Friday, May 27, 2005

”Our quarrel is concerning the things that have been added.”

There’s been much in the blogdom about the Anglican-Catholic statement on Mary. I don’t think much of it, and not just because ++Carnley has his hands on it. I think it completely disregards the concerns of Anglicans of a more Protestant flavor. Any effort to unite Catholics and Anglicans that expects assent to the Immaculate Conception and such dogma will only sharply divide Anglicans along Protestant and Anglo-Catholic lines. It would really require a willingness to jettison Protestant Anglicans.

Peter Jensen, the very Protestant Archbishop of Sydney, doesn’t think much of the statement either, as he reveals in an A(ustralian)BC interview.

I’ve mentioned that although I have much in common with Catholics, much more than with liberal Protestants, and although I love Anglo-Catholic worship, it’s high unlikely I would ever become Catholic. Towards the end of the interview, ++Jensen says something that sums up well why: “It is not that the Roman Catholic church has ever denied Christ, or faith, or the Bible. Our quarrel is concerning the things that have been added. “

That is indeed my issue. Roman Catholicism takes matters that are at best speculative theology and makes them dogma, and some of that quite recently, such as the immaculate conception, the assumption of Mary, and papal infallibility.

And I really don’t have a big problem with Catholics having the freedom to believe these things, as was the case for centuries before those three beliefs were made dogma. My problem is with those beliefs indeed being made dogma.

One of the strengths of orthodox Anglicanism is that it accommodates a variety of orthodox Christians, from rock hard Protestants to smokey Anglo-Catholics. But to be a good Roman Catholic (as opposed to a “cafeteria Catholic”), you must assent to papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception etc.

And I’m just not going to do that.

And the Anglican-Catholic statement on Mary disregards those many Anglicans who feel likewise.

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