Wm Oddie on the Church of England's Dilemma

Here is a link to Oddie's article in the UKs Catholic Herald.

Author: Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson on the Isle of Wight. Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA. Fr. Dwight is the editor of a best-selling book of English conversion stories called The Path to Rome -- Modern Journeys to the Catholic Faith. He has written Listen My Son -- a daily Benedictine devotional book which applies the Rule of St Benedict to the task of modern parenting. St Benedict and St Thérèse is a study of the lives and thought of two of the most popular saints. In the field of Catholic apologetics, Fr. Dwight wrote Challenging Catholics with John Martin, the former editor of the Church of England Newspaper. More Christianity is a straightforward and popular explanation of the Catholic faith for Evangelical Christians. Friendly and non-confrontational, it invites the reader to move from 'Mere Christianity' to 'More Christianity'. Mary-A Catholic Evangelical Debate is a debate with an old Bob Jones friend David Gustafson who is now an Evangelical Episcopalian. Fr. Dwight’s Adventures in Orthodoxy is described as ‘a Chestertonian romp through the Apostles’ Creed.’ He wrote Christianity Pure&Simple which was published by the Catholic Truth Society in England and Sophia Institute Press in the USA. He has also published How to Be an Ordinary Hero and his book Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing was published by Our Sunday Visitor in May 2008. His latest books are, The Gargoyle Code -- a book in the tradition of Screwtape Letters -- and a book of poems called A Sudden Certainty. His book The Romance of Religion will be published in 2012 along with a new edition of Adventures in Orthodoxy. In 2006 Fr. Dwight accepted an invitation from the Bishop of Charleston to serve as Chaplain to St Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. This brought him and his family back, not only to his hometown, but also to the American Bible Belt, and hometown of Bob Jones University. In December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. He is now parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville. Fr. Dwight enjoys movies, blogging, books, and visiting Benedictine monasteries. He’s married to Alison. They have four children, named Benedict, Madeleine, Theodore and Elias.

19 thoughts on “Wm Oddie on the Church of England's Dilemma”

  1. Remaining Anglo-Catholics would rather live amongst heresy and false teaching than give up their parishes, vestments, friends and prestige. Sad but true. They will die off and be replaced by non- Anglo-Catholics or the churches will be closed and turned into pubs or mosques. Sad but true. Everyone one knows it.

    1. It has nothing to do with vestments and buildings. Whilst most Anglicans recognise that their church is not perfect they see far more heresies in the church of Rome. I see no special prestige in belonging to the Church of England. We are all meant to be brothers in Christ.

          1. The "official doctrine" of the CoE is a mirage. Much of what used to be more-or-less official is more Protestant than Catholic. But since that debate was never authoritatively settled by a competent authority, indifferentism became the de facto "official doctrine." Now there is a new religion, which holds that "official doctrine" can be made and unmade by by General Synod as and when the mood strikes them.

            1. Austin, The General Synod isn't going to resolve theological issues within the Church of England any more than Parliament could. Or papal encyclicals and Roman pan-synods have amongst Catholics.

              Look how Catholics today "cherry pick" which teachings and which ecumenical councils they are prepared to accept. Writers lionize Vatican I for Pio Nono proclaiming the doctrine of "papal infallibility",but then relegate Vatican II's teachings on ecumenism, the liturgy, and the Church in the modern world to the trash bin of heresy and "heterodoxy". Some going so far as to question or rejecting outright the validity of the pope who called the council.

              Proof, a central teaching authority may speak "authoritatively" but that's no guarantee in any Church there will be widespread explicit or implicit acceptance of those teachings. Both Catholicism and Anglicanism are declining of this. As all belief systems and traditional centers of faith and religious practice are declining, especially in the western world.

    2. Let's not forget there are "Anglo Catholics" and there are "Anglo Catholics". Some simply like the smells and bells, but think like Unitarians. Others are more Roman than Rome in many ways, but will never accept domination by a monarchical papacy.
      Anglicanism is much more complex than many Anglicans perceive it to be and very definitely more than Roman Catholics are inclined to view them. I still say Anglicanism is largely a "protestant" denomination, with or without the vestments and the richness of the liturgy. Catholics need to be mindful of that.

