Thursday, July 23, 2015

Anglican Catholic Church Archbishop Mark Haverland's Sermon at ICCA

15 July 2015

Psalm cxxxiii, verse 3 - Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

I was trained to believe that sermons are not meant primarily to prove or to instruct, much less to argue.  Rather sermons are primarily meant to proclaim:  to proclaim the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection of our Lord.  I hope this idea animates my Sunday Mass sermons.  But Evensong or Evensong and Benediction are somewhat different from Sunday morning.  We read in a delightful miscellany on the Church and clergy by A.N. Wilson of a priest who for forty years ‘preached on a variety of themes at his morning Mass, but thought it inappropriate, at…Benediction, to preach on any subject other than the Empress Josephine.’ (A.N. Wilson, ed., 1992, p. 240)   I don’t plan to be quite that bad.  But when Bishop Ackerman invited me last year to this event I told him that I would have to address what seems to me the central problem with most of the efforts of Forward-in-Faith and its precursors and now also with the ACNA.  I was invited nonetheless, so here is something with a bit of polemic in it, as promised.  I will not say with Trevor Huddleston that I have naught for your comfort. But neither will I speak smooth things. 

The central problem of which I just spoke is a lack of theological clarity and consistency and, to be blunt, catholicity.  That is a rather provocative assertion.  Let me offer an initial qualification, if not apology.  I know that the religious world is filled with huge problems which are of much greater apparent importance than the intramural fusses of soi-disant Anglo-Catholics.  In a world of resurgent and violent Islam and a secularizing America, our intramural differences may seem minor.  I do not wish to indulge in the sadism of small differences.  But then I happen to think that Anglicanism is central to the fate of the West, and that the near collapse of orthodox Anglicanism since the mid-20thcentury is at least indirectly tied to our wider troubles.  So, back to the question of theological clarity, which I do not think is in fact a minor problem.

The Anglican alternative to the paths taken by Forward-in-Faith and ACNA is Continuing Anglicanism.  Despite all of our checkered history and with all our failures, I think we Continuers have theological integrity.  That integrity is not a subjective or personal matter, but rests on an objective theological base, expressed clearly in the Affirmation of Saint Louis.  This foundation situates us irrevocably within the central Tradition of Catholic Christendom.  All Anglican formularies are seen by the Affirmation through the lens of the central Tradition.  Anglican formularies are not a kind of Occam’s razor to limit what is acceptable in Catholic tradition for Anglicans.  Rather the Catholic consensus and central Tradition are the lens through which we read and appropriate our Anglicanism.  This central Tradition is found in the Fathers and the Seven Councils and in the consensus of East and West, ancient and modern and living still.  For us, the central problem of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Communion is not Gene Robinson or an error concerning any particular person or issue.  Rather the fundamental problem was an implicit assertion, decades ago, that the central Tradition of Christendom is at the disposal of Episcopalian Conventions or Anglican Synods or Lambeth Conferences.  It is not.  The Affirmation and my own Church’s formularies firmly, decisively, and forever reject doctrinal ambiguity, comprehensiveness, or the attempt to make our peculiarities decisive and determinative.  We are not Anglicans first and Catholics second.  We are members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church first, and Anglicans second.  We will vigorously pursue unity with all others who share this central belief.  No unity, at least no full or Eucharistic communion, is possible or desirable with those who do not share this starting point. 

I congratulate the ACNA for leaving the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada.  Every one of you who made that change did a good thing and one, I hope, that you do not regret.  But that departure can only be a good first step.  For ACNA is really not a Church but a coalition of dioceses. The coalition is for some purposes only, and the communion of the dioceses is impaired and imperfect.  The ACNA has retained the central flaw of the recent Lambeth Communion because it permits member dioceses to ordain women to the three-fold ministry, and therefore implicitly claims that the central Tradition is not decisive and may be set aside.  ACNA is not a return to orthodox Anglicanism, but only a return to the impaired state of the Lambeth Communion that began in 1975 and 1976. 

Continued ambiguity or confusion about the central tradition and women’s ordination is very dangerous.  It is very dangerous because it encourages Catholic churchmen to compromise themselves in a variety of ways.  Perhaps just as bad, fine, bright, and consistent Catholics will perceive that there is no certain trumpet, no clear ecclesiology, and no real future in a world of such compromises – and so you will continue to suffer the death by a thousand cuts, as people go to Rome or Orthodoxy or the Continuing Church or just stay home. 

