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February 05, 2005



Yes, although as it was pre-Reformation, the division is more apparent than real. And it shouldn't be forgotten that Anglicanism isn't Protestantism (least of all in England).

the Cardinal's wife

O moon of my delight? I thought it was Daisy Cutter.


O planet of my pain.


Of course Anglicanism is Protestantism --and where else but England.

And the division is more real than apparent(although to anyone who cares to pay attention, it is very apparent indeed).

Mrs. Peperium

Question for the Red Cap : Anglicanism was intended to be the Via Media between Rome and the Orthodox Churches. However, it set itself up with no priestly central authority - the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot order priests/bishops/primates/dioceses/provinces to follow church teachings etc...like the Pope and the Orthodox Head Primate can. Parliament used to be able to make orders (often under the penalty of death or fines) and the King/Queen could. But I'm not sure about that anymore - the Prime Minister still does pick Bishops (a committee culls the candidates for him) and the Queen gives nod. Parliament still votes in new prayerbook versions - the American 1979 one was never approved by them. In America all previous versions have been banned with the exception of the 1928 used by a handful of churches. Is it because there is no central authority combined with a very involved laity that makes Anglicanism inherently Protestant? Blimpish is right that the Anglican Church states very clearly it is not Protestant, but it is. We know people in the Episcopal Church who say they are not protestant but they are. Both Newman and Manning came to that conclusion. Vestries are elected members who are ruling bodies within each parish. Almost all issues in a parish are held up for a vote and the vestry can override clergy. That is odd. Each diocese has elected laity to represent the diocese as a whole. They vote on issues like who will be their next bishop, the Presiding Bishop and changes like expanding the marriage sacrament to include same-sex. There is no theological training is required of the elected laity. A big flaw wouldn't a Catholic/Orthodox say? Yet a Protestant would find much to like in that set up as long as the votes go the way he/she likes, wouldn't they?


Ok, I confess (pardon the pun): I was being provocative. My point isn't that Anglicanism is not at all Protestant, only that isn't a Protestant Church. Bear in mind that it never has been a Free Church, and that it never has rejected the Holy Fathers and tradition as a complement to Scripture.

Whether Anglicanism was meant to be Catholic, Protestant, or Via Media was never fully settled at the origin and has meandered since. Henry VIII certainly thought himself a good Catholic. But after that the Church toed and froed. Remember the CofE (and the Anglican Communion as a whole) still claims to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

The role of the Crown in governing the Church also retains a non-Protestant aspect within Church Government. As Mrs. P implies, this is more theoretical (as with most things monarchical), but then the Pope's claimed infallibility on matters of faith and morals is rarely tested in practice. (This isn't a dig: what I mean is that the Vatican takes great care over Papal pronouncements to avoid testing the limits of the claim... the Pope doesn't go on daytime TV shows and talk casually because the claim to infallibility could quickly become a little dubious.)

Funnily enough, the Anglican Communion are moving (in fits and starts) towards the creation of a central teaching authority in Lambeth Palace. This is mainly a response to the current fissures, but I don't think it's going to work. I also have severe doubts about the wisdom of setting the Archbiship of Canterbury as a Pope... But this is a sticking plaster for the consequences of the internationalisation of Anglicanism, which has probably been the ruin of the Church (especially its North American forms..!).

All this is not in any die-in-the-ditch defence of Canterbury. I might well end up there, although this has much to do with being English and being in love with my country's historic genius as an explicitly ecclesiastic polity (this is a lonely business). It probably all went wrong when Laud was beheaded, but hey...

Re the division being more real than apparent, my point was that there was no Catholic vs Protestant division of any meaningful kind in the 14th or 15th century - because it was pre-Reformation. It could be argued that the schism since then has been a lost to all - and I'd have some sympathy with that. But the CofE hasn't exactly been a slouch on architecture (as you'd see by driving twenty minutes in several directions from where I write). Meanwhile, some of the R.C. churches around here built in recent decades really have been quite grotesque.

