David Warren, a well-known Toronto-based writer, columnist, and former editor of The Idler, was the second speaker at our Anglican Tradition Conference this past November. We will be publishing a full version of this talk in our journal in due course, but his remarks on the day – full of his typical erudition and humour – can be viewed in full on Facebook and on YouTube now.
He talked about his conversion experience, both to Christian faith and then to the full Catholic form thereof (“The Catholic religion is the Christian religion par excellence”), and the role that Anglicanism played in that experience.
He talked about smells and bells and the marks of Anglicanism that drew one into the faith, including “formality, dignity, reverence, manners, dress, comportment, modesty, custom, courtesy, propriety, decorum, form, taste, decency, reason, logic,” and so on.
It was ironic that the Anglican church claimed to be Catholic at a time when many Catholic priests he came across avoided proclaiming their Catholicism, almost as if they were embarrassed by it.
“All Christians share, not only Anglicans, this sense of homecoming associated with the Church, and indeed the Anglican ordinariate has a great deal to do with coming home.”
He spoke of Sir Thomas More – whom we ought to consider a great patron of the ordinariate – and other luminaries of the Anglican church, including Lancelot Andrewes, Richard Hooker, Austin Farrer, and Eric Mascall. What they all had in common – and what made them so Anglican – was reverting to Roman teaching.
The ordinariates do of course make the liturgy “understanded of the people”, and we must share our mass in its more ecclesial English.
But the Anglican ordinariate is about more than just making the mass available in a Church English; it is about re-assimilating into Catholicism a marvellous, broad, Catholic tradition that goes back before Thomas More, which goes back to the 12th century and earlier, back to the arrival of the Normans, and even to before them.
“If the Anglican ordinariate fulfills its vocation within the Church… it will do something glorious.”
People speaking the English language are now leading the movement in the Catholic Church back to Catholicism, and the ordinariates can now develop an authority, and recover the marvellous qualities of the old Anglican ministries and the old Anglican services.
David Warren’s talk was entertaining, informative, and most appreciated, and we’re delighted to share this with a wider audience. His lengthier article on which this talk was based will be published in an upcoming issue of our journal, but for now we are pleased to present this video of his talk.