There are excellent reasons to be both Catholic and Anglican.  Anglo-Catholics enjoy the great strengths of the Anglican patrimony.  We have the Authorized Version of the Bible and the classical Book of Common Prayer.  Together these are not only compelling literary and cultural monuments, but also provide us with a well-balanced spirituality.  In some Christian bodies the Bible is loosed from tradition and from the praying Church.  Of these bodies Richard Hooker wrote:

"When they and their Bibles were alone together, what strange fantastical opinion soever at any time entered into their heads, their use was to think the Spirit taught it them." (Laws, Preface, VIII.7)

The Prayer Book tradition in contrast provides an anchor, an objective interpretative lens, and a prayerful setting for traditional and orthodox interpretation of Scripture.  In other Christian bodies the sacraments have been loosed from Scripture and its constant fertilizing influence.  Scripture is neglected and the jewel of the Eucharist is pried loose from its golden setting in a round of offices centered on the systematic reading of Psalms and Scripture.  But for Anglican Catholics the sacraments are truly Scripture so prayed and read and presented as to be a large part of the very sacramental forms through which God pours forth his grace into our hearts.  In short, our tradition has an almost perfect balance of Bible and sacrament.  We begin with the Bible as presented in and with Common Prayer, but then add our Anglican patrimony of architecture, music, literature, spirituality, and theological method.  Those are formidable strengths.  How sad that so many neo-Anglicans have jettisoned the bulk of this patrimony by abandoning the classical Anglican liturgical tradition. 

Dear friends, if you compromise with the ordination of women, and if you abandon the largest part of our Anglican patrimony by adopting modernist liturgy rooted in the Novus Ordo or, worse, in the Anglo-Baptist ideas of Sydney, there is little to hold people.  Then you can only trust in a kind of slightly more decorous imitation of Charles Stanley or the already-fading mega-churches.  You’ve given up both your Anglican past and also any future that can be meaningfully described as Anglican. 

We must abandon all sectarian, provincial ideas that separate us from the central consensus of the Tradition of the great Churches.  We must take this duty seriously by systematically rooting our doctrine and practice in Catholic agreement.  Seven Councils, seven sacraments, invocation of the saints, objective sacramental efficacy, the Real Eucharistic Presence, clear moral teaching, male episcopate and priesthood and diaconate:  those are all matters of Catholic consensus.  That is what we must believe if we take seriously Archbishop Fisher’s assertion that we have no faith of our own. 

The Catholic Movement in the Church of England began as an attempt to call all Anglicans back to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.  The goal was nothing less than the wholesale conversion of the entire Church to the fullness of the Faith.  The partial success of the Movement may have been its downfall. When Anglo-Catholics became too successful to ignore or suppress, and were invited to the table to enjoy a share of the spoils – a percentage of the mitres and deaneries and professorships and plum parishes – Anglo-Catholics too often lowered their sights and quieted their voices.  From the conversion of the whole, we became satisfied with a slice of the pie, with a comfortable status as a recognized party.  But half-Catholic is as unreal as half-virgin. 

If you still are in the Episcopal Church:  get out.  Get out today.  Anything else threatens your soul’s state.  Dear friends in ACNA:  you must present a clear and unmistakable demand.  The ordination of women must end, soon and completely, for it is directly contrary to Catholic doctrine.  No grand-fathering – or grand-mothering is possible – because such compromise leaves intact the central, revolutionary, and false implication that the deposit of the faith is negotiable and at our disposal. 

Until there is such clarity, there will be no unity among those of us who like to think of ourselves as Catholic and Anglican Churchmen.  There will be no unity because you cannot be a pure cup of water in a dirty puddle.  That is the simple, basic message of the Continuing Church to the neo-Anglicans. You have gone a very long way down a very wrong path, and that is true even if all the time you were avoiding a still worse path.  You have a journey home to make, things to unlearn and to remember and recover.  We want to welcome you at home.  But there can be no restored communion with us without hard decisions and firm actions from you.   

