14 July 2010
Just occasionally, like in my prayer time this morning, there is the sudden sense of understanding of what the English religious tradition is at its best – or else the Christian tradition as best expressed in the English setting.
I would have said 20 years ago that perhaps we need to spend more time establishing this 'English Christ' figure, and less on which church - Anglican, Orthodox or RC - it is played out in. Today the imminent demise of Anglo-Catholicism, and the inability of Orthodoxy to catch the British imagination, leaves only the RCs in the ring.
Anglo-Catholicism has lacked a single leading figure. In the second half of the 19th century it filled a gap between Victorian Erastianism and Papal Ultramontanism. It had the enormous advantage at the time of seeming to come out of English soil and not being a foreign implant. Was its ‘gay raffishness’ its undoing? Did it get sidetracked into birettas and maniples? Was its number up when