Friday, November 09, 2007

Anglicans and Reformation

Everyone heard about what +Pittsburgh did, right? I'm wondering if I'll hear reactions from Richard+ or my new Nashotah House e-buddies...

Oh, and now Mrs. Schori is leveling the same threats (it's a form letter) at +Fort Worth. Hm.

Also, Father Pete is twriting a litle series introducing the English Reformation. Very readable. Go click.

I'm often told by folks who don't read history that Henry VIII somehow "founded" the Church of England over the question of his lust, as opposed to the "spiritual" reformation on the continent.

1. Christ founded His Church, and it spread to England.

2. Henry VIII needed an heir to take the throne, not simply another tarted up bed partner.

3. Medieval Christendom 101: the Church and what came to be known as the modern nation-state were very deeply intertwined. Lutherans certainly hold no moral high ground on the matter of local churches being led around by the nose by their secular overlords. Ahem.

4. On all sides, the Reformation was (the Reformations were?) both a political and ecclesiastical process. William Cavanaugh argues that the most staunchly Catholic territories in Germany were the ones with whom the Pope signed an agreement to keep his hands of their money and lands. Hm... (Think about it for a minute - then find the discussion in the first few pages of his recent Theopolitical Imagination.)

5. I think when we grow up a little bit, we quit trying to imagine that there is such a thing as purely spiritual causation in the life of the Church, removed from political/practical/temporal concerns. The dichotomy just doesn't work.

Okay, that's all.


Unknown said...


Good morning. I found your post intriguing, not because I disagreed with your basic premise, but because I agreed with the clarity of your post.

I am a Lutheran Pastor here in New Jersey. One of the most oft-forgotten facts about the Reformation is that it was both a religious and a secular Reformation. For Luther, it was a clear religious fight; for those who supported him, namely the princes in the provinces that later on formed Germany, it was a political fight against the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor.

Your assertion that the religious and the political always seem to be tied together was well worded.

And yes, we Lutherans shouldn't believe that our "you know what" doesn't stink when it comes government and religion. Sometimes, we forget what happened to our brothers and sisters in Europe during the 17th-19th Centuries.

God's blessings to you on your studies.

Rev. Anthony J. Iovine

Anonymous said...

Kyle, I know we are of different approaches to the presenting issue in the AC, though we are both of one mind with regard to your reminders :-) ....

However, I'm a little confused why you used a title to refer to the priest, the plus sign to +Duncan and then "Mrs." to refer to the presiding bishop.

Jerry S said...


I agree with your observations, but I would add that the involvement of the English crown in the reformation of the Church in England began earlier that Henry VIII. The delima of the crown was more than just the fact that Henry needed an heir; it was this added to the fact that the Pope was exercising political control in England and had been for generations.


Anonymous said...

Thought you could flush me out, eh? Well, I'll see your +Pittsburgh, and raise you a Cantuar and a Southern Cone!

While I hold that much of contemporary Anglicanism has become ecclesiologically incoherent, especially from a Catholic perspective, there is a certain logic in the diocese being the basic ecclesial unit (as affirmed recently by +Rowan in his letter to +CentralFlorida that affirmed that the diocese has priority over national province in Catholic ecclesiology) opting for other primatial integuments that foster greater Catholic concrescence. Couple that now with Venebles offer of primatial oversight to such diocese and Rowan's reported acquiessence to the Southern Cone gambit strikes me as somewhat more coherent than the Anglican alphabet soup that is forming throughout the country.

The question that the Catholic-minded need to ask is one that has been getting a bit of air time in some evangelical circles of late: Is the Reformation Over?