Monday, February 28, 2011

Healey Willan at Evensong and Benediction

A glimpse of Healey Willan (1880-1968) accompanying the Anglo-Catholic liturgy of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Toronto. Recorded live at Vespers and Benediction in 1966.

The Magnificat with Antiphon - (plainsong with Willan fauxbourdons)
Psalm 117 with Antiphon (5:52)
Improvised postlude. (7:16)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Lady of Kursk

On Tuesday 15th February 2011, the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady in the Old Calendar, I was delighted and honoured to be invited to venerate the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God at Saint Mary of Egypt Russian Orthodox Church in Roswell, Georgia. This holy icon is considered the most sacred relic in the possession of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and the devotion to Our Lady of Kursk is one of the most beloved in Russian Orthodoxy: Our Lady of Kursk is to the Russian Church what Our Lady of Walsingham is to Anglicanism. You may read about the devotion here. Let us continue to pray for the restoration of full communion between the Eastern Orthodox and orthodox Anglican Churches.

Video courtesy of the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Accipe Spiritum Sanctum

Father John Hunwicke provides us this week with a splendid meditation on rites of Episcopal Consecration old and new, and cites the writing of the eminent theologian, canonist and Church historian Cardinal Pietro Gasparri.

Father Hunwicke states: [Gasparri] was writing at a time when the universal opinion was that the Form of Episcopal Consecration was the formula Accipe Spiritum Sanctum, said by the consecrator as he imposed hands... and then quotes the Cardinal.

'Among all these rites which the Roman Pontifical prescribes in Episcopal Consecration, the common opinion is that the Matter is the imposition of the hands of the consecrating bishop (rather, of the consecrating bishops) and the Form is the related words Receive the Holy Spirit.

We think ... that, in the hypothesis of the imposition of the bishop's hands with the Preface alone, without those words Receive the Holy Spirit, the Consecration is valid, just as it was valid in the ancient liturgy; for how could you prove that the Church had taken its consecratory power away from this Prayer?

Equally, in the hypothesis of the imposition of the bishop's hands with those words alone Receive the Holy Spirit, without the Preface, we admit, with the common opinion, that the ordination is valid, since, although those words alone, considered in themselves, are indeterminate and do not sufficiently express the conferring of the episcopal order, nevertheless they are made sufficiently determinate not only by the Preface but by the caeremonia itself without the Preface.'

Cardinal Gasparri's sensible and historically-grounded theological explanation of the form of Episcopal Consecration, had it been applied generously in the deliberations of the Papal Commission of 1896 concerning Anglican Orders, would have likely produced a different result from the said Commission. Good liturgical theology has always recognised the reality of the moral unity of a rite, in which all the varying parts, acts and ceremonies together as an organic whole determine the meaning of the sacramental action. The convoluted and confusing theological method of Apostolicae Curae, shifting as it does from ground to ground in an effort scholastically to pinpoint a defect in the rites of Anglican ordination, could have been cleanly swept away or corrected by the use of Gasparri's historical-liturgical examination of the facts.

In other words, Anglican Orders are valid.

That in this and subsequent ordinations there are found in their fullness those orthodox and indispensable, visible and sensible elements of valid episcopal ordination - viz. the laying on of hands, the Epiclesis of the All-Holy Spirit and also the purpose to transmit the charisma of the Episcopal ministry.
Meletius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 1922

Monday, February 21, 2011

Septuagesima and Pre-Lent

Septuagesima: A funny sounding word that signals the ensuing approach of our Lenten discipline as we embark on the journey known as Pre-Lent, a mini-Lent before Lent, which is designed to ready us and gear us in the direction of the Lenten fast. As children, we might have thought ‘Septuagesima’ probably referred to a laboratory experiment or a very challenging mathematical formula found in algebra books; it actually means ‘Seventy Days before Easter.’ Beginning even now in Pre-Lent, we are mindful of the distant dawn of the Feast of Feasts, the Paschal Mystery of Our Blessed Lord’s Resurrection. By the route of these seventy days, through the Cross of Lent, we emerge victorious from the Tomb in Easter joy with Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

Holy Mother Church in her good pastoral sense recognises that we need preparatory time to adjust to the sometimes jarring painful reality of Lent, its hopeful yet real sombreness, its renewed intensity and concentration on self-denial, its self-sacrificial discipline. Pre-Lent, a liturgical season now almost entirely unique to orthodox Prayer Book Anglicanism, offers a stage-by-stage, incremental way of getting ready for Lent. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, such a glorious trinity of celebration and feasting -- the message of Pre-Lent heralded to us is this; it is now time to lay aside our seasons of festivity and equip ourselves for sacrifice, for union with Our Lord in His mysterious offering of Himself for our sake, His voluntary passion and suffering.

