianity in Britain is under attack from all sides.
Last month, the bishop protested that the arrival in Britain of so many from other faiths had led to the closure of chapels, the retrenchment of Christian chaplaincy and the advent of a 'doctrinaire multi-faithism' - not through pressure from the incoming minorities, but from British secularists who wanted to destroy Christianity.

Full story here:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wooden Liturgies

As I've commented in the past, I have nothing against "contemporary" language liturgies--if they are done well. However, the problem is that most are definitely not done well. The 1979 Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church has some beautiful parts (aesthetically speaking), but these qualities mask a great many problems--not the least of which is that the book departs wildly from the pattern of Common Prayer set down in the classic liturgies following the Cranmerian-Laudian path. In short, it is not Common Prayer in the great tradition of the 1549 The Book of the Common Prayer.

Given that I have no problem in principle with the use of the modern language in divine liturgy, I have been open minded to those that have attempted faithful (re)productions or renderings of those classic Anglican liturgies for those who have not come from a traditional language background. The Reformed Episcopal Church produced a (little known) modern language 1662 Communion rite which I think is excellent, in that all it really does is replace the "thees" and "thous" with "you." It is good because it changes so little from that which is excellent.

For the 1928 American Communion rite, we have the work presented in the Rev'd. Dr. Peter Toon's Worshipping the Lord in the Anglican Way. Some have suggested that this be used as a modern language rite in worship. I would hesitate in making such a move. While the Toon text is better than the 1979 Prayer Book, in many places it lacks the poetry and cadence of the original 1928 service. Indeed, in some places it is simply unnecessary to "update" the language--but it is updated nonetheless. For instance, in the Litany, why would we need to change "Mercifully forgive the sins to thy people" to "In mercy, forgive the sins of your people." Why not simply update only that which needs updating? This would have rendered the portion mentioned as "Mercifully forgive the sins of your people." Perhaps I'm being overly critical, but needless revision is. . .well. . .needless. Another instance comes in the Eucharistic prayer, where the priest in the 1928 service prays "All glory be to thee, Almighty God. . ." whereas Toon renders this "We give all glory to you, Almighty God. . ." I know it isn't "common English" to say that we give someone "all the glory" but couldn't we simply say "All glory be to you, Almighty God"? I think most would understand it.

I think Toon's contemporary service is good as a bit of an "explanation" for those worshipping in a 1928 Prayer Book parish who may desire a better understanding of the traditional language. Due to some of the turns of phrase that will cause many familiar with the 1928 service to stumble, I would advise a more conservative "revision" where the "thees" and "thous" are replaced and only those parts of the English language that have passed from usage are updated.

Another updating of the classical Anglican tradition comes in An Anglican Prayer Book, wherein the Eucharistic services of the English 1662, the American 1928, and the Canadian 1962 are rendered in contemporary language. It is purported that this is largely the work of Toon, but given that it is a production for the Anglican Mission in America I can only assume that the leaders of the that body had a strong hand in the composition as well. In some places this book is better than Toon's Worshipping the Lord in the Anglican Way, in some places it is worse. When one begins to read the service for Holy Communion one is struck by this "Our Lord Jesus said: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."

Why are we now using Mark instead of Matthew? Why has this, one of the most memorable parts of the Anglican liturgy, been changed so noticeably? In that we are now using Mark (itself jarring given that most classical Anglicans are familiar with the use of Matthew in the 1928 service) why is the Markian verse provided in such an inelegant manner. We read "the second is this" in reference to loving your neighbor as yourself, but having a second implies a first. The opening sentence of the verse is amputated, making the rest read almost as though it were a misprint. In the very least we should have had "The most important [commandment] is. . ." When the rendering of one of the most memorable parts of the American Anglican service is done in such a way, I can only hope that they revise the book very soon.

In short, the original services have yet to be matched in either their beauty and or their theology. Again, although I am open to contemporary language services I have yet to see a complete service published for wide use that doesn't clunk and sputter in too many places to make it liturgically viable. As a result I'm increasing in my fondness for the straight 1928.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A fine post from Father Hart at

The Continuum

The year that was and Anglican education

Looking back on 2008 at The Continuum, I would like to summarize the major thrust of my contributions with this simple line: We are Continuing Anglicans because Anglicanism is worth continuing. The opposite point of view was expressed by a significant bishop in one jurisdiction who made the very unfortunate remark that Anglicanism is a 450 year-old experiment, and that the case may be made that the experiment has failed. To this my answer is twofold: Anglicanism is not an experiment at all, and Anglicanism has not failed. The official Anglican Communion has failed in recent decades; mostly it has failed to continue Anglican practice and teaching. But, we are not of the Anglican Communion, since long ago they rejected our efforts to preserve sound teaching and to safeguard the sacraments.

