Monday, 27 June 2016

A Catholic Albion? Probably not at the moment...

Before 1066 Albion (i.e. Britain, in terms of its spiritual identity) was Catholic.

Eastern Orthodox Catholicism was the original form - which survived (mainly, although not exclusively) in the Ancient British parts to the West and North, from the Roman era. The Christian faith was sustained after the Fall of Rome by ascetic monks, and often hermits.

There was a later wave of reconversion by Eastern-style Catholicism (that is, Catholicism based on ascetic monasticism and dominated by Abbots and monks - rather than the Western Type dominated by Bishops and 'secular' priests - later mendicant orders such as Friars).

This so-called 'Celtic' (actually Orthodox) Christianity - came down from Northumberland (via Iona in Scotland and originally from Ireland); while the Roman Christianity came into England from the south-east via Kent. East and West contended until the Synod of Whitby in 664 when Roman Catholicism won - which is why the head of the Church is in Canterbury (in Kent, where the British Saint Augustine did his missionary work).

From the Norman conquest of 1066, Roman (Western) Catholicism was solidly the religion of all Albion; until the Reformations of England and Scotland from the middle 1500s - after which Albion was broken into an Anglican Eastern/ Western hybrid Catholic England; and a Presbyterian Scotland.

I regard Anglicanism as Catholic because that is how it has mostly self identified; the Church of England is primarily Episcopal/ led by Bishops (like Western Catholicism); and is spiritually headed by a divinely anointed Monarch who (originally) appointed the Bishops (like Eastern Catholicism).

Although the CoE is Protestant, it is also Catholic - as Presbyterians and other Nonconformists have always recognised. There were various periods of increasingly Catholic practise in the CoE (e.g. in the era of Charles II and in the middle 1800s through to early 1900s - with serious negotiations to join with Easter Orthodoxy up to the middle 1900s - http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/anglicans-and-eastern-orthodoxy.html).

Especially from the Russian Revolution, there was a mini-revival of Eastern - mostly Russian - Orthodoxy in England; based in London and Oxford. And at present there are some large ethnic-dominated Orthodox churches of various types serving recent immigrants - for example, where I live has a Coptic Orthodox church serving immigrant  Egyptians, Ethiopians etc as well as others serving Greeks, Romanians, and a Russian congregation of mostly British converts.

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In the Western Catholicism of Albion there has nearly always been a tension between Church and State - because the Pope (in Rome) appointed Bishops, sometimes against the wishes of the Monarch. Eastern Orthodoxy is less prone to this type of disharmony, since the churches are organised nationally. The cost is, of course, disharmony between the national Orthodox churches - each led by a Patriarch. The Patriarchs have an order of precedence, but an equality of influence in the sense that decisions should be reached by complete (divinely inspired) consensus in ecumenical councils.

But the situation in Albion is that there cannot be an English Orthodoxy, because the Monarch is not Orthodox. At most, there can be an aspiration towards an English Orthodoxy, and hope for a future Orthodox Monarch who might 'emerge' in the way that happened in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

And Roman Catholicism has, since it became officially allowed in Albion from the middle 1800s, been in practise mostly non-British, and indeed anti-British - since it was massively dominated by Irish and other foreign priests, and inculcated with mostly Irish (but also Continental) politicised anti-Britishness (in particular anti-Englishness).

(Of course, there have been and are many great patriotic Roman Catholics - GK Chesterton being far from unique. Evelyn Waugh is another; JRR Tolkien yet another. But on the whole, this has been atypical of the mass of British Catholics; and anti-British sectarianism has characterised the densest Roman Catholic populations of the large cities such as Glasgow. Liverpool and Belfast.)

The Church of England is now also (on the whole) very anti-English/ British - due to its domination by secular Leftists.

So - as things stand, at present, Catholicism is on the whole and dominantly - either non- or more usually anti-Albion. This is currently a potential problem for that possibility (just, as yet, a mere possibility) of a spiritually resurgent Albion - but maybe something will happen, soon, to change it?