      What I fear, is there may be fewer Anglican converts to the Ordinariate than we ever expected to fill those churches. So, as you say, they're turned into pubs, book shops, and nightclubs.

  2. Oh, I do wish we would stop hurling words like "heresy" about.
    I wish we would stop trying to proselytise or "recruit" as Fr. Barry Tomlinson calls it.
    The Ordinariate is about offering a home to those who have already decided to take the step towards full communion with Rome, not about bombarding Anglicans with logic so that they convert and "return home". Surely we talk about the "gift" of faith. Gifts are not given via bombardment.
    Disaffected Anglicans have indeed many choices – Western Rite Orthodoxy not being the least among them. The only problem with joining orthodoxy would seem to be the continuing absence of communion with the see of Peter.
    But I am not in the business of ramming the Ordinariate down people's throats, and so I find Dr. Oddie's article very unfortunate. Let an Anglican, like Geoffrey Kirk, write that article, but not a Catholic, please.
    I see our rôle in the Ordinariate as living the Anglo-Roman faith, setting a shining example of how it can be, evangelising among the non-Christian population – there are enough of them after all. People will see the beauty of holiness through us if we fulfil our mission – I am not afraid that they will not "come home" of their own accord.

    1. The only problem with joining orthodoxy would seem to be the continuing absence of communion with the see of Peter.
      That hasn't bothered Anglicans and Lutherans for 450 years. It surely hasn't bothered Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians for as far back as 1500 years.

      Until Rome and the Orthodox east have united, there really is no "coming home" for anyone else. You're buying an unfinished product, just one half of the treasure map, whether you convert to Orthodoxy or Rome.

  3. Orthodoxy is indeed intriguing; however, ethnic differences and loyalties are too!
    Of course, the Patriarch of Constantinople is still (sort of) understood to be first among equals, and when the East is called upon for a single representative, his presence lends some credibility to any sense of unity.

    The Roman Communion presents an opportunity for Western (and Eastern) Christians to return to the Catholic and Apostolic Faith ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ. It has a continuing Tradition of offering the full deposit of God's Revelation by His Incarnation and Resurrection and is ordered by the Holy Spirit as guardian and teacher of the Faith. Anglicans should understand that their liturgy was translated (into beautiful English) from the Western (Latin) Rite
    of the Universal Church. Anglican Use within the Roman Rite is seen as a honored gift to the greater Catholic Church by Pope Benedict, as well as by many other noted theologians and liturgists.

    Unfinished business? Yes, Dunstan, but definitely a move in the right direction.

  4. I agree with Father Tomlinson's statement regarding the fond selfishness of hanging on to the Church of England. "It" is not our Church, and it will waste away, as a denomination, mainly due to the listing offered by "Observer," which are the sinful tendencies of so many of us within Christianity. We must love and obey God, and take good care of each other, in faith, hope and love. Let us learn to love education, respect authority, and gain in wisdom and Grace in search of unity for God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  5. I was born into and nurtured by the Church of England. I was not aware that I was an Anglo Catholic (or High Church) until I was quite mature as my environment didn't make a meal of it. When I reached the age of 28 I then met and married a Catholic girl – we have been married for almost forty years now.

    After marriage I started accompanying my wife to the Catholic Mass every week and found little difference in the form of the service from what I was used to. I attended a nearby Anglican church in order to partake of the Eucharist. This routine continued until fairly recently when the CofE started to take a direction which I was unwilling to follow – female priests and possibly bishops and the acceptance of declared homosexual clerics. Worse now with proposed legal change in the UK of the definition of "marriage" and the apparent willingness of some Anglican clerics to celebrate "same sex marriages" should the proposed legislation prevail.

    But, I must say that now that I have been received into the Catholic Church there appears to me to be as much, if not more, nonconformity with the "rules and regulations" as there as is in the CofE. So, for Catholics to blithely, and in an offhand manner, say that Anglicans are "heretics" is just plain nonsense. Talk about "frying pans" and "fire"!

    If we use the adjective "protestant" to describe those Catholics who are against some of the teachings of the Holy Mother Church then the Church of Rome, in my experience, has a high proportion of "protestants" amongst the "faithful" – maybe a higher percentage than the CofE.

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