Pre-Lent is a time for taking stock of our spiritual lives, of beginning the process of our spiritual inventory. We must begin again to examine our souls, consciences and lives -- to root out sin, to reject evil, to purge ourselves of that which does not belong to God, in short, to repent.

Only by the grace of God our Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Ghost, are we saved from our sins, and only by the exercise of our free-will, our correspondence and co-operation with grace, can we enable the free gift of God’s Life within us to take hold and bear fruit. God created our freedom, and He loves and respects it as being in us an indispensable aspect of His Image. He does not want automatons or robots in His Family, His Kingdom, but sons of God in freedom, in His Likeness. He wants synergy; He wants us to love Him and worship Him in freedom and delight. Salvation is free gift; and it can be lost without perseverance, faith and obedience. Happy Pre-Lent!

Saint Paul announces that we enter into communion with God through the ‘obedience of Faith’ (Romans 1.5, 16.26). And our Book of Common Prayer asserts the theological virtue of Hope in relation to salvation: ‘I heartily thank our heavenly Father, that he hath called me to this state of salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. And I pray unto God to give me his grace, that I may continue in the same unto my life’s end’ (page 284).

Pre-Lent’s liturgical theme reminds us that we are saved by grace through faith, and that in the wondrous love of God, we cannot save ourselves, although God never forces us to be saved. The gift must be received, it must be used, it must be prayed, lived, experienced, actualised. On one hand, salvation, freedom from sin and union with God, is entirely the action of the divine initiative: ‘But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5.8) ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath ordained that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2.8-10).

On the other hand, the Word of God written tells us in no uncertain terms: ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2.12) ‘Faith without works is dead’ (Saint James 2.20, 26). God’s free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, unmerited and undeserved on our part, requires and demands a life - once liberated from the power of sin and death and supernaturally regenerated in Christ - lovingly conformed and subjected to the will of God, seeking to imitate Christ, to be Christ-like.

Father Ronald Knox, the famous English priest and theologian writes,

Septuagesima has an epistle that warns us that it is never too late to be damned and a gospel that reminds us that it is never too late to be saved’ -- fitting food for thought as we now engage in the process of preparing ourselves for the great revelation of the Risen Christ, who is always prepared to receive our repentance. The Christian life requires the acceptance of the divine gift, and good works proceeding from a living faith, if we are to be saved and go to heaven. Pre-Lent is about our response, our side of the divine-human equation; it is about the ‘D’ word: discipline.

1 Corinthians 9: Saint Paul gives us the whole Lenten theme in one fell swoop, and admonishes us to maintain discipline in our lives, without which we may slip and fall from grace. He cleverly uses the image of the arena of his day, track and boxing, to describe the process of subjecting the body to the spirit, and most importantly, to the Spirit of God. Prayer, almsgiving and fasting are exercises in self-control, and are critical to the conforming of our lives to the will of God. We can break the standards that we require of others, and thus lose our salvation. We must ever be vigilant for our own souls, ever on-guard through prayer and good works.

Real Christianity demands a real struggle, a real effort, real sacrifice. ‘Armchair Christianity’ is a deceptive impostor of the genuine article. The essence of the Christian life is ascesis, training, practice, effort, exercise. Orthodox Christianity is not only aesthetic, beautiful, it is ascetic, active.

Saint Matthew 20: Jesus Christ shows us in His parable of the labourers that God is limitless in love and mercy, forgives all sins, and, transcending all concepts of human justice, shows mercy on whom he shows mercy. The Kingdom of God is a free gift of God’s love, a pouring-out of the abundance of God’s generosity, which demands of us a proper response and a thankful return in the offering of our lives to Him. The Kingdom cannot be merited or deserved; it is given to us by Him who alone knows our own good actions and failures.