Glory be to the Undivided Trinity.  Glory be to Jesus Christ on his throne of glory in heaven and in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  All honor to the glorious and ever-Virgin Mother of our Lord. Peace be to the Holy Churches of God.  May God forgive us our sins, which are many and great.  May God give us wisdom to discern a safe path forward.  May God grant us true humility and unshakable fidelity and great love.  May God bring our Church to glorious days and may he bring us to unity with all his holy people, so that Jerusalem may be as a city that is at unity in itself.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC CONGRESS OF ANGLICANS

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Anglican Family, the Global South, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) movement, and all the faithful seeking a conciliar Church:
The International Catholic Congress of Anglicans, held July 13-17, 2015, at St. Andrew’s parish of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, of the Anglican Church in North America, gathered to reaffirm a catholic and conciliar doctrine of the Church. The Great Commission of our Lord directs the Church to make faithful disciples, calling them out of the nations of the world to be holy to the Lord. This statement seeks to sketch out the way forward in fulfilling our Lord’s call to make faithful disciples in the context of a properly conciliar church.

SALVATION, CRISIS, AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Greek word for church, ekklesia, identifies these disciples corporately as “the called One.” The Gospel of our Lord therefore identifies this one holy people, the Church, as integral to salvation for all, so that the Church Fathers and the Reformers of the 16th century, echo the great African Bishop, Saint Cyprian, who said:  “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation,” and, “no one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as mother.” God calls out a people, rescuing them from sin and death, assuring them that they will participate in Christ’s reign, the Kingdom of God. Indeed, it is impossible to know the Lord, who calls out of darkness and into His marvelous light, without being joined to His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Through preaching, the sacraments, catechesis, and spiritual formation, worshiping in Spirit and in truth, the Church is able to make disciples by being faithful to the Apostles’ teaching, the breaking of bread, the prayers, and the fellowship.
 As the body has no life apart from the head, so the Church has no life apart from Christ, whose Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. However, churches and the culture in the West are in crisis. Secularism pervades both. In many places, Islam seeks to replace the Church and radical Islam persecutes her.  Unprincipled egalitarianism eviscerates language, liturgy, life, faith, and orders of a divided Christendom. A culture of death is evident in abortion and euthanasia, and a tragic and unnecessary sexual confusion shapes the paradigms of young and old. What does the Church say? Where does she stand, and with whom? A deficient and aberrant ecclesiology is not simply a result of the present crisis in Church and culture, but is rather a primary cause for the current crisis, and deserves the attention of all catholic Christians.

A HOLY SYNOD AND A CONCILIAR CHURCH
For the Church (the ekklesia) to act, she must know who she is: what is she called out to be? The Church is called into synodality—to come together, to worship, to live in communion with the Holy Trinity, and to mirror the life of the Holy Trinity. This implies the conciliarity of the whole people of God, responsive to the Blessed Trinity, and participating in God’s “heavenly synod” as the Church Catholic gathered around God’s authoritative Holy Scriptures and the Apostolic Tradition. In this, she is to be the Church on earth as she is in heaven. Perhaps the clearest example of this is the First Ecumenical Council (A.D. 325). The Bishops encircle the emperor’s throne with the copy of God’s Holy Word on it, seeking the mind of Christ, searching the Scriptures daily by the power of the Holy Spirit. This perfectly expresses both the authority of the Word of God written and the authority of the Church.
As the “called out ones,” the Church consists of parts and individuals, made into a whole. This is the meaning of the Greek word “catholic” (kata holon according to the whole”). It speaks of wholeness and integrity. The people of God are to live, be, and function as the whole Church Catholic of all ages in true worship, living out the Gospel in apostolic doctrine and communion.
Continuity with the whole Church of heaven and earth for all ages (by the expression of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in worship, witness, belief, and behavior) marks and identifies this conciliar life in synodality. For Anglicans, this continuity is expressed in the common confession of the Catholic Creeds and Ecumenical Councils at which they were formed and clarified.
 St. Vincent of Lérins describes this in the true, Christ-centered, biblical, confessing, and conciliar sense when he says that the Church upholds “what has been believed by all, everywhere, and at all times.” This is the essence of kata holon, “according to the whole.” When the Church is healthy she is able to come together in the Great Tradition of Eucharistic-centered worship around God’s heavenly throne that touches earth. As the Church is at holy rest in God’s presence in worship, it becomes a holy people following the unchangeable teachings of Scripture as understood by the Church of all ages and as bearing on the urgent issues facing the world today. Worship as communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of all ages then erupts into the world with one voice, bearing witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ’s glorious Gospel.
However, when the Church drifts from historic faith, order, and morals, the opposite is true. Indeed, is this not what has happened in the Anglican Communion? There is an inability even to
gather the historic Lambeth Conference due to this brokenness. Sinfulness has impeded the ability to convene in Holy Synod. The time has come for faithful Anglicans to reclaim the apostolic and Scriptural catholicity, conciliarity, and will, and to come together as a globally obedient witness in Holy Synod, where bishops, clergy, religious and laity can meet together to consult and decide important matters, with each exercising the role proper to them.
In a Conciliar Church, bishops hold a place of primacy as servants of the servants of God in succession from the Apostles, who were consecrated by Christ Himself to lead the Church into the Truth of the Holy Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit. “Where the bishop is, there is the Church,” and “wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be” (Saint Ignatius). At the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) the Apostles, in consultation with the presbyters and through prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit, resolve a great doctrinal and practical problem through synodal action. The whole Church, clergy and laity, decide how the decision is to be communicated to churches and Christians around the world. Thus bishops, clergy, and laity all participate in the Church’s synodality, which is effected through the gifts and work of all.
Mutual synodality, however, does not allow the Church “to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another” (Articles of Religion, XX). The ancient Church Fathers and Councils considered apostolic and biblical order, faith, and morals by definition to be unchangeable. Thus, when the people of God gather in synod, they do so in order to receive, discern and follow “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. Such Councils find the mind of Christ that has been and always will be. The realized goal of conciliarity is that the Church speak in true, orthodox unity to the world with the mind of Christ. As Jesus prayed just before entering the Garden of Gethsemane, this oneness that He has with the Father, and seeks to have with His Church, brings true belief, obedience, mission, and spiritual awakening to the world (John 17).

