Monday, October 31, 2005

south to south encounter document

I have to say, in general, I am pretty impressed with the document. I had been worried (1) that they were going to announce a new Anglican Patriarch of Alexandria or something, or relatedly (2) that they were going to come up with some plumb-line Evangelical Confession without signing onto which no one could be in communion with them. The document is one of the more catholic-leaning things I have seen to come out of Anglicanism. It even uses the phrase "apostolic succession" in reference to the bishops roll in guarding the Church's apostolicity. Hoozah. Also note the inspiration of the blood of the martyrs in the paragraph on violence. It also seemingly strikes at the right balance in its commendation of both Scripture and "the historic teaching of the Church" as the proper checks of catholicity on innovation. I say well done. We have both avoided disaster here, and we have a clear, incisive, theologically articulate, catholic document. Hoozah.

global south encounter document

Beloved, I cautiously take this document to be a little bit of good news. It seems that they are endorsing the principles of the Windsor Report, and turning away from the confessional proposals about which we had been hearing, especially from Nigeria.

The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter Communique
October 30th, 2005 at 5:37 pm
A Third Trumpet from the South


The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter

Red Sea (Egypt), 25-30 October 2005

The Third Anglican South-to-South Encounter has graphically demonstrated the
coming of age of the Church of the Global South. We are poignantly aware
that we must be faithful to God’s vision of one, holy, catholic and
apostolic Church. We do not glory in our strengths but in God’s strength. We
do not shrink from our responsibility as God’s people because of our
weaknesses but we trust God to demonstrate His power through our weakness.
We thank God for moving us forward to serve Him in such a time as this.

A. Preamble

1. A total of 103 delegates of 20 provinces in the Global South (comprising
Africa, South and South East Asia, West Indies and South America),
representing approximately two-thirds of the Anglican Communion, met for the
3rd Global South to South Encounter from 25-30 October 2005 at Ain El-Sukhna
by the Red Sea in Egypt. The theme of the Encounter was “One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church: Being A Faithful Church For Such A Time As This”.

2. We deeply appreciated the Archbishop of Canterbury for the time he spent
with us, his listening ear and encouraging words. We took to heart his
insight that the four marks of the Church are not attributes we possess as
our own right, nor goals to attain by human endeavour, but they are
expressed in us as we deeply focus on Jesus Christ, who is the Source of
them all (John 17:17-21).

3. We were really warmed by the welcome that we received here by the
President, the government and the people of Egypt. We valued the great
efforts made by the state security personnel who are making the land of
Egypt a secure and safe place to all her visitors. We were touched by the
warm hospitality of the Diocese of Egypt.

4. We have witnessed in Egypt a wonderful model for warm relations between
Christians and Muslims. We admire the constructive dialogue that is
happening between the two faiths. We appreciated the attendance of the Grand
Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Mohammed Said Tantawi, the representative of Pope
Shenouda III and other religious leaders at the State Reception to launch
our Encounter. We were encouraged by their wise contributions.

B. We Gathered

5. We gathered to seek the face of God, to hear His Word afresh and to be
renewed by His Spirit for total obedience to Christ who is Lord of the
Church. That is why the gathering was called an “Encounter” rather than a
conference. The vital question we addressed was: What does it mean to be
one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church in the midst of all the challenges
facing the world and the Church?

6. The world of the Global South is riddled with the pain of political
conflict, tribal warfare and bloodshed. The moral and ethical foundations of
several of our societies are being shaken. Many of our nations are beset by
problems of poverty, ignorance and sickness, particularly the HIV and AIDS
that threaten millions, especially in Africa. In addition to that, thousands
of people have suffered from severe drought in Africa, earthquakes in South
Asia, and hurricanes in the Americas – we offer our support and prayers to

7. Apart from the world condition, our own Anglican Communion sadly
continues to be weakened by unchecked revisionist teaching and practices
which undermine the divine authority of the Holy Scripture. The Anglican
Communion is severely wounded by the witness of errant principles of faith
and practice which in many parts of our Communion have adversely affected
our efforts to take the Gospel to those in need of God’s redeeming and
saving love.

8. Notwithstanding these difficult circumstances, several parts of our
Communion in the Global South are witnessing the transforming power of the
Gospel and the growth of the Church. The urgency of reaching vast multitudes
in our nations for Christ is pressing at our door and the fields are ready
for harvest.

