A Convert Looks Back at the Church of England – Fr. Ray Ryland
In this lecture from our 2006 Deep in History Conference, former Episcopalian priest Fr. Ray Ryland looks back on his journey into the Catholic Church, especially in regard to his perspective on authority in the Church.
Fr. Ryland argues that all efforts to organize Christianity outside of communion with Rome have the following features: an attempt to recapture a ‘golden age’ of the Church (which differs depending on the form of Christianity), all are highly selective about which elements of that ‘golden age’ they choose to retain, all appeal to a new and subjective authority (usually a certain person’s interpretation of Scripture), all presuppose a corruption in the Church which they claim to have corrected, and all bring into their reconstruction innovations that were not part of the ‘golden ages’ they claim to hearken back to.
While Fr. Ryland critiques this approach to authority, he also looks at the features of community and fellowship common to these groups of Christians that Catholics would be wise to learn from.