As I have followed the developments in the Anglican situation over the past few years, I have become aware of a number of Anglican websites that amaze me. I am amazed in that these sites endeavour to report and opine on a very difficult time in Anglicanism, but manage to do so fairly and without vitriol. This is even more amazing when they look at things Catholic, Anglo or Roman. They are seekers after truth and I have great respect for them.
Among these wonderful discoveries is the site VirtueOnline by David Virtue which headlines itself as the “voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism.” This site posts an interesting interview with Joshua Whitfield, former Rector of St. Gregory’s, Mansfield, in the Diocese of Fort Worth. He is married and now serves as a lay assistant at St. Rita’s Roman Catholic Church, in Dallas.
This interview is fascinating and should be read in its entirety. I wish to note a few quotes that amaze me.
VOL: What made you convert?
Whitfield: Discovering the true Church. In the real sense, concrete, communal, Petrine. I’m no longer chasing after an idea of the Church should be.
VOL: When did you discover this?
Whitfield: Over the past two years; the reality has haunted me since GAFCON. I know this sounds trite, but Newman does say “be my soul the saints”, he realizes that the Church is real and you can’t construct the Church by historical investigation.
VOL: Are you saying that Anglo-Catholicism is unreal, a sort of ‘Church as Platonic Ideal’?
Whitfield: Yes. I think Anglicans are chasing something that’s unreal, an idea.
VOL: What’s wrong with GAFCON?
Whitfield: It’s Protestant. Its attitude towards the Councils and the historic Church is presumptuous. Who are Anglicans to judge?
VOL: Do you think that you’re still a priest?
Whitfield: I don’t know. I accept the living voice of the Church.
VOL: You came to believe your priestly orders were ambiguously valid?
Whitfield: Yes, irregular.
VOL: So you accept Apostolicae Curae which states that Anglican orders are null and void?
Whitfield: I do, particularly paragraphs thirty eight and thirty nine.
VOL: What do they say?
Whitfield: Pope Leo addresses Anglican clergy, saying that we clergy should be the first to make the sacrifice for unity, and that sacrifice would be honored and rewarded with great merit by both the Church, Anglicans and God.
I am amazed by the courage and conviction that it must take to accept that your orders, arguably the thing that most defines you, may not be valid and for the sake of unity to submit to the teaching of the Church. I am awe of men like this and must acknowledge that in comparison, I find my faith wanting.
Thank you also to VirtueOnline for bringing this interview to us.