Anglican Orthodoxy

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Pub Banker, Jul 31, 2023.

  1. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    On my Twitter feed today. My thoughts are the following:

    You are not Anglican if you are not One, Catholic, Apostolic, and Holy. In other words all things orthodox. If your faith are not those things you are not reformed Catholic proper; you are Protestant with an episcopate polity. In my opinion this applies to ACNA and certainly the TEC.

    Thoughts?
     

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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Humm, well! The article and your post do inspire some thoughts.

    The important thing for us is that we are Christians. That is, we are firm believers in, and followers (disciples) of, Christ. We have been spiritually regenerated by God's power, for we have received His incredible gift of grace, which He bestows upon all who trust in the finished, efficacious work of Christ in His death and resurrection.

    Because of this, we Christians are One. We are unified spiritually as members of the Body, with Christ Himself as our Head.

    We are catholic (that is, each and every Christian is a member of the universal Church, which is His Body on earth).

    We, the Church, are Holy because of the sanctifying power of God the Holy Spirit who lives in us and works mightily in & through us.

    As for "Apostolic," this might be the sticky one. What is meant by that word? To the Anglican, the Roman, the Orthodox, and some others, I think "Apostolic" is taken to mean "having apostolic succession in ordination." But I think there are some groups out there (non-denoms and perhaps some denomination or other) who would take it to mean, "being in unity with the teachings of the original Apostles." And since those teachings are almost entirely discoverable in the New Testament, they might perhaps (though not necessarily) be less disposed to search the Patristics. But does that disqualify them from being members of Christ's Body, the Church? If they follow and teach the fundamental doctrine of justification by grace through faith and not by works, they are fulfilling the Great Commission, building Christ's catholic church, and tending to His flock.

    Now here is a very salient point: Any group that does not teach the above doctrine is teaching a false gospel, and that group cannot truly be regarded as catholic (no matter what they call themselves).

    The Anglicans (restored Catholic Christians) find themselves in a situation: on the most fundamental doctrine and on the questions of spiritual One-ness in Christ and catholicity (universality), they are (in the main) aligned (and indeed, in unity) with Protestants (who mostly are restored Catholic Christians also). Roman Catholics (in particular) regard all sola gratia, sola fide denominations as non-Catholic, because they have falsely claimed the "Catholic high ground" for themselves. (I'm not well versed in Orthodox teachings, but I suspect they regard the church landscape as well as the grace/faith/works landscape in similar fashion to the RCs.) The RCC has spent several centuries of public-perception campaigning in mischaracterizing all sola gratia-, sola fide-teaching churches as Johnny-come-latelys (when in reality it is the RCC which deviated from the true Gospel), and they have fostered a negative connotation to the word "Protestant." Any Anglican (or Protestant, for that matter) attempt at "re-branding" to overcome the RCC's falsehoods faces a long, uphill battle; what they spent centuries developing could take centuries to overcome.

    But make no mistake, under no circumstances should we allow their PR campaign to force us into making concessions in their favor. Doctrinal error in the fundamental matter of how people may be saved & justified simply allows no room for compromise. If a denomination can't accurately teach the truth in that regard, it is consigning the bulk of its adherents to God's displeasure and it has failed in its Great Commission mission.

    An anecdote: just today I had a conversation with a Roman Catholic laymember. I asked him, "If someone came to you and asked how to be justified before God, what would you tell them?" He looked stumped and said, "That is a hard question!" After some pondering, he replied that he would say the person needs to live a "good" life. There was no thought in his mind about the sacrificial atonement of Christ (which, in RC teaching, is ongoing in every Mass). This, I daresay, is the typical RC layperson's mind-set and belief; they have not been taught the true Way of salvation by grace through faith and not by works.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2023
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  3. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    Thank you for your response. I am firm in my position but still want to ponder it!! Again, thank you; I will be back with you.
     
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  4. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    One of the first problems with that article is the butts-in-the-pews attendance-based (fundamentally evangelical) outlook of churchgoing. Anglicans shouldn't worry about how they market themselves if it is inconsistent with what they are, much less change themselves (again).

    I grow more puritan by the day, I swear. The writer goes on about how the Anglican divines were after the catholic faith, as if somehow the Lutherans, the Reformed, the Hussites and Methodists and Baptists were not.