Mrs. Peperium

1. There are absolutely dreadful looking modern Roman Catholic Churches. No arguement what so ever on that.
2. I've read about and talked with Episcopalians /Anglicans about making the Archbishop of Canterbury a central authority. There are as many who want it who don't. Usual reason given is 'too Roman'. In fact that is why the Archbishop was not allowed to be the central authority-he is a Lord in the House of Lords. The King/Queen was the authority but things have changed in England with Kings and Queens. I will be suprised if it happens under Rowan Williams as he is against it. Also there are reformers who are trying to remove the monarchy as the head of the Church.
3. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility is wonderful. It does not give the Pope more power, it actually reigns him in. He is infallible on matters of faith and dogma only. This is why the current Pope never gave an up or down yes/no to Iraq. He implored us to negoiate as long as possible. He expressed his sadness and disappointment it came to war. That is what he can do. He can't say "Go get him". Neither George Bush or Saddam Hussein wore the Pope's colors into battle like Henry VIII used to. The Pope used to have a stake in wars - no longer. He can't. Papal infallibility reeled the Pope in from matters of State other than Vatican City. If people understood this better they would like it. As a result of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, there are porno channels in Rome and Italian women can get abortions.

Mrs. Peperium

I don't believe pornography and abortions are good. I think they are evil. I was just trying to make the point effectively.


Re Anglicans and the creation of a central teaching authority: like I said, fits and starts. It's funny that the idea is being mooted now, after the true conservative (i.e., traditionalist rather than evangelical) strand within the Church has reached its lowest edge.

Interestingly, the CofE is probably the only traditional English State institution that has seen a large increase in its autonomy over the twentieth century. It's partly for this reason (and partly because of their inability to cope with modernity) that providing some brake looks more and more necessary.

As I said, I'm not sure that this is a good development. Conservative and Evangelical Anglicans should realise that a teaching authority falling into the hands of liberals could be positively lethal. The same could be said of the Papacy, but at least there's a clear Tradition in place that has to be bucked first. The problem of Anglicanism, at its root, is the failure to develop and enforce a consistent doctrine. After Newman left, too few spoke up for that option.

Personally, I'm coming to the view that the Crown (in and through Parliament) needs to reassert its authority over the CofE. And that means in England - the provinces (and the problems are in America and Canada, of course) can go hang. Reduce the autonomy of the General Synod and create a Ministerial office if necessary. In my book, the Establishment is an asset in the English constitution - but it needs to be lived, not just left to whither away. As Mr. P and I have touched on before, the long-term viability of the secular state is by no means proven and can be doubted. In this coming century, the option of rebuilding a Confessional State might become especially valuable. (So, yes, Cardinal: still worried about political matters too... the Common Good and all that.)

Re Papal Infallibility: as I said, I wasn't having a dig. I don't have a great problem with the Doctrine as it goes - though many do. For example, a friend of a friend who's considering crossing the Tiber does... and I seem to recall C S Lewis seeing it as a bit of a barrier for him (in terms of signing up for all future declarations).

I'd differ slightly on your interpretation of the facts though, specifically:

First, JPII didn't declare on the merits of Iraq for the reason I said - infallibility forces the Pope to be circumspect, less he puts himself on the wrong side of history. I guess this could be, as you say, limiting his power because of the practical imperatives. I do think this is a virtue of the Doctrine. The downside of it is that it leads to a caution on some matters that can be misinterpreted as tacit support - such as during WW2 - note, I said misinterpreted. (One further point here: to comply with the Doctrine, any statement yea or nea on Iraq would have needed to have been in keeping with established dogma.)

Second, as I recall, the Vatican didn't have much of a stake in wars long before the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility - around 222 years I'd guess.

Third, if the Doctrine hadn't been issued, the people of Rome would still have porn and abortions (consider this: if the first becomes too freely available, the demand for the second is likely to decline...). Twelve years after the Council issued the Doctrine, Nietzsche proclaimed Gott ist tot! - a trend which (at least in Europe) was well underway by that point and continued until now.

On this last point, if the Church hadn't respected the limits of its powers it would've condemned itself to utter irrelevance in most traditionally Catholic states. You get far more political kudos in Latin Europe for opposing the Church than supporting it.

