Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Manliness of the Oxford Movement

I have never found Anglo-Catholicism especially attractive. Anglo-Catholicism has been somewhat lukewarm in its commitment to Biblical authority and a little too cosy toward theological liberalism. There is something rather artificial about Anglicans pretending to be Catholics and doing all the things that Catholics do. I also find it just a little worrying that so many Anglo-Catholics are gay.

On the other hand, I very much admire the Oxford Movement. The Tractarians were a of a far more manly spirit than that of Twentieth-century Anglo-Catholicism. They were not interested in the pageantry of rituals and ceremonies but were concerned primarily with doctrine and theology. Not were they especially interested in liturgical innovation; they had a deep attachment to the Book of Common Prayer and saw it as a true expression of their Church's catholic heritage. Following in the footsteps of the old High Churchmanship, they did not to copy Roman Catholicism, but instead they looked for the best in the Anglican tradition.

When Newman concluded that a truly Anglican catholicism was a lost cause and jumped ship to Rome, the movement went into disarray. The Tractarian movement evolved into the Ritualists. Instead of trying to prove that the Anglican Church was truly catholic, Anglo-Catholics switched to a game of dressing up; they might not be real Catholics, but they could at least do all those Catholic things. Following the publication of Lux Mundi in 1881, the Anglo-Catholics began making peace with modernist theology and with the liberal party. This stood in contrast to the Oxford Movement, which had stood firmly on the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.

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