9. Surrounded by these challenges and seeking to discover afresh our
identity we decided to dig deeper into God’s Word and into the tradition of
the Church to learn how to be faithful to God’s gift and call to be His one,
holy, catholic and apostolic people. We deliberately chose to meet in Egypt
for two reasons:

a. Biblically, Egypt features prominently in the formative period of the
calling of God’s people (Exodus 19). Moreover, Egypt was part of the cradle
that bore the entry of the Savior into the world (Hosea 11:1; Matthew

b. Meeting by the Red Sea, we could not help but be inspired by the historic
crossing of God’s people into the realm where He purposed to make them a
“light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). Part of that blessing was fulfilled
when Alexandria became a center of early Christianity, where church fathers
formulated and held on to the Christian faith through the early centuries.

C. We Discovered Afresh

10. We discovered afresh the depth and richness of our roots in the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Carefully researched papers were
presented at the Encounter in the context of worship, prayer, Bible Study
and mutual sharing. We recognize the dynamic way in which the four marks of
the Church are inextricably interwoven. The salient truths we encountered
inspired us and provided a basis for knowing what God requires of us.

The Church is One

11. The Church is called to be one. Our unity is willed by our Lord Jesus
Christ Himself, who prayed that we “all might be one.” (John 17:20-21) A
great deal of confusion has arisen out of misunderstanding that prayer and
the concept of unity. For centuries, the Church has found unity in the
Person and teaching of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Scripture. We are one in
Him, and that binds us together. The foundation and expression of our unity
is found in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

12. While our unity may be expressed in institutional life, our unity is
grounded in our living relationship with the Christ of Scripture. Unity is
ever so much more than sharing institutionally. When we are “in Christ,” we
find that we are in fellowship with others who are also in Him. The fruit of
that unity is that we faithfully manifest the life and love of Christ to a
hurting and groaning world (Romans 8:18-22).

13. Christian unity is premised on truth and expressed in love. Both truth
and love compel us to guard the Gospel and stand on the supreme authority of
the whole Word of God. The boundary of family identity ends within the
boundary of the authentic Word of God.

The Church is Holy

14. The Church of Jesus Christ is called to be holy. All Christians are to
participate in the sanctification of their lives through submission,
obedience and cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Through repentance the
Church can regain her rightful position of being holy before God. We believe
concurrently that holiness is imparted to us through the life, ministry,
death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 10:21-23). He shares
His holiness with us and invites us to be conformed to His likeness.

15. A holy Church is prepared to be a “martyr” Church. Witness unto death is
how the Early Church articulated holiness in its fullest sense (Acts 22:20;
Rev 2:13, 12:11).

The Church is Catholic

16. The Catholic faith is the universal faith that was “once for all”
entrusted to the apostles and handed down subsequently from generation to
generation (Jude 3). Therefore every proposed innovation must be measured
against the plumb line of Scripture and the historic teaching of the Church.

17. Catholicity carries with it the notion of completeness and wholeness.
Thus in the church catholic “when one part suffers, every part suffers with
it” (1 Cor 12:26). The local church expresses its catholicity by its
devotion to apostolic teaching, its attention to prayer and the sacrament,
its warm and caring fellowship and its growth through evangelism and mission
(Acts 2:42-47).

The Church is Apostolic

18. The Church is apostolic in its doctrine and teaching. The apostolic
interpretation of God’s salvation plan effected in Christ Jesus is binding
on the Church. God established the Church on the “foundation of the apostles
and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:20).

19. The Church is apostolic in its mission and service. “As the Father has
sent Me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) In each generation He calls bishops in
apostolic succession (Eph 4:11-12) to lead the Church out into mission, to
teach the truth and to defend the faith. Accountability to God, to those God
places over us and to the flock is an integral part of church leadership.

D. We Commit

20. As a result of our Encounter, we emerge with a clearer vision of what
the Church is called to be and to do, with a renewed strength to pursue that
vision. Specifically, we made commitments in the following areas.

The Authority of the Word of God

21. Scripture demands, and Christian history has traditionally held, that
the standard of life, belief, doctrine, and conduct is the Holy Scripture.
To depart from apostolic teaching is to tamper with the foundation and to
undermine the basis of our unity in Christ. We express full confidence in
the supremacy and clarity of Scripture, and pledge full obedience to the
whole counsel of God’s Word.

22. We in the Global South endorse the concept of an Anglican Covenant
(rooted in the Windsor Report) and commit ourselves as full partners in the
process of its formulation. We are seeking a Covenant that is rooted in
historic faith and formularies, and that provides a biblical foundation for
our life, ministry and mission as a Communion. It is envisaged that once the
Covenant is approved by the Communion, provinces that enter into the
Covenant shall be mutually accountable, thereby providing an authentic
fellowship within the Communion.

23. Anglicans of the Global South have discovered a vibrant spiritual life
based on Scripture and empowered by the Spirit that is transforming cultures
and communities in many of our provinces. It is to this life that we seek to
be formed and found fully faithful. We reject the expectation that our lives
in Christ should conform to the misguided theological, cultural and
sociological norms associated with sections of the West.

Mission and Ministry

24. Churches in the Global South commit to pursue networking with one
another to add strength to our mission and ministry. We will continue to
explore appropriate structures to facilitate and support this.

25. Shared theological foundations are crucial to authentic fellowship and
partnership in mission and ministry. In that light, we welcome the
initiative to form the Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and the
Caribbean (CAPAC). It is envisaged that CAPAC will not only provide a
foundation on the historic formularies of Anglican faith but also provide a
structure with which member churches can carry out formal ministry
partnerships with confidence.

26. Global South is committed to provide our recognition, energy, prayers
and experience to the Networks in the USA and Canada, the Convocation of
Nigerian Anglicans in the USA, those who make Common Cause and the
Missionary District that is gathering congregations that circumstances have
pressed out of ECUSA. We are heartened by the bold witness of their people.
We are grateful that the Archbishop of Canterbury publicly recognized the
Anglican Communion Network in the USA and the Anglican Network in Canada as
faithful members of the Anglican Communion.

27. As for the other provinces and dioceses around the world who remain
steadfastly committed to this faith, we look forward to further
opportunities to partner with them in the propagation of the Gospel. We will
also support those orthodox dioceses and congregations which are under
difficult circumstances because of their faithfulness to the Word. We
appreciate the recent action of the Primate of the Southern Cone who acted
to stabilize the volatile situation in Recife, Brazil.

In this regard, we take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense
contribution of the Primate of South East Asia to the development of the
Global South and to the preservation of orthodoxy across the worldwide
Anglican Communion.

Theological Education

28. In order to provide teaching that preserves the faith and fits our
context, it is crucial to update the curricula of our theological
institutions in the Global South to reflect our theological perspective and
mission priorities. We note from the All Africa Bishops Conference their
concern that far too many Western theological education institutions have
become compromised and are no longer suitable for training leaders for our
provinces. We call for the re-alignment of our priorities in such a way as
to hasten the full establishment of adequate theological education
institutions across the Global South so that our leaders can be
appropriately trained and equipped in our own context. We aim to develop our
leaders in biblical and theological training, and seek to nurture indigenous
theologians. We will provide information on institutions in the Global
South, and we will encourage these institutions to explore ways to provide
bursaries and scholarships.

The Current Crisis provoked by North American Intransigence

29. The unscriptural innovations of North American and some western
provinces on issues of human sexuality undermine the basic message of
redemption and the power of the Cross to transform lives. These departures
are a symptom of a deeper problem, which is the diminution of the authority
of Holy Scripture. The leaders of these provinces disregard the plain
teaching of Scripture and reject the traditional interpretation of tenets in
the historical Creeds.

30. This Encounter endorses the perspectives on communion life found in
sections A & B of the Windsor Report, and encourages all Provinces to comply
with the request from the Primates’ Communiqué in February 2005 which

“We therefore request all provinces to consider whether they are willing to
be committed to the inter-dependent life of the Anglican Communion
understood in the terms set out in these sections of the report.”

31. The Windsor Report rightly points out that the path to restoring order
requires that either the innovating provinces/dioceses conform to historic
teaching, or the offending provinces will by their actions be choosing to
walk apart. Paragraph 12 of the Primates Communiqué says:

“Whilst there remains a very real question about whether the North American
churches are willing to accept the same teaching on matters of sexual
morality as is generally accepted elsewhere in the Communion, the underlying
reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity is obscured, and the
effectiveness of our common mission severely hindered.”

32. Regrettably, even at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council
(ACC) in Nottingham in 2005, we see no evidence that both ECUSA and the
Anglican Church of Canada are willing to accept the generally accepted
teaching, nor is there evidence that they are willing to turn back from
their innovations.

33. Further, the struggles of the Communion have only been exacerbated by
the lack of concrete progress in the implementation of the recommendations
of the Windsor Report. The slow and inadequate response of the Panel of
Reference has trivialized the solemn charge from the Primates and has
allowed disorder to multiply unnecessarily. We recognize with regret the
growing evidence that the Provinces which have taken action creating the
current crisis in the Communion continue moving in a direction that will
result in their “walking apart.” We call for urgent and serious
implementation of the recommendations of the Windsor Report. Unscriptural
and unilateral decisions, especially on moral issues, tear the fabric of our
Communion and require appropriate discipline at every level to maintain our
unity. While the Global South calls for the errant provinces to be
disciplined, we will continue to pray for all who embrace these erroneous
teachings that they will be led to repentance and restoration.

Spiritual Leadership

34. Our on-going participation in ministry and mission requires godly and
able spiritual leadership at all times. We are encouraged that many
inspirational leaders in our midst bear witness to the Scriptures and are
effectively bringing the Gospel to surrounding cultures. We commit ourselves
to identify the next generation of leaders and will seek to equip and deploy
them wherever they are needed.

35. We need inspirational leaders and accountability structures. These
mechanisms which we are looking into must ensure that leaders are
accountable to God, to those over us in the Lord, to the flock and to one
another in accordance to the Scriptures. This last aspect is in keeping with
the principle of bishops and leaders acting in council. In this way, leaders
become the role models that are so needed for the flock.


36. The Global South emphasizes the involvement and development of youth in
the life of the Church. The youth delegates encouraged the whole gathering
by the following collective statement during the Encounter:

“Many youths in the Global South are taking up the challenge of living in
moral purity in the face of the rising influence of immoral values and
practice, and the widening epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Young people will be
ready to give their lives to the ministry of the Church if she gives them
exemplary spiritual leadership and a purpose to live for. Please pray that
we will continue to be faithful as the Church of ‘today and tomorrow’. It is
also our heart’s cry that the Communion will remain faithful to the Gospel.”


37. As the church catholic we share a common concern for the universal
problem of debt and poverty. The inequity that exists between the rich and
the poor widens as vast sums borrowed by previous governments were not used
for the intended purposes. Requiring succeeding generations of people who
never benefited from the loans and resources to repay them will impose a
crushing and likely insurmountable burden. We welcome and appreciate the
international efforts of debt reduction and cancellation, for example, the
steps recently carried out by G8 leaders.

38. A dimension of responsible stewardship and accountability is the clear
call to be financially self-sustaining. We commend the new initiative for
financial self-sufficiency and development being studied by the Council of
Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). This is not only necessary because of
the demands of human dignity; it is the only way to have sustainable
economic stability.


39. A holy Church combines purity and compassion in its witness and service.
The population of the world is under assault by the HIV and AIDS pandemic,
but the people of much of the Global South are hit particularly hard because
of poverty, lifestyle habits, lack of teaching and the paucity of
appropriate medication. Inspired by the significant success of the Church in
Uganda in tackling HIV and AIDS, all our provinces commit to learn and apply
similar intentional programmes which emphasize abstinence and faithfulness
in marriage. We call on governments to ensure that they are providing
adequate medication and treatment for those infected.


40. The holy Church will “show forth fruits that befit repentance” (Matt
3:8). Many of us live in regions that have been deeply wounded by
corruption. Not only do we have a responsibility to live transparent lives
of utmost honesty in the Church, we are called to challenge the culture in
which we live (Micah 6:8). Corruption consumes the soul of society and must
be challenged at all costs. Transparency and accountability are key elements
that we must manifest in bearing witness to the cultures in which we live.

Violent Conflict

41. Many of us from across the Global South live juxtaposed with violent
conflict, most egregiously manifest in violence against innocents. In spite
of the fact that the conflicts which grip many of our provinces have
resulted in many lives being lost, we are not defeated. We find hope in the
midst of our pain and inspiration from the martyrs who have shed their
blood. Their sacrifice calls us to faithfulness. Their witness provokes us
to pursue holiness. We commit ourselves to grow to become faithful witnesses
who “do not love their lives even unto death” (Rev 12:11).

E. We Press On

42. We emerge from the Encounter strengthened to uphold the supreme
authority of the Word of God and the doctrinal formularies that have
undergirded the Anglican Communion for over four and a half centuries.
Communion requires alignment with the will of God first and foremost, which
establishes our commonality with one another. Such expressions of the will
of God which Anglicans should hold in common are: one Lord, one faith, one
baptism; Holy Scripture; apostolic teaching and practice; the historic
Creeds of the Christian Church; the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal
tenets as contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Holding truth and
grace together by the power of the Holy Spirit, we go forward as those
entrusted “with the faith once delivered” (Jude 3).

43. By the Red Sea, God led us to renew our covenant with Him. We have
committed ourselves to obey Him fully, to love Him wholly, and to serve Him
in the world as a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). God
has also helped us to renew our bonds of fellowship with one another, that
we may “stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man in the faith of the
Gospel” (Phil 1:27).

44. We offer to God this growing and deepening fellowship among the Global
South churches that we might be a servant-body to the larger Church and to
the world. We see ourselves as a unifying body, moving forward collectively
as servants of Christ to do what He is calling us to do both locally in our
provinces and globally as the “scattered people of God throughout the world”
(1 Peter 1:1).

45. Jesus Christ, “that Great Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb 13:20, Micah 5:4),
is caring for His flock worldwide, and He is gathering into His one fold
lost sheep from every tribe and nation. We continue to depend on God’s grace
to enable us to participate with greater vigour in Christ’s great enterprise
of saving love (1 Peter 2:25, John 10:14-16). We shall press on to glorify
the Father in the power of the Spirit until Christ comes again. Even so,
come Lord Jesus.

The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter

Red Sea, Egypt, 25-30 October 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

are anglicans really catholic?

I've devoted far too much time today attempting to answer this question. What do you think? I'm turning off comments here, in the hopes that you will say your piece here and especially here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

anglicanism's three options, routes & destinies -- by fr. peter toon

The Anglican Way is no longer an unified way and looks like it will soon end up in three parts, with a lot of messiness around the parts!

Since the ordination of women entered into the practice of Anglican provinces twenty or more years ago, the Anglican Family has been suffering from increasing internal strains, crises and divisions. These problems and pains have been exacerbated by the multiplication of liturgies and rites, and the setting aside of the classic Formularies of the Anglican Way by provinces in the West (e.g., USA, West Indies, Wales & Ireland). The Formularies served as identifiers and unifiers of Anglicanism. And the internal dysfunctionality has been much increased and polarized in the last few years by major differences over sexual ethics and practice and what the Scriptures and tradition have to say in these matters.

The so-called Instruments of Unity (Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Conference, Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting) are seemingly powerless to do other than make statements and call for actions. They cannot heal the divisions but may serve to make them worse.

What are the three routes being taken?

First of all, there is the route to the Vatican City in Rome. A growing number of Anglican groups such as the Forward in Faith Movement of the UK and the Traditional Anglican Communion are pressing for a uniate status with Rome. They wish to maintain an Anglican identity that is doctrinally at one with Rome and to be under the protection of the Roman See and thus in communion with all parts of the Roman Church. It seems likely that more and more Anglo-Catholics (e.g., the diocese of Fort Worth) will be drawn into this movement. It already has a basic Liturgy approved by the Vatican and used in a dozen or so parishes in the USA and so it seems all set to move forward with many converts in the next five or so years. Will the Vatican receive it?

Secondly, there is the route into progressive liberalism, which is currently the position of the majority of the synods of the Anglican provinces of the West/North. The ecclesial center will be the See of Canterbury but the leader of this attempt to make the Anglican Way conform to the “enlightened” culture of the West will be the Episcopal Church of the USA, followed by the Church in Canada, Churches in the UK & Ireland, the Churches in Australia and New Zealand and so on. Churches in Latin America and in Southern Africa will probable also opt for this route. So this association is and will be a mixed bag but united in efforts to be relevant and contemporary and to avoid at all costs to be traditionalist and old fashioned. And since it will hold the title-deeds to much property and financial trusts, it will be able to continue in existence even where those attending its places of worship are few..

