Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anglican and Lutheran Catholics?

I have been listening to podcasts of speeches at the recent Forward in Faith National Assembly in England - an assembly of Anglo-Catholic Anglicans who hold to what were but yesterday the unquestioned beliefs of mainstream orthodox Christianity, not too far from the Catholic Faith - and have been interested in the attitudes of the speakers to the recent announcement of an Apostolic Constitution to facilitate the corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See.

As one remarked, this amazing invitation from Pope Benedict XVI is the holy grail of Catholic-minded Anglicans, something prayed for and hoped for since the Oxford Movement - but something that many thought would never come in their time (a bit like the Parousia!); hence, now it's here, many who hoped and prayed for this are as it were struck dumb, unsure if their hopes and prayers haven't been answered rather disconcertingly too soon...

The "Flying Bishops" (Church of England prelates who minister to such Anglican clergy and congregations that won't have "women priests"), and more particularly Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, had much to say worth pondering. Hepworth clearly has inside knowledge, since his pronouncements about what the impending Papal Bull will permit go far beyond what little information has so far been made public.

But I was also very interested in the presence of a Swedish Lutheran, Bishop Göran Beijer, who belongs to an analogous offshoot of the official Lutheran body in Sweden, the so-called "Mission Province" (note that, since the Porvoo Declaration, the C. of E. and the mainstream Scandinavian Lutheran denominations are in some sort of communion): he talked of how nowhere else in the world have more tradition-minded churchmen had to put up with female pastors for fifty years, female "bishops" as well, and soon an openly lesbian person as Lutheran Archbishop of Stockholm, while clergymen of the Established Church in Sweden are now to officiate at "blessings" of homosexual contracts (I cannot bear to call them marriages) - pretended rites that sacrilegiously simulate God's hallowing of what is accursed.

Beijer then opined, Is this decree of the Holy See something open to catholic-minded Lutherans, also? Now, of course revolting against liberal tyranny, a modern intolerance simulating broadmindedness but in fact inflicting corruption on faith and morals, is one thing, and praiseworthy in itself; but to come home to Rome requires not just such a negative judgement that the sad shenanigans of official Swedish Lutheranism prove it to be no part of the Christian church, (one that Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and just about every Protestant down to our own dark age would have made), but also the positive conviction, moved by the Holy Ghost, that therefore Lutheranism is radically defective, containing the seeds of its own downfall, and that the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church is in fact found in fulness in the Church of Rome, built on solid rock, on the faith of Peter which Christ has promised shall not fail, and which alone has stood firm where all other merely manmade structures have fallen, having been proven to have been founded on shifting sand.

Perhaps, having been driven from Swedish Lutheranism, some like Beijer may find that the answer to their dilemma lies in accepting Roman doctrine, which is to-day the only remaining Christian bulwark against accepting as moral what is complete moral turpitude: for it is obvious to thinking persons that all sins of the flesh are being proclaimed as good by so many for reasons of expediency, to satisfy their lusts, and this turning away from God, blaspheming His Name by daring as false prophets to call evil good, while pretending to be a Christian minister, as a ravening wolf drest as a sheep, can only lead to total apostasy and immorality.

Could this provision for Anglicans also fit some High Church Lutherans? If they will embrace the truth of the Catholic Faith, yes.

No comments: