Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anglicans and the RCC: Closer or Farther?

I was intrigued when I read this today given my previous post on the IRD and their desire to break the UMC, Anglican and Presbyterian mainline churches, theoretically sending the fragments to orthodox evangelical and Roman Catholic churches. They won't succeed, but they will die trying and they are a well funded (if wacky!) bunch with limitless gumption. It is important that we never downplay their work. We are dealing with their shenanigans at present and probably will be for a while--their interference has caused problems, but this starts at the top, not at the bottom. It may reshape a few things, but taking down the castle isn't going to happen.

The first thing running through my mind was what in the world would the former RCCs now in TEC do? I mean, gosh, it IS a good question! I don't think they would take this well at all! We have a pretty large such bunch at my parish.

The second thing (after a big NAHHHHHH), was a chuckle about how our PB and women clergy would take their diminishment. Oh sure, our PB could, mmmm, play the organ or something. My priest, well she could do wonderful things on the Altar Guild I 'spose. Heaven only knows where our Susan Russell would go, though I expect many of us would follow.

And move away from Protestantism? Um didn't we settle that little issue once already?

And what about the Pope? Now there's a man-sized boulder in the road.

Any notion of many of us in the Anglican world returning to Roman Catholicism is pie in da sky. I have more faith in UFOs that such a reuniting.

Now for those of the ilk of Bishop Jack Iker and the like (there are what, two Bishops in TEC that will not ordain women clergy?), I wouldn't set the possibility aside. Iker can just move, as a singleton, voluntarily! I think many would like to encourage that move ASAP, right? Just no candlesticks go and those that want to be Roman Catholic can follow him out the door likewise. Heck, it's not that hard! And I'm sure many of us would cheerfully wave goodbye, in truth, knowing they are going where they belong, and we are staying where we belong. It could be done in love, respect and charity.

While I hold great respect for some aspects of the RCC, others are beyond consumption which is why I am Episcopalian and not RCC. Oh, they'd have me, but the reverse is not true.

As for the notion of the RCC supporting the Windsor Report and process and some sort of Anglican magisterium, well gee, isn't that just a no-brainer? Rules, rules and more rules and authoritative processes for tossing out the bums. I think burning us at the stake is probably out, though. Right?

The problem remains that this is the course we seem to be on, though many don't like the "tossing out the bums" part. That is at least good or as +Gene Robinson says, "hopeful". I, though, believe we already have such a structure through out baptism. Do we need to do it again?

I admit that anything that looks like a top-down authoritative structure makes me want to run away fast and theological absolutes likewise. I've spent most of my life thinking outside of the box and there is simply no way to get my brain back inside.

So are we any closer to the RCC? I don't think so. There may be a higher presence of RCC folks on and off at conferences etc., and there may be some clergy that have a am impetus to jump the fence, but the laity en mass exiting TEC for the RCC?