Friday, March 26, 2010

Holy Week and Easter Week 2010

Saint Barnabas Anglican Church
4795 North Peachtree Road
Dunwoody, Georgia 30338

Saturday 27th March
Workshop for Making Palm Crosses, 10am

Palm Sunday, 28th March
Holy Communion with the Blessing and Distribution of Palms, 9am and 11am

Monday in Holy Week, 29th March, Tuesday in Holy Week, 30th March and Spy Wednesday, 31st March
Holy Communion, Noon

Maundy Thursday, 1st April
Holy Communion at Noon
Holy Communion with the Stripping of the Altar and Watch before the Altar of Repose, 7pm (Incense)

Good Friday, 2nd April
Morning Prayer, Litany and Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, 9.30am (Incense)
The Three Hours' Devotion, Noon to 3pm
Stations of the Cross, 3pm
Sacramental Confessions, 4pm to 6pm
Tenebrae Service, 7pm

Holy Saturday, 3rd April
Easter Egg Hunt, 11am
Easter Flower Ministry, 9am to 3pm
Sacramental Confessions, 1pm to 2pm
Holy Communion of the Easter Vigil, 8pm (Incense)

Easter Day, 4th April
Holy Communion, 9am and 11am

Easter Monday, 5th April, Easter Tuesday, 6th April and Easter Wednesday, 7th April
Holy Communion, Noon

Easter Thursday, 8th April
Holy Communion, 7pm

Easter Friday, 9th April and Easter Saturday, 10th April
Holy Communion, Noon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Kosher for Lent?

On a totally unrelated subject to the Lenten season... or is it? We today obtained one of my favourite things from the grocery store, not exactly a good Lenten discipline, Kosher Coca-Cola, made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. I have been drinking Coke practically since birth (I am a Southerner after all) and I especially love the old formula consisting of real sugar, which today is found only in Kosher Coke and Mexican Coke (available in the international food section of local stores here in Atlanta). So if you love Coke, real Coke, find the Passover section at your local store and indulge - Kosher Coke is only available for a limited time right now before and during Passover, and is identified by the yellow cap with Hebrew printing on it.

And because my boys are currently fascinated with the story of Holy Week and Easter, and of the Old Testament types of Moses, Passover and the Exodus, we picked up matzos as well. We have discovered matzo is a wonderful teaching tool for instructing little children about the Passover, and its fulfilment in Our Blessed Lord and the Holy Eucharist.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Artificial Contraception

Dear N.,

Thank you so very much for the article on artificial contraception and its reference to the infamous 1930 Lambeth Conference, which was the first ecclesiastical congress or body in modern history to authorise the use of artificial contraception - within the bonds of Holy Matrimony of course. But nevertheless, the Lambeth declaration was the first statement of any Church, and certainly of any branch of the Apostolic Catholic Church, which at that time the entire Anglican Communion certainly was, to permit the use of 'birth control.' The controversy of that decision is still felt acutely today, and the moral and social consequences have been manifest for all to see, as the statement eventually, directly or indirectly, gave rise to the widespread use of artificial contraception (and abortion) throughout Western societies, causing populations to plummet and unleashing a new era of selective sex and reproductive technologies. Some even draw a connexion between 'birth control' and the modern eugenics movement promulgated by certain well-known abortion and contraception advocacy groups.

Your question about the Continuing Churches and artificial contraception is a profound and delicate one, and certainly complex. I would state as a matter of fact that the Continuing Anglican Churches have no official doctrine or moral teaching on the liceity or impermissibility of the use of artificial contraception, and are very much like the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which do not expressly forbid the use of 'birth control,' but allow the use of it to married couples under the direction, guidance and counsel of a spiritual father and confessor. Only rarely would our own people seek spiritual direction on this subject. The closest statement we have to anything directly related to artificial contraception is the Affirmation of Saint Louis (1977), which does affirm the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death, and which explicitly condemns abortion: Every human being, from the time of his conception, is a creature and child of God, made in His image and likeness, an infinitely precious soul; the unjustifiable or inexcusable taking of life is always sinful. and this - The God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman is God's loving provision for procreation and family life, and sexual activity is to be practiced only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony. These teachings are dogmatic and binding for orthodox Anglicanism, and I believe we should use them to draw from them the proper moral inferences regarding such questions as artificial contraception and modern fertilisation technologies.

