Anglo-Romanism

Kendall Harmon cites a paper by Aidan Nichols at Anglican-Use.org. It’s a forty-page PDF entitled “A Personal View of Anglican Uniatism,” and it’s well worth general attention. Nichols is a thoughtful and articulate Roman Catholic critic of Anglicanism, so he’s Roman-er than I’d be — but it’s a pragmatic, subtle piece on what the future might look like for Anglican-Use Roman Catholics.

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  1. Caution — the last set of Anglican-Use Catholics who left over the ordination of women have been losing their Rites over the last decade. The parishes have been regularized and instructed to use standard Roman Catholic texts. The duration of the RCC promises to these parishes seems to have been about 20 years.

  2. Some of what Aidan Nichols talks about might be better fleshed out in the context of Karl Rahner’s cultural ecclesiology. I was reading Rahner’s Uber den Episkopat (fortunately in English) recently, and I was struck by his ability to see both a Universal Church centered on the Pope and individual Churches in union with that Head which were complete in themselves, possessing a unique culture that was not a stumbling block to unity but a rich contribution to the patrimony of the Apostles (to focus on themes recurring in Nichols). Rahner, too, stresses the importance of theological colleges in defining the culture of a particular Church, but he also seems to understand that grassroots lay practice is important.

    To use an example of my own, the ritual of the liquefaction of the blood of St. Gennaro at Naples is probably a ritual of neutral status in Roman Catholic theology (it might be contemptible in ours), but it is very important in the liturgical life of the Church of Naples.

    Unfortunately, Nichols gives hints that the rich contributions Anglicans might make to what to many Catholics is an increasingly vapid Roman Catholic liturgy would be rejected by Latin rite bishops. I mean, it’s almost as easy to find the Tridentine Mass at an Episcopal church in Chicago as at a Catholic one.

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