A CATHOLIC CONGRESS FOR AN ANGLICAN COMMUNION
Thus, the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans met to address and to model a global, realigned, and fully orthodox doctrine of the Church. This Congress is committed to walk in conciliarity with all Christians who embrace the Catholic Faith—and who allow the Faith to embrace them. A conciliar model of the Church is essential to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The ancient sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and the faithful in communion with them, along with Anglicans, Lutherans, and various expressions of Protestantism, each have God-given charisms to be given and received by all—uniting them in ultimate synodality for the discipleship of all the nations of the world to Jesus.
Only an Apostolic and conciliar Church can properly allow for such giving and receiving of gifts for the people of God and for the salvation of the world. Indeed, no one part of the Church can stand firm against the world, the flesh and the devil without the other parts.  Because of her core ecclesial difficulties, the Church has insufficiently addressed other causes of further demise both within culture and the Church. There are assaults from without such as virile secularism, militant Islamic persecution, sexual confusion, and the redefinition of matrimony from God’s created order upheld by Christ as a lifelong sacramental union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9). From within there are departures from a Biblical, Catholic faith and order, heresy, liturgical chaos, and failure to call for repentance from sin.
These subsidiary crises, allowed to proliferate through ecclesial lapses, have further fragmented Anglicans globally. Some of the faithful have hoped for the best in the church homes of their youth, others have formed the “Continuing Churches,” or have maintained the Faith in particular jurisdictions. Primates, bishops, clergy, and laity in each of these have struggled valiantly to maintain the historic Church, but the fragmentation continued, and distance between the faithful increased.
God has, however, been moving among Anglicans in an extraordinary way; recent years have seen significant realignment emanating, for example, from GAFCON and the Global South. Yet only with a healthy conciliar ecclesiology will there be movement toward one another in true unity. This Congress recognizes that a proper doctrine of the Church is critical, requiring the attention of all faithful Anglicans.
Now therefore, to fulfill the Great Commission—and to realize further ecumenical relationships within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church—true unity must surpass mere federations and coalitions. This International Congress invites all Anglicans throughout the world (a) to a reexamination of the doctrine of the Church and (b) to a further consideration of areas of continuing ecclesial contention, for instance, the ordination of women, deemed by some to be a first order issue. This is necessary so that there may be a revival of Catholic Faith and Order, and a return to a biblical, credal, and conciliar fidelity. Only through honest discussion, ongoing prayer, and ultimate agreement will faithful Anglicans discern fully what God is doing in the great realignment taking place globally. This International Congress prays also that in God’s good providence there will be a truly Ecumenical Council of the whole Church to address contentious issues facing Christians and churches and to strengthen the faith of the Church.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Photographs for the WSJ - Dhanraj Emanuel





