Fr Tomlinson on “The Lesson of Anglicanism: liberalism will tear you apart.”

Fr. Ed Tomlinson, an Ordinariate priest in England, has an article in The Catholic Herald entitled The lesson of Anglicanism: liberalism will tear you apart.

In it he captures some of the reasons why those of us who come from the Anglican world have been so uneasy during the recent synods on the family, and dismayed by the rising factionalism in the Catholic Church where one bishops’ conference or diocese interprets Amoris Laetitia in light of what the Church has always taught regarding Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment, but others say the document opens the way for not only the divorced and ‘remarried’ but also those in other “irregular” relationships to receive.  We know too well how this movie ends.  Anyway, back to Fr. Tomlinson.

He writes:

Two major developments in the 20th Century brought this uneasy truce into question. The first was the adoption of synodical governance which led to a radical politicisation of the Church of England. With everything suddenly up for grabs, by virtue of majority vote, the factions no longer pulled together in unity but began to plot and lobby against each other. General Synod became a battleground on which theological opponents could be put to the sword. And it didn’t take long for the liberal lobby, strengthened by trends in society and over-represented on the bench of bishops, to realise synod worked in their favour. Did the Holy Spirit said no to women priests in July’s Synod? Fret not: table the motion again in February, then repeat ad nauseum, until the Holy Spirit finally gets the message! That is how democratising the deposit of faith tends to work, though the system admittedly tends to favour Barabbas over Jesus.

The second development which disrupted Anglican unity occurred when the Book of Common Prayer became optional not mandatory. You are what you pray: lex orandi, lex credendi. With the shackles removed, parishes started to go their own way. Today, there is almost no common ground between an evangelical parish on one side of town and its liberal counterpart on the other. This represents a massive problem for the Church of England: how can you bring people together in love when there is zero shared praxis between them? The situation has become so grave that the Lambeth Conference can no longer be held, due to deep divisions even at the level of the episcopacy.


4 thoughts on “Fr Tomlinson on “The Lesson of Anglicanism: liberalism will tear you apart.”

    • Too bad for them, since Fr. Tomlinson is expressing nothing other then the (historical) truth. The late Rev’d Canon Prof. E. L. Mascall (1905-1993) said much the same thing more then once in the last 25 years of his life.


      • Mascall’s views can be found expressed at length and in detail in the manuscript of his last, never published, book, *The Overarching Question: Divine Revelation or Human Invention* (its final version dated from ca. 1985), which resides in the archives of Pusey House, Oxford. They were published in abbreviated form in a new preface to the second edition (1984) of his *Theology and the Gospel of Christ* (London, 1977: SPCK) and also as an essay, “Whither Anglican Theology,” in *When Will Ye Be Wise: The State of the Church of England* ed C. A. Anthony Kilmister (London, 1983: Blond & Briggs). It is well worth reading.


    • I’m not surprised. Prophets typically are NOT popular because they call society — and the ecclesial community — to task. But slaying or ostracizing the messenger — common fates of prophets — does not alter the veracity of the message.



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