From the earliest Septuagesima sermon we possess, that of Saint Gregory the Great, the imminent reformer of the sixth century, we discover these words, more applicable today than when they were first uttered: ‘Many arrive at faith, but few are led into the heavenly kingdom. Behold many there are in the Church - they fill Churches throughout creation, yet who knows how few they are who shall be numbered in that chosen company of the elect? Behold the voices of all that proclaim Christ, but the lives of all do not proclaim Him. And many keep company with God in word, but shun Him in deed. At the call of the Lord are multiplied those without number; however, the unfaithful are mingled with the faithful, but because of their way of life they shall not merit to be partakers of the lot of the faithful. No one shall receive a Kingdom, who though formed in heavenly faith, with all their hearts seek the things of earth. Two things there are upon which we should carefully reflect. Because many are called but few chosen, the first is: let no one presume his own salvation; for though he be called to faith, whether he is worthy of the eternal kingdom he knows not. The second is: let no one presume to despair of his neighbour, who he perhaps sees lying in sin; for he knows not the riches of the divine grace.’

The days with the odd names beckon us to practice what we preach, to ‘walk the walk’ as well as to ‘talk the talk.’ Does our life, in its fruits, labours, works and prayers, match our profession? Saint Paul commands us to ‘walk worthy of our calling.’ Are we? If we are, we have the hope of being saved, of rejoicing on that heavenly shore, in that greater light, with Blessed Mary and all the Saints on that heavenly Easter Day which lasts for all eternity.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant Who fasted, prayed and gave for us men and our salvation, grant you a productive and transformative Pre-Lent.

Anglican Communion Heresy Alerts

First this, from Sydney...

I would like to argue that Sydney ought not go ahead with lay administration in the foreseeable future. I don’t think that there are any theological objections insofar as I would (and have) happily receive the Lord’s Supper in a Baptist church from a lay person and consider that the sacrament was in no way deficient – in fact, I would find it offensive were any Anglican to suggest it was in some way incomplete celebration. However, I do think it is not wise or necessary to proceed with this innovation at this time...

First, despite what some of its proponents claim, it is not in fact a ‘gospel issue’. Calling it a gospel issue posits an either-or that is simply not accurate. It confuses gospel issues with church order issues. The reason for calling it a gospel issue is that reserving the act of administration at the Supper for the ordained priest/presbyter allegedly communicates a view of the sacrament which sets it apart from the Word and makes it a special means of grace in addition to the gospel in some way – along the lines of a Roman Catholic theology of the sacraments. However, there is no sense in which a Communion service run in the evangelical parishes of the diocese of Sydney could ever be confused in that way. The usual practice communicates anything but a sacerdotal view of the Supper - and there is no evidence that anyone thinks that it does. The ministers do not normally robe or even wear collars these days. The locally authorised liturgies specifically rule out a sacerdotal interpretation of the Communion. Who administers at the Supper becomes then a matter of church order rather than of the gospel itself...

...It is simply the case that no practical necessity drives lay administration in Sydney. There are plenty of candidates for ministry, and plenty of serving presbyters – certainly compared to other dioceses. The current practice is for a monthly communion or perhaps less. Almost every practical concern could be overcome. The current policy of only ordaining as presbyters those who are rectors is perhaps an obstacle, in that congregational leaders may frequently not be presbyters. I would be in favour of returning to the old system. Nevertheless, diaconal administration - which is currently in place – has made this need less urgent.

And then this...

THE ANGLICAN Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf will now be able to ordain women as priests, appointing them to serve in churches in the region, and one of the first could be in Cyprus.

The announcement was made at the annual Synod of the diocese in Larnaca last week, and was warmly welcomed by members. Rt Rev Michael Lewis, bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, reported that his request to have permission to ordain and appoint women had been granted by the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The other dioceses of the Province: Egypt, Iran and Jerusalem will not be affected by the change....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Evangelical Mary

By Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

There is a difference in culture in the two Churches in how we approach the Blessed Virgin Mary. And this difference in culture may also be a difference in theological culture. From the earliest days of the Christian Church there had been two 'tempers', one associated with Alexandria which is speculative and dogmatic, and one associated with Antioch which is historical and biblical, and inductive rather than deductive. If you wanted a crude guess about where I think the Roman Catholic Church's approach is, I would say that it is much more Alexandrian, particularly in its relation to Mary, and the dogmas and beliefs about Mary which have been developed over the years. Whereas the Anglican approach, even that of the Caroline divines and the Non-Jurors, has been more inductive; biblical, historical and patristic. We are discovering more and more that each approach can enrich the other. But it is worth recognizing the difference.

