With the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus, Benedict XVI (the Pope of Christian Unity) opened a door for and gave a place to Anglicans who desired unity with the Bishop of Rome in the Catholic communion. Certainly they were distressed by the tomfoolery going on the Anglican Communion, but they ultimately made a positive decision for union with Rome rather than negative decisions, as a reaction against the Anglican implosion.
I saw this on the site of the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald. William Oddie reports on a BBC interview which was obviously skewed against Pope Benedict and Anglicanorum coetibus. I think an 8 year old would find Tina Beattie’s argument here absurd to the point of being risible.
Read and chuckle (my emphases and comments).
[BBC’s] Edward Stourton: Do all Britain’s Roman Catholics welcome the ordinariate, the body set up by Pope Benedict to allow disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while maintaining many of their own traditions. No, is the short answer. Tina Beattie teaches Catholic studies at Roehampton University and, Tina Beattie, your problem with this is what?
Tina Beattie : Well, I don’t want to call it a problem, but I think many of us are perplexed about what this means in terms of the Catholic Communion, and indeed obviously for relations between our two Churches. The Catholic Church has a unity that’s not based on likemindedness or sameness, and it’s very puzzling to know how this very homogenous, small group of likeminded people, offered a quasi-independent place within the Catholic Communion, is going to fit in and become part of us. [?!?]
Stourton: And is your objection partly to do with the fact that you don’t like what they stand for? Particularly on the question of women’s role in the Church?
Beattie: I’m not happy about that, no. And I think actually, dare I say it, it’s a peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church because of what one doesn’t like, as a gesture of protest – that’s where the word comes from. It would be wonderful if they were coming in for the positives, and the joy, and the wonders of being part of this worldwide Communion.
They did formally adhere to the teachings in Catechism of the Catholic Church.
She teaches “Catholic studies” at a brand new (modern?) public university.
Wow. Talk about stupid.
“Peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church…”?
I thought the protestant way was to start a new church that fitted all your own views.
On this logic, we should just shut down the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Isn’t every decision to join the Catholic Church from another religion a “protest” against what the other religion lacks?
“Sorry, Reverend Newman, we can’t have you. Think how unseemly it would be for you to protest against your Protestant brethren. . . “
“And I think actually, dare I say it, it’s a peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church because of what one doesn’t like, as a gesture of protest – that’s where the word comes from. It would be wonderful if they were coming in for the positives, and the joy, and the wonders of being part of this worldwide Communion.”
Oh, dear. Reluctant as I am to echo this concern, I’m afraid I did, indeed, nod my head when reading it.
While I wholeheartedly welcome those Anglicans splitting away from Henry VIII’s confected state church to join the authentic Apostolic Church, I have, myself, sometimes imagined that they may not view it that way, at all. I am of a suspicion that what some Anglicans swimming the Tiber may be experiencing is not a genuine conversion, as a matter of fact, but merely a shift to the right motivated by–as Ms. Beattie suggests–a typical Protestant reaction.
Some Anglicans seem, to me, to be protesting the left by joining the right, which is what they may view the Roman Catholic Church as: the right wing of a “Catholic Church” they have always imagined themselves a part of. I hope such suspicions are wholly unfounded; I hope they are truly opening their eyes to the complete, objective truth of the matter and accepting something that they earlier denied, rather than simply making a shift to the right. I hope so. Something tells me, however, that Ms. Beattie may have a legitimate concern.
I do not know what motivates Ms. Beattie at core; I am not at all acquainted with this individual, never having heard of her before today. But if her motives are anti-Catholic, mine are certainly not, yet we both wonder about the same thing.
Time will tell, I suppose. Will we one day see entire groups of Anglicans-become-Catholics bolting back across the Thames because they disagree with the Vatican about something and find the Holy See too far to the right for their liking? Do they now imagine that they could, one day, depart the Roman Catholic Church, just as they have the Anglican Communion, if ever it should rub them the wrong way, as the Anglican Church did?
Or will the Anglicans who have become members of the Church realize that they have only now become members of the Church…and that previously they were simply members of a club of sorts; a manufactured branch of the British state that had no actual connexion with the Church of the Apostles? Are they ready to view things in that light? Do they? Can they? Is that why all those who are swimming, now, jumped into the Tiber to begin with: because they suddenly realized that they weren’t truly members of the Body of Christ?
Did they start swimming to go toward something? Or did they start swimming merely in order to get away from something?
Right or wrong, I often do wonder. I apologize, in advance, to any genuine converts from Anglicanism who may be tempted to become indignant by my suggestion that their conversion was anything less than authentic. My words are not about you, of course.