Saint Barnabas Dunwoody: Holy Week and Easter Schedule 2015



Passion Saturday, 28th March
Workshop for Making Palm Crosses, 10am
Men’s Group Retreat at the
Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers

Palm Sunday, 29th March
Sung Holy Communion
and the Blessing and Distribution of Palms,
9am and 11am

Monday in Holy Week, 30th March
Tuesday in Holy Week, 31st March
and Wednesday in Holy Week, 1st April
Holy Communion, 12 Noon

Maundy Thursday, 2nd April
Holy Communion, 12 Noon
Sung Holy Communion,
Stripping of the Altar, and Watch before
the Altar of Repose, 7pm

Good Friday, 3rd April
Morning Prayer, Litany,
and Holy Communion
from the Reserved Sacrament 9.30am
Three Hours’ Devotion, 12 Noon to 3pm
Stations of the Cross, 3pm
Sacramental Confessions, 4pm-6pm
Evensong and Litany, 7pm

Easter Even, 4th April
Easter Egg Hunt, 10.30am
Sacramental Confessions, 1pm-2pm
Easter Flower Ministry, 9am-2pm
Sung Holy Communion of the Easter Vigil, 8pm

Easter Day, 5th April
Sung Holy Communion, 9am
Sung Holy Communion, 11am

Parish Office Closed: 6th April to 11th April

Friday, March 13, 2015

Media Reaction to the WSJ Article

These articles are interesting...

First Things.

Get Religion. 

The Deacon's Bench.

Baptist News Global. 

Persona. 

Euangelion. 

Jesus Creed.

Albert Mohler.

Πιστεύομεν εἰς μίαν, ἁγίαν, καθολικὴν καὶ ἀποστολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Wall Street Journal



