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.


Carter said...

Happy Christmas. I disagree with so much going on in Anglicanism today that your posts are a source of strength and comfort. I look forward to your continued reflections on this blog. The Incarnate God be with you.

Canon Tallis said...

Glad to have you back, Father. I have been continually visiting this site waiting for you to take it up again. And now you have. Laus Deo.

I quite agree with you that the essentials are to be found in Holy Scripture, etc., but it does us no good if the priest at the altar and the priest in the pulpit do not know them, live them and preach them. I have always been delighted by your site, because it is so clear that you do and will continue to do so. That leaves us with the problem of those who don't, those who take the easy way out. And that brings me to a remark once made by Bishop Gore who deplored those who learned their theology from the penny pamphlets at Westminster Cathedral. They may have been easier to read, but they give nothing like the satisfaction of the ancient doctors and great fathers of the first five centuries of the Church.

In a like manner, reading and quoting Jewel, Hooker, Andrewes, Laud and the great Carolines give us much of the same intellectual and spiritual stimulus. They do not lead us to aping Rome, but do push us to a moral and spiritual growth that in much of the last century was either neglected or rebelled against. And we can see what that has done both to the country, indeed, all countries, and to the Church.

I know that you have not been out of the fight, but simply active in another part of the battle, but I am extremely glad to have you back raising the banner.

charles said...

Hello Fr. Hassert,

I keep on eye on your blog and hope you indeed keep past content online.

"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"

I think many share the same sentiment. It is probably best to keep an eye on both with timed breaks between. Certainly Anglicana today is very different than two years ago. Change sometimes has an accelerating component. We not only have the Anglicanorum Coetibus but ACNA #2, Orthodox developments in ACC, and Canterbury's covenant (article 4) proposal. None of these develop in isolation but mutually impact and reinforce one another.

Amongst BCP Continuers, we desperately need a broad church, orthodox party. Reverend Hart's recent post, Reaffirming St. Louis, says volumes. It's time St. Louis and the 28 BCP were both reasserted; standards explained; and covenants renewed.

Do you have any further plans with Society AB Cranmer and Laud?


charles said...

A recent article on Article 4 from Virtue Online regarding Canterbury's covenant, who can join the communion, and the growing question of ACNA #2:

"Four key questions are now answered: The first is that while the Covenant is designed primarily for "Provinces of the Anglican Communion", dioceses are included in the phrase "any ecclesial body" and some dioceses, for instance Communion Partner dioceses in the Episcopal Church, which may wish to commit themselves to the Covenant if their provinces do not, will be allowed to do so.

Secondly, churches which are not yet current members of the Anglican Consultative Council can affirm the Covenant (e.g. the Anglican Church in North America), but this would throw a real monkey wrench into the Anglican Communion as Rowan Williams will be forced to recognize Archbishop Robert Duncan, an act that will stick in the craw of Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Of course this will not automatically make them members of the ACC. If they want future membership, they will have to follow due process (section 4.1.5). We all know that Canon Kenneth Kearon will never grant status to ACNA because he will not go against The Episcopal Church which pays 60% of the Anglican Communion Office's tab. ACNA has not applied and probably won't. Why try for the front door of rejection when you can go in by the back door with the help of the Church of England Synod which meets in February and may well consider recognizing ACNA."

I did not know TEC paid 60%! wow...

Fr. John said...

Please see the “Affirmation of St. Louis” at: and consider adding your name at the bottom of the document to show your support.

Bishop Robert Lyons said...

Good afternoon,

I have periodically visited your site (I have you linked in my blogroll) hoping that it was just Blogger's oddball antics keeping me from seeing updates - was glad to see this one.

I come from a different viewpoint, in some ways, than you, but I sense your frustration all the same. All I can say is keep up the good fight, and keep your eyes open to the world around you. Be wise about what is going on, and make your decisions in the power of the Holy Spirit.

As my wife and I begin laying the foundations for a new congregation in earnest tomorrow, we can relate to that desire to just 'be a part' of a congregation... but when you can find no congregation in your tradition that instills the values you would wish to see your children live out, it is time for us to take the lead.

May God bless your presbyteral ministry to those he has called you to serve, and may God bring forth in them and in you the increase he has promised.


Chris Larimer said...

This AC-NA priest is happy to have you blogging again. And don't relegate your blog to "taking up the battle." They can teach. They can connect. Your blog is a good thing when you have good things to post in it. Don't stress with filler. As we all know, even God chose to keep quiet for 400 years until he had an important Word to get out!

welshmann said...

Dear AC:

I too have continued to check your blog periodically. It is good to have you back.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back -- I shall try to spread the good news of your return to the blogosphere!