Thursday, October 30, 2008


'Good Samaritan' saves crying woman's foreclosed home -

'Are you here to buy a house?' Marilyn Mock said.

Orr couldn't hold it in. The tears flowed. She pointed to the auction brochure at a home that didn't have a picture. 'That's my house,' she said.

Within moments, the four-bedroom, two-bath home in Pottsboro, Texas, went up for sale. People up front began casting their bids. The home that Orr purchased in September 2004 was slipping away."

Friday, September 07, 2007

what i'm up to... and a new blog

You may have noticed, if you are gracious enough to be a regular reader of this blog, that I have not been writing much lately. This is due largely to the fact that I have just been made a rector (thank you; thank you), and have anyway been busy with parochial work.

It is also due to the fact that I have been working on a new blog project. This one is a collaborative effort of catholic-minded "communion conservatives". The new blog is much better than Whitehall. I encourage you to visit it here: Covenant Communion.

Does this mean that Whitehall is going away? That is not my intention. I am certainly not going to delete it any time soon. But I would encourage you to visit Covenant-Communion, and tell your friends to visit it too. It is a large collaborative effort and, it seems to me, has much potential.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

the consecrations in kenya

They are going on right now I think (???).  You can watch it on Standfirm.

Monday, August 27, 2007

the prayer book office and the office of the dead

Here is something else to print, cut out, and paste into your BCP. You can make your Daily Office into an Office of the Dead by doing the following things. This can be used to pray for departed souls (e.g. immediately after they die, on the anniversaries of their deaths, regularly once a month for all your dead loved ones and acquaintances, etc.).

For priests: the Office of the Dead, when it was said, was said IN ADDITION to the Office of the Day. The complete Office of the Dead was: First Vespers, Mattins and Lauds, plus Mass of the Dead (requiem). Below are Matins and Evensong of the Dead, conforming to the outline of the Prayer Book Office. You might consider offering a Requiem Mass at your parish once a month, on the first unencumbered day, and also on that day the Office of the Dead. At one time clergy also said this office on Mondays during Advent and Lent.

This Office, more or less in this form (except, of course, Latin) is very ancient. This is evidenced not only by ancient references to it, but also by certain accretions present in the regular Daily Office, but missing from the Office of the Dead (such as confessions, absolutions, opening versicles, blessings, etc.). The Office pretty much in this form dates probably to around the 7th or 8th century, though it has antecedents going back to the second century, and perhaps even to the first.

The Confession, Absolution, and opening versicles are not said in the Office of the Dead, nor is "alleluia".

Instead of "Glory be to the Father...", there is said at the end of Psalms and Canticles:

Rest eternal * grant unto them, O Lord.
And let light perpetual * shine upon them.


Antiphon for the Invitatory [i.e. "O come, let us sing..."]:

King to whom all things live: * O come let us worship him.

[Antiphons are said before the Psalm, and again after it -- i.e. after saying "Rest eternal * grant..." at the end of each Psalm.]

Psalms with Antiphons as follows:

1st Psalm (Ps. 5): Make thy way plan, * O Lord, before my face.
2nd Psalm (Ps. 6): Turn thee, * O Lord, and deliver my soul: for in death no man remembereth thee.
3rd Psalm (Ps. 7): Lest he devour my soul * like a lion, and tear it in pieces, while there is none to help.

1st Lesson: Wisdom 4.7-end

1st Canticle: The Song of Hezekiah (Isa. 38.10-20) as follows:

Antiphon: From the gate of hell * deliver my soul, O Lord.

1 I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: * I am deprived of the residue of my years:
2 I said I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living: * I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world:
3 Mine age is departed, * and is now removed from me as a shepherd's tent:
4 I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: * from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
5 I reckoned till morning, that as a lion so will he break all my bones: * from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
6 Like a crane or a swallow so did I chatter: * I did mourn as a dove.
7 Mine eyes fail with looking upward: * O LORD I am oppressed; undertake for me.
8 What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me and himself hath done it: * I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.
9 O LORD by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: * so wilt thou recover me and make me to live.
10 Behold for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: * for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
11 For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: * they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
12 The living, the living, he shall praise thee as I do this day: * the father to the children shall make known thy truth.
13 The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments * all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.

