Monday, March 30, 2015
Why Anglicanism Made Me Catholic
I have had this blog up for a couple years now and scarce are the blogs regarding Anglicanism. Yet, if there was a final kick in the pants that I needed to become Catholic, it was my time as an Anglican.
My exploration of Anglicanism was an attempt to truly discern if the truth that the Catholic Church claims can be found elsewhere. I had already known of the corrosion of biblical teaching in the Episcopal Church, even during my time as an evangelical. The first community I had explored was led by a former head of the Vineyard denomination, but as much as the community was friendly, I was looking for an authentic Anglican experience. I then discovered a local high-church Anglican community in the area, and it was there that I discovered the life and spirituality of being an Anglican: liturgy, the book of common prayer, a different model of fellowship, intellectual pursuit, sacred music, and sacraments. It was time as an Anglican where the idea really hit me- being a Christian really is accepting the physical reality of God as well as the spiritual. We are physical beings, and we need to engage with the physical reality to discern spiritual truths. So much of my time as an evangelical was an act of suppressing all that is around me, in order to keep my thoughts on something I cannot fathom. My first Anglican liturgy came with the rich goodness of beautiful architecture, incense, chanting and hymns, and reverent language. All these things brought my mind into focus on the one true reality, God's Divine Majesty. All my senses were engaged, drawing me into the throne room of God.
This is not to say that other evangelicals cannot have a rich view of God- I don't believe that. Yet, I believe it is harder. As I said, much in evangelicalism involves the suppression of physical things in order to wait for the spiritual reality to occur, i.e. death. Yet, because we are physical beings, why then must all physical things, even beauty, be suppressed? I remember so much of the Sunday services being held in places that could easily be converted Costco stores. While the Spirit of God exists everywhere, I was allowing a disservice to myself. My time as an Anglican showed me that God is in the beauty, in the taste, in the thought, in the smell, in the touch.
So why did I leave that? Thankfully I didn't, but I felt like I needed to. Firstly, it didn't have the full truth of all that Christ gave to his Church. Anglicanism maintains much of the richness that was in England before King Henry VIII broke off from the Catholic Church. Yet, the sting of separation allowed perverted teaching to permeate the traditional that existed before hand. When England seperated, the King replaced the role of the Pope and the Magisterium and placed it upon himself. The King could now interpret scripture for the people. It didn't matter if it was the King or every person individually interpreting scripture, a rupture had occurred. In Anglicanism today, there is no magisterial authority. The Anglican Communion was long held together by different efforts, but now the weak supports are caving. Anglicans were tied together through a common liturgy and prayer book. Yet, it isn't enough. It lacks the authority that Jesus Christ left his Church. Anglicans will admit that there is limited authority in Anglicanism, and it is just through mutual agreement. If the agreements end, so does the authority.
I became Catholic, and I am glad that I belong to the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. I can be Catholic, and keep my Anglican traditions (traditions that I would argue are truly Catholic to begin with). In another post I hope to share some key figures I appreciate from Anglicanism.
Also, I recorded a podcast tonight with some friends giving a more personal testimony of my journey from Anglicanism to Catholicism. I hope to share that with you all soon!