Ecclesiastical Identity Crisis?
Grasshoppers are known for jumping from one thing to another, yet this is part of their nature, it is what grasshoppers do naturally. But when the grasshopper effect enters into the ecclesiastical arena among bishops and clergy then we have to stop and question the motive for such behavior. What are they leaping for? What is uncomfortable within their spiritual lives or present situation that causes them to assume the grasshopper effect? Do they possess a real sense of their nature and calling in the Christian schema of things or are they trying to find themselves by playing checkers with their vocations?
Grant it, some have been pushed by others in such directions because of evil politics among men who misrepresent the Christian Faith while others are on a journey trying to find their niche, sometimes trying to recreate the wheel. Let's take a look at this a bit more in depth and you can decide on your own conclusion...
The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) began to seek ways of being united to Rome, even going as far as signing a document attesting to their allegiance to the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church. As they tried to sort this out with the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith matters began to become a bit more obscure than what the like of Archbishop Hepworth and others had originally envisioned. Some stayed the course while others jumped ship to other Anglican Communions such as the Anglican Province of America (APA). The following is a letter from the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
Per La Dottrina
Prot. No. 66/77 - 27629 July 5, 2008
Over the course of the past year, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has studied the proposals which you presented on behalf of the House of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion during your visit to the offices of this Dicastery on October 9, 2007. As the summer months approach, I wish to assure you of the serious attention which the congregation gives to the prospect of corporate unity raised in that letter.
As your grace is undoubtedly aware, the situation within the Anglican Communion in general has become markedly more complex during this same period. As soon as the Congregation is in a position to respond more definitely concerning the proposals you have sent, we will inform you.
I assure you of my continued prayers and good wishes for you and your brother bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion.
Wishing you God's Blessings, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
William Cardinal Levada Prefect
Archbishop John Hepworth
Traditional Anglican Communion
PO Box 746
(Web Source: www.creativeminorityreport.com, July 2008)
Here we have the eventual fall out of what was being hoped for as some sort of accommodation.
In time the Roman Catholic Church would attempt an accommodation by forming the Anglican Ordinariate as a means to scoop up the disenchanted and displaced Anglicans into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church's bosom. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI tried to accomplish this task, and in fact began such an Ordinariate, but the Roman Catholic bishops throughout the rest of the world have not been so accommodating. Many priests have been placed on hold, a waiting period, without any assurance that the Roman Catholic Church will ever fully accommodate them. Others waited and waited but to no avail, even being ignored or just forgotten.
In March 2012 TAC House of Bishops decided to not join up with Rome and even went as far as to call for the removal of Archbishop Hepworth as their Primate. The saga has continued with the Anglican Province of America (APA) and the Anglican Church of America (ACA) trying to find where it stands as regards historical Christianity. Without rehashing the history of Anglicanism here I will get directly to the point.
Today Anglicans are acting like they are missing something. It is obvious in all their attempts of trying to recreate their ecclesiastical identity around Orthodoxy. Yet, Anglicanism in its proper historical understanding cannot objectively be both Orthodox and Anglican simultaneously...this is ecclesiastical schizophrenia.
Anglicans do not believe the same Faith of the Orthodox Christian Church otherwise they would not maintain the Thirty Nine Articles and such that defies Orthodoxy and that which has been established by Christ Himself, transmitted to the holy Apostles and passed down to us throughout the ages. The Apostles, the early Christians were martyred for their adherence to the divine deposit of Faith given to the Church.
In recent history several Anglicans have defected once again from their Anglican heritage by entering into the accommodations of the Western Rites of various Eastern Orthodox Churches, yet trying to maintain Anglicanism in the heart of Orthodoxy. Some advertise themselves as "Orthodox Faith, Anglican Tradition." What?! The Anglican Tradition in bed with Orthodoxy? These creations and accommodations are various expressions of pan-Christianity; it is Christian historical revisionism at it finest. Remember the old 1944 Louis Jordan song: "Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't My Baby." Either you are or either you are not of the Orthodox Christian Faith, but to claim to be one thing while claiming to be yet another is clearly symptomatic of an ecclesiastical identity crisis at its best.
The ACA and the APA are exactly what their names indicate: Anglican. If such groups want to be part of a Western Church that has maintained Orthodox Christian Faith it can be found unadulterated in the Old Roman Catholic Church. Why settle for compromises or accommodations when the answer lies before you?
The Old Roman Catholic Church has never been anything other than a Western Church of Orthodox Faith and is not an accommodation to the Eastern Churches such as the Western Rites within Eastern Orthodoxy. This was solidified for our Church in 1911 between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew. The Old Roman Catholic Church is content with who she is in the historical scheme of Christian history, and while others are jumping from one thing to another as ecclesiastical grasshoppers, our Church continues to profess the Orthodox Christian Faith as passed down to us throughout the ages.
Old Roman Catholic Church
A Western Church of Orthodox Christian Faith