    I don't care if it's an old argument, I will not hear any more nonsense about how Anglicanism is somehow not Protestant, or like it's somehow debatable. The most anglo-catholic continuing parishes still use ECUSA prayer books and hymnals the frontispieces of which proudly proclaim "According to the use of the protestant episcopal church."

    That is because we are indeed protestants with an episcopal government. Full stop.

    Secular historians point at Anglicans and say 'protestants'. Romanists and Byzantines say, 'protestants'. Other protestants say 'aberrant protestants'. Most Anglicans point at themselves and say '(catholicky) protestants.' Anglican doctrine came about in the reformation. That's nothing to be ashamed of: the reformers were right, whether or not you want to believe the scanty evidence behind the automythology of Celtic Christianity. I don't. I'm tired of people claiming a fictional perfect continuity between us and the Christianity of Augustine of Canterbury. There are things that people in Britain believed, that did change in the reformation, because those things were, ironically, innovations. We are catholic and protestant because there is not a contradiction between catholic and protestant. Objections to the contrary stem from think tanks in Latium.

    The writer goes something like 'the exvangelicals and liturgical practice, but I think it has to do more with patristics and that sweet, sweet continuity,' as if Luther and Calvin did not bother with the fathers, the anglo-catholics apparently having accepted the RC propaganda that the reformers pulled the reformation out of a hat. Or the fiction that the other protestants can't be part of the universal church, because of this nonsense 'catholicity' that is more aesthetic romanticism than doctrine.
     
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  5. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    To clarify more irenicly, my other point is this: when the writer, among others, appeals to catholicity and continuity with the fathers, it's actually a circular argument. Presbyterians think that they are Catholic in the sense that we are speaking. They believe that their government is the one described in the NT, and that the earliest fathers condoned it. Likewise, the Lutherans believe that they are in continuity with the fathers. Their confessions appeal to the first ecumenical council and historic church practice. Other protestants do not actually object to catholicity; they have a different view of what it means to he catholic in the first place. Even the hated 'Baptish' are interested in patristics. Educated Evangelicals, particularly but not exclusively the Reformed ones, are actually much better informed about the cultural context of Paul's letters and Late Antiquity than your average 'Catholic' denominations.

    As an aside, the continuity with the fathers (and by extension, Christ) is the only concept that matters for catholicity. The writer nearly identifies it while backing off of laying everything at the feet of the liturgy, because catholicity is not dependent on the liturgy, even for the Byzantines that believe that their liturgy is infallible, because even in their case, they believe that their liturgy is infallible owing to their being the catholic church and having a charism of the Holy Ghost. When people want to contrast 'apostolic' practice with the 'protestants' or 'evangelicals', the tacit assumption is this manichean struggle between electric guitars with projectors and loudspeakers versus thurifers and chanting. If you crack the LCMS hymnbook, you'll find something like five settings of, you guessed it, their lengthy liturgy. I grew up in a Presbyterian church, and they had, lo, a liturgy. Not a BCP one of magnitudinous length. But there was an order to worship: calls to worship, unison confession, the assurance of pardon, the reading of the scriptures, the message, (communion on appointed days), the offertory and the benediction, and hymns broken up between them. So, defining the una sancta by liturgical practice isn't reliable either.
     
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  6. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    That piece and the one that came out just before it where Bp. Robinson identified the shape of the Prayer Book liturgy as essentially Protestant got the usual suspects worked up. I tire of people who have only read the Fathers in memes trotting out their 3 or 4 favorites, particularly Vincent of Lerins and then writing a screed hardly worthy of a Middle School English class in response to the two lines or even buzzwords that set them off every time. They can't see the forest and "hearing, do not hear" what the author might be attempting to say.
     
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  7. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    My response to Rexlion:

    [Thank you, Rex, for your engaging questions. It was what I expected and got me to really thinking about my thread. Thank you.]

    “Because of this, we Christians are One. We are unified spiritually as members of the Body, with Christ Himself as our Head” – True. That is in 1 Corinthians 12:12. But we also have the Four Marks of the Church as clarified within the Second Ecumenical Council (I will refer to them collectively as “ECs” of which the Second but of one of them). My conclusion is that we must all reach back to the truth which is the faith that has been delivered onto the Saints and been entrusted unto us to practice.