Identical twins, the brothers grew up in Elkin, N.C., a small town in the Bible Belt, the only children of devout Baptists. As boys, they attended the First Baptist Church of Elkin, studied Scripture, went to vacation Bible school and sang in the choir, as did many of their cousins, classmates and neighbors.
Today, Brad, 43, is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Charlotte, and Chad is an Anglican bishop in Atlanta. Their parents, Jo Anne and Robert, remain faithful members of their Baptist congregation. When their sons visit, each celebrates mass according to his own rite in the dining room or living room of what has become a very ecumenical Jones household.
More than half of the U.S. adult population has changed religious affiliations at least once during their lives, most before they reach 50, according to a 2009 Faith in Flux report by the Pew Research Center. In many cases, the move is from one major religious tradition to another, say, Protestantism to Catholicism, but it also includes those who leave organized religion altogether.
While some people leave their childhood religion, only to return later, about 44% do not currently belong to the religion in which they were raised. “Many people offer more than one reason for having changed religions,” says Greg Smith, Associate Director of Research at Pew. A spouse or partner belongs to another church, so they join that one. As adults, they disagree with teachings unquestioned in their youth. For others, the break is less about external factors than internal needs for something more spiritual and finding another church to fill that void.
That was the case of Brad and Chad Jones. The brothers shared a sense that something was missing in the Baptist Church and embarked on a common path to find it, but ended up in different places, far from their roots and each other. One is celibate, the other married with four children. Father Brad embraces the authority of the pope. Bishop Chad doesn’t.
“My brother went one direction and I went to another,” says Bishop Chad. Each, though, is deeply committed and content with his decision.
Tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Elkin is a rural working-class community, historically dominated by farms and mills and the Baptist Church. The Jones family blended in, their father working for a large building contractor and their mother a homemaker.
The boys were well-behaved and inseparable. Kindred souls, as preschoolers they spoke to each other in “twin language,” their mother said, using words that no one else understood. Neither was athletic, but both were musically inclined, joining the choir at the age of 6 and later playing in the high school marching band. Father Brad played the tuba and sousaphone. Bishop Chad, the more outgoing of the two, was the drum major his senior year. They were avid readers, digesting encyclopedias and discussing them.
“They were always in a corner, reading a book,” says Mrs. Jones.
Like many kids, in their early teen years they began questioning things, including the teachings of the Baptist Church, she says. Their curiosity was piqued in large part by an older, much-respected cousin, who lived in Greensboro and had recently converted to Catholicism. During one visit, their cousin took the boys, then about 12 or 13, to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church. It was their first time inside a Catholic church. That Sunday morning remains 30 years later one of their most vivid memories.
The beauty of the building itself—the vaulted ceilings, marble steps, intricate woodwork, statues and stained glass—the smells of burning incense and the sounds of bells had a mystical quality that is hard to explain, says Father Brad. What struck Bishop Chad was watching the priest standing in front of the altar and elevating the Communion host.
For them, the Catholic liturgy made the invisible God palpable and tangible to the senses. Their own Baptist Church, where the walls are white and flat, the altar austere, and the worship focused largely on Scripture alone, didn’t. “We weren’t theologians. We were children. But as children we had open hearts and minds to it and were very receptive,” says Bishop Chad. He remembers painting a picture of Jesus during vacation Bible school, hanging it on his bedroom wall and wishing his church had pictures.
Back home, they began researching, studying and debating, mostly with each other, about which church contained the fullness of Christianity. They experimented, visiting different services.
On Sundays, their parents would drop one off at a Catholic Church and another at an Anglican one, before going to their own Baptist Church. While somewhat apprehensive, their parents didn’t try to stop them or convince them otherwise. “I always felt, ‘Who was I to question God’s spiritual plan for these young men?’ ” says Mrs. Jones. “They were very intelligent, spiritual, loving, caring and enthusiastic about the future.”
Bishop Chad joined the Anglican Church at the age of 16. After he delved into the history of Christianity, he decided Anglicanism was “the true church arising from the apostles and fathers of the early church,” he says. His brother, Father Brad, joined the Catholic Church at 17.
The change was, in their words, “somewhat revolutionary.” In rural North Carolina in the 1980s, entering the Catholic community left Father Brad on the fringe of his own. It “meant that a southern boy was befriending northerners,” says Father Brad. Indeed, most of the Catholics were transplants, and there weren’t many of those either. At one point, he says, less than 2% of the population of western North Carolina was Catholic.
For his brother, it wasn’t so much breaking with his old community as entering a new one, which has historically attracted the community’s most elite members. The small-town teen from a middle-class family found himself at coffee hours surrounded by bankers, doctors and lawyers discussing investments, practices or legal cases. “It was a language I didn’t understand,” says Bishop Chad. “I was a teenager. I didn’t have the breadth of life experiences.” He never felt unwelcome or rejected—in fact, his church members threw him a surprise high school graduation party—but it took a while to feel like he belonged, he says.
Eventually, the brothers became priests, and in 2010, Chad was named Bishop. Both celebrate mass and administer sacraments. They agree on many theological points, but disagree strongly on the pope.
“It really boils down to a question of authority of supreme role of the pope as the universal shepherd. That is where we differ,” says Father Brad.
“We have debated it for years at length,” says Bishop Chad.
But now, in their 40s, having outlined and made their respective arguments, they accept that neither one is going to change. “He is where he is and I am where I am,” says Father Brad. “I still pray for him.” They both laugh.
The brothers remain close, and they say they have more in common now than ever before. As pastors, they deal daily with parishioners, who have lost jobs, homes and family members, or have mental health problems. Without betraying confidentiality, they seek each other’s counsel. “That is the great advantage of twin clergy,” says Bishop Chad.
Recently, they discussed the possibility that one or more of Bishop Chad’s four children might take the path the brothers did, and change churches. Bishop Chad hopes not. “Of course, I would love for my children to remain Anglicans and to relish that beautiful tradition and flourish within it,” he says. His parents, he says, “might have wished the same for us.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas 2014!






Alleluia! Unto us a Child is born; * O come let us adore Him. Alleluia! A blessed and glorious Christmas celebration to you all. God bless you!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

ONE CHURCH, ONE FAITH, ONE LORD

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans:
Restoring the Conciliar Church and Her Mission
ICCA-logo-flag-web 6x4
Congress Official Logo
DATES:  July 13-17, 2015
CHECK-IN OPENS: July 13 at 1:00 p.m. at the hotel
WHERE:  Hilton Hotel, 815 Main St., Fort Worth, TX  76102
DAILY MASS:  St. Andrews, 917 Lamar St, Fort Worth, TX 76102 (Cross Streets: Between Texas St and W 10th St)
Inspired by the famous Anglo-Catholic Congresses of the 1920′s, it’s our hope that this Congress will be the start of more to come.

