Rome, Rome, go away

I don't have time for this. But to quickly chronicle my response to yesterday's incredibly disturbing news: I am a continuing Anglican- this means I am Protestant and Catholic at the same time, and I believe this is where the fullness of the Christian faith is held. I cannot submit to the bishop of Rome because I do not believe his authority was divinely given, or even justly attained.

It took me two years, after realizing that I was Anglican in thought and worship, to change my church affiliation. This was because I knew that in embracing the Church of England, I would be stepping into a vehement fight over interpretations of scripture and the role of women and gays. It looked ugly from the outside, and I didn't want any part of it. Yet it hurt, because the Church of England was really my church, and my attempt to avoid pain and confusion was only successful in denying myself a place of refuge. The Church of England is a unique entity, and in order to be here, I had to accept that those who hold different views than I do share my heritage and have just as much right as I do to be called Anglican. I have two dear priest friends- one in ECUSA, one in APA, one who used to work for Planned Parenthood and one who has been arrested in abortion protests. Because of how their faith approaches sacraments, mystery and history, they are far more like each other than they are any minister outside of England. We are united, we are a family, and as such we disagree bitterly-it is our right.

Rome stepped in and just suggested part of the family leave. I think it's fair to compare Rome's current offer to a priest encouraging a couple to divorce over "irreconcilable differences." Sorry- you're not a part of this, and you're doing more harm than good. You are offering to amputate limbs of a body in the name of "solidarity."

I am shaking in fear, because I know enough of the current landscape to picture some pretty hideous things happening. The continuing Anglicans + Anglo Catholics are a small minority, outshouted by the chaos that is the ACNA. Some of the most rapidly growing branches of the ACNA are just Protestant Evangelicals with sprinkles on top. I anticipate that gradually, the money and security offered by Rome will begin to appeal to what is the solid backbone of Anglicanism in this country, and the Continuing Anglican/Anglo-Catholic movement will eventually choose to take refuge there, rather than continue to be pushed about by the uber-Protestants. The uber-Protestants will then rejoice, being free to abandon even more Anglican structure and discipline because there are no longer any dissenting voices within earshot. People like myself will be forced to choose between the mishmash of heaven only knows what and ECUSA.

In that case, ontology dictates that I choose ECUSA. Because I believe in fasts and feasts, because I value seven sacramental rites, because I treasure the disciplines of my faith and I cannot align myself with Rome. This has been one of my worst fears for quite a while now, but I had hoped it was paranoia.


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