Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dean Phillip Jenson: Not a Defender of The Faith, but a Defender of World Youth Day nonetheless

Make no mistake about it: Sydney Anglicans are Protestants and they ain't finished protesting against us yet. But at least they do not extend their protestations to inhospitality, and that is something.

Dean Phillip Jenson, the brother of the Sydney Anglican Archbishop, has written an article in the Sydney Morning Herald called "Church of Rome hath erred, but Anglicans won't rain on Pope's parade". If nothing else, it is an encouragement to see that some Anglicans in Australia are sticking to their historic identity as "Protestors":
So we protest against Roman Catholic claims to authority. We object to the Pope claiming to be the Vicar of Christ. We reject all claims to authority that imply the insufficiency of scripture. We reject any implication that Jesus's work on the cross was insufficient or is received by more than faith or requires some other mediator.
No, don't bother explaining to Dean Jenson that he has most of this wrong. He won't listen. He will assure you that he knows the Catholic Church better than we Catholics do. If you want another example of Sydney Anglican Protestation, go read the book "Nothing in my hand I bring" by Ray Galea. He gets most of it twisted too, but again, at least he knows what he is. He is a Protestant.

One would think that the Jensons would have enough protesting to do about the current state of the Anglican Church to keep them from being too worried about their neighbours who are Catholic. But no, Sydney Anglicans are so good at Protesting that they can protest on more than one front at the same time.

Nevertheless, Sydney Anglicans will be, according to Dean Jenson, good hosts for the World Youth Day. These Anglicans may protest, but they are civil and polite after all. One day, however, it is to be hoped that they might wake up to the fact that one the current religious landscape the Catholics may be the best friends and allies they have.

8 Comments:

At Wednesday, May 28, 2008 11:16:00 pm , Anonymous Mike said...

To be fair, I don't think having problems in his own church is reason for him to be quiet about this event. It's a huge event taking over Sydney for a short time, and perhaps there are Anglicans may (we pray) be "tempted" to join in! In such circumstances he puts in his two bits against religious indifferentism and I can understand that.

If we had a massive Hillsongs convention in Melbourne, I hope our own bishops would make a few comments advising the right amounts of pleasantness to our brothers and caution about their teachings. That despite our own very definite problems!

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:02:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

I think there is a difference between wishing to differentiate your own position from someone else's and "protesting" against the position that someone else holds.

I mean, why does the Sydney Anglican diocese seek to remind people that it "protests" against the Catholic faith, whereas it merely disputes, denies, debates or downright ignores the teachings of other Christian bodies around it (including other Anglican Churches).

What does the act of "protesting" imply? I think it implicitly implies (I would say that again if it wasn't tautologous) that in some way what the Catholic Church teaches is a real threat to the what the Sydney Anglican church teaches in a sense that (to take an instance that Jenson himself mentions) what the Jehovah's Witnesses teach is not. It's not that the Catholic teaching is more heinous than what the JW's teach, it is that what the JW's teach doesn't impinge upon the claims of the Anglican Chruch of Sydney. Thus, for instance, the Anglicans protest against the Catholic claim that the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ--because if he is, it has real ramifications for them.

Still, I would like to think that they can lower their hackles to about half-mast so that they would be able to see how very much there is in the Catholic faith that they do in fact agree with. Given that this is a CHRISTIAN event after all, one that proclaims the Name of Jesus loud and clear, you would think that they might have some warmth for the idea rather than such frightfully "Anglo" coolness.

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:26:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

But no, Sydney Anglicans are so good at Protesting that they can protest on more than one front at the same time.

Oh that's too delightful!!

What was that old saying attributed to Oscar Wilde: The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people, the Anglican church will do.

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:40:00 am , Blogger Fraser Pearce said...

David,

Firstly: Whenever you write about Sydney Anglicans I think to myself: 'It seems that this man has no friends who are Sydney Anglicans; if he did, I can't imagine that he would write this way'. Or am I wrong: Do you actually have friends who are Sydney Anglicans with whom you discuss these matters?

Secondly: Evidently Galea has plenty of first hand experience of being a Catholic. He *was*a Catholic; he is now a protestant. Given that he grew up is a Catholic family and attended a Catholic church, how is it that he got things so twisted, do you think?

