Byzantine chant: Lament for Constantinople: Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη/ “O Lord the heathen are come” | YouTube

Source: Byzantine chant: Lament for Constantinople – Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη / “O Lord the heathen are come” | YouTube (performed by Alexander Lingas/ Liturgica)

“Fall of Constantinople, (29 May 1453). After ten centuries of wars, defeats, and victories, the Byzantine Empire came to an end when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453. The city’s fall sent shock waves throughout Christendom. It is widely quoted as the event that marked the end of the European Middle Ages. Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη translated as ‘O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance’. Manuel Chrysaphes, the composer of this marvellous historical piece, which has been discovered at the beginning of the first world war, did not find more eloquent words than those of Psalm 78 [Psalm 79] in order to mourn in it the church of Aghia Sophia [Hagia Sophia].”

 

A short quote on the Caroline Divines

Caroline Divines – montage

Source: A Saint Study: Charles Stuart, King and Martyr | The North American Anglican

“The English School of Theology experienced a renaissance of sorts under the ‘Caroline Divines,’ the theologians who delineated the manner in which the Church of England did and did not agree with the Reformation as articulated on the Continent; these Divines number among them Blessed Lancelot Andrewes, Blessed George Herbert, Blessed John Cosin, Blessed Thomas Ken, Blessed William Laud, Blessed Jeremy Taylor, and Richard Hooker. These men were most emphatic on demonstrating their adherence to the Fathers of the Church rather than to their own reading of Scriptures.”

— from “A Saint Study: Charles Stuart, King and Martyr,” by Raymond Davidson, May 15, 2020

 

The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

John Whitgift (c. 1530-1604): Archbishop of Canterbury and a defender of the Elizabethan Settlement, the classic attempt to bridge the divide between Reformed Catholic Anglicans and what McDermott calls Calvinist (I would call them Reformed Protestant) Anglicans.

One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion.

Source: The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

Gerald McDermott – recently retired Chair of Anglican Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, the author or editor of 23 books, and teacher of courses in Anglicanism, history and doctrine, theology of world religions, and Jonathan Edwards – on the much-debated subject of the Anglican via media.

As quoted above, McDermott writes that “One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion,” and continues,

“Although there have been various ways of interpreting the term [via media], more recently its interpretation has divided two groups of Anglicans—those who insist on the Reformed character of Anglicanism and those who see Anglicanism as a way of being reformed and catholic but distinct from Rome.

The first group of Anglicans (let’s call them ‘Calvinist Anglicans’) says that the via media runs between Wittenberg and Geneva but finally ends in Geneva. The English Reformation, by its lights, was first inspired by Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and grace alone. Then it turned to Calvin and his Institutes as its best expression of Christian faith purged of papist ceremonial. Cranmer and Jewell turned attention away from Catholic spectacle and back toward the preached Word. The Protestant center of Anglicanism is demonstrated by the Thirty-Nine Articles’ exaltation of biblical authority and rejection of Catholic sacramentalism.

“The other group of Anglicans (‘reformed catholic Anglicans’ might be apt) acknowledges Reformed influence on the early Anglican theologians and continued Reformation influence on Anglican soteriology and authority. For a few examples, Anglicans have always rejected Pelagianism, papism, and Mariolatry. But reformed catholic Anglicans point as well to the embrace of catholic worship—not Roman but patristic, and that of the undivided Church of the first millennium of Christianity—by its earliest reformers and continuing through the Elizabethan and Restoration eras.”

“For these and a hundred other reasons, historians such as the general editor of the Oxford History of Anglicanism have maintained that ‘[d]eveloping within Anglicanism over centuries was a creative but also divisive tension between Protestantism and Catholicism, between the Bible and tradition, between the Christian past and contemporary thought and society.'”

It will probably surprise few regular readers of this blog that The Anglophilic Anglican falls into the second of these two camps: seeing in the Anglican tradition an expression of Christianity which is both Reformed and Catholic, but not Romanist. So, it appears, does McDermott; and he spends the rest of this fairly long but interesting essay in defending that stance – or as he puts it, endeavoring to

“show in this space that the reformed catholic conception of the via media as running between Rome and Geneva more accurately depicts the Anglican story than the Calvinist one. The Reformed tradition has had an undoubted influence upon our faith and worship, but it is only part of the story” –

as well as providing some cautions for those who would behave in a manner too over-zealous, on either side. As he concludes,

“I would suggest that… we should accept our Calvinist Anglican brothers and sisters as good Anglicans whom we can invite to share more of our rich Anglican patrimony. Come not only to hear but also to taste and see.