Rest eternal * grant unto them, O Lord. And let light perpetual * shine upon them.

Antiphon: From the gate of hell * deliver my soul, O Lord.

2nd Lesson: 1 Cor. 15.35-end

Then is said:

V. I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me.
R. Blessed are the dead which die in the lord.

Antiphon to Benedictus [i.e. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel"]: I am * the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.

The Apostles' Creed is not said.

Then is said kneeling:

Our Father, [and the rest silently until:]
V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But delier us from evil.

The following Psalm is not said on the day of death or burial (but is said otherwise):

Psalm 130, concluding with "Rest eternal..."

Then is said:

V. From the gate of hell,
R. Deliver HIS SOUL, O Lord.
V. May HE rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

The most appropriate Collect, from among those following, is said:

1 Collect
Day of Burial
Absolve, we beseech thee, O Lord, the soul of thy servant (handmaid) N., that being dead unto the world HE may live unto thee: and whatsoever HE hath done amiss in his earthly life through the frailty of the flesh, do thou in the pitifulness of thy great goodness pardon and purge away. Through...

2 On the 3rd, 7th and 30th Days After Burial
We beseech thee, O Lord, that the soul of thy servant (handmaid) N., whose body three (seven, thirty) days since we did commit unto the ground, may be made partaker of the fellowship of thine elect; and that thou wouldest pour upon HIM the continual dew of thy mercy. Through...

3 On the Anniversary
O God, to whom alone belongeth the forgiveness of sins: grant, we pray thee, to the souls of thy servants (and handmaidens), the anniversary of whose burial we now commemorate, to find a place of refreshing, and the blessedness of thy rest, and to enjoy the glory of everlasting light. Through.

4 For a Bishop or Priest
O God, who didst cause thy servant, N. for whom we pray, to enjoy the office of bishop (priest) after the order of thine Apostles: grant unto him, we beseech thee; finally to rejoice in the company of those thy Saints in heaven whose ministry he did sometime share on earth. Through.

5 For Man Departed
Incline thine ear, O Lord, unto the prayers wherewith we humbly entreat thy mercy: that the soul of thy servant N., which thou hast bidden to depart this life, may by thee be set in the abode of peace and light, and made partaker of the eternal fellowship of thine elect. Through.

6 For a Woman Departed
We beseech thee, O Lord, of thy loving kindness to have mercy on the soul of thine handmaiden N. : that being purged from all defilements of our mortal nature, she may be restored to the portion of everlasting felicity. Through.

7 For Brethren, Kinsfolk and Benefactors
The second Collect under 9 below.

8 For Father and Mother
O God, who didst command thy people, saying, Honour thy father and thy mother: of thy loving kindness have mercy on the soul(s) of my father [and my mother], and forgive [them] all [their] sins; and I humble pray thee that thou wouldest grant unto me to behold [their] face(s) in the glory of everlasting felicity. Through.

For a Father only, or for a Mother only, the Collect is said as above with the changes necessary to make it read properly.

9 In the Office of the Dead through the Year
O God, who didst cause thy servants, for whom we pray, to enjoy the dignity of the priesthood, and some to be bishops after the order of thine Apostles: grant unto them, we beseech thee, finally to rejoice in the company of those thy Saints in heaven whose ministry they did sometime share on earth. Through.


O God, who desirest not the death of a sinner, but rather that all mankind should be saved: we beseech thee mercifully to grant that the brethren, kinsfolk and benefactors of our congregation who have passed out of this world, may by the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin and of all thy Saints come to enjoy with them everlasting blessedness.


O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all thy faithful people: grant unto the souls of thy servants and handmains the remission of all their sins: that as they have ever desired thy merciful pardon, so by the supplications of their brethren they may receive the same. Who livest.

10 For those who rest in a Cemetery
O God, in whose mercy do reset the souls of thy faithful people: mercifully grant to thy servants and handmaids, and to all that here and in all places do rest with Christ, the remission of all their sins; that, being delivered from every bond of iniquity, they may rejoice with thee in everlasting bliss. Through.

11 For many persons Departed
O God, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive: have compassion on the souls of thy servants and handmaids and grant unto them the remission of all their sins; that, being delivered from the bonds of this our mortal nature, they may be found worthy to pass into everlasting life. Through.

12 Another Collect for Many Persons Departed
Grant, O Lord, we pray thee, to the souls of thy servants and handmaidens thy perpetual mercy: that as they have hoped and trusted in thee, so this their hope and faith may be profitable unto them to life everlasting. Through.

V. Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let light perpetual shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.


Psalms with Antiphons as follows:

1st Psalm (Ps. 116): I will walk * before the lord in the land of the living.
2nd Psalm (Ps. 120): Woe is me, O Lord, * that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech.
3rd Psalm (Ps. 121): The Lord shall preserve thee * from all evil: yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
4th Psalm (Ps. 130): If what is done amiss * thou wilt be extreme to mark, O Lord: O Lord, who may abide it?
5th Psalm (Ps. 138): Despise not, * O Lord, the works of thine own hands.

1st Lesson: Job 19.21-27

V. I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me.
R. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

Antiphon to Magnificat: All * that the Father hath given me shall come to me: and him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.

2nd Lesson: 1 Thess. 4.13-end

Nun Dimittis is said without antiphon.

The Apostles Creed is not said.

Then is said kneeling:

Our Father, [and the rest silently until]
V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.

The following is Psalm is not said on the day of death or burial (but is said otherwise).

Psalm 146 [concluding with "Rest eternal..."]

V. From the gate of hell,
R. Deliver HIS SOUL, O Lord.
V. May HE rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. O Lord hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Collect and conclusion as at Mattins.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

obligation to say the daily office

The following is from "The Obligation of the Clergy to Recite the Divine Office" by Thomas J. Williams, originally published in American Church Quarterly in 1930. It can be found here at Project Canterbury.

We are now faced with the contention of those who admit that the Prayer-Book Offices are of obligation for Priests and Deacons of the Church in England, by force of explicit enactment; but who claim that the failure of the American Church, in 1790, to repeat the requirement of the English Prayer-Book in explicit terms, abrogates for the clergy of the American Church the specific obligation of reciting Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, leaving us free to choose the form or rite we shall use in fulfilling our obligation as Catholic Priests to say the Divine Office. This contention is based on the argument from silence--an argument that can cut like a two edged sword, and has been known to cut both ways. It is freely granted that the revisers of 1790 did not explicitly reenact or refer directly to the requirement of the English Prayer-Book that the clergy shall recite the Divine Office each day. But the designation of the offices in the American Prayer-Book, since its first ratification in 1790, as "The Order of Daily Morning Prayer" and "The Order of Daily Evening Prayer," is to be interpreted in the light of the statement of the Preface to the American Prayer-Book, that "this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship." The requirement of daily recitation by the clergy of the Divine Office is certainly an essential point of discipline and worship, inasmuch as all clerks in Holy Orders, of whatever Communion of the Holy Catholic Church, are obligated to such recitation. No one will deny that the clergy of the Roman Communion are under strict obligation to use the offices of the Roman, or other authorized, Breviary--and none other. It should be equally clear that all Priests and Deacons of the American Church are under obligation to say the Divine Office, as set forth in the Order of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer; and have no right to substitute for these authorized offices the Roman Breviary or the Orthodox Horologion.

It has been the practice of an almost unbroken line of Anglican clergy, from the Reformation to the present, to supplement the Prayer-Book Office by reciting the little hours of the old office. Such practice does not admit of question or challenge, for this has always been a matter of private devotion. Entirely different is the practice of substituting the entire Breviary for the Prayer-Book Office. Whatever an individual priest, or a community of priests, may find helpful as a matter of individual or community devotion, this can in no wise affect the obligation resting on every Priest and Deacon of the Anglican Rite, as such, to recite the Divine Office according to the authorized form set forth by authority--The Order of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

three questions

1) Do you think (a) Episcopal and (b) Anglican clergy are under an obligation to say the Daily Office?