    Apostolic is the root of our very foundation which began when Jesus blew his breath onto them for the first time (John 20:22). There are plenty of others who may think and worship differently based on a particular definition or understanding. They may have their roots in England but they are not Anglican. As Rex says correctly “Now here is a very salient point: Any group that does not teach the above doctrine is teaching a false gospel, and that group cannot truly be regarded as catholic (no matter what they call themselves).

    As much as we align with the Romans, they are guilty of several doctrinal errors (namely the popish power and declaration that they are the One church, free of error/faults and everyone else must fall in line). Their transgressions led to the Reformation which were led by the protestors ( or the Protestants) which cleaned up the faith. Unfortunately, they went too far; thus the Oxford Movement (OM or “Movement”) took place and got us back on the right track (I know, I know, bear with me for the sake of argument…). But there was no rebranding of any sort. The OM was a reaffirmation of the traditional expression of the Catholic Church that has sought to uphold and celebrate the Catholic faith as expressed in our Anglican tradition. Any modification without a thorough trashing out by a body of theologians and bishops (I guess that means yet another ecumenical council) may be impossible given the state of disunity among the orthodox churches (which I include the RCC, the Eastern Orthodox, and those Anglican churches resulting from the 1977 Congress of St. Louis).

    Rexlion goes on to state, as I see it and the premise for this thread, a very true fact: “But make no mistake, under no circumstances should we allow their PR campaign to force us into making concessions…”. Yes, it will make some want to leave, it make others unhappy and will keep your numbers from getting as high within your particular parish. So be it. Do we (I am in the APA) have sins to atone? Replace our 1928 with a 1622-ish BCP? Re-adapt some of the prayers we modified post 1776? I’m game as long as I have strong, well-versed theologians at the table with the Bible in one hand as their compass and a copy of the minutes from the ECs spread across the table as a guide.


    My response to Distraught Cat:

    [Let me say publicly, I appreciate DC’s response. Lots of passion and conviction. If I ever took on a large group in a public forum, I want DC on my side. The Church needs more of this from time to time.]

    “Anglicans shouldn’t worry about how they market themselves if it is inconsistent with what they are, much less change themselves (again).”. Yes. So agree. We are a faith, not a “market”

    “… as if somehow the Lutherans, the Reformed, the Hussites and Methodists and Baptists were not.” Yes. So agree. But I want to be clear: they are Christian but not Catholic. They have, in my humble opinion, exempted themselves from much from much of the richness of the Faith by disregarding so much of the liturgy and discarding ALL of the sacraments (a saltine is not the body of God; grape juice in a plastic shot is note the blood of God. It just isn’t. Change my mind ;) )

    “According to the use of the protestant episcopal church." – I have read Bishop Seabury and the founders of TEC wanted to reaffirm we were not Roman. Obviously “Anglican” was not a palatable option for the new-founded Americans; “Protestant” worked well. Episcopal was used to note our governance structure (again, probably an important thing to disclose post American Revolution).

    the reformers were right” – correct but they went too far. Please see my comments above.

    “the scanty evidence behind the automythology of Celtic Christianity… I'm tired of people claiming a fictional perfect continuity between us and the Christianity of Augustine of Canterbury” – I have not studied that but all that I read points to it as true. It is illogical for your to prove the negative but maybe you cast layout your doubts (in a separate thread) and see if there are others who can enlighten all of us. As for me, perhaps I need to study more St. Augustine?

    “We are catholic and protestant because there is not a contradiction between catholic and protestant.” – Thanks to Newman, Froude, Keble and Pusey are only partly right regarding the contradiction. There certainly is and I refer once again to the comments I made some moments ago.

    “….did not bother with the fathers, the Anglo-Catholics apparently having accepted the RC propaganda that the reformers pulled the reformation out of a hat.” Actually, I have not given too much study as to Luther or Calvin. Perhaps I should. I have a tough enough time wrapping my arms around my own faith and all that it entails. It I only had a touch more ‘smarts’. : )

    “Presbyterians think that they are Catholic” – I never met one that believes that. I not saying there aren’t any; just that I have never met one. However, if they adhered to the Fathers, my suspicion is they would not subscribe to the presbyteral polity. Plus, they would never have dismissed the apostolic succession.