I don't though think that the Doctrine was intended as a power-limiting measure. Didn't Pope Pius IX say "Tradition? I am Tradition." I just Googled up his Syllabus of Errors (from 6 years before the Doctrine) which counts as errors:

"The Church has not the power of using force, nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect."

"Besides the power inherent in the episcopate, other temporal power has been attributed to it by the civil authority granted either explicitly or tacitly, which on that account is revocable by the civil authority whenever it thinks fit."

"In the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers, the civil law prevails."

"The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church."

All of these have undergone significant refinement in recent years - or outright ditching (as in the latter case - as far as I'm aware, the Vatican is not at all keen on Establishment anymore). It's also the case that, after the Doctrine was issued, in the first half of this century Far-Right Catholic nationalists committed some very nasty acts in the name of the Church - and were too often embraced by their local Episcopate.

The last error in the Syllabus was, incidentally, this one:

"The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization."

That Pius IX, eh? He had his head screwed on!

Please, please, please let me reiterate that this is not at all Catholic-bashing - I have nothing but love and respect for Rome (except maybe a raised eyebrow on the contraception thing, but another time...), and I consider JPII one of the greatest men of our time.

Mrs. Peperium

I don't view it as Catholic bashing at all. i just don't have any brainpower left this evening. Mr. P had to work today (2 big campaigns are needed) so I didn't get my usual break. But he came home with a new DVD, the 1970's BBC sitcom Two's Company Part II. Can't wait -it is very funny and stars Jeremy Singden's Dad.



You'll have to tell me about Two's Company - had never heard of it before (though obviously know of Donald Sinden). I could say it's before my time - and it was made before I was born - but then I know plenty about Steptoe and Son.

the Cardinal's wife

Blimpish, our children love to watch Good Neighbors. We have all the tapes (thanks to Mr. and Mrs. P.) Have you ever heard of that series? It was on quite a few years ago in England.


Was just about to say 'no' but then I had a sneaking suspicion that it might be that it was called something else... And indeed it was: 'Good Neighbors' was originally 'The Good Life' and was repeated throughout my childhood - I've probably seen about every episode at least twice. Is very good sitcom stuff - the BBC don't do 'em like that any more.

Mrs. Peperium

Blimpish, I have a response or two but the Cardinal called and said he wanted to weigh in next. Age before beauty as the saying goes... Anyway, he's promised to be nice to BOTH of us...

Mrs. Peperium

I want to correct one thing though, I did not mean to infer that the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility was set up to reign in the Pope and his powers.


The Cardinal nice to both of us? Can hardly wait.

the Cardinal's wife

Blimpish, don't you think the funniest episode was when Tom sells his pants from his Tuxedo to buy Barbara a new dress. And how about when Barbara and Tom test their theory of talking to plants. Hilarious!

the Cardinal's wife

You might have to wait awhile for the Cardinal's response. Someone mentioned golf over on Misspent and then kickoff ...Superbowl. You might have to wait until halftime.


Yes, I see the Superbowl is even on TV over here. Don't think I'll bother, mind. Have only a passing knowledge of the rules and already watched three Rugby matches this weekend (Six Nations just started - England lost to Wales, v wrong).

The best thing about the Good Life is the interplay between the characters, all of whom are wonderfully acted. Paul Eddington was of course a true great - I assume you know Yes, Minister? He was also a Quaker, as a bit of trivia.


I cannot weigh in (sounds like a heavyweight fight) and it has little to do with the Superbowl. But have no fear, I will catch up within the next few days.


Yes Minister was vastly superior to The Good Life. They re-ran them here a while back and it was amazing how even in the very first episode there was a lot of humour. Modern sitcoms seem to be very boring for the first couple of episodes ("Character development") and by the time they may get funny 90 per cent of the audience has stopped watching.

Mrs. Peperium

I love Yes Minister. It is so funny. I also enjoy The Good Life. Richard Brier and his pea pod burgundy, rooster Stalin and goat Geraldine are priceless. So is Penelope Keith. She went on to To The Manor Born. That is also very funny and very worthwhile. Two's Company is a ball. Donald Sinden plays a butler to a screwy American mystery writer.

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