The Anglo-Catholic reunion is going to put the liberal Catholic faction into convulsions. In fact, it has already started.
The dependably silly Michael Sean Winters over at America Magazine is doing backflips to avoid reality and worries about the future with all these anti-gay misogynist Anglos entering the church.
First, Winters tries to float the idea, as floated by Rowan Williams, that all this resulted from the ecumenical dialogue of the last forty years.
The news from Rome about the establishment of special ordinariates for disaffected Anglicans should not be seen as a re-lighting of the fires at Tyburn. Indeed, Archbishop Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Rowan of Canterbury held a joint press conference to put the announcement in the context of the successful ecumenical discussions of the past 40 years, rather than as a threat to that dialogue.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that this is the death knell of the kind of ecumenism that has followed the council. This is a move to a new (yet older) type of ecumenism, one that says “convert.” Want proof? Cardinal Kasper (our head ecumenist) was no where near this announcement today and was relegated to complaining in advance in comments he made a week ago. That is proof.
Winters then goes on to laughably wonder “If they are so catholic, why are they converting now?”
It is a fair question – and one that I worry these new structures are designed to obfuscate – why now? Were they not disturbed by their communion’s indifference to papal primacy all these years? When John Paul II sought some way to establish the validity of Anglican orders, but came up empty because the apostolic succession was clearly broken, why did they not seek incorporation into the Church of Rome then? I am sure that many of those who are now motivated to seek communion with Rome do so now primarily because the fractured nature of their own communion has become so manifest.
Actually Mr. Winters, they did. That is why there are the Continuing Anglicans. They broke off from the Anglican Communion (TAC and some others) specifically so that they could continue on their path to Rome which was the point of the dialogue prior to the point that the Anglicans ordained women.
Lastly, before saying that everyone is welcome, he derides these potential new Catholics as anti-gay misogynists. Very nice.
But, I worry, too, that some of these newcomers will also be nostalgists, anti-feminists, and anti-gay bigots. The ordaining of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire is not something I would have advised, but after all these centuries of schism, I am not sure why that should have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Again, Mr Winters, this process was in place before Gene Robinson. He is in the ECUSA and this request came from the continuing Anglicans. Get your facts straight.
What bothers Mr. Winters and his friends is that they know one thing. These newcomers are mostly much more “Catholic” than they are and their days of influence are over.
Ut unum sint!