2) What is the origin of putting a little cross after the name of priests and before the name of bishops?

3) What is the origin of the clerical collar?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

4x more psychics than priests in europe

I tend to think of European godlessness as being part of a protracted Enlightenment: I imagine the Continent populated by innumerable Voltaires and Rousseaus. But this op-ed in the International Herald Tribune (stumbled on via Google's news leder) puts a different spin on things. Apparently interest in the occult, the paranormal, and diviniation is thriving in France and elsewhere. Some disturbing excerpts:

EU Commission research indicates that 52 percent of Europeans believe astrology has a scientific basis compared to a more skeptical United States and Britain, at about 31 percent each.

The main French professional clairvoyance organization, INAD (Institut National des Arts Divinatoire) says some 100,000 men and women are practicing clairvoyants in France today. This is about four times the number of Roman Catholic priests. INAD estimates that about €3.2 billion are spent annually on their advice.

You can read the rest of it here.

I suppose this is hardly surprising. Having declared God to be unscientific, science is discovering itself to be unscientific, meaning unable to provide a ground of being explanation for the world. Why wouldn't people tend to drift back towards something--even if it's anything--that would give some semblance of purpose and meaning to their lives.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

saint augustine on 'works'

Wouldest thou then have 'good days' and 'life,' and wouldest thou not 'refrain thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile'?  Alert to the reward, slow to the work!  And to whom if he does not work is the reward rendered?  I would that in thy house thou wouldest render the reward even to him that does work!  For to him that works not, I am sure thou dost not render it.  And why?  Because thou owest nothing to him that does not work!  And God hath a reward proposed.  What reward?  'Life and good days,' which life we shall desire, and unto which days we all strive to come.  The promised reward He will give us.  What reward?  'Life and good days.'  And what are 'good days'?  Life without end, rest without labour.

Great is the reward He hath set before us:  in so great a reward as is set before us, let us see what He hath commanded us.  For enkindled by the reward of so great a promise, and by the love of the reward, let us make ready at once our strength, our sides, our arms, to do His bidding....  So then in proper order, first 'depart from evil,' and 'do good;' first 'gird up thy loins,' and then 'light the lamp.'  And when thou hast done this, wait in assured hope for 'life and good days.'  'Seek peace, and ensue it;' and then with a good face wilt thou say unto the Lord, 'I have done what Thou hast bidden, render me what Thou hast promised.'

(From Sermon LVIII in the Philip Schaff series)

Monday, August 06, 2007

there is no plain sense of scripture

The notion that there is "a plain sense" of Scripture, and correlatively that Scripture alone should govern our life in Communion, is mistaken.  It is belied by the existence of many thousands of Protestant denominations, all of which have their origin in disagreements over what Scripture says.

Rather, as Paul told Timothy, the Church is the pillar and foundation of the Truth.  The Lord gave the Apostles magisterial (magister = teacher) and juridical authority, which they passed on to their successors, and which they passed on to their successors -- a process that will continue until the Lord returns in glory.  It is the bishops of the Church, as successors of the Apostles, who have authority to interpret Scripture and promulgate doctrine (docere = to teach).

We may, of course, interpret it too, but only within the parameters of their interpretation.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

some thoughts on current anglican events

Last week there was, in Ft. Worth, a meeting of the Anglican Communion Network. There was, and continues to be, a lot of buzz around it.

One of the things that was manifest at the meeting is division in the orthodox camp -- between those wanting out now, and those calling for more patience.

