Bishop Ackerman's Call for a "New Oxford Movement"
Bishop Keith Ackerman, retired bishop of Quincy and a leader of Forward in Faith, North America, recently called for a "new Oxford Movement" in a talk presented to that august body. Since a couple of commenters on my post below about St. Mike's asked for my opinion of this talk (or that of others inside this diocese--which sadly I cannot speak to as I have not heard another clergyman or layman in the diocese mention this talk yet) I thought I would post a link to the bishop's talk here and offer a few remarks.
This talk is more than half-an-hour long, but readers of this blog who are pressed for time can probably skip to 29:00 and get the gist of what the bishop is calling for here. And frankly, for most of my readers I doubt that the renewal of the Oxford Movement (and especially its ecclesiology) that Bishop Ackerman is calling for will come as a shock.
The bishop, for instance, calls for a "recovery of an identity that reaches back to the apostles." He emphasizes that it is the substance of the apostolic Faith that must be re-emphasized, not merely the "tactile apostolic succession" stretching back to antiquity through the laying on of hands.
In the last few minutes of his talk Bishop Ackerman makes reference to a "return to the doctrine of the early Church--to the Patristic age." He also emphasizes the significance of the Caroline divines to this undertaking and speaks of the "unique" English Catholic expression represented by the spirituality of the English Church "pre-Whitby" (i.e., a reference to the time before the Synod of Whitby in 664 A.D.).
What I take Bishop Ackerman to be calling for here is a renewed commitment to the Faith of the undivided Church in antiquity--the Faith of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church, the Faith shared by the universal Church before schism sundered her East and West. This is precisely what I personally have always understood as "the Catholic Faith." So I can lift my own voice in full-throated ascent to this call for a "new Oxford Movement."
But to me this does not mean rejecting the heritage bequeathed to us from the Reformation era via the Elizabethan Settlement. It means a re-emphasis of what the proposed canon of Elizabeth I quoted at the top of this blog calls "