"It's not so much funny as sad. It is always upsetting when Christians of whatever tradition consider it better to discover or invent new grounds of inexorable principle for being even more divided from their fellows." - Fr John Hunwicke
As the Church is episcopally governed, there has always been a focus and a recognized need for collegiality among bishops. This has been one of the hallmarks of orthopraxy in the Church since it's inception. The first evidence of this was the Council at Jerusalem among the Apostles themselves. Schism and heresy, being two sides of the same coin, are directly opposed (by definition) to the very identity of the Church itself: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Schism and heresy on the one side, and orthopraxy and orthodoxy on the other.

And, as Anglicans especially are well aware, schism begets schism. One only needs to look around the world at the present state of the various Anglican and other traditionalists groups reacting to the offer by Rome of undoing the original act of schism.  A few bishops are going for it, but most are not. The irony is, that among those who are not, they are not working together among themselves. As Father Hunwicke highlighted, the SSPX has a bishop who's not acting collegially with their other bishops, an Anglican Communion diocese has ironically rejected it's own evangelical heritage for something new because it wants to pursue a theological novelty (lay presidency)--see how schism and heresy are two sides of the same coin?--and, among Anglican Continuing groups, there has been a long history of rouge bishops dissenting from their parent House of Bishops. Let's not even mention the division between PECUSA and other Anglicans in the Communion, or between her own bishops!

Just as a deacon and priest is not his own, neither is a bishop. The appeal to the so-called 'Ignatian Ecclesiology' by some Anglicans and fundamentalist 'traditionalists' (it's hard to call them proper Traditionalists when schism seems so cozy to them) is sadly very typical: one wants to do something and then creates (or appeals to an already created) theological novelty to justify one's actions. 'Where the bishop is, there is the Catholic Church' is certainly true, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. The bishop cannot be an episcopus vagans! And having a smaller group, thus creating episcopoi vagantes, doesn't make it any better.

It occurs to me that the Branch Theory--which is repudiated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church--is not only one of those theological novelties created to justify the unfortunate status quo, but it also is simply the so-called 'Ignatian Ecclesiology' on a large scale.

...tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam...


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