01 October 2007

The Muddle In The Middle.

Jordan Hylden considers the widely varying reactions to the New Orleans House of Bishops' meeting:

There seem to be as many opinions as there are Anglicans, and they do not appear to be coalescing. The optimist, of course, might say that the widespread disagreement is proof of the Episcopal bishops’ success, in that they managed to find a middle ground that dissatisfied the extremes on both sides. Indeed, many Anglicans seeking to be moderates have already made such an argument. The pessimist, however, might just as easily say that the widespread confusion goes all the way down, demonstrating the incoherent muddle at the heart of Anglicanism itself.

Jeffrey Steenson, the admired bishop of the Rio Grande, more or less said as much in his farewell address last week as he departed for the Roman Catholic Church. It all goes to show, he argued, what happens when you reject papal primacy; in essence, it creates a vacuum of authority that, thanks to human fallenness, leads inevitably to doctrinal and moral chaos. And of course Cardinal Newman had said the same thing about Anglicanism more than a century ago. Both the optimist and the pessimist perspectives—neither of which are necessarily the result of mere “optimism” or “pessimism”—are well worth keeping in mind for anyone seeking to understand Anglican events in the days ahead.

Here's the whole thing.


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