Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Flying Bishops say "Banzai"!


It isn't exactly news now that 5 English Bishops have taken up Pope Benny's offer to join the Ordinariate.  Actually, it was more "This you call news?" when I read it.  The usual suspects have floated over - Fulham (imitating his predecessor John Klyberg - both of whom were my suffragan Bishop in London), 3 current or retired Flying Bishops and one ex what they used to call "Colonial Bishop" (the sometime Bishop of Woolbrawonga, Upside Down Land - who writes rather good Collects).  The Guardian cartoon reproduced above I thought was quite amusing.  The sharp and pungent article by Diarmid McCullough in the Times pointing out the unrepresentative nature of the 5 I thought was better.  He pointed out all were from what might reasonably be described as the Anglo-Papalist wing of Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism.  The "Use: the Roman Office and Missal" wing.  As any fule Church historian nose, there is also the old High Tory Catholic Anglican (Keble, Pusey and IMHO the current Bishop of Winchester) and the Christian Socialist of the Stewart Headlam/Percy Dearmer/ Conrad Noel type (today think Ken Leech, Dicky Holloway and Rowan Williams).

Scotland was never quite going to go down this road I suspect. Not so much because of Synod decisions back in 1992, but because of the singular nature of Scottish Anglo-Catholicism.  There was only ever 1 Anglo Papalist parish (St Michael's Hill Square Edinburgh).  All the rest may have had fairly Roman ritual but it was always the Scottish Liturgy under the tinsel and lace.  The clergy used the Scottish Prayer Book Daily Office on the whole and the Pope's 2nd XI attitude was never present.  And the liturgical lean towards the Orthodox with our distinctive double epiclesis reflected a more orthodox inclination amongst the theological brains as well.  We were never as beguiled by the Western patriarchate in quite the same way as our Saxon brethren!  I wish the 5 well (2 of whom I know very slightly) and hope they are content where they are going.  But I think their followers will be very few.


  1. Perhaps the interesting fact for me is that those who deflect to what Rome describes as the 'one and truly holy Catholic Church' will have to denounce and publicly give up their Christian faith in order to be considered for entry to the RC Church. Denouncing one's Anglicanism is rather like denouncing oneself completely, in favour of dogmatism, where no discussion is allowed, no alternative view considered. A high profile PhD friend of mine who was a senior manager in a large 'combine', when asked why he just accepted the Pope's dogma without even a debate replied that he was a busy man and so it was easier just to accept the RC Church and let it all flow over him. Prayer time in church allowed him the time to consider work problems! Thank the good Lord that we as Episcopalians can at least THINK, debate and come to a concensus of opinion of spiritual matters. Graham Vahey.

  2. I agree on our freedom which I have come to treasure more and more as I age. In fairness, for some who go Roman, their liberation comes in the freedom from having to continually debate/discuss/discern and in simply being able to "get on with being". I can understand that but personally prefer the "duty" of doing what the Caroline Divines were described as doing - "they were content to hammer out their theology in the pulpit" (H.R. MacAdoo "The Moral Theology of the Caroline Divnes").