Since the second Vatican Council the Roman Catholic Church has shown a welcome tendency in all of its pronouncements to examine first the biblical background to any particular doctrine. And so we found it easy in ARCIC to consider, first of all, 'Mary and the Bible'. Pretty straightforward? Actually it raises all sorts of questions about how we read the Bible. Many of the reformers were critical of ways of reading it that had developed in the middle ages: the allegory and even the typography had got so florid you could make any part of the Bible mean anything at all. The Reformers were calling the Church back to a historical and literary seriousness, and the Anglican side were well aware of this. So we were delighted that the Roman Catholics also wanted to begin with the Bible and with some discussion about how typology, for example, could validly be used.

Of course, with the Older Testament, we must use typology with regard to Mary, as with Jesus. Anglicans sometimes sing Bishop Thomas Ken's hymn 'Her virgin eyes saw God incarnate born', which compares Mary to Eve. What was said about Eve in Genesis 3.15, about her offspring crushing the serpent's head, must apply in any kind of typological approach to the Blessed Virgin Mary. So not all allegory and typology is wrong and having got rid of the excesses we can now see where, from the Older Testament, we can validly talk of Mary.

When we came to the New Testament we were faced immediately with the question of how to treat the birth narratives. In both communions there is a spectrum of opinion in this matter. We felt that behind the two very different birth narratives there stands a common tradition that there was something highly unusual about the birth of Jesus. Beyond the narratives themselves, in Mark for instance, Jesus is described as the 'son of Mary'; in John when there is a discussion between Jesus and some of the Jewish people, they tell him, 'we were not born of fornication' and then, St Paul in Galatians speaks of the Saviour being 'born of a woman.

Staying with the birth narratives for the time being, I think the integrity of the tradition is shown by their differences. Although we conflate them at Christmas (and confuse everybody) they are different stories with different settings and different personae. So Joseph plays a major role in the Matthean narrative but not in the Lucan one. You have the magi in Matthew and the shepherds in Luke and so on. Positively in Matthew, we have this constant repetition of the 'Mother and the Child', never the one without the other, and this has been picked up in Christian iconography.

In Luke, we have first of all the Annunciation: Ave Maria gratia plena. The reformers did not like this, it seemed to be claiming too much of Mary and so the early English translations, including the King James version, tended to translate this as 'Hail Mary thou who art highly favoured' or some such phrase, Actually the word used, kecharitomene, means the one who has been fully endowed with grace. So Ave Maria gratia plena is correct, or more correct than somebody highly favoured, whatever that might mean, as long as it is understood that God endowed her with grace.

All sorts of questions arise about this. If Mary is so fully endowed with grace, how far back does that endowment go? Was it at the time when the angel came to see her? A little bit earlier? How much earlier? Right back to the beginning? And what was the beginning anyway? There has been fierce debate in the Church for centuries about this. There are, of course, other persons in the Bible about whom it is said that 'God had been preparing them for his calling from the very beginning of their lives.' Jeremiah. Samson, if you mean in the way that Samson was born. John the Baptist. St Paul himself says this about his own preparation for his calling.

There is no reason for us to want to deny such preparation of Mary from the beginning, especially because of what is said at the time of the Annunciation. And, indeed, that is the line that we have taken in Mary, Grace and Hope in the Church, that we cannot set limits to when God began to prepare Mary. It must have been from the beginning and even before the beginning in divine providence and wisdom.

We decided to say that the Virgin Birth, conception and birth, are important because they are about the new thing that God was about to do in the Incarnation of Our Lord. Here was something quite new which God was about to do and, in fact, if you read the narratives both Lucan and Matthean, you find that there is both continuity and newness.

