Monday, May 14, 2018

Everyone's Out Of Step But Us

My regular correspondent comments,
It is possible members of a small group meeting for Sunday DW mass in a cafetorium or whatever to participate in learning, worship, and social opportunities offered by the diocese in which they are living, to augment the paucity of what they find within the OCSP. The websites/FB pages of some OCSP groups do try to mention diocesan activities of potential interest. A bigger obstacle than the size of the community is the attitude that "regular" Catholic parishes have got it wrong when it comes to liturgy and catechesis---that "out there" all is sloppiness, irreverence, and doctrinal liberalism. That is presumably the common bond between OCSP members and TLM types that Msgr Steenson tried to damp down, because of predictable blowback from many dioceses where the latter are a thorn in the bishop's side. "Everybody's out of step except us" is a common theme on the AC blog, for example.
I think the CDF has never fully appreciated the social implications of Anglicanism, or Anglo-Catholicism. According to Guelzo's history of the REC, the opposition to Anglo-Catholicism in TEC from the 1840s through the 1860s was based in part on suspicion of Catholic immigration from Ireland and Germany. On the other hand, Anglo-Catholicism itself represents a "sanitized" version of Catholicism acceptable to the old American establishment, which could explain how it gained such popularity in the same period, compatible as it was with the medieval romanticism associated with the elites who felt threatend by industrialization. Mark Twain made fun of those enthralled with Sir Walter Scott.

It's worth noting that a similar development in the 1930s was the moderation of anti-Semitism among the Manhattan elites surrounding figures like Rockefeller Jr, allowing so-called "Episcopalian Jews" onto museum boards or into exclusive apartment buildings. "Episcopalianism" was (and to some extent still is) as much a style and signifier for social segregation as a Protestant denomination.

It's certainly worth asking whether such attitudes have bled through into how laity, and perhaps even some clergy, see Anglicanorum coetibus, although the normal posters at the Anglcanorum Coetibus Society blog are clearly wannabes and nothing like true elites. (Having known both types, I find them equally unpleasant.) But this could explain why at least some OCSP factions, all wannabes in any case, might wish to fantasize themselves "Episcopalian Catholics", and the last thing they'd ever want to do would be to mix with Catholics whom they see as low-status in diocesan parishes.