The Theology of Papa

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

Related Post Roulette

15 Responses

  1. Dierkes,

    You don’t really explain why “the practical effect of Benedict’s announcement is very likely only going to have substance in basically England and Wales, with groups of disaffected very conservative Anglo-Catholics.” Care to? Your sentences on gayness seem besides any point.

    As far as the first versus the fourth, it is not clear to me why both can’t be at play. In fact, it seems to me that the fourth would act as a bolster the first.Report

  2. matoko_chan says:

    Im sorry Chris, but this issue is absolutely an empty purse on spirituality.
    It is a hostile takeover.
    You and Douthat are wholly, completely, totally, wrong.
    So long and thanks for all the priests.Report

  3. John 4 says:

    Most of what you say I agree with. And it is a very nice piece, thanks. But I disagree that we have any reason to take postmodernism seriously, and that there is a meaningful difference between postmodernism and blatantly pernicious (and false) forms of relativism. The arguments were never there for it. It is hard to decisively take down a moving target – and I do think postmodernists are a moving target – but here are two good, free, online critiques that, as far as I can see, have remained unanswered:

    I am not of course expecting a response, but I would be interested if you’d like to provide one. Thanks again for the nice post.Report

    • Chris Dierkes in reply to John 4 says:


      I think ultimately postmodernism does fall into self-contradiction. That is to the degree I or anyone can label such a thing as postmodernism and describe it as a whole. I don’t think that means though that is just gets labeled relativism and should be ignored altogether. I think (from a different pov), there is a good deal that can be learned from them, if jettisoned of the ultimate mistakes.Report

      • John 4 in reply to Chris Dierkes says:


        Thanks for the reply. I think we basically agree. There are definitely important truths talked about by people writing in the postmodern tradition. But first, don’t you think that the good lessons might be better learned if unbundled from the bad ones? And second, while I’m not sure how you’d sort the good from the bad, I am also disinclined to think that the tenets of modernism are flawed so much as not lived up to. That is, I don’t think the important truths known by postmodernists are inconsistent with modernism, rather than supplemental to it.

        So while I think critiques are in general good, and it is especially good to be aware of the ways in which one might be led into irrationality, bias, prejudice, etc., arguing that rationality is impossible, bias unavoidable, certain prejudices (“local knowledges”) to be exalted, etc. does not seem like a good way to do this. To be clear, I don’t think that these are necessarily the good lessons you have in mind. The point I want to make is that 1) it isn’t clear to me that modernism is flawed, and 2) if it is those flaws would be much more effectively exposed if their exposes weren’t packaged with other claims that just don’t stand up to scrutiny.Report

  4. Cecelia says:

    the change is a result of requests by dissident Anglicans – already having left Canterbury – to enter the Church. These requests have come from the TAC (Australia, Asia Africa parishes) and the US (apparently the Diocese of Pittsburg). Does not seem to be aimed at picking up English Anglicans (who do seem to have an inordinate fondness for lace) and certainly not a girding of the loins against the Moors.Report

    • Chris Dierkes in reply to Cecelia says:


      Do you have a link what you’ve heard? I could see Pittsburgh, even potentially Forth Worth Diocese as both Robert Duncan and Jack Iker have had their sights (imo) on leading this new Anglican Province in North America but seem not to have gotten others on board with that idea.

      Australia and Africa? That’s interesting as the churches that are largely angered by the current goings on (e.g. Diocese of Sydney) are from the evangelical wing (in the case of Sydney ultra-evangelical) and I have a hard time imagining them going for Roman authority. But it is the evangelicals in the Anglican church now pushing for more episcopal centralized authority so weirder things have happened I suppose.

      Inordinate fondness for lace wouldn’t be a stumbling block to Rome. At least the current Roman leadership. As a random factoid in this context, a goodly number of the Anglo-Catholic churches would wear cassocks wear Roman (not traditional Anglo) style ones.Report

  5. Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Also, Anglo Catholics in the US have no shortage of…repressed sexuality either.

    Massive nitpick: As a cradle Episcopalian turned Orthodox turned Byzantine Catholic turned Orthodox turned secular/bi/poly/kinky trans woman, the correct term is “Eastern Catholic Churches,” not the
    “Eastern Rite Catholic.” Many of the Eastern Catholic Churches are particular churches in their own right.

