The myopia of not propagating Anglicanism
The Eucharist is provisional. Scripture is provisional. The three-fold order of apostolic ministry is provisional. When "the great Church victorious will be the Church at rest", each of these will pass away.
To say, then, that Anglicanism "is not ultimate, only provisional" - words from Eugene R. Schlesinger's article yesterday on Covenant - is to merely say that the Anglican tradition shares this characteristic with every other Christian tradition, with the Sacraments, and with Scripture, because "only Jesus Christ is ultimate". In terms of aiding an understanding of Anglican identity or the vocation of Anglicanism, this perhaps does not particularly aid us.
Schlesinger goes on to state that Anglicanism recognises itself as "a portion and faithful expression of [the catholic] Church, but it is only a portion, only an expression, not its fullness". This is a venerable aspect of Anglican self-understanding, a recognition that catholic fullness cannot be deemed to reside in one national church - or one see. Hence Jewel in his Apology contrasted the limited nature of the authority claimed by the Church of England with the Bishop of Rome who "willed to have the 'whole Church depend upon' himself alone". This was the "tyranny" rejected by the ecclesia Anglicana: "these men avouch the universal possession of the Catholic Church to be their own".
Against this, much more modest aims lay behind the reformation of the ecclesia Anglicana. Canon 30 of the Canons of 1604 emphasises this modesty, and the determination not to deny that other Churches - irrespective of the divisions of the Reformation - are a part of the Church catholic:
Nay, so far was it from the purpose of the Church of England to forsake and reject the Churches of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, or any such like Churches, in all things which they held and practised, that as the Apology of the Church of England confesseth, it doth with Reverence retain those Ceremonies which do neither endamage the Church of God, nor offend the Minds of sober Men; and only departed from them in those particular Points, wherein they were fallen both from themselves in their ancient Integrity.
This foundational Anglican insistence that we are not the fullness of the Church catholic is not, however, an inoffensive exercise in ecclesiastical hand-wringing. It has bite, precisely because no church or see can claim catholic fullness. This means that Schlesinger's claim that "Anglican identity is oriented toward and at the service of a larger Catholic fullness" requires - at least - considerable nuance.
It certainly cannot mean the Ordinariate, which Schlesinger seems to point towards as an example. Anglicanorum Coetibus, from its opening paragraph, makes abundantly clear what it understands 'Catholic fullness' to be: "governed by the successor of Peter". This is self-evidently not what classical Anglicanism has meant by the 'Church catholic'.
The language of provisionality, because it is not to be uniquely applied to Anglicanism, does not therefore contribute in a significant manner to reflection on Anglican identity or the vocation of Anglicanism. What is more, when it is regarded as having a particular applicability to Anglicanism, it can result in the following judgement:
Our primary task is not to propagate Anglicanism, but to spread the gospel of Christ, and to promote the unity of his one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
If Anglican churches do not propagate Anglicanism, they will be propagating another tradition, intensifying the "theological incoherence" which undermines both Anglican witness and the work of catholic unity. If they do not propagate Anglicanism, they will not be propagating the gospel of Christ as received and proclaimed by the Reformed Catholicism of the Anglican Formularies - indeed, the risk is that "another gospel", unknown to the Church catholic, will be shared. If they do not propagate Anglicanism, they will not be shaping disciples through the practices and piety of Anglicanism.
If Anglican churches do not propogate Anglicanism, then the "treasures in the Anglican patrimony" are lost to the Body of Christ.
It is this which would be "a myopic shrinking of our vision".