If its not already obvious, this blog is written by someone who knows more about balance sheets and football than they do about religion. I do take an interest but I do so without any particular training beyond reading the odd book aimed at a wider readership: Abbot Christopher Jamison or Karen Armstrong, for example; New Directions from cover to cover, obviously; and blogs like Damian Thompson or Ruth Gledhill. I make study of the scriptures a daily habit and they still have the habit of beating the rest hands down.
...."Trying to keep up with you"
But I am no theological heavyweight (or for that matter, featherweight). I am probably much the same as the average church-goer: not ignorant by any means but certainly lacking the
knowledge of someone who feels they have much to offer the debate about the Holy Father's recent announcement of full Communion for disaffected Anglicans. So like the rest of us in the pews, I will listen closely to the debate, to the guidance of our bishops and priests; and above all hope to be guided by the Holy Spirit. But.........
Wikipedia says that "Anglo Catholics believe is fiercely debated, even among Anglo Catholics themselves. " Perhaps that explains the mind-boggling number of Anglo-Catholic "traditions" in the world today. And nowhere is Wikipedia's observation more evident than on the blogs, websites and forums where the future of Anglo-Catholicism is discussed. It isn't just Roman Catholics and Liberal Anglicans expressing scepticism about the nature of these proposals or dismissing this as a move that will change very little. Quite often the controversy is between Anglo Catholics.
For what its worth, this may be the time when the luxury of internal dissent is one that should be put aside; for all Anglo-Catholics to ask themselves the question: what are we for, if anything. Having done so we can at least begin to consider future, not as a loose alliance of Christians but as a group with far more in common than what divides us. Because far from thinking that very little will change I think Anglo-Catholicism could be squeezed out of existence, caught between the pull of Anglicanism on the one hand and the Roman Catholic church on the other. I believe the future is far healthier if Anglo-Catholics consider our response to the Holy Father and to our longer term future as a corporate group.
Because what really is the future otherwise? Some will stay put, others will move to Rome. But overall we may end up even more fragmented than we are now. Whatever critical mass there is now will be lost, probably for good. That really would be tragic
The Holy Father's has offered a way ahead for Anglo Catholicism. Whatever our response, I pray that its a single response.
"....I've said too much"