John of the Cross
John of the Cross
Father Alan writes below:
"catholicity" is sort of a term with a definition - unlike "emerging" - not quite up for debate I don't think. It's about being a universal Christian - one who accepts the whole Church, the whole Faith. That's what I think of, and generally, that's what it means.This is what I hope the move to "catholicity" is all about - not changing around our aesthetics, but learning to drink deeply of the deeper and wider Christian stream rather than picking a particular sectarian tradition or even confining oneself to the Roman Catholic Church (which I don't mean in a negative sense). I think of something a chaplain friend told me once (I wonder who said it?), that "all theology done in schism is heretical." Kind of like, "only the whole Church can know the whole Truth." I believe that, and that's why I appreciate it when I know that Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox read and appreciate (and criticize!) one another's writings and dialog with one another.
Now, for Protestants who have never seen anything past 500 years ago as far as the Church and its teaching goes, that may well mean catholicity means a lot of dipping back into what came before. That might look like some Protestants are just "gussying up" to some. And it may be the case for some of them.
I do think, though, that there is something else going on, and a good bit of it in some circles of the "emerging church." People are actually beginning to see some things in some arenas, which have been hidden or "lost" for a long time. And that is a good thing. If it's just about playing dress-up, then it won't go very far, but it's not all about that everywhere we see Catholic-y stuff going on in non-Catholic churches.
So, we're not talking about "C"atholicity - which might mean, trying to be like Catholics. We're talking about catholicity, which seems to be about honestly trying to tap into the Truth of the whole Church - not just trying to imitate externals that may be attractive.
Now, there is the matter of some in the Roman Catholic arena who will say that it's impossible to BE catholic without being Catholic. I would say, I agree that it's not possible to be catholic without recognizing the Roman Catholic Church and the rich Truth contained within its borders. But I obviously wouldn't think that saying there's only one ecclesiastical "place" one can be catholic is altogether accurate.
It's also one of the major reasons I identify with Anglicanism: I believe that stance is kind of built in. Not the mainline, "liberal Christian" version, and not really the straight-up evangelical version. But it's in there. (But that's a whole 'nother discussion...!)