Some Catholics have been asking me about this. I, as a High Anglican, surely must have an opinion on the disciplinary action against the Episcopalians, right? The truth is, I really don’t. I am a Continuing Anglican. Some in the Church of England have asserted that Continuing Anglicans are just simply breaking away with the Church of England because we are a “separatist” bunch. That is far from the case. In the development of Anglicanism over the centuries and especially in the Protestant Reformation, Anglicans have always sought to define accurately what Anglicanism means. That is simply all that Continuing Anglicans are doing. Truly, Anglicanism in its purest sense does not seem to me to be filled or have room for the Reformed hogwash that has been imbibed in it over the years but is rather to be seen as linked to that of the Orthodox and the Catholics prior to the schism. In this sense, and only in this sense, can I view Anglicanism as having valid Apostolic Succession. One reason I am not a Catholic is because Catholics have failed to realize that many Anglicans have striven to provide valid orders for our priests. In my own church, the Anglican Church in America, we focus entirely on the sacramental union that unites the church throughout the ages. Not only do we perceive our orders as valid but we reject the orders of those Low Anglicans and Broad Anglicans that have wrought destruction upon the Catholic heritage of the Anglican faith. The Catholic Church has failed to realize its mistake and continues to hold all Anglican orders as invalid in spite of our striving to sanction only the orders of those who hold the sacramental union of the Church.
For Continuing Anglicans, our separation and renunciation of the See of Canterbury has less to do with “not separating over the 1% that we disagree on and realizing the 99% we do agree on”. For Continuing Anglicans, we do believe that many of the issues of the Church of England are truly worth dividing over. We realize that the Church of England does not even agree on how many sacraments there are or whether they confer sanctifying grace or not. I have no idea how one can simply just brush aside this as an un-noteworthy difference.
That said, the scriptures are crystal clear that one who teaches a different Jesus is to be accursed (Gal. 1:9). My Continuing Anglican Church holds to the Christian Declaration on Marriage. Regardless of what the state constitutes as a “marriage” its view is always corrupted because marriage is a divine institution that invites man and woman into participation in the creative act of God in unity with one another. Where there is no possibility for this (even a slim possibility), the unison between the two cannot be a marriage because marriage is a holy sacrament. So the Church of England ruled correctly in giving disciplinary action to the Episcopalians. A Catholic deacon I talk to claims the Church of England should have excommunicated the Episcopalians. I think disciplinary action is probably better. When discussing terms of moral theology and what is sin, you are entering into a soteriological debate concerning the proper life of the Church. This is a major issue. I do not disagree that those believing homosexuality is a legitimate life-style and teaching this to their followers should be excommunicated, however, it is important to realize that many Episcopalians reject homosexuality as a legitimate life-style as well. They do exist even if they be a minority. Excommunicating all of the Episcopalians due to this issue would seem to be an injustice toward the Episcopalians who reject homosexual marriage as a legitimate form of marriage.