If it ever came to be that I had to choose between my Catholic identity and my Anglican identity, I would choose my Catholic identity. Thankfully, I do not have to choose but I did have had to put off aspects of my Anglican identity that did not fit with a Catholic identity and while that was not easy, it was part of my spiritual growth and deeper conversion.
We had a member of our parish who came with us to join the Catholic Church, but one perceived insult in subtle changes in our parish life after another began to add up. I’m not sure exactly what these insult were, but I believe they were along the lines of our adding the Marian anthems and the Phos Hilarion to Evensong, perhaps to changing the posture for the Lord’s Prayer to standing rather than kneeling, that kind of thing. But then it was a remark about married priesthood and how it was going to be phased out in the Ordinariates that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, so he left and joined the part of our former parish that had broken away.
I guess his perceived Anglican identity was stronger than his Catholic identity. Maybe he saw Anglicanorum Coetibus as a “bait ‘n switch” move that promised far more than was actually delivered. I, however, am pleased and grateful at how much of our patrimony has been preserved in the Mass and I do not miss the things we had to give up even if I had some preferences.
I’ve been thinking of the piece about Cardinal Newman by Fr. Hunwicke both Christopher Mahon and I have quoted recently and this line:
When he put off all that was schismatic, separatist, narrow, flawed, partial, heretical, in the ethos he imbibed from the Church of England, he was free to be more perfectly and fully Anglican than ever he had been before.
So what don’t I miss? I don’t miss congregationalism or synodalism and the underlying current in the Anglican world that somehow democracy decides what we believe or whom we choose to have as our spiritual leaders. Thus, if there’s a disagreement on something, we leave and find another bishop to lead us.
I don’t miss Branch Theory and the ideas that went with it that somehow we in the traditional Anglican world were purer than the Roman Catholic Church which had to repent before we could be in communion with it.
I don’t miss the tendency towards division that makes one get up and get out when things aren’t going the way you want them.
There are other things that I personally had to put off, but I must get ready to go to Mass, so that will have to wait for another post.