My personal view, and it is my view representing my own understanding of and formation in the Catholic Faith, is that artificial contraception has been generally destructive to family life and marital relationships, has enabled and promoted fornication and adultery, and has given rise to the 'culture of death' described by the Bishop of Rome John Paul II, in which abortion and euthanasia are now all but universal. There seems to be, to my mind at least, a direct philosophical and moral line and correlation between artificial contraception and abortion. The one has, I think it is fair to say, given rise to the other, as the demand for the one has originated the other - when artificial contraception inevitably fails, abortion is the next step to eliminating the 'problem' of pregnancy. In this respect, I believe another Bishop of Rome, Paul VI, is utterly prophetic in his magisterial encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), in which he projected and prophesied that the unrestrained availability and use of artificial contraception would inescapably generate an 'abortive mentality,' and thus create a world in which procured abortion would be used as 'birth control.' In this prophecy, he was absolutely right, and so I affirm personally my greatest respect and affinity for the position of the Latin Church on this subject. Again, orthodox Anglo-Catholics are not morally bound to the dogmatic teaching of the Roman Communion on artificial contraception, but they are, of course, bound to the Sixth and Seventh Commandments. The hedge around those Commandments erected by Humanae Vitae safeguards the faithful from falling into a potentially devastating trap.

Another grave difficulty is that most modern oral contraceptives often can and do function, intentionally or not, as abortifacients, which permit a human embryo to be fertilised but prevent implantation of the embryo in the uterine wall: although it is impossible to determine exactly when and if such procured abortions occur with the use of conventional contraceptives, there is always the risk that artificial contraception of any kind can cause an abortion of a fertilised human embryo, which the Church teaches is a human being, ensouled and potentially capable of full human life if permitted to grow in the womb.

So, as you see, this is a serious and sensitive issue indeed. Were a couple to ask for my pastoral direction on this subject, I would counsel them to find natural alternative means to artificial contraception if possible and to avoid the moral quagmire artificial contraception creates. Historically, the Anglican Communion up until 1930 had always strenuously opposed artificial contraception, and in particular Anglo-Catholics, loyal sons of the Anglican Tradition, were most intensely opposed, long before the issue became prevalent in popular discourse and behaviour.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda

Please visit the excellent new blog of Father Jay Scott Newman!

Father Newman is my first cousin, a Latin Rite priest and Pastor of Saint Mary's Church, Greenville, South Carolina. He is also an expert liturgiologist and a leader at the forefront of the 'Reform of the Reform' liturgical movement in the RC Church.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

More Reaffirmation of Apostolicae Curae

From Cardinal William Levada:

'...Nevertheless, a strict comparison between the Anglicans and the Eastern Church and Catholic Churches would not be correct, I hasten to add. The Eastern Churches, like the Ukrainian Catholic Church so numerous in Canada, are in the fullest sense of the term “Churches” since they have valid apostolic succession and thus valid Eucharist. They are therefore called Churches sui juris because they have their own legal structures of governance, all while maintaining bonds of hierarchical communion with the Bishop of Rome. The term Church is applied differently to the Anglican Communion for reasons rehearsed over a century ago by Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae curae. So the legal framework for Anglican communities seeking full communion precisely as communities would be different from that of Eastern Churches. They remain a part of the Western Latin Church tradition. That is why the Holy Father has decided to erect personal ordinarities in order to provide pastoral care for such groups who wish to share their gifts corporately with their Catholic sisters and brothers and with whom they have shared a long history before the Reformation in the 16th century.'

Since the Cardinal is stating, in reiteration of Apostolicae Curae and Dominus Jesus, that Anglican Churches are not 'Churches' in the fullest sense and lack apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, is he opening the door for the creation of ordinariates for reformation bodies that actually do lack apostolic succession and the catholic Eucharist? Could we soon see Lutheran ordinariates, Methodist ordinariates or even Baptist ordinariates? If Anglicanism is merely only a sect, the refusal to create ordinariates for other sectarian bodies would seem unjust and inconsistent...

