Skip to comments.New Anglican Blog: "English-Speaking Christianity"
Posted on 12/28/2007 5:29:44 PM PST by sionnsar
To the Traditional Anglican ping list: I discovered a (fairly) new Anglican blog today, run by a fellow whose other blog I had read for a long time, and thought some of you might find this interesting. English-Speaking Christianity
I know it wasn’t until AD 664 at the Synod of Whitby Abbey that any Churches in the British Isles pledged fealty to Rome. The great saints Patrick and Columba were surely very Catholic, but not, except by apocryphal history, Roman Catholic.
More broadly, the custom is quintessentially Christian and quintessentially one of tradition. The origins of many Catholic traditions are often somewhat obscure. That does not make them incorrect.
Also, given that Christianity first spread to Brittania under the Roman empire, but experienced a break in Roman economic ties much earlier than in Gaul, Palestine or North Africa, so there was a period of separate development of Christianity in Celtic Briton prior to Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Aiden and Saint Augustine of Canterbury. All of this supports the point that K was making earlier. In terms of continuity and transmission through the time of Thomas a Becket, Henry VIII, Elizabeth and Cromwell, things get more subtle. Was England Roman Catholic during the middle ages? I believe the answer is clearly yes, but with its own cultural flavor. Did Catholicism survive in England after the reformation? Yes, but in various forms, whether under the secret Jesuit missions or simply on a local level because ties with either the East or Rome would be too dangerous. Perhaps some of the underground Catholicism took on a more eastern characteristic because of similar political conditions to those experienced by the ancient church. However, as K also points out, there remained strong and deeply ingrained traditions (and we are not talking about Druidism or Wicca here) which continue to incline many Anglicans as much toward orthodoxy as toward a purely Latin tradition.
Thanks for posting. I was trying to reply to AAM without having to pull out my references! However, there's nothing like having cold, hard facts!
There was not as much break in trade after Rome 'officially' left Britain as people think. Archaeology has shown that trade and communications continued. For example, St. Patrick (aside from being held captive in Ireland where the Roman writ never ran) moved freely between Britain and the Continent in the 5th century. The "Dark Ages" were largely a Renaissance construct, things went along - not as well as they had under the Pax Romana, but pretty well. The Black Death in the 14th century was far more of a practical dislocation than the fall of Rome.
Only secular socialists take Gibbons seriously anymore, at least as a historian. (He remains worthy of reading from a stylistic perspective.) Your economic view appears derived from Pirenne, which is a much better place to start. However, while trade continued between Britain and the continent, there was a clear break in administration which occurred during the formative years of much of the administration of the Roman Catholic church.
The Romans left Brittania around 409. The last Roman emporer was deposed in 476. Whereas the Goths, Visigoths, etc. maintained many of the customs of the empire, including many elements of its administration, this was not the case in Britain, where the Celtic Britons were invaded by the un-Romanized Angles and Saxons. Whereas the bishops of continental Europe had clear continuity with imperial Christianity, this was not the case in Britain until the time of Pope Gregory the Great.
If there was ever a possibility for this “Anglo-Catholicism,” along the Orthodox model, it seems to me it was cut short by the political developments of the 17th Century. During the 18th Century, both “high church” and “low church,” elements in the Cof E. were heavily influenced by the reform tradition. John Henry Newman, who came from an evangelical family to Oxford, followed this “Third Way” until he found that his bishops were not bishops in the traditional sense but governmental officials in a sense that no Orthodox/Catholic bishop ought to be. Erasmianism has been the fatal flaw in the C.of E. The Liturgical Movement dressed up the priests in catholic looking garments, and there was a return of sorts to early Anglicanism, but it could not carry the day.
Put as only an American would put it! A Greek, an Arab, a Serb, a Russian, even an Irishman would never look at a society or a culture that way, AM. What is a bit more than disingenuous about your comment is that America is particularly prone to historically groundless mythology and, dangerously, we often let it define our foreign policy.
Charles Kightly repeatedly refers to this phenomenon in this book. So does Stuart Piggott in his book The Druids, the first volume of the 7-volume Penguin History of England.
I may be an American, but I read English history for my undergraduate degree.
I suppose speakers of Aramaic need not apply...
“The Liturgical Movement dressed up the priests in catholic looking garments, and there was a return of sorts to early Anglicanism, but it could not carry the day.”