“We ask in turn that our Calvinist brethren would accept us as genuine Anglicans [as well]. Let us say to one another, Come let us reason together and learn from each other.

A very good and useful read, in my opinion!

 

“Angles at Play” – England in sport and spirituality | Crisis Magazine

 

“England is a strong land and a sturdy, and the plenteousest corner of the world… England is full of mirth and of game, and men oft-times able to mirth and game; free men of heart and with tongue.”

Source: Angles at Play – Crisis Magazine

An interesting take, from a Roman Catholic perspective, on the relationship between England’s “land of mirth and game,” and the English spirit, and spirituality – particularly as expressed in traditional faith and practice during the centuries of medieval catholicism, but continuing well into the modern era, especially in more rural (and thus, typically, traditional) areas:

“The English have a genius for play. Which other nation of Christendom has at the center of its villages not just a church but a field for sport? Along with the church and pub, the quintessential center of the English village is the cricket green…

“The origins of sport lie in the recreations and pastimes of pre-modern rural people. The agrarian and religious calendar shaped popular recreation as it did nearly every other aspect of English culture. From the land full of mirth and game, originated the primordial forms of many of the sports the world enjoys today.

“During the Middle Ages, the Church’s feast days were firmly embedded in England’s seasons of agricultural labor. Plough Monday, spring-time celebrations, harvest feasts, and autumn fairs were vital moments within the rhythm of organic English society. Robert Malcolmson notes how feast days were the occasion for festive leisure and for archaic forms of contemporary sports.

“Most of the saints’ days fostered in medieval England were tragically suppressed during the English Reformation, but many of the associated customs survived. Parish feasts (known as wakes) continued into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries while the principal holidays—Christmas, Shrovetide, Easter, May Day, and Whitsuntide—continued to be observed despite the best efforts of the essentially urban puritan movement.”

Well worth a read!

 

Update on the coronavirus pandemic – with some reflections from The Anglophilic Anglican (warning: LONG!)

President Trump has announced, in a brief statement at a news conference this afternoon (Friday, May 22, 2020), that churches and other “houses of worship” are to be considered essential, calling upon Governors to allow churches to open.

The President stated that he identified houses of worship “as essential places that provide essential services” – which they certainly are! – and called on governors “to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend.”

In a statement which is certain to be controversial, he asserted that “if they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” although it is unclear by what authority or by means of what practical mechanism he would do that.

Now, I generally tend to be on the side of “States Rights,” but to be frank, many of the governors have seemed to be using their heads for little but hat-racks in this crisis, and that’s putting it as gently as I possibly can. Kudos to the President for expressing a truth which earlier generations would have held to be self-evident! It’s just a shame he had to.

He further noted that “In America, we need more prayer, not less.” To all of which I can only say, about darned time! The fact that, as the President pointed out, many governors have considered bars and abortion centers to be “essential,” but left out churches, is something that has stuck in my craw for a good while, now! Again, kudos to President Trump.

Dr. Birx: These areas still show high numbers of positive tests ...

In addition, Dr. Deborah Birk, chief of the national Covid-19 task force, has pointed out that nationwide, new hospitalizations and emergency room admissions for both influenza-like illnesses and covid-like illnesses have been declining throughout the past month, according to CDC data. In fact, across the country, she points out that we are “below baseline.”

Maryland, sadly, has been lagging behind: it remained stubbornly “orange” when most other states had turned various shades of green: Dr. Birx reports that the CDC has been “calling out” the “high plateau” in Maryland for some weeks, now. But even the Old Line State has dropped to yellow, at least, over the last week. That is excellent news! The CDC website confirms this overall improvement, stating that

“Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19-like illness (CLI), as well as the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continue to decline. Mortality attributed to COVID-19 also decreased compared to last week but remains elevated above baseline,” noting cautiously, as always, that numbers “may increase as additional death certificates are processed.”

This doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, as of yet; and of course, there is always the chance for the dreaded “second wave.” But it is certainly encouraging to see some significant progress, at long last! Other pieces of data from the CDC website: Continue reading “Update on the coronavirus pandemic – with some reflections from The Anglophilic Anglican (warning: LONG!)”

J.D. Unwin on the correlation between sexual liberty and cultural downfall

Fulton Sheen – The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood

In Sex and Culture (1934), British anthropologist J. D. Unwin “studied 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe.” Writing in his blog, “Disfigured Praise: Affliction for the Comfortable,” Jonathon McCormack comments on Dr. Unwin’s findings:

“After studying cultures as diverse as the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and dozens of other groups, Dr. Unwin found a 100% perfect correlation between the practice of heterosexual fidelity and cultural development. As Unwin wrote, across 5,000 years of history he found absolutely no exception to his rule:

“These societies lived in different geographical environments; they belonged to different racial stocks; but the history of their marriage customs is the same. In the beginning each society had the same ideas in regard to sexual regulations. Then the same struggles took place; the same sentiments were expressed; the same changes were made; the same results ensued. Each society reduced its sexual opportunity to a minimum and displaying great social energy, flourished greatly. Then it extended its sexual opportunity; its energy decreased, and faded away. The one outstanding feature of the whole story is its unrelieved monotony.

Without exception, once restrictions on sexuality are lifted, especially female sexuality, a society destroys itself from within, and is later conquered from without. When not focusing mental and physical energy on building strong families, members of a culture lose the impetus for upkeep and innovation [emphasis added – The Angophilic Anglican].”

“Author Daniel Janosik puts Unwin’s findings this way:

“If the British anthropologist J. D. Unwin is correct in his assessment of society, this present generation in the Western world may be the last one. He found that when strict heterosexual monogamy was practiced, the society attained its greatest cultural energy, especially in the arts, sciences and technology. But as people rebelled against the prohibitions placed upon them and demanded more sexual opportunities, there was a consequent loss of their creative energy, which resulted in the decline and eventual destruction of the civilization. Remarkably, he did not find any exception to this trend.”

“The fact the world’s three major religions, which date back to the Bronze Age, have been structured around the ideals of monogamy and sexual restraint for thousands of years should tell us something about tampering with the set and frame of civilization, then calling the resulting degeneracy ‘progress.’

“Unwin concluded that the fabric that holds a society together is sexual in nature. When life-long heterosexual monogamous relationship is practiced, the focus is on the nurture of the family and energy is expended to protect, plan for, and build up the individual family unit. This extends to the entire society and produces a strong society focused on preserving the strength of the family.

However, he found that when sexual opportunities opened the door to premarital, post-marital, and homosexual relationships, the social energy always dissipated as the individual focused more on self-gratification rather than societal good.”

To which The Anglophilic Anglican can only quote that great philosopher of the earlier and more innocent 1960s, Gomer Pyle:

Gomer Pyle – Surprise, surprise, surprise!


[Disclaimer: No offense to Mr. McCormack intended, but I would not have titled the linked blog-post “How Women destroy civilization,” if I had been the one writing it.

It is not women per se who destroy civilization: it is masculinized women and feminized men; it is decoupling sexual relations from the gift and blessing, but also unquestionably the responsibility, of procreation and parenthood, and especially the vocation of motherhood; it is, as the above quotes make clear, privileging personal gratification over the good of families and societies.

Women who understand their primary and proper role being to act in support of their husbands, families, and homes are no threat to civilization, but indeed, one of its most essential pillars! Feminism, not femininity, is the problem.

New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

Meta-analysis comparing 18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health: “Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health.”

Source: New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

While carefully avoiding any conclusion relating to causation, this new study – which compared “18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health (which was narrowed down to depression, anxiety, deliberate self-harm, stress perception, and quality of life)” and which included 149,559 meat-consumers and 8,584 meat-abstainers from Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania – nonetheless found a striking correlation.

“The researchers found ‘clear evidence’ that those who abstained from consuming meat tended to have higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and self-harm compared to those who did not.”

