I hope it goes without saying for my good readers that traditional Anglo-Catholics are a vital part of Anglicanism and of the whole church. With the current crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, they are now that much more important.
(And this is such a weighty subject that I apologize ahead of time that I will be glossing over it. I also apologize if what I am about to say seems a bit obvious. Sometimes, however, we need to remind ourselves of the obvious.)
Anglo-Catholic parishes and jurisdictions have long been havens for those who love traditional catholic worship and orthodox teaching but who for various reasons cannot conscientiously join the Roman Catholic Church. I count myself among these. Pusey House, especially, has been a haven for me when in Oxford. And when anywhere near North Dallas on a Sunday, I can hardly keep myself from visiting Smokey Matt’s.
Without rehashing the sordid details, matters have gotten so awful in the Roman Church that those of a traditional catholic mindset who can no longer abide the Church of Rome will surely increase – and surely are increasing now. And where will they go except to Anglo-Catholic parishes? Jurisdictions outside of both the Church of Rome and Anglicanism that have traditional catholic worship with which Anglicans and Roman Catholics are familiar are few and far between. Without desiring it to be so and in spite of their ecumenical mindset, Anglo-Catholics have close to a monopoly on non-Roman traditional catholic worship. (By the way, has anyone addressed why this is so? Perhaps this question would make for a good thesis.)
So traditional Anglo-Catholics who hold to the orthodox catholic faith should know that they are that much more important now. They should not attempt to poach from the Romans, but they should be that much more committed to letting people know you are there and to being a welcoming haven to those who thirst for catholic faith and worship.
And, frankly, the rest of Anglicanism should know this, too, and be more committed to the genuine flourishing of Anglo-Catholic parishes and jurisdictions. Anglo-Catholicism is a great gift of Anglicanism to the world and to the church. Anglo-Catholics live out that one can be a robust catholic outside the Church of Rome and all her enormities. And now more than ever for the health of the whole church, there needs to be a place for traditional catholics to flourish outside the Roman Catholic Church – especially since the days may be numbered for traditional catholics to flourish inside the Roman Catholic Church.