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

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“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!

 

Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms | Christian News on Christian Today

marriage

Sex only belongs in heterosexual marriage, a new statement from the Church of England’s House of Bishops has declared.

Source: Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms | Christian News on Christian Today

Somewhat surprisingly, given its history in recent years and decades, the House of Bishops of the Church of England – the “Mother Church” of all Anglican Christians – has affirmed that

“For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”

This is the traditional teaching, albeit phrased somewhat cautiously. They go on to say that

“In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently,”

which is a legitimate call to pastoral sensitivity: as a dear, excellent, and godly Anglican priest of my acquaintance put it, the duty of the Church is to “uphold the standard, and deal pastorally with the exceptions.” They go on to affirm that

“Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings. The introduction of same sex marriage… has not changed the church’s teaching on marriage or same sex relationships.”

The Church of England and its HOB has itself fallen what seems to be short of God’s purposes for human beings in a number of regards over, as I say, the last several decades, and they do waffle a bit on practical application. But I am a believer in giving credit where it’s due!

The feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea | Holy Smokes

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 August 1st is the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea in the United states (July 31 in the east). His story is one of mystery and tradition…

Source: Holy Smokes: The feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

— William Blake, “And did those feet in ancient time? (Jerusalem)

Today is the commemoration of St. Joseph of Arimathea (as found in “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1963,” approved for use in the UECNA), who is best known from the Gospel accounts as the one who gave his tomb to be the burial place of our Lord, Jesus Christ, following his crucifixion. The Collect for this day reads:

O MERCIFUL God, by whose servant Joseph the body of our Lord and Saviour was committed to the grave with reverence and godly fear: Grant, we beseech thee, to thy faithful people grace and courage to serve and love Jesus with unfeigned devotion all the days of their life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

He – Joseph of Armimathea – may have another significance, too, especially for those of us who are of the English tradition. There is a persistent legend that Joseph was not only the recoverer of Jesus’ body, but his uncle, and a tin-merchant with trading contacts as far afield as Cornwall, in what was then the Roman Province of Britannia; and that he took the young Jesus with him on a trip there during the so-called “lost years” of Jesus’ life.

There is even a tradition that when Joseph thrust his thornwood staff into the ground, it took root, flowered, and blossomed, becoming the famous Glastonbury Thorn that survives to this day near the old Abbey of Glastonbury. It is, at any rate, this legendary trip (which cannot be conclusively proven – nor for that matter, disproven) which serves as the inspiration for the lines from the poet William Blake, quoted above, which became the well-known hymn, “Jerusalem”:

Personally, I tend to believe this pious legend – or at least give it the benefit of the doubt – and to consider that there is at least a good chance that “those feet in ancient times” did indeed “walk upon England’s mountains green”! Britain was in ancient and medieval times known as a particularly holy island, and what better reason for that, than that our Saviour did indeed grace “England’s green and pleasant land” with His sacred footsteps?

In any case, wishing you a blessed Feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea!

66th Anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

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👑 On this day in 1953, Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.

Source: The British Royalist Society, which writes:

“The Queen was the 39th sovereign to be crowned in the Abbey and the sixth Queen to be crowned there in her own right. The service used for the Queen’s coronation descends directly from King Edgar’s in 973.

“The Sovereign’s procession was made up of 250 people including Church leaders, Commonwealth Prime Ministers, members of the Royal Household, civil and military leaders and the Yeoman of the Guard.

“Her Majesty’s accession to the throne also set history in and of itself. Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) was the first grandmother to see two Sovereigns ascend and Prince Charles was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation as Sovereign. Princess Anne did not attend the ceremony as she was considered to be too young. On a side note, Princess Marie Louise (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter) witnessed four coronations, including that of Elizabeth II.

“129 nations and territories were represented at the coronation with a whopping 8,200 guests were in attendance.

“Read more about the coronation and its importance here.”

[The Anglophilic Anglican notes that the above-linked short essay on the Coronation is quite fascinating and helpful in understanding the significance of this ceremony.]

None of them look terribly happy about it, in this picture – but considering that Her Majesty had come to the crown unexpectedly due to the premature death of her father, King George VI, that is perhaps to be expected.

Nota Bene: I am not certain of the identity of the prelate to the right of Her Majesty; but she was crowned by the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Geoffrey Francis Fisher, then Archbishop of Canterbury. Aside from the Coronation of Her Majesty, he is perhaps most famous for his assertion that

“We [meaning the Church of England, and by extension Anglicans in general] have no doctrine of our own — we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock.”

The one to the far left, I am quite confident, is then-Bishop of Durham Arthur Michael Ramsey, who became the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury (1961 – 1974), following Fischer: one of the greatest – arguably, the greatest of the 20th century – occupants of that Primatial See. He was known as a gifted theologian, educator, and advocate of Christian unity, and the writer of many books, perhaps most notably his first: The Gospel and the Catholic Church.