Quite a bit higher, in fact! The Toronto Sun, in a report on this study, notes that “the study found people eating a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescription drugs for mental illness and just about three times more likely to contemplate suicide. It also indicated that 33% of vegetarians suffer from depression or anxiety.” That is pretty dramatic, and it is not an isolated phenomenon. As study author Urska Dobersek, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Indiana, states,

“‘My co-authors and I were truly surprised at how consistent the relation between meat-avoidance and the increased prevalence of mental illness was across populations. As we stated in our conclusion, ‘Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health,’ Dobersek told PsyPost.”

That is certainly a gentle, and politically-correct, way to express the matter! Dobersek does, however, make a significant, if carefully-phrased, recommendation:

“Our study provides further evidence that because humans are omnivores, it is illogical and potentially unhealthy to recommend “eating a varied diet” followed by a long list of foods, beverages, and nutrients to avoid (e.g., meat, eggs, sugar, salt, fat, fruit juices, cholesterol, etc.). This is especially true, as my co-authors demonstrated, when the proscriptions and recommendations are based on a ‘fictional discourse on diet-disease relations.’”

To which I would only add, in the words of the “Selkirk Grace,”

“Some have meat and canna eat, and some have nae that want it. But we have meat, and we can eat, so let the Lord be thankéd!”

 

 

“The British Church” – George Herbert (with some reflections thereupon)

Image may contain: sky, tree, grass, outdoor and nature
“A Distant View of Hythe Village and Church, Kent” – Arthur Nelson (c. 1767).

The British Church

~ by George Herbert (1633)

I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
When she doth write.
A fine aspect in fit array,
Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare,
For all they either painted are,
Or else undress’d.
She on the hills which wantonly
Allureth all, in hope to be
By her preferr’d,
Hath kiss’d so long her painted shrines,
That ev’n her face by kissing shines,
For her reward.
She in the valley is so shy
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
About her ears;
While she avoids her neighbour’s pride,
She wholly goes on th’ other side,
And nothing wears.
But, dearest mother, what those miss,
The mean, thy praise and glory is
And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace,
And none but thee.

 

Nota Bene: Herbert is referring, of course, to the Anglican via media (“middle way”), which is perhaps best thought of in Aristotelian terms as the “Golden Mean” between the extremes of surfeit (too much of something) and deficit (too little). Indeed, “via media” is itself a 19th-century term for this phenomenon; earlier centuries expressed it as the mean (cf. Herbert, above) between extremes, or even, as we shall see below, a “virtuous mediocrity.” But all can be understood in fundamentally the same sense.

Herbert’s view in this poem is expressed in rather more extreme language by Bishop Simon Patrick of Ely (1625-1707), who wrote of “that virtuous mediocrity which our Church observes between the meretricious gaudiness of the Church of Rome and the squalid slattery of fanatic conventicles” – though it should be noted that, as one scholarly commentator has pointed out, “squalid slattery” fits the sectaries of the Civil War and Commonwealth period better than the sober demeanor of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the Continent, the products of the magisterial Reformation.

And indeed, it was within that context – the era of the English Civil War and Interregnum, and the eventual Restoration, that Bishop Patrick was writing.

In any case, a love of order, seemliness, and good taste (cf. I Corinthians 14:40 – “Let all things be done decently and in order”) has led the Anglican Church along a middle path between these two extremes. And as it has furthermore been elsewhere noted, the via media meant positioning the English Church such that it could recognize not only its affinity with the medieval catholic tradition, on the one hand, but with the enduring legacy of the Reformation, on the other: a position of both-and, not either-or.

Indeed, I would submit that the Anglican via media represents the point where several axes come together, if one can visualize a multi-dimensional graph: the legacy of the medieval Catholic tradition and that of the magisterial Reformation, as noted above; “High Church” and “Low Church” liturgy and churchmanship; Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical theology; and indeed Eastern and Western forms of catholic orthodoxy.

I believe that, as a contemporary Collect for that great 16th-century Anglican divine, Richard Hooker, has put it, the Anglican via media is to be understood

“not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth.”

The challenge, and the sadness, of course, is that humans have a tendency to want to hive off into our own little enclaves, and to declare our understanding of the “truth” to be the only one that is acceptable. Anglicans are no less guilty of this than are others!