    The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, for example, uses the Byzantine *Rite,* but is a particular sui generis church in its own right. Using the term “Eastern Rite Catholic” instead of “Eastern Catholic Church” denigrates the independence of those particular churches and implies that they are merely appendages of Rome.

    *Goes back to Bay Area left wing queer radical mode*Report

  6. Joe Murray says:

    Pope Benedict’s invitation to dissatisfied Anglicans to come home, is not based on agreement.

    I think however the Holy Spirit is at play here this move may have unseen consequences not only for the Anglican Communion, but also for the Roman Catholic Church. Time will tell not crystal ball gazing under whatever mantle.Report

  7. Tancred says:

    Oh, how perspicacious. Winking in an obsene way, ex-Jesuit comments on supposed proclivities based on various subjective signals and perhaps internal derangement.

    Incidentally, you cogniscenti sure are long on rhetoric and short on making a sound case for whether or not modern philosophy has anything to say to anyone.

    I suppose if you’re comitted to it, having read the books and done some thinking, but thankfully, most people aren’t very interested.Report

  8. martin says:

    A few myths have emerged over recent days. As I understand the Vatican’s statement, unless corrected by the Apostolic Constitution itself, when it finally appears, it is only the POSSIBILITY of Personal Ordinariates being established. Each group will have to request this of the Vatican, through the local Catholic Bishops’ Conference. I’m not sure that the majority of Catholic bishops in England & Wales will be very enthusiastic about this, perhaps influenced by the alleged comment of ther late Cardinal Hume: “We don’t do coach-loads!” One or two Anglican parishes attempted a corporate conversion, trying to retain the use of their previous church building, but such ventures failed. Here in England, Wales might be a different case since the Anglican Church there is ‘disestablished’, any attempts to bring their church buildings with them would pose all sorts of legal difficulties unless a property was not technically owned by a Church of England Diocese.
    A couple of other ‘myths’ relate to the use of Anglican liturgical tradition. Most of the Anglo-Catholics who reject the priesthood and episcopate of women and who want to come over to Rome would not know the Book of Common Prayer or more contemporary authorised forms of Anglican liturgy, if you hit them with them! In some places they use the English Missal translation of the Tridentine Rite, in others, the Novus Ordo of the Roman Rite is used, perhaps with a nod to the Anglican calendar. Another myth is that with such departures, the Church of England, or the Amnglican Communiion as a whole, will lose the Catholic presence. There are plenty of Catholic minded Anglicans who celebrate the full ministry of women as well as the rich diversity of human sexuality, and who will remain Anglicans. Some of Roman Catholics have more in common with them, than we do with their ultra-montane comrades in faith.Report

    • Chris Dierkes in reply to martin says:


      Thanks. Yeah actual old school Anglo-Catholics (rather than Anglicans whose liturgy looks like Reformed post Vatican II RC liturgy and are generically called “Catholic” like Anglicans) often use other liturgical rites. There is an Anglo-Catholic church here in Vancouver where I live that still uses an essentially Tridentine Rite. So weirdly they would be closer (liturgically) one might argue to the recently invited back in to the Roman church groups that previously had split over the use of the vernacular in worship.

      Although here in Canada we have what’s called the BAS (Book of Alternative Services) which is basically like CoE’s Worship. It came in the 80s and is roughly in sync with all of the ordo liturgical reforms that took place since Vatican II.

      There’s a group (fairly smallish but somewhat vocal) who oppose the BAS for the BCP, called The Society for the Preservation of the Prayer Book. And here anyway (and somewhat weirdly) it has a strong Anglo-Catholic presence. Even though the Prayer Book’s theology is evangelical and the BAS’ theology is much more “Catholic.” Maybe that’s not the same in UK?

      Also, that’s a good point about the property issues. My understanding is that any church/parish (or potentially even a diocese as there are some rumblings in the US of such a thing potentially occurring) would lose all their church property. That may very well put a hamper on too many groups joining up.

      As someone whose church is in the midst of property disputes over various arguments and counterarguments of defection, it’s ugly. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.Report