Continuing a theme I began in a previous post about my concerns for the unity of "the Network" -- what with parishes leaving it because they just can't stand the administrative connections to ECUSA that being in a Network diocese entails. I am posting my thoughts on some Anglican Catholic principles. I would really like to know what you all think. I know that Roman Catholics among you (for example) will deny number 3 below -- that Anglicanism is essentially a catholic form of Chrstianity, but Anglicanism has always understood itself thus, and I am assuming that it is so. When I stop assuming that, I will leave Anglicanism. But for the rest of you, what do you think? Is this correct? Are we right to be frustrated with parishes so eager to be disscociated from ECUSA that they leave (and thereby weaken) Network dioceses? Here are my thoughts:
(1) That we are to till the Ground on which we are set: We are obliged as Christians to thank and praise God through the agency of the One and Only Son of God in our lives, in answer to the One and Only Father’s call to us, preeminently by seeding the particular furrows before which He has set us. Our attitude should be one of praise (doxa) and thanksgiving (eucharistia), even (especially) in the midst of contexts we adjudge to cause us to suffer.
(2) With what seed we are to seed the furrows to which providence has brought us: We are obliged as catholic Christians to maintain – that is, we are obliged ourselves to live and to proclaim to others -- the one faith, the one doctrine and the one service / devotion / sacrifice of the One Body of Christ, the One Church. We are obliged to affirm what the whole Church has taught, to submit ourselves to the discursive content of the faith of the One and Only Body of Christ; and we must take care that the acting-out of our praise (doxa) and thanksgiving (eucharistia) is after the pattern of the praise and thanksgiving of the One and Only Body of Christ. This issue is multi-faceted, but involves historical considerations, as well as considerations of particular intentions.
(3) We are obliged as Anglican catholic Christians to accomplish (1) and (2) by means of the doctrine and devotion of Anglicanism, in sacramental communion with Anglicans the world over. This is our chief obligation as Anglicans, and is how our catholicity is maintained, i.e. we maintain our communion with the One Body of Christ through our sacramental union and communion with all Anglicans.
(4) The Apostolical authority through whom a parish's sacramental communion with Anglicans the world over (cf. 3, above) is mediated and maintained is that of the Bishop of its diocese (for bishops are the heirs of the graces of apostilicty bestowed by our Lord, including that of apostolical unity for which the Lord himself prayed. The apostolical prerogatives of Priests - including the grace of unity - are not theirs per se, but are derived only from the agency, and through the consent of, their Ordinary). This derivative apostilicty of priests from their bishops is how ecclesiological integrity and coherence are maintained in the Catholic Church, and are hallmarks of it.
(5) It is permissible (and incumbent upon) a priest and parish to disregard and violate 4 (above) in and only in the case that the bishop, under whose authority that priest ministers the Gospel, has himself violated 3, thereby removing his see, and the clergy and parishes under his oversight, from the unity of doctrine and devotion shared by Anglicans the world over.