Anglo-Catholicism never captured the Church of England’s heart
From Mr Robert Ian Williams SIR – The justification that Peter Mullen (Comment, January 28) uses for staying in the Church of England seems more to reflect a congregationalist position rather than an Anglican one. To equate St Augustine, St Anselm and St Augustine with the Book of Common Prayer is incredible. That book represents the Protestantism of Cranmer with its denial of the sacrifice of the Mass, prayers for the dead and to the saints. It doesn’t even have a rite for the annointing of the sick. Its defective ordinal cut Anglicanism from the Apostolic succession.
Dr Mullen’s view of his spiritual heritage is also questionable, as the High Church theologians he rejoices in, like William Law and Richard Hooker were soundly Protestant. Indeed, Hooker rejected the idea that sacrifice was any part of the Christian ministry, and he repudiated the intercession of the saints and prayers for the dead in his Ecclesiastical Polity. But Dr Mullen represents what Anglo-Catholicism has been for 150 years: merely a church within a church, never capturing the heart of the Church of England or wider Anglicanism. He may retreat into what remains of that ghetto, but I thank God that some Anglo-Catholics have seen through this false reasoning, and are now seriously considering the claims of the Catholic Church.
Yours faithfully, ROBERT IAN WILLIAMS Bangor is y Coed From the Rev Canon David Capron SSC SIR – I was delighted to read the article (Comment, January 28) by my fellow Anglican priest, Dr Peter Mullen. He wrote with complete honesty and Christian compassion. Like him, I luxuriate in the writings of the great Anglican divines, of the early Fathers of the Church and in the ancient Creeds. I am more than grateful to the Roman Catholic Church for a very definite influence on the early days of seeking my vocation. My late father was in communion with Rome, my three sons attended the local Roman Catholic high school (one of whom is training for the priesthood) and in those early days most of my friends seemed to come from the other side.
At the end of the day, I find myself in a market town with seven villages grouped around. I feel that I have been called by God to minister here and due credence was given to that belief in my institution and induction. I am fortunate in serving under a very benevolent bishop, so to leave and join the ordinariate would be a cop-out and a betrayal both of myself, my family and my parishioners. Like Dr Mullen, I will stay and fight my corner.
Yours faithfully, DAVID CAPRON By email