Page 2, 24th March 1950

24th March 1950
Page 2
Page 2, 24th March 1950 — COOPERATION

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Organisations: Catholic Church
People: Clancy
Locations: Rome


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Recent convert's views

S1R.-Deeply as all thinking men and women among Catholics must desire to " cooperate with" and " encourage," in the words of Mr. C'. Clancy, the work of cere and God-loving non-Catholics, the matter is much less simple than might appear from his letter.

" To us in this country," writes His Eminence Cardinal Griffin, in his Lenten Pastoral, " reunion can only mean the resumption of that unity which was destroyed at the time of the Protestant Reformation. A call for reunion means an invitation to all non-Catholics to join the one true Church. It means, in other words, submission to the authority of the Holy See." Unless we have this fact in the forefront of our minds in any approach to the "Papalist " Anglicans of whom Mr. Clancy speaks, we are surely in danger of failing in true charity to them, as well as of seeming in compromise with Catholic Truth.

I speak as a comparatively recent convert from High Anglicanism, one who has some claim to know the movement from within. And I am convinced that the chief difficulty in the way of " encouraging " AngloCatholics is this-they do not think of themselves as "feeling out " towards the Church, but as having already got there ; and as needing no "encouragement " except recognition by Rome of their "orders," and

an abatement of her exclusive" claims.

Perhaps I can best illustrate this other side of the picture from that drawn by Mr. Clancy, with two quotations from letters written, in the past few weeks, by an extreme " Anglo-Catholic " clergyman to a former colleague now a Catholic layroan. "The Catholic revival in this diocese," he writes, " has gone on steadily and quietly since you deserted us. in spite of the efforts of Irish and Italian missions to confuse and disturb the faithful." And again, " To me it is a source of consolation that I function as a priest, in communion with that part of the Catholic Church which has been existing in this island for many hundreds of years longer than the brand new mission established under a hierarchy in the last century."

It is, of course, unfair to generalise from this particular instance. if the Reverend Mr. A. can bring himself to write in the above terms, the Reverend Mr. B. might take quite a different line. But this would only show further how essentially Protestant a thing "Anglo-Catholicism " is. in that no two of its devotees can be trusted to believe, teach, or do exactly thc same things. And what of the laity who come under the influence of these " beliefs and practices which are truly Catholic "7 If they accept them, are they usually led to the Church thereby? Or do not they rather. like their ministers, think they are already Catholics, and have no farther to travel? Again, it is unsafe to generalise, though the above would seem to be the logical result of successful " A ngl o-Cathol ic " teaching.

To my mind, and in my experience. more fruitful results are to he looked for from a " getting together " with some (not all. of course) of the " large body of Evan gelical Anglicans " whorn Mr. Clancy seems to dismiss with a word of praise. In many cases it is found that they admire our uncompromising stand for our faith and for Christian principles. while fully recognising our differences from them. This may be because they have that sense of loyalty and obedience to their own Communion which is lacking to," Anglo-Catholics," who own loyalty to nothing except their own curious concept of the "Catholic Church." By individual friendliness towards these other Anglicans, ' and frank discussion of our differences, it is possible that many misunderstandings may be cleared away. But, with the extremists among the High Anglicans, we must beware how we tread.


Ste,-Certainly our attitude to Anglicans should be informed with charity and understanding, but what about theirs to us, for a change? Any survey of the Anglican Press will reveal a disapproval-might one say?-ranging from the frigidly polite (High) to the violently abusive (Low). whereas the mildest criticism of Anglicanism is rare in any Catholic publication I ever see.


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