Ironically and somewhat amusingly, Fisher – who had been Ramsey’s headmaster at Repton, and known him basically all his life – is said to have counseled Prime Minister Harold Macmillan against selecting Ramsey for approval by Her Majesty as Archbishop of Canterbury, commenting that

“Doctor Ramsey is a theologian, a scholar and a man of prayer. Therefore, he is entirely unsuitable as Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Macmillan reportedly responded,

“Thank you, your Grace, for your kind advice. You may have been Doctor Ramsey’s headmaster, but you were not mine.”

Ramsey was duly selected.

More on Shrove Tuesday (“Pancake Day”) customs in the UK

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As commented earlier, today is Shrove Tuesday, also known as “Pancake Day.” Apparently pancake races, in which the contestants have to flip pancakes while running along, are traditional for this day in parts of the British Isles. These are young choristers from the choir school of one England’s great cathedrals – I forget, now, which one (I’ve had the picture for quite a while…). Here are more customs, along with some recipes:

All About Pancake Day in the UK

Shrove Tuesday pancake races alive and well across the Diocese of Leeds

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Source: Shrove Tuesday pancake races alive and well across the Diocese of Leeds

Apparently there are some places in England that are keeping the tradition of Shrove Tuesday pancake races alive (although this is from 2015)!

“Pancake racing has been taking place this Shrove Tuesday… on streets across the diocese from village churches to Minsters and Cathedrals. It was the first experience of the traditional Ripon Shrove Tuesday Pancake races for the Dean, the Very Revd John Dobson, pictured below with a team of Cathedral staff racing along Kirkgate – including Canon Paul Greenwell, Verger Philip Bustard, Head verger Colin Belsey (right) and the Mayor of Ripon, Cllr Mick Stanley.”

https://www.leeds.anglican.org/sites/default/files/images/Pan2.jpg

Why pancakes, and why races? According to the Diocese of Leeds’ website,

“Shrove Tuesday is part of the Christian calendar marking the eve of Lent (40 days of fasting and prayers before Easter ). It was historically held so people could use up their supplies from the pantry before Lent began on Ash Wednesday. The word shrove comes from the Old English word shrive – to confess one’s sins. On Shrove Tuesday people confess their sins and it’s believed that pancake races came from women rushing to church before the noon cut-off time, clutching their half-finished pancakes.”

The “why pancakes” part I knew, of course; but the “why races” is interesting, even if perhaps apocryphal!

Blackburn Cathedral is Muslim territory after Islamic call to prayer | ‘Rebel Priest’ Dr Jules Gomes, Columnist for Republic Standard

When an Imam recited the Adhan in the consecrated space of Blackburn Cathedral the night before Remembrance Day, he was claiming it as Islamic territory.

Source: Blackburn Cathedral is Muslim territory after Islamic call to prayer | ‘Rebel Priest’ Dr Jules Gomes, Columnist for Republic Standard

This is absolutely appalling. How can we – by which I mean Western society in general, and Christians (or people claiming to be Christian) in particular, not, I hope and pray, readers of this blog – be so blind, and so foolish?

Gavin Ashenden on Rod Liddle on ++Justin Welby, Archbishop of Cant… er… Canterbury

 

 

Bishop Gavin Ashenden, a former Queen’s Chaplain who resigned from the Church of England in 2017 to be able to more freely defend Christian orthodoxy and Western civilization – both primary concerns of The Anglophilic Anglican – posted this on his Facebook page, commenting:

The C of E is in serious trouble when The Sunday Times call out “The Archbishop of Cant.”

Rod Liddle on Justin Welby: “There is a touch of the Frank Spencer about Welby, the ++ of Cant; he looks really,really stupid, as well as hypocritical. He is his own satire.”

Tragic & true.

The quote is part of a longer passage of Liddle’s which is worth quoting more fully, in my opinion:

“And so Justin [Welby, the present Archbishop of Canterbury] looks really, really stupid, as well as hypocritical. He is his own satire. But his ineptitude is not the main problem. Nor are his views on taxation and employment, many of which I agree with. It is that the [Church of England] has shelved God and replaced Him with the vapid narrative and fraudulent virtue-signalling of the liberal elite. And we can get all that stuff elsewhere, thank you.

Hear, hear!

Here’s my video on Medieval churches – The English Eccentric

A young English girl posts, as she says, “A Very Short Intro to Churches” – medieval English parish churches, specifically. This is by no means a professionally-done video; it’s a bit choppy, and the sound is often hard to hear. But it is – in my opinion – precisely its “amateur” (remember, the word means “one who loves”) nature that gives it its charm. It is a short video shot by a young, local girl who is trying to introduce others to something which is of great value to her, and lead them to love it, too: the tradition of medieval English parish church architecture.

In her words:

Here’s my video on Medieval churches. Apologies for the low production quality and the fact that I glossed over a whole load of info, but it was for the sake of brevity. Now find your local historic church, think of the countless generations who built it and worshipped there, and do the damn best you can to preserve it.

Kudos to her, and may God bless her!