The schism of the second ACNA is related in many ways to discomort in conservative quarters with same-sex attraction — Bishop Robinson has been a major focus in all discourse related to it. This leads to a problem in Anglo-Catholicism: it has always had a special appeal to gays, and this dates to the beginning of the Oxford Movement. By no means the only author or the first to point this out, the highly respectable Diarmaid MacCulloch does discuss it in his A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. While I came to St Mary of the Angels very late in the game (and I came from a largely gay, urban Anglo-Catholic Episcopal parish), I’ve been told by several current and former parishioners that St Mary’s had, for much of its history, also been gay-friendly as part of its Anglo-Catholicism; a much-revered curate (now deceased) had been openly gay.
I’ve mentioned here the tendency among some Anglo-Catholics to want to shade the difference between the small-c “universal” catholicism of the Nicene Creed and the capital-C Catholicism of the Catechism. An additional problem is that Anglo-Catholicism now exists in a kind of pre-Vatican II time warp, since the Catholicism it emulates, with ad orientem celebration, subdeacons, bells, incense, copes, and birettas, is now very seldom encountered in Roman-rite parishes. In fact, Msgr Steenson, the US Ordinary, has had to tread a very careful path in maintaining a polite distance between the Ordinariate and those traditionalist Catholics who want a general return to pre-Vatican II liturgy, including the Latin mass.
The fact is that this brand of Anglo-Catholicism is a tough sell. Its appeal is specialized. And beyond that, the gay-friendly urban Anglo-Catholic TEC parishes are fully supportive of TEC’s overall direction — Anglo-Catholicism is by no means synonymous, or necessarily even compatible with, “continuing Anglicanism”. It seems to me that it’s hard enough to be a Catholic without having to be more Catholic than Vatican II! In general, I don’t see a good future for either Anglo-Catholicism or the “evangelical” version of “continuing Anglicanism” that we see promoted at Virtue Online and elsewhere. If you want to be Protestant, well then, be Protestant and deal with it. If you want to be Catholic, well then, be Catholic and deal with it!
There are many nuances that John Bruce misses. For example, the issue of openly gay clergy—which means not only that they admitted to same-sex attraction but were in active-sexual relationships—was the tip of a much bigger iceberg, the authority of Scriptures.
It seems we have at the basis of the Anglican crack-up the issue of authority. Where does authority reside? For evangelical Anglicans it is in holy scripture. For traditional Anglo-Catholics it was scripture, tradition and reason, no?
For Catholics, it is the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which includes scripture and Tradition with a capital T.
So, in a sense where does authority lie for you? In the Bible? In the Church that selected the canon of Scripture? In your intuitions and private revelation? (I have to admit the latter has played a big role in my spiritual development).