To protest the disintegration of a Protestant church and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church is . . . Protestant?? I don’t get it, but then again I am not a college professor.
To be honest, I think it fairly unlikely – in England at least – that there is likely to be a counter-reaction of Anglicans -turned-Catholics becoming Anglicans again at some point in the future, because of some disagreement with church teachings.
I think it far more likely that those who already have some substantive disagreement with Rome, whatever their level of dissatisfaction with the CofE, will remain Anglican. (Indeed, of the two major “Anglo-Catholic” groupings within the CofE, one of them, known as “Affirming Catholicism”, which is close to the presnet Archbishop of Canterbury, is not likely to produce many, if any, converts, as, despite their love of “smells and bells”, as they say, they also tend to be – often quite vocally, sometimes codedly – the expression “inclusive church” is often used in this regard – in favour of priestesses and “single-sex marriage” and other such nonsenses that Rome (unlike Tina Beattie), quite rightly, will not tolerate. And the other major “A-C” grouping, “Forward In Faith” – has generated an alternative, the correct name of which escapes me (but which Damian Thompson calls the Society of Hinge and Bracket) new society for its adherents who wish to remain Anglican.
So, I think it more likely that – and again, I emphasise, I am only even remotely familiar with the situation in England, and nowhere else – the number of converts will not be huge, but those who do swim the Tiber will do so sincerely, and not subsequently turn back. The fact is that, even within the “Anglo-Catholic”movements, there is still so much ingrained hostility towards – or wilful misunderstanding of – some aspects of the Roman Church (Papal infalliability for one – hostility and misunderstanding colliding there) – that it is by no means an easy or obvious (or socially acceptable!) thing for many Anglicans to respond to the offer of Anglicanorum coetibus
Whatever; she’ll fool those who let themselves be fooled. In the meantime, more and more Anglicans will be crossing the Tiber.
” ‘Affirming Catholicism’, which is close to the presnet Archbishop of Canterbury, is not likely to produce many, if any, converts, as, despite their love of ‘smells and bells’…”
No, I wouldn’t think so. If one really is only principally it for the “smells and bells”, the contemporary Roman Catholic Church is almost the last place one would turn.
It’s the high church (and even some broad church) Anglicans who have maintained all of the Church’s pomp and circumstance of yore. One of the positives of this current influx is our increasing familiarity, as a Church, with the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite. Therein one can worship legitimately as a Roman Catholic whilst enjoying that wonderful high solemnity that only the Anglicans seem to know how to pull off.
I would love nothing more than to see the liturgical example of the Anglican converts rub off on the rest of the English-speaking Church and become, one day, the liturgical norm.
As others have already pointed out, if it wasn’t about the positives, and the joy, and the wonders of being part of this worldwide Communion, then a straightforward schism would be by far the simpler option.
\\And I think actually, dare I say it, it’s a peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church because of what one doesn’t like, as a gesture of protest.\\
I understand perfectly what he’s saying.
For many years I’d been mulling over leaving the small Orthodox jurisdiction I was part of for the security of an Eastern Catholic church in communion with Rome.
There was a particular Byzantine Catholic bishop (Memory Eternal!) I held in very high esteem and affection–but this was no reason, as there were certain doctrinal matters at the time I had to work through. No purpose would have been served by dissembling.
Years ago, the Catholic Church used to make a great deal of its unity: the Mass was the same everywhere you went, the Faith was the same, and taught the same way, everywhere. Outsiders used to view Catholics as a monolith in thrall to their priests and bishops, who in turn were subservient to the Pope.
But if the Catholic Church is becoming collection of “likeminded” groups, I would suggest that the confusion over the last forty years has swept aside the old Catholic diversity in unity, as factions, either abandoned or cast aside by so-called reformers, or left confused and uninstructed by teachers repudiating doctrinal or moral standards, these groups sought refuge in movements that had to step in to fill the vacuum the so-called progressives created.
Another thing: Anglo-Catholics have historically been a very diverse, even contentious, lot. I would not use “likeminded” as a way to describe them. I have a feeling Ms. Beattie is using “likemindedness” as a convenient club to attack those joining the Ordinariate.
I think this is the money quote right here. Apparently Ms. Beattie believes in women’s ordination, and an active, perhaps vibrant, group coming into the Church and reinforcing resistance to women’s ordination, and upholding traditional Catholic Faith and morals makes Ms. Beattie uneasy.