Eucharistic Notes for Lent

1. The Church of the medieval period, of the later Middle Ages, espoused the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Thomistic doctrine, that the Eucharistic Consecration caused the substances of bread and wine to be destroyed and replaced by the substances of the Body and Blood of Christ, hence the corrective offered by the Church of England in Article of Religion XXVIII in which it is said that Transubstantiation 'overthrows the nature of a sacrament.' The immediate reason: unfortunately, the late medieval Church had ceased properly to understand Saint Thomas's meaning of substance as a non-material essence and saw 'substance' as materiality. If the material substances of bread and wine (which is what is specifically targeted in the Article) cease to exist, the outward and visible sign of the Blessed Sacrament is vitiated and the Sacrament does not exist.

2. The Eucharistic Change, or transformation of the bread and wine into Our Lord's Body and Blood by the Word of Christ and the Invocation of the Holy Ghost, is a true and literal Change, for one objective thing (the elements) becomes another objective Thing (Our Lord), but it is not a material change - the Change occurs on the supernatural and metaphysical, the supramaterial, level, inaccessible to our understanding and perception.

3. In Saint John 6, Our Lord uses a reference to the 'gnawing' and 'chewing' of His Flesh and Blood - and He is unwilling to reduce His teaching to a metaphor or analogy. Our Lord intended the Bread of Life discourse to be taken literally, which indeed it was, as was demonstrated by the reaction of the crowd.

4. There is also the quintessential point of presenting Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Church Fathers in their proper context, and we are called to exegesis, to bring out the actual meaning of the text, rather than eisigesis, the attempt to infuse a preconceived notion into the text. The contextual reading of the Scriptures itself provides the fullest warrant for belief in the Real Objective Presence. As one has brilliantly pointed out, affirming the sacramental principle in opposition to gnosticism, 'Our Lord would not instruct us to do this and then not give us a way of accomplishing it.' Contextual reading of the Bible is the key to all of Catholic doctrine.

5. The examination of the Old Testament is all-important: the divine institution by YHWH in ancient Israel of covenant sacrifice, priesthood, liturgical worship, the use of bread and wine sacramentally and the centrality of the Lamb. The Todah sacrifice, the Eucharistic or Thank Offering of bread and wine in the Old Covenant, is an absolutely essential reference - and it is vital to recognise it. References to Melchizedek, the showbread, the manna and the Passover all prove the continuity of the Eucharist with the Old Testament.

6. The axiom for the proper Catholic interpretation of Scripture: the Mass and Catholic Priesthood are the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacramental and sacrificial system, as Our Lord Jesus Christ is the unique embodiment, personification and fulfilment of Israel and the Old Covenant. The Eucharist is the perfection and accomplishment, the full manifestation, of that to which the old sacrifices and sacraments gave symbolism, sign and foretaste. There is a hermeneutic of continuity, not rupture, between the Old and New Testaments, or as Saint Augustine saith, 'The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.' Christ is the final and full revelation of what was conveyed in the Old Covenant in prefigure and shadow. Jesus Christ is the true Priest, Victim, Sacrifice and Altar, the Lamb, truly made present in the celebration of the Mass, and under the form of bread and wine.

7. There is an inseparable link between Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition; we invoke the magisterial Church Fathers of the first millennium to demonstrate the unchanging and perennial teaching of the Church on the Real Presence, a doctrine indisputable when consulting the faith and practice of the Church in the patristic era: true Catholicism is inherently patristic and liturgical, and looks to the sources, ad fontes, ressourcement, when seeking to present the substance of that Faith Once Delivered to the Saints and faithfully transmitted by the Church of the Apostles and Fathers.

Trinity Sunday Episcopal Visitation - Saint George the Martyr Church, Simpsonville, South Carolina

Trinity Sunday Episcopal Visitation to Saint George the Martyr Church, Simpsonville, South Carolina.