RS, I doubt the likelihood that Anglicanism, on any broad basis (this is not to say that there are not Anglican parishes out in the world which are fully Catholic in theology and praxis but in an Anglican form as opposed to Roman or Greek or Arab or Slavic), can recover its pre-Whitby character as a fully Catholic Church outside the Roman style. Too much has changed and the society around it is fundamentally antithetical to an Orthodox mindset. Unlike the Maronites, who may well recover that which Rome almost completely stamped out, there is no surrounding, supportive culture within which to restore an “Orthodox” Anglicanism. But I will say that there is a corner of Anglicanism where an Anglican form of Orthodoxy could, in fact here and there does, flourish and that is in monasticism. Perhaps starting there it could restore The Faith to Anglicanism as practiced “in the world”.
As a side note, I’d have said that a more “Orthodox” Anglicanism was still an even odds chance into the late 19th century and frankly it was the more evangelical wing of that church which seemed more patristic in its theology than the Anglo Catholics of Card. Newman. The theology of the Anglo Catholics is much closer to the “innovative scholasticism” as one Orthodox theologian called it, of the Latin Church of those times than it was to the patristic theology of of Orthodoxy. You tell me, RS, who sounds more like the Eastern Fathers, +JC Ryle or Card. Newman?
The whole “smells and bells” thing is important and because lex orandi, lex credendi is a basic principle of both the Orthodox and Latin churches, the lack of a sound liturgical praxis in evangelical Anglicanism is as troubling as the High Church praxis of the Anglo-Catholics may have seemed comforting. From where I sit in Orthodoxy in 2007, however, in a church which is regularly receiving converts from TEC, the underlying theology is far more important, for now, than the praxis.
“The origins of many Catholic traditions are often somewhat obscure.”
Of course they are obscure. They arose among simple people how either couldn’t or simply didn’t write down when they started or why. I can’t see why having an historical record for traditions, especially religious traditions, is an issue. I have to say that such a pov is both very Western, very “modern” and very scholastic. I should think that the last thing the Latin church would want to be required to do would be to establish clearly, with “record citations” its many otherwise obscure traditions.
I don’t see much patristic influence in English evangelicalism. If so, it was as mediated by Calvin. As for Whitby, this was basically a submission of the Celtic Church to the Canterbury Mission. Can’t forget that the first “English” written laws were in Latin.
The English Reformation was primarily a top-down revolution which aimed to abolish the popular Christianity of the times and replace it with the imagined Christianity of the Reformers.
“I dont see much patristic influence in English evangelicalism.”
Read +JC Ryle.
“The English Reformation was primarily a top-down revolution which aimed to abolish the popular Christianity of the times and replace it with the imagined Christianity of the Reformers.”
Oh, I think you are right to a great extent. I think the Canterbury mission of +Augustine was essentially the same thing, replacing a sort of indigenous Christianity whose monasticism was heavily influenced by the Eastern Desert experience with the Western Roman model. Canonically, BTW, what +Augustine did was of course appropriate and correct, the Pope being the unquestioned Patriarch of the West.
But traces of the Eastern Desert are still there! :)
Also, Saints David, Paulinus & Teilo...
The Celtic Church is not entriely myth. It centers on the line of bishops descending from St. Patrick of Ireland. When the pagan Saxons took over England, the Church in Ireland/Hiberia and its missions in Scotland/Caledonia were cut off from the rest of Christian Europe. Eventually it would be the only part of Christian western Europe that was not under the control of the Frankish Empire and its senior prelate- the Bishop of Rome.
At the Synod of Whitby, the Celtic bishops and the Roman bishops recognized each others’ validity and agreed to join forces.
The problem of the Celtic Church today is that very little of its liturgy has been preserved. The result is a “black box” church which people with agendae (particularly feminists and enviro-wackos) morph into justifying their own theological innovations. We know as fact that the Celtic Church was monastic and evangelical. Since no contemporary prelate (Rome, Constantinople, etc) is known to have accused them of heresy, we can infer that the Cletic Church was entirely orthodox. Still that does not stop feminists from claiming some “heritage of St Bridget” to support women’s ordination.
I must admit, I do like this verse, which historic sources (not wackos) call “The Heavenly Banquet” and do associate with the Celtic Saint Bridget:
I would like to have the men of Heaven
in my own house;
with vats of good cheer
laid out for them.
I would like to have the three Marys,
their fame is so great.
I would like people
from every corner of Heaven.
I would like them to be cheerful
in their drinking.
I would like to have Jesus, too,
here amongst them.
I would like a great lake of beer
for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heavens family
drinking it through all eternity.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.