The Feast of Our Lady on 8th/9th December






Today the bonds of barrenness are broken, God hath heard the prayers of Joachim and Anne. He hath promised them beyond all their hopes to bear the Maiden of God,  by whom the uncircumscribed One was born as mortal Man; He commanded an angel to cry to her: 'Rejoice, O full of grace,  the Lord is with thee!'
Today thou hast shown forth... Today the universe rejoices,  for Anne hath conceived the Mother of God through divine dispensation,  for she hath brought forth the one who is to bear the ineffable Word! (Byzantine Rite)

O GOD Most High, who didst endue with wonderful virtue and grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Grant that we, who now call her blessed, may be made very members of the heavenly family of him who was pleased to be called the first-born among many brethren; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen(1962 Canadian Prayer Book)

O ALMIGHTY God, who didst endue with singular grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to hallow our bodies in purity, and our souls in humility and love; through the same our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (1929 Scottish Prayer Book)



















The Church affirms that Mary is Full of Grace (St Luke 1.28) and therefore has no room in her life for sin, as she, the Woman whose Son is the Seed that crushed the serpent's head and who Himself was bruised by the serpent, the Mother of the Redeemer (Genesis 3.15), is perfectly faithful and obedient to the will and plan of God. 'I am the Handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word' (St Luke 1.38). Mary, in essence, is the Second and New Eve, who, freed from the power of sin, reverses the disobedience of the first Eve by her own obedience and fidelity to God. 'She loosed by her obedience the knot first tied by the disobedience of Eve' (St Iraneaus of Lyons). 'In the name Theotokos is wrapped-up the whole mystery of the economy of the salvation of God' (St John of Damascus).

The most ancient opinion about original sin in Our Lady was that which celebrated her freedom from original sin at the moment of the Annunciation, in which by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, Mary conceived Our Lord in her now-immaculate womb. This was called Our Lady's purification or katharsis and is still generally believed in the Eastern Churches today. 


'Conceived by the Virgin, who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Ghost - for it was needful both that childbearing should be honoured, and that virginity should receive a higher honour, He came forth then as God with that which He had assumed, One person in two natures, flesh and Spirit, of which the latter deified the former.' (Oration 38, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus). 

This view is consistent with Scripture. We can summarise the whole subject with St Augustine of Hippo, who said so beautifully, 'Where sin is concerned, I do not even discuss it in relation to Mary.' All the Catholic Churches, including the Anglican, regardless of belief about the details of her conception, celebrate the Feast of Our Lady's Conception with great solemnity on December 8th. What all Catholics adhere to faithfully is the pious belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary is immaculate - negatively, free from sin, positively, full of all grace and virtue. So, as the Bible implies it and does not require it, the Church piously and simply calls Mary, the Spotless One.

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching that the Mother of God was exempted from the consequences of ancestral sin (death, corruption, sin, etc.) at the moment of her conception by virtue of the future merits of her Son. Only Christ was born perfectly holy and sinless, as St Ambrose of Milan teaches in Chapter Two of his Commentary on Luke. The Holy Virgin was like everyone else in her mortality, and in being subject to temptation, although she committed no personal sins. She was not a deified creature removed from the rest of humanity. If this were the case, she would not have been truly human, and the nature that Christ took from her would not have been truly human either. If Christ does not truly share our human nature, then the possibilty of our salvation is in doubt.

The Best Christmas Gift



In the ancient Church, the Feast of Christmas was often called the Magnum Mysterium, the Great Mystery, or Sacrament. Our Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Great Mystery, or Sacrament, God made visible, God made Man. And Jesus gives Himself to us this and every Christmas, the most unfathomable Christmas gift ever… Christmas is all about the Holy Incarnation and how we are plugged into it.

The term Sacrament derives from the Latin word Sacramentum, which means 'oath' or 'covenant,' a word used of soldiers and government officials in the Roman empire who swore an oath of allegiance to serve faithfully in their offices. The Latin word Sacrament, which itself is not found in Scripture, just as the words 'Trinity' and homoousios ('of one substance with the Father' in the Nicene Creed) are not found in Scripture, is first invoked in the postapostolic Church of the second century to describe the sacred rites instituted by Our Lord which convey divine grace and are therefore 'oaths of Christ,' covenanted means of grace which communicate divine life by the promise and power of Christ. Such Western Church Fathers as Tertullian, Saint Cyprian, and Saint Augustine freely use the word Sacrament to describe what are today reckoned as seven mystical rites conveying the grace of Jesus Christ.