Arieh says: /b> To protest the disintegration of a Protestant church and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church is . . . Protestant?? I don’t get it, but then again I am not a college professor.
I’m a student usually subjected to decipher these types of ideas from college professors, so I think I might get it.
I think she means protestant, not Protestant. Someone who protests against something is a protestant, whereas a Protestant describes one who protested against the Catholic Church.
That’s the best I can do.
So…. the complaint is that these people are joining the true church as a protest? Given the choice between having them outside the visible bounds and inside, isn’t it an easy choice? Even if they are doing it as protestants (with a lower-case p), at least it gives them the opportunity to be within the Church, where one would hope there would be a greater chance for conversion.
Was at Roehampton for some time and during that time assisted at classes for the ‘Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies’, formerly the Catholic Teacher Cert. There was out-and-out heresy in the lectures. On one occasion a sweeping statement was made which contained four simultaneous theological errors (quite impressive, actually) to which I, as the only practising Catholic in the room with some idea of what was going on, openly objected, citing the CCC. The reaction on the part of the lecturer (not Ms Beattie) was to go on and on for the rest of the class about ‘people who don’t accept the teachings of Vatican II’. Amusingly, the same response was given to my coursework which cited the Council extensively.
Anyway, the point is this:
Roehampton may have Catholic origins (or at least, Digby-Stuart). However, when it comes to ‘Catholic Studies’, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge-pole. Twickenham is far better. And closer to the rugby…
“So…. the complaint is that these people are joining the true church as a protest? Given the choice between having them outside the visible bounds and inside, isn’t it an easy choice? Even if they are doing it as protestants (with a lower-case p), at least it gives them the opportunity to be within the Church, where one would hope there would be a greater chance for conversion.”
Not a complaint, I think, so much as a suspicion or a concern. In the event that suspicion could ever be demonstrated to be a valid one, it would be of genuine concern insofar as one would imagine that one actually, sincerely, and really converts to Catholicism before taking a seat within the Catholic Church as a full member. A catechumen isn’t initiated first, unconverted, with the hopes that he will later convert to the beliefs of the institution over time. After all, what is the value of being within the Church if one is not persuaded of her teachings?
“a peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church because of what one doesn’t like, as a gesture of protest”
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but don’t most people leave other sects/denominations because they don’t like what they’re offering and have come to find it in the Catholic Church? If someone had no problem with the faith they were practicing, they would, presumably, feel no compulsion to leave.
And this woman is a professor? I fear for her students.
Good catch. I would bet a steak dinner that the real reason this lady is getting all exercised is that she is the sort of lukewarm Catholic who digs all the social justice stuff but can’t stand traditional Catholic teaching and authority, you know, the magisterium and all that.
The 60s and 70s crowd see the handwriting on the wall. The sort of Anglican or Episcopalian that is preparing to swim the Tiber is both traditional in theology and traditional in ritual, prayer, and practice. They are commonly referred to by other Episcopalians as “more Roman than Rome,” and compared to people like this professor they are.
She is criticizing a type that isn’t going to convert, and I think she must know that. Anglicans who like ‘smells and bells’ but favor the ordination of women and other heterodox action items see no reason to move from where they are – they have exactly what they want. The folks who hold a traditional Anglican theology but don’t care for Catholic customs or liturgy aren’t heading this way — they are going to the evangelical churches where they are a better fit. In other words, the only people who are going to swim the Tiber are the people who recognize (belatedly, but sometimes it takes a wakeup call – I had to get smacked upside the head myself) that what they believe is the teachings of the Church.
This lady and others are simply trying to discourage the influx of Catholics who will be antithetical to their religio-political goals. They are thinking politically, not religiously, and they are being just a wee bit disingenuous.
Let me get this straight. The Catholic Church is open and inclusive, and doesn’t give a darn if you advocate what her teaching authority has always held to be heresy she can’t turn around on. Therefore, we must exclude from her anyone who tows the line on such teachings. It’s not enough for heretics and orthodox to coexist within the Church, the Church in the name of inclusiveness must exclude the orthodox. Self-contradictory rubbish in support of destructive sophistry and corruptive immorality.
If anyone think I am jumping to conclusions as to whether this is a matter of heterodoxy and orthodoxy or simply a matter of some folks being too strict, I need only point back to the interview:
Stourton: And is your objection partly to do with the fact that you don’t like what they stand for? Particularly on the question of women’s role in the Church?
Beattie: I’m not happy about that, no. … It would be wonderful if they were coming in for the positives, and the joy, and the wonders of being part of this worldwide Communion.
