We former Anglicans get how serious this is

Fr. Ed Tomlinson has a great post today on what led the Anglican Communion into schism and, in some parts of the world, collapse.

He writes:

For in the early years of the 20th Century its moral theology was broadly in line with Catholic teaching. Anglicanism was opposed to artificial contraception, re-marriage after divorce, active same sex partnerships and more besides. The change only arrived in the 1950’s when General Synod voted to altar its methodology in regard to just one small issue…

Citing a need to conform to the modern world (sound familiar?) official teaching was changed to allow artificial contraception. On the surface a small decision; a pastoral concession respecting modern couples. But in reality an epic moment- for it was here that the ship of faith, in that particular communion, defintively pulled away from its scriptural and doctrinal moorings. With sex now divorced from its procreative purpose all teaching on marriage and the family was thrown into question. The moral theology of the Anglican communion was set afloat on the sea of modernity and the heart and soul of traditional Anglicanism collapsed.

Fr. Tomlinson warns Catholics what is at stake, my emphases:

For once you elect to follow the decision of Synods, or even the personal desires of Pope’s, in preference to the clear voice of scripture and tradition, the very fabric of the church changes. No longer is it a divine institution guarding a fixed deposit of faith; it becomes a political institution in which that faith is ever up for grabs. One must simply lobby those with influence.

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4 Responses to We former Anglicans get how serious this is

  1. Richard Grand says:

    It seems almost ludicrous to use the issue of permission to use contraception in the 1950s as the “shot heard ’round the world” that engendered the so-called destruction of Anglicanism. I remember 1968 when Humanae Vitae was issued and the RC Church has never recovered from the negative reaction to it. The most “open secret” within and without the RC Church is that people widely chose to ignore it. This means that they chose to be at odds with the Church and this sense of dislocation (what some would call “disobedience”) led to an erosion of loyalty to the Church and people who embraced hypocrisy rather than submit to such strictures. Roman Catholics from earlier generations tell many harrowing tales of women (always women) harassed and even personally criticised by clergy because they were not having enough children. The stress of raising children while constantly pregnant made many lives miserable and led to serious health and family problems. Fr. Tomlinson, who seems to enjoy finding simple solutions to complicated problems, might consider these realities and avoid finger pointing.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Richard,

      You wrote: It seems almost ludicrous to use the issue of permission to use contraception in the 1950s as the “shot heard ’round the world” that engendered the so-called destruction of Anglicanism. I remember 1968 when Humanae Vitae was issued and the RC Church has never recovered from the negative reaction to it. The most “open secret” within and without the RC Church is that people widely chose to ignore it. This means that they chose to be at odds with the Church and this sense of dislocation (what some would call “disobedience”) led to an erosion of loyalty to the Church and people who embraced hypocrisy rather than submit to such strictures.

      To be clear, Humanae vitae is a papal encyclical — that is, by definition, a document by which the pope expresses his personal opinion rather than a decision of the magisterium. Such a document is not capable of enacting ecclesial law or of establishing doctrine, infallible or otherwise. Of course, such a document may well reiterate what is already established as ecclesial law or infallible doctrine — and obviously does not alter the status thereof by doing so.

      This reality opens up the possibility of two mistakes by the reader.

      >> On the one hand, there are those who assert that the moral principles articulated in Humanae vitae are definitive and inviolable, regardless of circumstances. In fact, this is not the case. Rather, the matter is open to the subjective possibility that unforeseen circumstances may lead to a different conclusion in a particular situation.

      >> On the other hand, there are those who disregard Humanae vitae completely. Whether we like the fact or not, the pope is not exactly ignorant. Rather, all of the recent popes have been men of extraordinary intellect, and they have surrounded themselves with extremely competent advisors every aspect of theological and moral doctrine and practice. The pope’s opinion deserves enough study to come to a thorough understanding of the rationale for his conclusion and the assumptions on which that conclusion stands. If, at the end of the day, one’s situation does not match the pope’s assumptions or there’s a circumstance that undermines from his rationale, one needs to examine how those differences affect the pope’s conclusions and what conclusions follow in the light of those differences. One should deviate from the pope’s conclusions with respect to discipline only after doing this homework.

      Norm.

  2. jose says:

    The break began in lambeth conference in 1930, propposal 15, when anti conception is admitted in some cases

  3. liberasit says:

    It’s great to understand the background history, but going forward what we need is people teaching NFP to betrothed and newlywed couples. Do something beautiful for God in England!

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