The evangelists keep a balance, so the genealogies in both point to the continuity of David's line, of being part of the story of Israel, but the newness is concentrated in God being the chief agent in the work of the Incarnation. But Luke has so much else about him. Of course, there is the Visitation to Elizabeth and Elizabeth's cry when she sees Mary and recognizes her blessing. Mary, herself, speaks of this in the Magnificat, and at Evensong every day we recognize that ever blessedness of Mary first seen by Elizabeth. Luke is also conscious that Mary was reflecting on what was happening and it may be that a lot of what we know about the birth narratives somehow comes from Mary's reflection. In this sense Mary is also the first theologian, if you like, not just the first Christian but the first theologian who was thinking about the things that God was doing with her and for her and in her.

Then there is John's gospel and in the report we consider the two events in which Mary is present, Cana and Calvary. At Cana she seems to be there in her own right, Jesus arriving afterwards with the disciples. She says to Jesus 'there is no wine' and then there is that dialogue you know where he says 'my time has not yet come' but then Mary says to the stewards 'do as he tells you' and they do and you know what happens. But then there is something very telling at the end of it all where it says that Mary, now goes down with Jesus and the disciples back to Capernaum. She is seen for the first time as part of the company of disciples.

And, then, there is Mary at the Cross and the tremendous amount of reflection there has been on the Mother being handed over to the care of the beloved disciple and the beloved disciple to the mother. What are the theological implications of this relationship? Language about Mary being Mother of the Church can be based also on the perception that the Church is the Body of Christ, but the story about the disciple and Mary is a nice way of thinking of Mary's motherhood for those who are disciples of Christ.

Just as in John she is with Jesus and the disciples, so also in Acts at the time of the Pentecost, Mary is there with the disciples. We also considered the figure of the woman in the apocalypse in Revelation ch. 12 and its relevance for Mary. Generally speaking this imagery has been thought to be of God's people primarily rather than of Mary, but there have been some Fathers, like Epiphanius, who have thought that it could refer to Mary as well as the Church, so this might be another way of thinking of Mary as a type for the Church. It is difficult if one reads ch. 12, not to think of this if one were fair minded, for clearly the child is the Messiah.

Having examined the Bible we then looked at the early Church and we discovered two main concerns that involve Mary. The first typified by Ignatius of Antioch is that Mary is necessary for the Incarnation. To believe that Jesus was truly man you must take seriously the figure of Mary. Jesus was not just someone who appeared to be a man and so Ignatius in his letter to the Ephesians (interestingly enough they must have known quite a lot about it if Mary had lived among them) tells us that Jesus is both God and man both eternally begotten of the Father and born of Mary. Mary's virginity, along with the birth of Jesus and the Cross, are seen by him as the three great mysteries of the Christian Faith.

The other concern in the Early Church was of the unity of the two natures of Christ, that he was both human and divine. This is shown in the ascription of the title Theotokos or God-bearer, or Deipara to use the old Latin word, of Mary. Mary is God-bearer because the human and the divine are united in the one Christ and this is why what we say of the human is also true of the divine, and vice versa. This description of Mary as Theotokos became really quite central, not so much about Mary, but about Jesus and who he is.

As you know, through the Middle Ages there were all sorts of developments about belief regarding Mary. Some of them were faithful to the Bible and to the Fathers and some were not. Devotion to Mary got detached from thinking about Christ. Mary could become someone who dispensed grace in her own right, to whom people could pray in her own right, and so forth. At the Reformation the protests that took place were about these excesses – to give an example, Bonaventura, where he substituted Our Lady for every reference to God in the Psalms. Tyndale was particularly vicious about this kind of thing, whatever the intention might have been. But it was not just the Reformers. Erasmus and St Thomas More who both remained in communion with Rome were also critical of the cults that had arisen about the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you read More about Walsingham and Ipswich, it is difficult to tell whether it is Thomas More or William Tyndale! His point is that people have made the cults and the places and the shrines and the statues and the 'stocks' as he calls them, a substitute for Christ and for his Mother. Erasmus, after he visited Walsingham, was equally critical. So the Reformers were not alone. I mean that there was awareness that the cults had become excessive on both sides.

However, what we are perhaps not so familiar with is the extent to which there was continuity among even the most radical reformers. So, for example, Hugh Latimer, one of the most outspoken of the Reformers, said when asked about Mary, 'I go not about to make Mary a sinner but Christ her saviour.' And funnily enough many centuries later that is exactly what the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception does; it pleads the merits of Christ saving work for the preservation of Mary from sin.

