Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Psychology Of Anglo-Catholicism

A visitor comments,
Reading about all of the personalities involved with the Ordinariates, I don’t think you can dismiss the psychology of anglo-catholicism. Part and parcel of anglo-catholicism, going back to the ritualist controversy, through the Declaration of St Louis, through modern crises, is the fact that the laity (and especially the clergy) have been on a war-footing against their local bishop and the institutional church for many, many years. Authentic spirituality has been supplanted by a rear-guard fight over “issues.” When they leave Anglicanism for the Ordinariates, they bring that baggage with them. Now they are fighting a rear-guard action against the local bishop and local decadent American Catholicism which is seen as banal, heterodox and “not quite the real thing.” They are walking-wounded, and in need of healing. I wonder, are the Ordinariates conducive to that healing, or simply perpetual the problem?
One thing I began to realize when we got into the St Mary of the Angels litigation was that in our case, there was a hard core of free-floating anger among the dissidents. Mrs Bush, who hadn't been to church for 40 years, decided she had definite ideas about how things were to be done, and the rector, wardens, and vestry really didn't fit into what she had in mind. This mindset looks like it's going to continue to the bitter end.

Seeing the controversies at Our Lady of the Atonement from a distance, I can't help but think the mindset there was a close cousin to what we had at SMA. I've go to think some part of the parish's success was portraying itself as standing against "local decadent American Catholicism which is seen as banal, heterodox and 'not quite the real thing.'” Clearly this was of concern to Abp Garcia-Siller, and I would think Bp Lopes saw his role as somehow threading between the positions. I continue to think the angries at OLA got snookered -- the result of a rear-guard fight against two ordinaries was that Fr Phillips was forced into retirement by a third no matter what.

One thing I took away from my chat last week with Abp Hepworth is the insight he has into how people have been damaged throughout this process. If in fact he's working behind the scenes with individuals connected with the CDF on issues like the ordinariates and survivors of clergy abuse, it can only be to the good. On the other hand, if it's a good idea to preserve the "distinctiveness" of Anglo-Catholicism, the caution to be careful what you wish for certainly applies here.