    “…because catholicity is not dependent on the liturgy” but is crucial to the faith and cant permit the time to go down that rabbit hole. Fortunately, there are volumes out there affirming my position. The subsequent comments about liturgy are 100% in alignment with modern day Protestants. But trust me, if you think the “…BCP [has a service] of magnitudinous length”, I suggest you go back a handful of score years and see the sermons of one John B. McFerrin, a Methodist minister and my g-g-g-g grandfather.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Pardon me if I'm out of place by responding to comments you addressed to DC. But I would like to ask you to provide your best definition for two terms:
    "Catholic"
    "the Faith"

    I think it is important to have those terms properly defined so each is able to understand what the other is saying.

    In the case of the word "Catholic," I note that your idea of it runs quite differently from the one I offered: "that is, each and every Christian is a member of the universal Church, which is His Body on earth." What is your idea, and from whence does it receive its support?

    As for the term, "the Faith," I'd like to ask you to examine how that phrase is used in the New Testament and see if your mental image of "the Faith" is consistent with that. (If you don't have a program that will search for the phrase, such as 'eSword,' let me know if you'd like me to supply a list of verses.) :)

    If you don't have time to explain why it is crucial, could you at least define the word "liturgy" for us? And perhaps lay out the essential elements of a liturgy, and from what ancient document should we glean those elements as essentials?

    Lest anyone think otherwise, I am not trying to be difficult. Rather, I'm encouraging exercise of "the little grey cells," as the character Hercule Poirot would have said. :D
     
  9. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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  10. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    my apologies I did not reply to this earlier. I agree with your definition of Catholic meaning ‘universal’. Regarding the definition of Faith, I strongly affirm it must include that ‘once delivered to the Saints’ and affirmed by the seven ecumenical councils. I guess that would make it orthodox. But then if I chase it down that rabbit hole too far I lose my Anglicanism.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2024
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  11. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    This one’s tougher. as for me and my orthodox Catholic approach to the faith, I suggest anything that runs along orthodox Anglo Catholic, Roman Catholic and Greek orthodox. Where we all agree there I will stand.

    What I don’t agree with what the Episcopal Church has done with the liturgy starting with the 1979 book of common prayer. if you lived in the United States it would be much easier to understand. There shouldn’t be any “Rite’s” (there shouldn’t be any services that look like it’s from the cartoon “the Jetsons“). I also reject the variability you may see between parishes that make the liturgy less “common”.
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The word 'catholic' actually means 'universal'. I would tentatively suggest that when the word catholic appears in the Nicene Creed referring to the church of Jesus Christ, it means anyone accepted by Christ as a disciple, and therefore under HIS discipline as a servant, owing their very salvation to HIM, is in Christ's 'catholic' church. This would assume a willingness to be baptised, declare one's allegiance to one's Master and to adopt HIS philiosphy of life. (THIS would require faith, but THIS need not involve being the least bit ceremonially 'religious'). So the ONE Catholic and Apostolic church, does not refer to the ROMAN Catholic or any other denomination specifically, but to the universal body of believers following the philosophy of Jesus Christ, their Master, in ALL denominations of the faith, that ARE of the faith of Christ. THIS would be The Church. It would be Apostolic only in that its adherents would not only be faithful to the teachings of it's master Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ, but also mindful, to the best of their knowledge, of the teachings of the Apostles appointed by him.

    ANY form of words or ritual which reiterates scripture or the teaching, precepts, philosophy or deeds of Christ or His Apostles, when addressed to a meeting of the faithful, becomes, and IS, LITURGY.

    The Gospel itself is liturgy because through the hearing and believing of it we receive The Holy Spirit.
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2024
  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The word catholic, often translated as universal is in fact a composite of two Greek words, kata and holos so more correctly should be seen to mean according to the whole. In the context of the Nicene and Contantinoplitan Creed, that is an expression of the whole Church gathered in Council.

    Just to be clear the word liturgy is another composite of two Greek words laos and ergon and so more correctly means the people's work. This is an important safeguard against clericalisation.
     
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  14. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    Agree on your points. Catholic is Catholic. But I did want to distinguish the eastern Catholic and the western Catholics of Rome and GB as being of one Faith, a best representation of the Church before despite the schisms that separated us some years later.

    Litugy can and does change over time. It should be expected. But I also believe, at least the orthodox, a commonality of worship is one of the welcomed aspects of our faith; thus, wherever you go, you can expect to worship in very much the same manner there as you may in your home parish. In all cases, liturgy needs to be conducted by a priest or devout, learned layman/ laywoman.

