Tuesday 25 August 2009

Pride and Prejudice: "Anglo-Catholic" fantasies

Here is evidence that the more remote and indefensible of "Anglo-Catholic" historical fantasies can still find a home in the bosom of at least some Anglicans, even today when there is simply no excuse for anyone to believe such unhistorical nonsense.

Here is a post I received from one such correspondent:

"The Anglican Church is one of the three great Catholic faiths: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican. A study of the history of the time demonstrates that the Church of England did not leave Catholicism, it only left the authority of popes and the Vatican political apparatus. There was no effort to "reform" the faith, only to reform the political machinations which taxed the English people (rents paid to monastic foundations), then gave the money to the rulers of France and Spain so they could make war on England. Henry VIII closed the monasteries to stop that practice.

The simplistic reason often given for the break with Rome is that the pope wouldn't give Henry a divorce from Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. The more complicated reason is that England had suffered terribly through civil war, and without an heir (Catherine did not bear a son), more civil war was a very real threat. (It is quite true that Henry became every woman's worst nightmare husband, and a glutton and a tyrant. That doesn't change the history of the Church of England.)

The beginnings of education of the common people led to and was furthered by translating the Bible and the liturgy into the vulgate -- the common language. This had its precedent when Scripture was translated from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, culminating with Saint Jerome's Vulgate translation.

Anglican priests are ordained in the apostolic succession. Anglican religious orders include Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Claretians and many others. See: http://orders.anglican.org/arcyb/communities.html.

Since its inception, Anglicanism has been influenced by "dissenters," who wanted to eliminate any traces of Roman Catholicism from their liturgy and doctrines. This has led to "the Church with an identity problem," in which there are Protestant-leaning parishes and Catholic-leaning parishes. But in its pure form, Anglicanism is correctly referred to as Anglo-Catholic".

I had to correct such nonsense even if it meant bursting this correspondent's particular fantasies.

"Your particular fantasies have been so completely, so utterly and so thoroughly demolished by better scholars than I (Newman, for one) that it is hardly necessary for me even to comment.

The Anglican Church is not a church. It is a cautionary tale as to what happens when men try to invent a faith of their own after ignoring God's law.

A study of the history of the time demonstrates amply that the Church of England was the invention of men like Henry VIII and William Cecil to serve their own selfish and political ends.

It is a pure construct of men.

William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley, the effective consolidator of the Church of England - liar, cheat, robber, murderer and political villain of the first order, he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men and women for no other reason than their religion

Moreover, it could not have left 'the Vatican political apparatus' since there wasn't one.

The popes lived in the Lateran palace at that time, not the Vatican, and began to live in the Quirinal palace more and more after it was built by Pope Gregory XIII in 1573.

They continued to do so until the Italian revolutionaries seized the Papal States in 1870 and later forced the popes to live in the Vatican palace.

Whoops! Another historical boo boo by yet another ill-informed Anglican.

Anglicans make ridiculous statements about the Papacy and the popes without ever bothering to read and research the truth. There is simply no excuse for it.

Go and find out the truth instead of regurgitating prejudice and fiction!

There is, of course, no evidence that English monasteries gave all their rents and taxes to France and Spain, let alone to make war against England.

Henry VIII closed the monasteries in order to steal their property and income which, since they used their income to feed and clothe the poor, was effectively stealing from the poor.

Gin Lane by William Hogarth.
The Protestant Reformation reduced the common people of England to extreme poverty and, often enough, utter destitution and degradation as Hogarth so well illustrated.

You will see that Henry closed the small monasteries first precisely because they were easier prey to his greed.

Read Cobbett's History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, if you dare. You will get a true picture of what the syphlitic, wife-murdering, robber of the poor, Henry VIII, really did. And Cobbett was an Anglican, by the way.

There is nothing 'complicated' about the fact that Henry divorced Catherine and then took up with other women. Lechery was but one of his many vices.

There is nothing simplistic about condemning his destruction of the monastic system of welfare for the poor just to satisfy his own endless greed.

