Fluvialia ≈≈ Mia's blog

February 4th

Page 1 of 2

Nobody’s day in the Anglican calendar in Canada today. Not a halo in sight. Anglicans don’t tend to put ‘Saint’ in front of post-Reformation spiritual heavyweights, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have them. February is George Herbert’s month, the 17th century Anglican poet-priest. Also for that matter the Martyrs of Japan. And there’s a day for Polycarp, and one for Cyril and Methodius. And there would be for Matthias if Canada hadn’t moved him to May. But when you live in a province where every other town is named after a spiritual heavyweight, from St-Télesphore to St-Nazaire to St-Ménard to St-Hyacinthe to, yes, St-Cuthbert (that Anglo-Saxon on Lindisfarne) and St-Anselme (that Archbishop of Canterbury), you can understand how a culture might think Anglicanism parsimonious of sainthood.

Not so. One of the significant Anglican publications of the past dozen years is a large collection based on the Eastern Orthodox precedent of an anthology of spiritual writings, the Philokalia. Our ‘Philokalia’ is Love’s Redeeming Work: the Anglican Quest for Holiness, and the subtitle signals the appetite and longing for the thing that art (and wisdom) ackowledges as a glow round the head.

One of the curiosities of our history is that one of our number, who ‘defected’ – we call it sometimes ‘swimming the Tiber’ – the 19th century learned Tractarian John Henry Newman, one of the founding forces of the Oxford Movement, who became a Roman Catholic cardinal, is on his way to canonization in that sister Church Newman opted for. Of that same Church the Pope, head of state of Vatican City, has been invited by the Queen, titular head of state of Britain, to visit later this year as officially her guest, the first ever papal state visit to those shores.

No, the Queen is not the head of our Anglican Church in Canada. Although she is of the Anglican Church in England (the C of E), the C of E is no longer the presence of Anglicanism in other parts of the globe (with a very few exceptions), and the Queen has no ‘governance’ in the other global Anglican Churches.

And it came to pass that, just as these arrangements were being finalized, the Pope issued his Anglicanorum coetibus (there’s a contest out in the blogosphere for the most piquant translation of that), which offered a carefully defined hospitality to any Anglicans who might discern a better homeland for themselves in Rome than in the currently tempestuous Anglican Communion.

So, the news goes, the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain dropped in on the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster (that’s neighbour to Lambeth Palace, the ‘townhouse’ of the other Archbishop when he’s not at Canterbury) to make it clear that the Pope would no longer be lodged, on his visit, at Buckingham Palace. And a few weeks later, it so happened that the other Archbishop, he of Canterbury, who had been asked [...] Next

…the claim to understand and to speak for the global context of your own speaking is essentially a claim to power.

Rowan Williams