This is turning out to be a good thread.
I've been hesitating about replying, as self-disclosure online is usually a mistake (a little English reserve is a good thing), but here goes.
First, welcome, Skipper!
Although I am not even yet a catechumen, I was introduced into the sacramental, catholic church through Anglicanism.
I'm sure you were - have you seen my Anglo-Catholicism
I attended a small parish in Orange County for about 7 months, which was afflilated with the Episcopal Church of America, but is very Anglo-Catholic in celebration of Mass.
Glad you seem to have found some sincere ones - some still exist in the Episcopal Church (the acronym for which is ECUSA
, BTW, not ECA
). Regrettably, some other places that have Mass like that are really liberal underneath.
I have been going to an Orthodox church for about 6 weeks now, and the reasons are simple. I want to be sacramentally baptised, and enter communion with a "high" church; I was a catechumen in my Anglican church, but then I realized that when I take the Eucharist there, I am declaring communion with all the...uh...interesting characters...of the [that] church.
I think I understand what you're getting at and at least partly agree. The trouble with even an orthodox, sincere Anglo-Catholic congregation is that in my POV (with all due respect to Ebor and Keble) it is not part of the larger church - it is part of a liberal Protestant denomination.
But what you write also seems a little confusing. Were you never baptized? How could you receive communion if you were not? Were you preparing for baptism at the Episcopal church or simply taking instruction to be confirmed there? Or do you mean what hardline Eastern Orthodox mean and are now considering/seeking (re)baptism by the Orthodox? (I understand the logic of these people but still don't like rebaptism.)
The small parish I went to was very conservative, many of the parish being familiar with Orthodoxy also (there were even ikons in the church!), but the EC[US]A is very liberal, condoning perversion of all sorts.
See above. That's the rub. Anglo-Catholicism only
makes sense if one is convinced that 1) Anglicanism is part of the larger Church Catholic and 2) the Anglo-Catholics have the true understanding of Anglicanism and it's a matter of enlightening other churchmen about this fact. The reality
, however, is the Broad Churchmen
(liberals, modernists), not the High, won and are in charge.
In good conscience, I cannot be part of a church like that. Precisamente
. If you're honest with yourself and with God, you can't live in a fantasy world in one congregation and ignore the larger body it belongs to.
So I started going to an Orthodox church. I have done much reading, and spoke with an Orthodox priest (who is a former Episcopal priest) about the differences. Although I was offended with his bluntness, upon speaking with educated people about the differences, even this hard-nosed Anglican could see that there were many problems...Once you study the history and apostolicity (?) of the church, a well-grounded Anglican will see the problems. Now as far as Orthodoxy being right... That's another story!
One basic difference between me and some here and some in Eastern Orthodoxy in general is I see things a lot like Fr Lev (Gillet) did: I see the same light
, only clearer. You see, to me, EOxy has every essential I believed in all along
* as a would-be RC (they confirmed me and taught me how to go to Confession) and a would-be Anglo-Catholic (disclosures: I was baptized Anglican when I was a month old and in my 20s spent a term at a theological college in England - not that I learnt or retained enough to be a theologian!). This is what I mean by 'I believe EOxy is right' or 'I believe everything EOxy teaches', because all of its positive doctrinal statements are simply statements of those fundamental beliefs. 'Mere Christianity' with icons and a liturgy
. Or as I like to say, Orthodoxy IS Catholicism in 11th-century Greek theological form.
The reason I like Russian culture (the language, the rite) isn't to stick it to Western Catholicism, for example, but because, just like the rest of medieval Christendom East and West, it tried to live out those fundamentals
, to incarnate them, however very imperfectly. And as you can see from reading The Way of a Pilgrim
and other 19th-century Russian books, it often did so beautifully.
Another way of putting it is while everything I believe as essential is contained in EOxy, I don’t think I believe any opinion peculiar
to EOxy, or to RCism for that matter, as necessary for salvation.
Some of you probably are going to jump on that as relativistic, denying the one true church, etc. I don’t care.
I don’t claim I can back myself up academically either, but that’s what I really believe.
And I see the risks in what I wrote, ecclesiologically speaking — authority and communion ecclesiology (which, IMO, EOxy has a bead on) keep it from flying away into vagante
I do believe in EOxy’s Churchness and consequently that it has grace — speculation about everybody else is nondogmatic in EOxy and is wide-open space where people like me have lots of breathing room.
Where the difference comes in is that IMO I don't hold, like some 'blunt' (rude) EOs, that these fundamentals are the exclusive
property or invention of Eastern Orthodoxy.
(I'm not dogmatizing or claiming to proclaim EO dogma, simply stating opinion that happens to be in the range of EO opinion.)
This strain among at least some EOs comes off to me and I dare say to people like Keble and Ebor, and to Catholics of good will, as simply arrogance
. Ignorance and ethnocentrism/chauvinism, even more repellent (hateful, ungrateful, dishonest) coming from converts. (You usually don't get this from ethnics because they've got nothing to prove to themselves - they're happy with their received form of religion and don't care about anything else.)
To use two of my favorite illustrations, this is as ridiculous as Mr Portokalos claiming the word kimono
is Greek or Mr Chekov on 'Star Trek' claiming every scientific discovery for the Russians. And perhaps born out of the same defensiveness and inferiority complex.
My russophilia as described above, I dare say, is different to this, which I would agree is ‘playing Russian’, etc., in an obnoxious way. (I see fixations with certain jurisdictions the same way.)
Episcopalians should feel more akin to Catholicism than to Orthodoxy, as Serge says. We are from the same tradition, after all. But in practice it doesn't work that way, at least not in the USA. In practice, Episcopalians tend to find Roman Catholic worship repellent and juvenile.
Because it is.
Episcopalians are more likely to sing the ancient music of Catholicism than Catholics are, and the great works of the Catholic organists are unlikely to be heard in Catholic churches, but rather in Episcopal churches.
True and true. Bitterly ironic, innit?
It seems to me that some elements of Orthodox theology and advice are quite close to Anglicanism.
True, because sound Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox often use the same source material, the Church Fathers.
But the real answer lies elsewhere. It lies in distress. It's trying to get away from Spong and Pike and any number of other bad bishops. Well-groundedness may or may not have any input in this, and well-groundedness may or may not lay out the same solution.
Of course the converts to whom you refer hold, and I agree, that Spong, Bennison, Ingham, Harries (two of whom I've met) et al. aren't aberrations from a system grounded in Catholic Christianity but rather are the logical result of a system grounded in Protestantism. One can read Newman and not be a bit surprised to find out later that the Broad Churchmen are in charge of Anglicanism today. He saw it coming, which was why he left.
*See my blog, May 16, 'What I believe'.