There is room at least for a little clearing of the air.
Many of my friends, and a greater number of my enemies, ask me how I can still profess allegiance to an undoubtedly debauched modern Church of England, heretical in doctrine, tasteless in liturgy and secularised in the realm of moral theology. I answer simply that it was not always like this. The puny timeservers who presently rule the church are not its founding fathers and for this we must thank God. The Church of England is the English language inheritance of the Catholic Christianity which formed religious sensibility in England for almost a thousand years before the mistake described as the Reformation. In other words, the Church of England is apostolically constituted and so founded upon this rock – a rock as legitimate and indeed not inferior to that gang of opinion to be found in Rome.
I am as Catholic as Augustine and Aquinas, as Anselm and Duns Scotus; as Andrewes, Law, Hooker, John Donne, Eliot and C.S. Lewis. That is I am an English-speaking Catholic – which is more than can be said (in the realms both of theology and our native language) of those in high places who now so indispose us
I do not need to justify my Anglican credentials in the face of current episcopal apostasy, of a secularising coterie of bishops and a General Synod in thrall to the nostrums of secular enlightenment. My church is historically founded on its direct descent from the primitive church. This is a fact of history and nothing advanced by the debauched “liberal” hierarchy now governing us can diminish this reality.
So, in answer to the heartfelt questions as to where I should now go after the relentless decline, women bishop and all the rest, I will say simply that I shall stay where I am: a catholic Anglican and delighted to be part of the everlasting church.
Stray bishops reading this piece might ponder – since these days they are taught neither Latin nor history – where the title of this article comes from. It’s from a papal bull of 1896 which declared Anglican orders to the priesthood to be “absolutely null and utterly void.”
How very ecumenical, Holy Father as was. But Your Holiness, have you ever considered the fact that your own credentials are indissolubly joined with mine?
As the Home Guard bloke said in “Dad’s Army,” “They don’t like it up ‘em.”