    I really like the subsequent etymological lesson stemming from your post. Did not know that!
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The problem here, I think, lies in the fact that mere Catholicity of doctrine is not necessarily an adequate indicator of true Catholicity in Christ.

    The Church of Jesus Christ started out with only the doctrine hinted at by Jesus of Nazareth in his teaching, which came largely in figures of speech, rather than doctrinal statements intended to regulate 'belief', so as to identify true believers from heretics.

    Over the course of many generations of development, the 'faith' was hammered out and defined by Christ's followers in a piecemeal kind of way, as each various 'heretical' belief took hold in the church and so needed to be identified as a 'wrong belief' which would not have been entertained by Our Master, when he was on earth, by those latter times, many years previously.

    After nearly 2,000 years of such 'development' it is now very difficult to identify clearly as The Faith of Christ, (i.e. something Jesus would have taught as ESSENTIAL to true discipleship), the now many 'doctrines' that various denominations of the church hold dear and claim to be infallible identifiers of a 'true', Christian, faith.
    When Latin was the only language allowed to be used in the celebration of the Eucharist a believer could go into any church in Christendom and know that the liturgy, (which perhaps he didn't actually understand because it was not in his native language), was delivered in words that COULD be universally understood, if you could understand Latin. Article XXIV seems to consider the 'commonality' achieved by the imposition of a churchwide agreed Latin text alone as the liturgical language was an insufficiency rather than an advantage. Probably because Jesus delivered his teaching in the language of his own countrymen, which hadn't happened to be Latin anyway.

    I do agree though that ALL liturgy should be talking about or on behalf of Jesus of Nazareth and thus it could be thus identified by any follower of Jesus of Nazareth by it's subject matter and frequent use of His 'WORDS' and his name.
    So did I, it clarified matters somewhat, didn't it.

    My main insight on this matter though is really that I don't think it's wise or possible to try to truly identify 'Christ's Church' by seeking any specific 'Liturgy' or adhering to any particular ceremony or form of words. The deciding factor, in my opinion, would be, do they "Love God and their neighbour" and finally, THIS and this alone.
    .
     
  16. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    There is, in this old man’s mind, a little more to it. It’s that premise that makes me believe why we had to have the seven ecumenical councils. I am also a large believer in the Oxford Movement where the church may have over reformed and lost much of its catholicity. those two things are probably the basis from which I approach the Anglo Catholic faith. But more importantly, When you start narrowing it down within these premises, I do my best not to judge but only to offer to others the opportunity to experience the faith as I practiced it.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I don't doubt there must be a lot more to it, and agree. However to think that the Oxford movement restored true 'Christianity' is going a bit far, I think. What it actually restored was a lot of the accretions, accoutrements, and accessories added by the Roman and other churches during the last 1900 years, since the last supper, to make the Mass look, sound and smell more interesting. All of it's OK but Jesus didn't say to his disciples at the time, that any of THAT is essential or even necessary, when we "Do what He did, in remembrance of Him".
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2024
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  18. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    With the two notable exceptions of the Eucharist and baptisms, what we do in is clearly not necessary for salvation but an integral part of the orthodox, AngloCatholic faith. Thus, if I am to err, let me do so with the Fathers and the Faith once delivered to the saints as I practice in the beauty of holiness when I come before God to partake his precious body and blood.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I can't fault you on that worthy intent brother Anglican, UNLESS you're assuming that St Paul and the other Apostles wore chasuble, stole and cope etc., had candles on an altar or behind it, were served by acolytes and proceeded in following a cross bearer, and used an ancient form of the Liturgy we are used to in the Church of England, to bless 'wafers' or else his and their communions were not 'valid'.

    You are quite right, NONE of these things are essential to salvation, but also MOST of them did not matter at all to the church of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, because none of them actually existed in the church, during a New Testament Apostolic church meeting, but those meetings then were still The Church meeting to celebrate the Eucharist, which was as valid a Eucharist then as it is now, whenever the church meets to celebrate the Eucharist.

    NONE of these things actually constitute integral or essential parts of the faith delivered to the saints on earth, it's only that they characterise the modern expression of a supposedly orthodox, Anglo-Catholic faith of today, and shouldn't, except to those really sold on the idea of 'religion', and how it should be done.

    Although the Oxford Movement brightened up worship considerably from what passed as worship before in the Church of England, possible religiosity and temptation to distraction, is the 'downside' of what the Oxford Movement 'achieved'.
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2024