Friday, 30 January 2009


Now I wouldn't put myself across as middle of the road regarding Anglican matters, or even Unitarian matters. In Anglican terms I'm somewhere falling off the edge. I think my big toe is attached to the shelf on which Anglicanism sits. As for Unitarians: well, I'm uninvolved, but would be somewhere on its left wing but in awkward space given how I worship and justify worship. In content I'm more like their right wing, until I undermine their strategies and resistances.

I suppose a fascinating question is how extreme can you be? The point about my kind of extremism is that it is so obviously subversive, undermining, revisionist to revolutionary. You cannot trust it a bit. It is clearly heterodox and, in a world of institutional conformity, has never done me any good at all. I've relaunched myself several times and I always end up in the same place. I've never hidden inside a version of Radical Orthodoxy or Narrative Theology, so convenient are they for fitting your modern self into an ancient institution. I'm about as far as you can get in one direction without falling off, and I may well fall off.

What about in the other direction? I think we have found out in these last few days.

There is a Bishop Williamson, an ex-Anglican who went Romeward and couldn't stop. He is a holocaust denier. He was nicely ex-communicated in 1988, and has just been brought back into the fold. The person who has done it is a certain Pope Benedict XVI, who would prefer a smaller pure Church to a bigger one that couldn't police its borders. Williamson's boss, a Bishop Fellay of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, has put a clamp on the said Williamson's gob, as Fellay pursues the wider goal of having his extremist group fully within the Roman Catholic Church, which it now pretty much is. Meanwhile Williamson apologises for the controversy he causes.

The Anglicans have this GAFCON group, currently and rather ridiculously divided between extreme Protestant and extreme Catholic. Both of them want their own institutional set ups so they can shake off liberal pollutants (people well to the centre of folks like me). Close to such traditionalist Catholics is a group called the Traditional Anglican Communion seeking a Unitate Church of Roman Catholicism. The Pope won't give them such because of relationships with the Anglican Communion, particularly the Catholic leaning Archbishop of Canterbury. However, it is fair to say that if the Anglican Communion looked like it was balkanising (which is what the centralising Covenant will achieve if it has any bite to it), Rome might act to do something other than have individual clerics swimming the Tiber.

Mad Priest disovered some real extremism that derives from all of this. It is an anonymous comment that comes as part of Rorate Caeli's January 29th reporting about what the centre of Roman Catholicism is doing. Those of a tender disposition might like to sit quarely and only read this extract of the comment some hours after eating:

[A territorial prelature] would be about a trillion times better than a personal prelature but still not half good enough. What is needed is a uniate church. After all these, people have twelve national churches and over thirty bishops. They have eight dioceses in India with about 250,000 faithful in them.

But if a uniate church is denied them, this will quite obviously be done to 'satisfy' the Arch-Druid Rowan Williams and his pro-sodomite friends in America, such as that Robinson creature and the Schorri Hag.

Don't you people get it? Mainstream Anglicanism is splitting in two, the conservative GAFCON people creating alternate jurisdictions in far-left areas, such as Canada and the U.S.A. They are headed for division because you can't reconcilie buggery with Christianity.

Entire Anglican bodies, forming part of the GAFCON group, are in the process of separation. The entire Anglican Church in Nigeria is a case in point. Now, should the Pope admit the TAC as an Anglican uniate church, this would create a locus for some of these GAFCON people to go in the future (many of them would not come over, as they are evangelical).

The reason the C.D.F. [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith], headed by that incompentent, Levada, is not creating such a locus is œcumania gone nuts. It would be unfriendly and undiplomatic. You see, this Pope is still determined to treat Willians [sic] and Schorri as if they were Christians, which they are surely not. This Pope does not want to 'offend' these enemies of Christ.

There is a logic to this comment, of course. But here we have it. There is no doubt that this commentator is doctrinally sound. He (anonymous, but surely a he) is a faithful Catholic. But what happens when you are as doctrinal as this and so extreme? Something happens to your ethics: they start to be lost with, to begin, name calling and regarding others as incapable. The ethics warp to the institutional extremism and something of humanity begins to disappear. You become offensive. And this is what this Pope, in all his extremism, is encouraging. Purity comes at a price.

By the way, in my nearly fifty years, I have been inside a Roman Catholic church only twice. Once was when being shown around London by an ex-Anglo-Catholic priest and Unitarian minister, the late Francis Simons, when he took me into Westminster Cathedral, and the second time was for an Anglican led meeting in the Roman Catholic church in nearby Barton-on-Humber.


Erika Baker said...

After last night's Peter Owen we have been wondering about what it is that unites those who genuinely seek and find self actualisation and transcendence, and those who end up trapped in themselves, clinging to their own particular truths and hating everyone else.

Both are found in all faiths and splinter groups, and the real divide amongst humanity is between those who "get it" and those who clearly don't.

June Butler said...

Adrian, this post is so funny, but truly not funny, if you know what I mean.

I'm an extremist relauncher, too, also ending up pretty much in the same place.

I suppose a fascinating question is how extreme can you be?

Fascinating, indeed!

Something happens to your ethics: they start to be lost with, to begin, name calling and regarding others as incapable. The ethics warp to the institutional extremism and something of humanity begins to disappear. You become offensive. And this is what this Pope, in all his extremism, is encouraging. Purity comes at a price.

That's quite true. When one reaches such a point, then one has GONE TOO FAR. Sometimes I wonder about myself, not just about the pope and his followers and the other extremists of all colors and flavors in the Anglican Communion.

Have you heard of Fr. Floriano Abrahamowics, a priest serving under Bp. Williams? He said, "I know that gas chambers existed as a means to disinfect. But I cannot say for sure if they killed anyone, because I really haven't looked into it." Oddly enough, the fact that he hasn't "looked into it", did not stop him from holding forth on the matter.

"C.D.F. [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith]", formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition. How far they have fallen.

Anonymous said...

Have you had a go at this Pluralist?


Erika Baker said...

that link seems to be incomplete

Anonymous said...

Strange. I checked it and it worked OK just now.


Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Very silly questions for Americans.

What kind of extremist are you?
Your Result: Rational Person

You consider these questions obvious straw men, designed to distract people from a meaningful investigation of facts and a serious discussion of relevant political issues. How boring.

Phineas Angus Rody said...

An Australian-based "denomination" with a URL and claims of 400,000 members when in Victoria (the most populous state) they have one congregation that meets in a nursing home, is probably not to be taken too seriously!

Furthermore they have stolen our acronym.

++P A Rody