Ditto his odious murder of his mistresses and many others who got in his way.

The common people were never so persecuted, hunted, harried, down-trodden, ill-educated, starved, beaten and mercilessly oppressed as they were after the Protestant Reformation, as Cobbett amply proves.

St Jerome's vulgate translation was done by, with and through the express authority of the Holy See by whom St Jerome was made a prelate and, later, Doctor, of the Church.

Anglican priests are not ordained in the apostolic succession.

Anglican religious orders are a nice idea but they are outside the Church.

There is no 'pure' form of Anglicanism.

Anglicanism is incorrectly referred to as Anglo-Catholic or Catholic. It is Protestant and has no authority from the Holy Spirit to teach.

That does not mean that Anglicans won't be saved but they must take care to avoid knowingly turning away from what they know (or ought to know) is the truth.

The Anglican 'church' is a false 'church' but with some good people in it.

I encourage you to leave it, join the true Church and so save your soul.

If you wish me to recommend some good clergy to whom you might go for instruction in the true faith, I would be very happy to do so.

In the meantime, God guide and bless you and, above all, help you to instruct yourself accurately about historical truth".

And there is a great deal more one could write about the Anglican Church but that will do for the present, I think.

Queen Elizabeth I: one of the most odious of tyrants ever to mis-govern England



Patrick Sheridan said...

As Tolkien said of the Anglican ''church;'' it is a pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs; and the only real ''foundation'' it has (which is in no way pious, apostolic or orthodox) is hatred of Rome.

Patricius said...

An interesting fact I learned- via a BBC Radio 4 series on the history of medicine- was that Henry VIII's attack on religious houses resulted in there being no hospitals in London for eight years. This seems to parallel RH Tawney's observation, in "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism" that the several schools claiming foundation under Edward VI were simply those he didn't suppress.

PJMULVEY said...

Tribune: You are 100% correct and any one who can read your blog can look up the facts within 5 minutes on the web. If historical Anglicanism is truly Catholic, your writer should explain the antipathy to the Mass and other sacraments by the early generations of reformers and Machiavellians who hunted down and persecuted Catholic priests such as Campion, Southwell, Gerard and many others who were good Englishmen and held fast to the Old Faith. On Tyburn, they were all asked to renounce the Catholic faith and beliefs before being butchered. Today, Anglicans are asked to believe in a Church that not only approves of homosexual and lesbian sex but makes these unrepentant sinners bishops! The legacy of Tudor perfidy lives on.....

Anonymous said...

Bloody Mary was no saint either.

Glorfindel said...

Hogarth's cartoon is attacking the vices associated with the consumption of gin, not Anglicanism. Arguably though it also touches on evils associated with the urbanisation caused by the Industrial Revolution. Henry VIII almost certainly delayed the Industrial Revolution.

Baron Korf said...

Bravo. Another little bit that I like to through at the protestants is that the Duoay-Rheims predates the King James bible, so sacred scripture in the vernacular was nothing new.

I recently found your blog via Tea at Trianon and I'm enjoying it immensely. Consider me to be one of those 'open-minded' Yanks. Though it is hard to undo so many years of institutional learning.

Tribunus said...

Thanks, all.

Hey, Anonymous! I presume you are not going to defend Elizabeth I by moaning at Mary Tudor?

If so, you don't impress much.

Mary Tudor had a small number of self-confessed and fully proven enemies of her government and the Church who had, themselves, committed horrible crimes, put to death at the insistence of her Parliament although she had desired to spare them.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, had a huge number of innocent men and women murdered who had committed no crimes. She executed 800 for religion alone in the first year of her reign.

There is simply no comparison.

But even if there were, it is always a pathetic defence of evil to say "but so-and-so was nearly as bad".

But perhaps that is just an example of Anglican morality?

Glorfindel, I suspect you may be getting your information from those writers who need to progress beyond the merely superficial.

Try Cobbett's History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland.

