Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Note on Charles I

I am very nearly converted to the advocacy of Charles I by this quote spoken as he went to the scaffold:

This is my second marriage day. I would be as trim today as may be. For before night, I hope to be espoused to my blessed Jesus.

If that conviction is indeed consistent with--nay, even called for by--the principles of catholic Anglicanism (I even want to say Laudian Anglicanism), then I aspire to count myself among their august number come what may. Moreover, I would note en passant that the Episcopal Church may count itself, defending GC2003, as faithful to the same principles as those of Charles and Laud.

For it shows that at the very core of Charles' catholic conviction is faith that at his death he shall be joined, God willing, in a saving relationship to Christ as an individual member of the church, and that this relationship is the consummation of his salvation toward which his earthly life had been properly directed as to its end or ultimate purpose.


At 12:52 PM, Blogger Closed said...


Fr. Bill Carroll has recently turned me again to Miroslav Volf's trinitarian work "After Our Likeness" which does what you have been doing within Trinitarian terms preserving the personal subject in relationship to God within the larger community of the Church--it's a nicely done piece in conversation with an Eastern Orthdox theologian (Zizioulas) and Roman theologian (Ratzinger) on subjects of the Trinity in relationship to ecclesiology.

BTW: Charles' sentiment it seems to me is quite at the heart of a catholic understanding that doesn't allow persons to be swallowed up and obliterated rather by God's nature or by some overlooming "Church".

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think Charles the Martyr or Archbishop Laud would have to say about the last several decades of the Episcopal Church? They would be none to fond, I'd wager.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Caelius said...

Oh, Laud might be not be as dismayed as you might believe, blog-stew. Both of them might have some choice words to say about our polity.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Thanks, Christopher, for getting right to the point: the love of God on Charles' catholic understanding preserves unity in difference--indeed, as Hegel would have said, that power is precisely the mark of God's infinite personhood. It can wholly penetrate another without effacing the other in its difference, and without losing itself in its own identity.

Yes, I know Hegel is not Catholic, and probably would have a hard time passing as catholic, but surely truth as such can only--and must be--catholic regardless of its earthly author, inasmuch as it can have only one Author.

So, blog-stew, your "would" is ambiguous between reference to the Charles and Laud of sad Stuart times, and reference to Charles and Laud, saints in the presence of the Almighty.

God the Almighty, Father of ineffable mercies dwelling in the endless darkness of eternal light, granted Charles the Stuart king an understanding he could not have deserved, in a context where even a partial measure of its full force could only have been tragically inoperable--a most prodigal revelation for that man at that time indeed.

But, praise be to God, Charles' meaning was not entirely in his
merely human hands here below, and the last chapter exhibiting its full force is yet to be written.

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:39 AM, Blogger Frair John said...

I came to support the case for Charles a while agao. I belonged to All Saints in Austin, TX, where the Society was first formed in the US. I was even a member, untill I got the impression that it was primarily a group of eternaly resentfull people almost reveling in thier rejection.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The claim you make, if I understand it, is that Charles Stuart and William Laud would support the recent positions of the Episcopal Church (ie GC 2003) and the basis for this is your assertion that Charles stood for unity in diversity. Such a perception cannot be found in the historical record. Perhaps James would support such a modern notion, unity in diversity. The rex pacificus did indeed engineer his episcopal bench to reflect an array of positions. Charles was quite a different story, opening up a significant gap between his court preachers and his bishops on the one hand and the church at large on the other.

Regarding diversity: According to Laud “It is impossible in any Christian commonwealth that the church should melt, and the State stand firm. For there can be no firmness without law; and no laws can be binding, if there be no conscience to obey them: penalty alone could never, never, do it. And no school can teach conscience but the church of Christ.” (Laud’s Works, I, 112)

William Laud, historically, could not tolerate either dissenting opinion or diversity of religious belief.

And regarding listening to different voices: From the time of Laud's elevation to Canterbury in 1633 to his execution in 1645, there was but one meeting of convocation over which he presided (1640) and he "managed" this single meeting. And this, to boot, was the result of Charles' unwillingness to even call parliament to listen to other perspectives.

I count myself a Laudian in many respects (sacramental theology and Arminian soteriology). However, were I a supporter of liberal Anglicanism -- the sort of Churchmanship that supposedly prizes diversity and listening and so forth (while conveniently ignoring Richard Hooker, the grandfather of the Caroline / Arminian movement and indeed the father of Anglicanism) -- I would be quite hesitant to take Charles and Laud to my breast.


At 11:54 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...


I don't want to make Laud out to be a Rawlsian or even Lockean liberal--or Charles I for that matter. They might have been jerks in person, and men of thoroughly repulsive moral inclinations.

Liberal tolerance, or any form of freedom, is far from a good per se in my personal view. As part of liberal Anglicanism, I'm not much of a political liberal at all I fear.

The common ground I perceive goes deeper than politics, or even political morality.


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