As Centristian said, “After all, what is the value of being within the Church if one is not persuaded of her teachings?”
What indeed! I do think the point about assent to the Church’s authority, the doctrines that authority teaches, and the pastoral restrictions and enactments put forth by it, is an important one. I hope to goodness that the Anglicans coming over really mean that assent. (I do not necessarily hope they fully understand it beforehand; marriage is made without knowing every little fight one will have with one’s spouse; but, on the other hand, I hope they understand enough not to lose to such troubles down the road.) On the other hand, Fr. Z reminds us that these Anglicans do make a formal act of assent to the Church’s teachings, at least as set forth in the current Catechism, which, though I understand some have quibbles with parts of it, is a heck of a lot more Catholic than the drivel that gets taught in colleges and many (not all) RCIA programs. I have far less reason to suspect Anglicans who’ve said they accept the Church’s teaching and authority and ask only that they be allowed their own, valid variant in worship (think about how genuinely inclusive and Catholic that is! in essential things, unity, in all else, liberty!), than I have to worry about many a random Catholic parish that is only in the Church through a combination of their own desire to tear the Church as we know it to the ground and Bishops’ being scared silly by the faintest threat of open schism. If there is something specific that can be done to give these Anglicans greater hope of truly believing the Church, by all means do so; but I wouldn’t hold them back over it.
How DO these people get such plummy jobs?
Groups of Anglicans petitioned Rome for membership in the Catholic Church. They professed belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church. How could any Pope worthy of his office turn them away?
It’s pretty telling that the “inclusive” liberals want to shut those people out.
A unification of orthodox Christian believers in the One True Church terrifies these people!
Some Catholics are such stuck-up unfriendly snobs. Yes, they used to be Anglicans. This lady needs take a pill and get over herself.
This is positively BRILLIANT!!!
Do you realize how hard you’d have to work to craft a more-contradictory paradox if that was your intent? This is Pulitzer material, folks. Look at it again:
The Catholic Church has a unity that’s not based on likemindedness or sameness,
Actually correct – it’s based on Communion with Christ and His Church, and is “catholic” or universal, all types, all minds, that can bring themselves to this submission.
…and it’s very puzzling to know how this very homogenous, small group of likeminded people, offered a quasi-independent place within the Catholic Communion,…
so it isn’t based on sameness — sameness has NO PART in it, but you’re worried about their own sameness, homogeneity, and size? Jeepers, what does this lady think of extended families?
This is rich, but gets better.
…is going to fit in and become part of us.
Pardon me, Madame Professor, but you JUST SAID, in the SAME SENTENCE that it isn’t about likemindedness or sameness — could those be synonyms for fitting in and becoming part of us? To quote a perhaps-more-qualified intellect …
WHAT A MAROON!
But it gets even better. The dissident Catholic is upset by an activity that seems very Protestant to her, and sees it undertaken by a group of … yes, kids, PROTESTANTS. They are coming home, but they are Protestants. They want to fit in with the Church, which you say has no standard for that while hand-wringing over their potential limited ability to fit in because they fit in with themselves so much …
you CAN’T satirize this!
As an ex-Protestant, and a friend/acquaintance of quite a number of present Protestants, I certainly agree with the professor’s sentiment as to the Protestant nature of certain variety of conversion, which I think has not been carefully read by a number of the dissenting commenters.
“And I think actually, dare I say it, it’s a peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church because of what one doesn’t like, as a gesture of protest…”
To join one church because you dislike the other one is a VERY Protestant thing to do. It’s entirely normal. It’s also certainly not a Catholic thing to do. Catholic converts principally join the Church because of what they do like. Little things like it teaching the Truth.
All what Mrs Beattie wants is to proceed “dialoguing”, blah-blah forever. Catholics stay catholic, Prots stay prot, Orthodoxs stay orthodox etc…
She is afraid of this word “conversion”. It has no sense for her.
Blah-blah is so comforting.
I don’t understand the enthusiasm. Weren’t these guys (going all the way back to Cranmer) always opposed to having the Mass in Latin? I only see St. Thomas More stirring in his grave.
Those Anglicans aren’t coming over.
The ones that are converting are the “ultramontane”, “nosebleed high”, “Anglo-Catholic” crowd – the spiritual descendants of the Tractarians and the Oxford Movement. They haven’t got anything against the 1662/1928 Cranmer translation, but they absolutely adore Latin.
I was a High Churcher before my conversion (sounds like “I was a teenage werewolf”) and we had more Latin on any given Sunday than we ever saw at our Catholic parish until we got Summorum Pontificum (and a new music director).