Sunday, November 29, 2015

What's In a Name?

Well, folks, I'm back. The world has become so crazy that I feel compelled to write again. In 3 years I have abandoned some things, though, and I thought you should hear about it.

I have largely stopped using the phrase "Independent Sacramental Movement." This term was largely popularized by my friend Bishop John Plummer. I have long felt it was useful but, to be honest, I have come to a point where I feel it might be too inclusive. Is there such a thing? Yes, Virginia, there is...! 

I have largely come to realize that such a large tent creates chaos. I personally believe that for there to be validity of sacraments there must be something equivalent to the scholastic phrases of matter, form, and intent. To intend is to "intend to do what the church does." But, for many people this is not clear. If they are Baptists disguised as Catholics, as noted in a previous post, are they "intending" to create sacrificing priests? Or, if esoterically inclined, are they intending to create sacrificing priests who adhere to the Nicene Creed and the tradition of the Church? These are, I believe, important questions. We can form bonds with each other but if we disagree on basic, established dogmas there can be a challenge to the relationship.

There is a bit of discomfort for me with the term "Independent Catholic" as well. After all, our groups were among the first to acknowledge that the divisions of Christianity were largely created by politics rather than faith. Therefore we have often offered the sacraments to various members of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We are never truly independent because we are united with each other by a common Baptism and a common faith.

Then there's Old Catholic. My own jurisdiction uses a derivative of this term because we believe in the premise and ideals of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland. But, it also causes a hell of a problem. I've had so many people who are "in the know" ask me if I am a SSPX-type priest in the past. Still others are wary of our liturgies because they are concerned they are only in Latin (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

I think I've settled on Autocephalous Catholic. Or maybe Self-Ruling Catholic. Calling myself Catholic but Not Roman sets up a relationship where I define everything I do in relation to Rome. And we have seen how well that works for Continuing Anglicanism! But Autocephalous Catholic insinuates that we control our own destiny. That we are Catholic but not controlled by a foreign patriarch or power. This is, to me, how the Church was envisioned. 

Now I just have to pass out dictionaries so people I meet can look up "Autocephalous."

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