The original word for a Sacrament as a means of divine grace, or as an effectual sign of grace causing what it symbolises, is 'mystery' or in Greek, musterion. The Western Church translates ‘mystery’ from Scripture as ‘Sacrament,’ although in the Eastern Church to this day, the Sacraments are called the Holy Mysteries. Saint Paul uses the term musterion in reference to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony - 'Behold, I tell you of a great mystery, which is of Christ and the Church' (Ephesians 5.32). In union with the Eastern Tradition, the Book of Common Prayer refers to the Holy Eucharist as the Holy Mysteries par excellence (BCP Page 83, Thanksgiving).

The Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, ordained by Christ Himself, as means whereby we receive the same, and pledges to assure us thereof. The principle of the Sacraments is found in the whole Bible, and in its fulness in the New Testament, that is, in the Incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. God becomes Man so that man may become one with God. God assumes human nature in the Incarnation, all that pertains to man, human body, mind, soul, and spirit, so that human nature may be redeemed, sanctified, and glorified by God to share in the divine life.

The Sacraments are the extension of the Incarnation - they communicate the divine life of Christ to our human nature, and thus to our whole persons. We cannot be saved or redeemed or glorified apart from our own human nature as human beings. We must be regenerated and transformed, as human beings, into the children of God. And so God, in wonderful condescension and love, takes on our human nature and unites it to the Person of the Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

God takes our human nature, divinises it, and gives it back to us in the Sacraments, so that we may, in our human nature, partake of God Himself. As the Fathers love to say: 'we become by grace what God is by nature.'

The Incarnation and the Sacraments are two expressions of one reality: God the Son becomes Man, and then takes that Hypostatic Union, human flesh united to the Divine Word, and conveys it to the members of His own Mystical Body, the Church, in and through the Sacraments.

This is why the Great Tradition teaches that the pre-eminent Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are generally necessary to salvation: Baptism as the Sacrament of New Birth mystically unites us to the crucified and risen Christ and regenerates our human nature into the nature of the Son of God (St John 3.3-7, Romans 6.1-11, Galatians 3.22-29). We become children of God and members of Christ's Body in Baptism.

The Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, nourishes us with the human nature and divinity of Christ unto everlasting life (St John 6.53-59, 1 Corinthians 10.14-22, 11.23-34). Our Lord's true Body and true Blood are really given and eaten in the Lord's Supper after an heavenly and supernatural manner so that we may partake of Christ's human nature and be recreated by it.

Ours is a 'body religion,' the Church as the Body of Christ, the Religion of the Incarnation, which is made a reality in us sacramentally. There is only One Body of Christ, in the Incarnation, in the Eucharist, and in the Church, us.

Thus, man is a sacrament. Man is a composite being of body and soul, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality. Man's outward sign is his body; man's inward and spiritual reality is his soul and spirit. Mankind is a living sacrament: he simultaneously exists as material and spiritual, physical and supernatural, united together in one cohesive entity. When the soul leaves the body, death occurs, which is for man an unnatural state not intended by God in His first creation of us. Man was created to be forever alive, forever immortal in a sacramental state.

Any religious view or teaching which downplays the role of the body in the Christian revelation is really gnostic or docetic; as such, it rejects the essential goodness and role of the human body in salvation. The Church from the beginning has been attacked by these heresies of docetism (which held that Our Lord only appeared to be man but was in truth a phantasm or ghost who had no real human nature) and gnosticism (which teaches that man is saved by a cerebral intellectual knowledge which frees the spirit from the prison of the body and of created matter, which creation is held to be evil). Man is a sacrament, made of body and of soul.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Great Sacrament, being God and Man in One Divine Person with two natures, human and divine. Jesus is perfect God and perfect Man, perfectly both at once in the Incarnation. God becomes Incarnate, a Sacrament, to redeem and glorify man, a sacrament, and gives us His natures to be ours in Sacraments. The link between Jesus Christ and man, whom he came to save, is His own Incarnation, which is extended, given, and received in the Sacraments of Holy Church.

Jesus Christ is the best and greatest Christmas gift of all – and He awaits us at the Christmas Altar so that we may receive Him in our Christmas Communions!

A joyous and happy Christmas to you all - God bless you!