Thomas Cranmer, and many other Reformers, take their stand on the sinlessness of Mary on the basis of what Augustine had said. But there is more than that and this is shown in the liturgy, in the Christmas Collect and the Christmas Preface, Mary is referred to as 'a pure Virgin.' What does that mean? It is not the technical language of the Immaculate Conception but there is this sense that she is somehow free from sin.

There was widespread recognition of her sinlessness among the Anglican Reformers and in the early catechisms, for example in Nowell's Catechism and Thomas Becon and so on. They are almost unanimous about perpetual virginity. The reason that they give very often is the verse in Ezekiel ch. 44, which says 'the gates from which the Lord has come no man should enter.' This is their reasoning for the perpetual virginity of Mary but also, of course, the nearly unanimous testimony of the Church. Even Jewel who knows that there was some dissent about this in the patristic period is happy to affirm the perpetual virginity of Mary. This is the case in the sixteenth century when so much was being overthrown and rejected. Nor should we neglect the liturgical and other aspects that were retained. For example, although in 1552 only two feasts having to do with Mary were retained, the Purification and the Annunciation, in 1561 three further feasts were recognized, the Conception, the Nativity and the Visitation.

When we come to our own day, the most significant thing for us as a Commission was that the Second Vatican Council decided not to issue a separate document on Mary but to subsume what they had to teach about Mary in their document on the Church, Lumen Gentium. This showed that they wanted to go back to the earliest insight of Mary being with the disciples rather than Mary being enthroned, as it were above the Church. They wished to see Mary in the midst of the Church. And this has signalled a new interest in the Roman Catholic Church in the historical, in the patristic situation, which, as Anglicans of course, we welcome very much and so there was a sort of meeting of minds in these areas.

What then can we say together so far? We can say that Mary is the recipient of divine grace not the originator of it; that whatever role Mary has it should not distract from the centrality of Christ's person and work in the Church and in the world; that Mary was prepared by the divine grace from the beginning for the work to which she had been called; in the light of Revelations 12, for example, that Mary can be spoken of as in glory with her son.

These things we can say together, but what about the dogmas? Where are we on that? The story of the dogmas is enormously complex and there are not only many Fathers but also many medieval scholars and saints who did not believe, for example, in the Immaculate Conception. Irenaeus, Augustine himself, Chrysostom and Aquinas. But I think that the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to foreclose discussion on what it might mean; in that sense it was an unfortunate step because the language used is that of nineteenth century Rome, and hardly understandable today and sometimes embarrassing even to Roman Catholics. However, what we can say about Mary is that she was a pure virgin; that she was prepared by God from the very beginning in what she had to do. If, for some, that means 'Immaculate Conception then that is their language. Similarly with the Assumption, notwithstanding the particular language of the dogma, we can say surely that Mary reigns with Christ in glory. With Bishop Ken we can say, 'Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced, Next to his throne her Son his Mother placed.'

Friday, February 11, 2011

'First Millennium Church' Ecclesiology

From a Russian Orthodox Archbishop, the classical Catholic and Anglican ecclesiological position, Eucharistic ecclesiology, Church as Eucharistic Communion of Eucharistic communions, the faith and doctrinal tradition of the undivided Church of the first thousand years of Christian history, primus inter pares primacy, collegial episcopate and conciliar church government - in short, the Church of the First Millennium.

'...Full Christian unity is the Eucharistic communion. We do not need to reshape our Church administration, our local traditions. We can live with our differences within one Church, participating from one bread and one cup. We need, however, to rediscover what united us and what brought us to disunity, particularly in the 11th century.

So the basis for the restoration of the full communion would be, I believe, the faith of the Church east and west in the first millennium...'

'...In any case, we do not believe that there could be a bishop above all other bishops whose decisions would be binding for the entire Church. We believe that the bishop of Rome in the first millennium was obviously first in honour but he was first among equals. He did not have direct jurisdiction, for example, over the East. Therefore, when we come to the discussion of the primacy we would argue that the universal jurisdiction of the Pope is something that didn’t exist in the first millennium and that if we restore, for example, Eucharistic communion, we would accept his role as first among equals but not as the universal bishop...'