Finally (or, if you prefer, Thirdly): Doesn't protesting and remaining in schism make a lot more sense that not protesting and remaining in schism? And doesn't the Catholic Church protest, in ways no less vigorous than the Sydney Anglicans, against certain teachings and practices of the Anglican Communion. Certain comments of Cardinal Kaspar come to mind...

I mean: What is it with you and the Sydney Anglicans? Do you want to be one, Stan? Sorry: Loretta?

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:48:00 am , Blogger Peter said...

Given that this is a CHRISTIAN event after all, I think the fact that Mr Galea is part of the official program preparing Anglican Youth leaders for Catholic WYD is a fair indication of Anglican concern about Catholic Christianity, even if you didn't get the honts in Jensen's paper.

Evidently Galea has plenty of first hand experience of being a Catholic. He *was*a Catholic; he is now a protestant.

Even a cursory reading of Mr Galea's book shows that the Catholicism he has rejected bears little resemblence to that taught in the Catechism or lived anywhere I am aware of.

Sydney Anglicans I know are slightly embarassed at Galea's straw man charicature of Catholicism once we have had a chance to discuss some of its content.

Yes Fraser I DO know Sydney Anglicans. I prefer them fiesty and ready to debate what is true.

Just because WE think Catholicism is a healthy expression of Christianity (the healthiest in fact) doesn't mean they agree with us. We should never expect them to simply nod and smile as if they agree when they clearly state that they don't.

If only other people who oppose Catholicism on principle would be so upfront and honest about it. Maybe then we could have some genuine debate!

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 4:39:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Protestants were originally so called because they dissented from the Edict of Worms, which branded Martin Luther a heretic and an enemy of the state. Their “protest”, then, was not so much an attack on the teaching of Rome as an affirmation of Luther’s ideas, or of the right of people to hold those ideas without being considered subversives. It wasn’t a negative protest, a protest against anything.

The verb “protest” in English did not acquire it’s negative connotation of objecting to something until after the term “Protestant” had been coined. When it was first applied to religious Protestants, “protest” meant a positive affirmation. It survives in this sense in English in phrases like “he protested his innocence”, or “he protested the strength of his love” and in the technical legal term “to protest a bill of exchange”, meaning to demand that it be honoured. What Protestants protested was Lutheranism, and the right to believe and practice as Lutherans.

The notion that Protestants protest against something is a much later one, and it comes from the time when the negative sense of “protest” had become the dominant one. By then, of course, the Edict of Worms was ancient history; neither Protestants nor Catholics gave it a thought. It was Protestants themselves who decided that what they must be protesting against was the “errors of Rome”; this was easy to do when, as David has noted, they may have had only a hazy understanding of Catholic teachings.

That they could allow their thinking to be distorted in this way is a sad reflection on the state of interreligious dialogue at the time. But it’s something of a fallacious back-formation to think that Protestants are actually so called because of their attitude to Catholic teaching. Protestants are so called because of the vigour with which they assert their own beliefs, not because of the virulence with which they attack those of others.

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 6:32:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all their learning and intelligence(yes, even Anglicans can be intelligence), it's strikes me time and again how intellectually dishonest and lazy theses lasses and fellows are NOT to understand(or want to understandCatholic teaching.

Little wonder he doth protest. Little wonder he moves us not.

 
At Friday, May 30, 2008 12:51:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Firstly: ...Do you actually have friends who are Sydney Anglicans with whom you discuss these matters?

No, sadly I do not. Plenty of Melbourne Anglicans though (who in their own way "protest" against the "errors of Sydneyism"!). Comes from living in Melbourne, not Sydney.

Secondly: ...Given that he grew up is a Catholic family and attended a Catholic church, how is it that he got things so twisted, do you think?

Well, that is indeed the Catholic Church's fault (mea culpa in so far as I myself am Catholic). And possibly the fact that he grew up as a member of an ethnic group in which Catholicism played a major role as a part of its cultural identity rather than as a system of belief. But it is also Mr Galea's fault in that, as a Catholic he gave more attention to the interpretation of Catholic doctrine by the opponents of the Church than he did to what the Catholic Church herself had to say of these doctrines. There are plenty of sources of information he could have used to better his understanding of the Catholic faith from within the Church.

Finally (or, if you prefer, Thirdly): Doesn't protesting and remaining in schism make a lot more sense that not protesting and remaining in schism?

That is my point more or less. Why don't they spend some time looking at whether the rage of schism actually needs to be maintained at all. It might just be time when they realise that their "enemy" is their "friend" after all.

 

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