What do I think? I think more patience is necessary. That doesn't mean I hold out much hope for ECUSA. ECUSA's probably lost, and lost for good. I think ECUSA is rapidly being vindicated as just another liberal protestant sect, doomed to go the way of all liberal protestant bodies: declining attendance, growing irrelevance. Ironically this is a byproduct of seeking above all else to be relevant and to increase attendance by being friendly and open to anyone and anything. Barring a miracle, I believe ECUSA is doomed. It is very rich and it will be around for yet a long time. It will become high church, syncretic Unitarianism, and it will continue its sprint to the margins of coherence. Society will regard ECUSA as society regards a demented old lady: tolerated and indulged for the sake of who she once was and because she is high-born, but an irritating embarrassment to all who remain long in her company.

So, why call for more patience from the orthodox who remain in ECUSA? Chiefly: because none of us have the authority to do what needs to be done: to create a Province of the Anglican Communion in North America that is juridically separate from ECUSA. The orthodox bishops who remain in ECUSA can't do it because they are subject to the jurisdiction of ECUSA which doesn't allow such things. This has to be done by the Primates and by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Because to be in the Anglican Communion means to be in communion with the See of Canterbury, and with the other Churches that are in communion with it.

And this takes time. And taking time is frustrating. But what do you expect? The Anglican Communion spans the globe. There are 80 million Christians in it. It moves slowly. But a process has been set in motion that will, God willing, lead to the creation of a North American Province, outside the juridical structure of ECUSA, incontrovertibly in communion with the See of Canterbury and the other Churches of the Anglican Communion. It is outlined in the Windsor Report and the Dar es Salaam Communique and Archbishop Williams' document The Challenge and Hope of Being and Anglican Today.

I understand the frustration of waiting for the Instruments of Communion to grind away while the faithful in ECUSA face inhibitions and lawsuits and various kinds of disenfranchisement. But frankly, as Christians we're called to bear witness to the truth, and we should expect that this will entail suffering. Moreover, I don't understand the the conservatives who thwart the judgment of the Instruments of Communion in their zeal for truth and purity NOW when the very basis for their critique of ECUSA is that it has thwarted the judgment of the Instruments of Communion out of love for the zeitgeist. What's the difference? If to be Anglican means to accept the doctrine and devotion of Anglicanism (and what else could it mean?), then the question becomes: who may authoritatively enunciate Anglican doctrine and set the parameters of Anglican devotion? Is it not the Instruments of Communion, and particularly the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates, and the Lambeth Conference, since they are bishops and therefore in a special way the heirs of the Apostles?

Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.... For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore (Psalm 133)...

Unity is very important. SEEKING and PRESERVING unity is very important -- because it is the fruit of the Lord's commission of bearing witness to the truth. If we lose our unity, then we have ceased to drink from the fountainhead of truth. Clearly this is so for ECUSA: it bears witness to a lie, and the fruit of disunity within and without is slowly blossoming. It will take awhile for the juridical reality to catch up with the pneumatic reality; that's just the way of things in this vale of tears. But we should stick to the plan and continue to call ECUSA to stick to the plan too. I doubt they will, but ceasing to call because an authoritative judgment has not come on our time frame is disobedient and a refusal to hope. It won't go on forever, but it will go on for a season. We will know considerably more after September 30. And I imagine the shape of a definitive resolution to this mess will become clear at the Lambeth Conference.

What can you do? You can bear witness to the truth -- proclaim the gospel -- whether you are a layman, a deacon, priest, or bishop. You can proclaim the gospel and suffer for it. Be the lone voice at Diocesan Conventions. Be the lone voice in your parish. Be disenfranchised. Suffer. "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials.... Without having seen him, you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls... Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you..." (1 Peter 1.6, passim).

And pray, pray, pray. Pray for the blinded souls in ECUSA. Pray for those who persecute you. Pray for the Instruments of Communion and those with authority to ACT, that they would be given wisdom and courage to do so. They have said that they will, and they've even given us some indication of benchmarks and time frames. September 30. Lambeth '08. Wait, proclaim the truth, suffer, don't presume to have authority you don't have, and don't despair of a godly outcome because the process is not unfolding according to your will. Let the Lord guide it, and when the dust settles, and you have been purified by suffering, then take stock of our situation.