'...We still discuss the role of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium, and even on this issue we see clear differences between the Orthodox and the Catholics. If we come to the discussion of the second millennium, the differences will become much more obvious. Therefore we should not pretend that we are close to solving this problem.

I think, however, that we should discuss it honestly; we should describe the differences in our positions, and we should see what would be the way out. For us, as I said, the way out would be the return to what we had in the first millennium...'

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

'And with your spirit'

Courtesy of my brother, Father Brandon Jones, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, comes this first video installment in a series of presentations on the new English translation of the Novus Ordo Roman Missal. The liturgical changes about to be introduced into the Roman Rite as of 27th November 2011 will bring the English version of the Novus Ordo Missae Roman liturgy back to its own tradition in many respects and bring the modern English Roman Mass much closer to the venerable antiquity and beauty of our Anglican Rite. The theology demonstrated in this first video accords entirely with the orthodox Anglican liturgical heritage and, hence, the ancient Western Rite of the Church.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Anglican Church in America

UPDATE: From the ACA website...

February 7, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We bid you greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Recently, because of questionable and possibly irregular episcopal actions that have taken place in both Florida and California, we asked the chancellors of the Anglican Church in America to render an opinion regarding temporal and corporate issues related to the ACA, particularly as concerns the Patrimony of the Primate. The chancellors' decision, released in a letter dated February 5, 2011, has been widely disseminated. It appears on the ACA web pages. The chancellors' letter contains pointed language; it represents a solid, legal opinion and should inform further discussions as we move forward. Opinions expressed in that document, whether temporal, corporate or ecclesiastical, are advisory in nature and should be regarded as such.

The chancellors' letter emphasizes the state of broken communion in which we presently find ourselves. The Patrimony of the Primate was initially established as a temporary entity to allow for the smooth transition to the Roman Catholic Ordinariate for those so inclined. It was the expectation that the Patrimony would exercise no diocesan functions, but would respect the established diocesan structures within the ACA. Indeed, the Patrimony of the Primate was envisioned as an entity for those who wished to leave their existing diocese while waiting for the Ordinariate to be formed. Although it was our hope that we all might remain together under the umbrella of the ACA, that now seems impossible. Those who wish to enter the Ordinariate have engaged in activities that suggest they have begun to operate as a separate jurisdiction. We understand that our brothers wish to move forward on the path they believe is right. We understand their sense of urgency and their commitment to the cause they believe is correct. We pray for them, just as we seek their prayers for us. But we must also recognize and respond to the situation as it presently exists.

An amicable and immediate separation between the Patrimony and the ACA is indeed necessary. It is necessary in order to reduce the tensions and reestablish collegial bonds. This separation will formalize what already exists in practice. Though we may find ourselves in different jurisdictions, it is vital that we part in a spirit of generosity and Christian love. Above all, we must recognize that we are children of God struggling to understand God's call to each of us.

We ask your continuing prayers as we serve as your Bishops, praying that the Holy Ghost may guide us as we make decisions that enable us to serve God's people in the particular places where we have been called.


Also from the website of the Anglican Church in America...

'...I would like to inform you that the Anglican Church in America shall remain as a continuing Anglican church. Notwithstanding what you may have heard, this church is not going to collapse or disappear. It will, by the Grace of God, continue its important and essential witness as part of God's holy church.

Second, we would like to advise you as to the situation in the Diocese of the Eastern United States which has been the one diocese most gravely affected by what has happened.

As all of you may know, the Bishop of this DEUS has elected to abandon his diocese when the diocese refused to go to the Roman Catholic Ordinariate. Of the twenty-five parishes and missions in the diocese, approximately ten parishes and missions have elected to remain with this church. These ten parishes and missions, effectively abandoned by Bishop Campese, will form the nucleus of a new diocese. While the majority of the parishes and missions chose to go with Bishop Campese, the majority of the laity has elected to remain with the diocese. Bishop Campese brought a number of missions into the diocese in the eighteen (18) months prior to leaving the diocese. We have chosen to stay together, to remain with the ACA, and should shortly be conducting a search for a new bishop...'

May 2024 Comprovincial Newsletter

The Comprovincial Newsletter for May 2024 -