The bishop's unfortunate remark tells me that even some Continuing Anglicans have fallen into a very dangerous trap, and that for different reasons that interact. First of all, we must confront the problem of ignorance. Obviously, many traditional or Catholic Anglicans have never read the works of the English churchmen of the formative period of the 16th and 17th centuries. As a result, they have swallowed a great deal of what our critics have to say, having nothing in their intellectual arsenal with which they may defend their patrimony. The bishop who made the unfortunate remark merely spoke for many such Anglicans who live in desperation because they believe that something extra is needed for sure and certain sacramental validity. They have no confidence in their own heritage, but nonetheless sweat it out the way conservative Episcopalians sweat out the problems of apostasy, heresy, and immorality. They await a day of some future liberation when they may become truly Catholic.

This is, however, a deception. The cause of this deception is that they have adopted medieval Roman definitions, which then develop endlessly into modern Roman definitions, as the standard of what it means to be "Catholic." But, Anglicans have always held the standard of Antiquity, the Tradition of the early centuries and above all Scripture, to provide the standard of Catholic Faith and practice. In line with what I have written several times, and with what Fr. Kirby has written, Roman definitions do not possess the necessary attributes of authenticity and authority to command either our allegiance or our obedience. The genuine meaning of "Protestantism" in the English tradition was not the same as it was on the European continent; it was not about rebuilding the Church as if it needed a foundation dug out and laid all over again. It was about restoring the true Catholic Faith and practice of the Church.

A line from the oft misunderstood Article XXV sums it up well: "Being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles." The subject of the Article was the sacraments, and it should be easy to follow what the English Churchmen were saying. For example, how Anointing for healing (a sacrament that is explained and described in the Epistle of James) became Extreme Unction for the dying involved a corrupting evolution and "doctrinal development" that strayed away from a genuine following of the Apostles. A sacrament for healing, and one that effectually signifies reconciliation to God and his Church, so that a Christian may be fully restored, was corrupted into a sacrament reserved for the deathbed only, and that carried weighty and Pharisaical requirements on anyone who survived and recovered, such as life-long celibacy, no matter what age the person was, or if he were married. A means of grace became a heavy burden of the Law, grievous to be borne. This was a corrupt following, in the same sense as a corrupt manuscript. The sacrament was preserved, but it required a purifying effort to return to the original meaning and purpose. This is what the thinking and theological stance of the English Reformation was about: Returning to what Christ and his Church taught and practiced "from the beginning."1

I have used this Article quite deliberately too, inasmuch as the average reader's ability to understand it perfectly exemplifies the need for education, which is my next, and obviously related point. In fact, it is almost redundant. But, whereas the problem of ignorance is a diagnosis, this is the prescription.

This education will not come from Roman polemicists, because they do not understand Anglicanism, anyway, and because their goal is to convert us to "the One True Church" that we may be saved (rather, the larger of the Two One True Churches). It will not come from modern Evangelicals or Reformed Protestants (i.e. Calvinists), even if they are living in the Doublethink world of confusing their theology with that of the Anglican tradition. The problem is complicated by the strong agreement between those on the right hand or the left as to the beliefs of our Fathers. They have agreed between themselves that the English Reformers were really Calvinists, and one of their number actually tried to argue that the Anglicans did not believe in Apostolic Succession. The absurdity of that claim should provoke laughter, inasmuch as the only arguments for the ecclesiology and sacraments of Continental Protestants ever made by English churchmen, in those centuries, were along the lines of a possible Divine economy, a theory that the sacraments of non-episcopal churches might be valid if the intention was to meet a true emergency. And this theory, which had existed before the Reformation as a matter of speculation among Catholic theologians, eventually died. And the theory had absolutely no effect on the practice and Canon Laws of the Church of England, in which it was never legal for any but those ordained by a bishop in Apostolic Succession, to act as priests.

What has amazed me is this: All of the evidence proves that the Church of England had always Intended to be remain Catholic in every proper sacramental sense, and no evidence exists that can, under scrutiny, contradict this simple fact. And, yet, because Anglicans are urged to turn to the right hand or to the left, and stray from the via media, many of them come to believe that the Roman and the Calvinist polemicists have to be right. This is the danger we have seen expressed in that one bishop's unfortunate remark. The poor man was sincere, and sincerely wrong. And, what is needed now is education.

Our archives (at the Continuum) are full of useful articles to that end, mostly during 2008. And, in the future it is my purpose to follow through on helping to meet the educational need. Anglicanism is worth Continuing, so it is worth learning properly.

1. I make here a deliberate allusion to Matt. 19:8, that demonstrates the same principle.