Cobbett was an Anglican, living at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

He gives contemporary evidence and sources to show that:

(1) The appalling poverty and degradation of the English working classes (so well illustrated by Hogarth) was due to the Protestant Reformation;

(2) The Industrial Revolution was not the primary cause of poverty since rural and urban poverty was already appalling beforehand in sharp contradistinction to other nations and to England's own Catholic past;

The Industrial Revolution, if properly directed, need not have caused any poverty but could, rather, have been a great boon to the poor. The greed engendered by the Protestant Reformation prevented that.

It is a cop out to blame the Industrial Revolution for evils that were caused by the Protestant Reformation.

Why do you think Hogarth painted his paintings of the degradation then existing in London?

Because he enjoyed degradation? Because he liked to seek it out in rare corners? Perversity? Crankiness? Eccentricity?

Or could it be because it was so characteristic of London in his time, when there were 200 capital offences, even for petty theft, and when dire poverty forced many to risk death by stealing sixpence to feed and clothe their families?

Patricius tells us that Henry VIII's attack on religious houses resulted in there being no hospitals in London for fully 8 years.

No-one can blame that on the Industrial Revolution!

I think it is time to stop defending the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I live in England, was raised a bewildered and spiritually famished Anglican, and through an ineffible infusion of Grace finally stumbled home through the doors of the Catholic Church. You are bang on about Gin Lane--during my adult life I saw my once prosperous and nominally anglican town rolled back to this...Hogarth would have been right at home...except at least he didn't have to confront the New Age emporia and state-funded abortionists that now loom from every corner. IMHO the move to Anglicanism looks increasingly like a long-range strategy to eliminate Christianity completely from these benighted islands, where I am beginning to fear violent assault (followed by euthenasia should I be forcibly dragged to a state NHS hospital) if not arrest as a hate-criminal for wearing a crucifix in public.
An interesting factoid about "Good" Queen Bess, is that her spiritual advisor was Dr. John Dee (codename, srsly, "007"), the infamous occultist and spy.

Tribunus said...

Thanks for that!

Glorfindel said...

Hogarth's print Gin Lane was not a depiction of real life. It was a cartoon attacking the drinking of gin. Alongside Gin Lane Hogarth produced another print called Beer Street, which depicts the industry, health, bonhomie and thriving commerce of people drinking beer. The two pictures were designed to be viewed together as a work of political propaganda in support of what would eventually become the Gin Act, whose purpose was to get people to drink beer rather than gin.

There is also a strongly nationalistic vein to the contrast, in that Hogarth portrays the inhabitants of Beer Street as happy and healthy, nourished by the native English ale. They are also celebrating George II's birthday. Those who live in Gin Lane, on the other hand, have been destroyed by their addiction to the foreign spirit of gin.

umblepie said...

Another clear, concise and informative post. Thanks yet again.

Tribunus said...

In 1836, long after the passage of the Gin Act, Charles Dickens continued to consider gin a problem. Read this from his Sketches by Boz.

"Gin-drinking is a great vice in England, but wretchedness and dirt are a greater; and until you improve the homes of the poor, or persuade a half-famished wretch not to seek relief in the temporary oblivion of his own misery, with the pittance which, divided among his family, would furnish a morsel of bread for each, gin-shops will increase in number and splendour".

Like Hogarth, Dickens considered the problem was chiefly poverty rather than gin. Absent the poverty, the gin would have been less of a problem.

Academics like Ronald Paulson consider that Hogarth was as much aiming at this, as he was promoting the Gin Act and the closure of gin shops.

Gin orginally came from the Netherlands but we do not see a Dutch Hogarth illustrating a Dutch "Gin Lane" in the same way.

It is clear from Cobbett that Anglicanism did for the English working classes in a way comparable with nowhere else.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Tribunus, for once I agree with everything you say!

You miss, however, this choice jem in your denunciation "The beginnings of education of the common people led to and was furthered by translating the Bible and the liturgy into the vulgate -- the common language. This had its precedent when Scripture was translated from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, culminating with Saint Jerome's Vulgate translation."

