Chris Dierkes, a former Jesuit seminary student turned Anglican, has a host of interesting observations about sexuality in the Catholic and Anglo-Catholic priesthoods:

I’ve spent some portion of time in Latin America (Mexico, Peru, and Nicaragua to be precise) and how many times did I meet a local parish priest who had a live-in nanny or church secretary or housecleaning lady or whatever they called her along with the priest’s “nephew” or “niece”? Answer: more than once.

Why don’t we just call it what it is? She’s not the cleaning lady; she’s his wife. He’s her husband. That’s their child. They’re a family. The family is a good, even naturally beautiful thing. What’s unnatural is to be unable to call this what it is.

Just so with gay clergy. Their offering is a very holy one, but the gift becomes marred when locked into this tortured game of doing everything possible–inevitably ending in ironic tragic-comedy as I said–to not admit what is totally obvious and staring you in the face. When freed from this hypocritical charade, their lives become become a symbol both of a desire for and expression of a redeemed humanity, a redeemed creaturely existence. (Or so I believe anyway).

The reasons why homosexuals may be disproportionately represented in the Catholic priesthood seems obvious: if one is uncomfortable with one’s sexuality, choosing a path where one is denied the their sexuality is highly logical. That there seems to be portions of this in the Anglican Communion strikes me as bizarre. Perhaps relating to my own difficulties with faith and how I am an Episcopalian by genealogy and default as much as sturdy conviction, my thought is that if you’re a homosexual that cannot embrace your homosexuality, and you’re a High Church, Anglo-Catholic conservative type… why not just cross the dang pond? To be a conservative Anglo-Catholic of the sort that the Pope is reaching out to is to reject a good portion of what makes the Anglican Church distinct from the Catholic Church. These days, even the conservatism is somewhat optional in the Catholic ministry.

As Episcopalianism is one of the periodic topics of Hit Coffee, I’d been intending to remark on His Holiness’s recent entreaty with conservative High Church Episcopalians to (re-)join the fold, but I haven’t had enough time to develop a concrete thesis.

Category: Church

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2 Responses to A Perspective on Anglo-Catholicism

  1. Ths says:

    Originally, the bulk of what made Anglicanism distinct from Roman Catholicism was the negation of what makes the Catholic Church particularly Roman. However, Anglo-Catholics even going back to the 16th century (pre- the use of the term) have looked to unity with the Orthodox Church as well. What is the Orthodox Church if not a collection of national churches with some local traditions and variations who nonetheless accept the ancient faith uncorrupted? The Roman Church, however, is more complicated. It has obvious cultural links to Britain, but why if you are High Church are you forced to reconcile yourself to papal infallibility, a long-term historical process that reached its apex not in the 11th or 16th but 19th century?! Note if you “cross the pond”, you join an organisation where it might be *more difficult* to practise more ancient forms of the liturgy.

    On the contrary, I see nothing distinctly Anglican/Episcopalian that is not Anglo-Catholic. If you want Puritanism, become a Presbyterian/Reformed/Baptist. If you just want a liberal church that is not too emotional and has limited structure, why not be Methodist?

  2. trumwill says:

    I appreciate your comment and don’t have much to add to it.

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