What rot! the Latin of the Vulgate is not a vernacular in any sense, send your correspondent to read Fr Uwe Michael Lang. It is called the 'Latin Vulgate' as it is the counterpart of the 'Greek Vulgate', it has NOTHING to do with vernacular; the language of the scriptural and liturgical Latin is legal and literary, not populist.

I also fail to see why a few copycat religious orders, all of 19th or 20th century origin, justify Apostolic Succession, or does your correspondent simply have very fluid, and thus Anglican, concept of syntax?

Brad Evans said...

Could this alleged feeling of resentment/ambiguity towards catholics be a reason they're always referred to as ROMAN catholics, while the orthodox are never referred to as EASTERN orthodox, although presumably the Church of England considers its faith orthodox? There's just less of an historical touchiness and hangup there? That they should just get over themselves-and "Apostolicae Curae" while they're about it?

Anita Moore said...

As Tolkien said of the Anglican ''church;'' it is a pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs; and the only real ''foundation'' it has (which is in no way pious, apostolic or orthodox) is hatred of Rome.

That's about the only doctrine that all Protestants have in common: that it's wrong to be Catholic!

As for the Anglicans retaining the apostolic succession, this is a long-settled question. After ordering a commission to look into the validity of Anglican orders, Pope Leo XIII ruled definitively in 1896 that they are null and void. This is because the Anglicans themselves deliberately changed the rite of ordination during the reign of Edward VI, with the object of doing away with the priestly office. An attempt was later made to correct these changes, but by then it was too late: the true Hierarchy had died out, and with it the power to ordain.

It should be noted that Pope Leo would have liked for Anglican orders to be valid, as this would have made reunion easier; but he had to call it like he saw it.

Anita Moore said...

P.S. What is it that Queen Elizabeth has in her hand in that portrait? It looks like a giant IV.

Flambeaux said...

There are two problems with the declaration of the invalidity of Anglican Orders.

1) After Vatican I there was a schism where some legitimate Catholic bishops began ordaining (validly but illicitly, as the SSPX do today) Anglo-Catholic priests and, in a few cases, bishops.

That rather muddied the waters so that some, even today, are validly ordained. It makes for quite a mess.

2) The very real problems cited in the investigation into the validity of orders based on the Edwardian Ordinal are present in the post-Conciliar changes to the Rite of Ordination. As such, an argument could be made, and is made by some, that if Anglican Orders are invalid for the reasons cited by Leo XIII, so are the Holy Orders of those ordained under the current liturgical books.

This defies common sense, among other things.

I do not believe, consequently, that the question of the validity of Anglican Orders is as cut and dried as many would like it to be.

Tribunus said...

Apostolicae Curae already provides the arguments against that position since it did not rely purely upon the defectiveness of the Edwardine Ordinal but also upon the lack of authority in the Church of England to make any of the changes.

That lack of authority is not cured by getting a few Eastern Orthodox bishops to consecrate Anglican bishops.

Those Anglican bishops who were consecrated by Eastern Orthodox bishops using a valid Eastern or Western rite are, indubitably, validly ordained bishop but so what?

So are the bishops of the Liberal Catholic Church (formerly "Old Catholic Church") but they reject Catholic morality in some key areas.

The fact that their bishops have valid Orders merely serves to worsen their sinfulness since such Ordinations were very seriously illicit.

There are serious issues over the current Catholic Ordinal but validity is not one of them (see Michael Davies' book on the subject: The Order of Melchizedek).

Emanuel said...

How come you never blog about the East-West schism and the ambitions of the usurping see of Constantinople? Photios, Celarius, etc.?

Tribunus said...

No reason. I just haven't got round to it. But it's an idea.

Anonymous said...

Hi,Tribunus, I wrote "Bloody Mary was no saint either."

It has been a while, I know. Please be kind enough to direct me towards some of the sources on which you base your assertions about Mary Tudor and Elizabeth. Thanks!

Tribunus said...

I have already. Read the post!