Thirdly there is the evangelical route already being taken by Churches in Africa (e.g., Nigeria and Uganda) and Asia. In terms of numbers this association, which claims to be based upon the Bible and the Formularies of the Anglican Way, is and will be the largest of the Anglican identities. From the West it will have only small numbers of adherents (those who have separated from the progressive liberal provinces) for its vast membership will be African and Asian. Financially, it will be the poorest of the three routes but it will be very evangelistic, ever looking to grow in maturity and numbers. It will develop a center somewhere in a city of Africa to hold its minimal organization.

Around and between these three basic associations and routes, there will be a lot of confusion, pain and mess, individual, family, congregational and corporate. A few provinces (e.g., West Indies) will not be sure which route to take for they are internally divided over the issues. People in the progressively liberal provinces will feel a great pull to stay where they are because of long and deep ties to sacred buildings and local cemeteries and burial plots. Then clergy in these same provinces will think a lot about their retirement plans and the like. Not a few Anglo-Catholics will feel torn between going with their fellow believers to Rome and remaining as Anglicans but in a charismatic or evangelical ethos. Evangelical Episcopalians will hesitate at the prospect of being under an African bishop on a permanent basis. And so on!

In summary. It seems that the centrifugal forces evident in what was the Anglican Communion of Churches are now so strong that no centripetal forces exist to counter them. A falling apart seems inevitable and many cracks are visible now. To predict the result of the demise of the centripetal forces and the triumph of the centrifugal ones is dangerous, but I have suggested that there will be three identifiable pieces of Anglicanism with a lot of little bits around them! My prediction will probably be proved to be wrong. After all, only God the Omniscient One, knows.

From the Prayer Book Society Blog.

p.ben's homily at the end of the year of the eucharist

In the Eucharist, we contemplate the sacrament of this living synthesis of the law: Christ gives us, with himself, the full realization of the love for God and the love for our brothers. And this love of his, he communicates to us when we are nourished by his Body and his Blood. This is when what St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in today’s reading is achieved: “You broke with the worship of false gods and became the servants of the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). This conversion is the beginning of the path of holiness that the Christian is called to achieve in his own existence.

The saint is he who is so fascinated by the beauty of God and by his perfect truth to be progressively transformed by it. Because of this beauty and truth, he is ready to renounce everything, even himself. The love of God is enough, which he experiences in the humble and disinterested service to the neighbor, especially to those who cannot give back in return.

Read the whole thing here.

It occurs to me, for the first time, that 'social justice' as caring for those who can give nothing back to you is such a large part of what it is to love with the love of Christ - to be like unto him - because we, his creatures for whom he died, can give nothing back to him. He is poured out utterly for us and gets nothing in return (the 'pure gift' the possibility of which, e.g., Derrida denies), and when we are poured out for the sake of those who can give to us nothing in return, we are very near the Lord. Maybe this is an ellementary point that most of you already grasp, but I saw it clearly in Pope Benedict's homily.

Monday, October 24, 2005

via media minutes

A liberal Episcopal group is crafting a strategy to disenfranchise about 16 conservative bishops if the denomination’s pivotal General Convention next year in Columbus, Ohio, results in a church split.

Informally named the “Day After” for the aftermath of the June 13-21 event, the strategy outlines a way to file canonical charges against conservative bishops, unseat them from their dioceses, have interim bishops waiting to replace them and draft lawsuits ready to file before secular courts for possession of diocesan property.

From the Washington Times. Read the whole thing here. Front page, I am told. Appalling. For the record, I think it was unwise and wrong of the CT 6 or 5 (or whatever) to file suit against Bp. Smith in a civil court.

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud even your own brothers! (1 Corinthians 6.1-8)

anne rice

After 25 novels in 25 years, Rice, 64, hasn’t published a book since 2003’s “Blood Chronicle,” the tenth volume of her best-selling vampire series. They may have heard she came close to death last year, when she had surgery for an intestinal blockage, and also back in 1998, when she went into a sudden diabetic coma; that same year she returned to the Roman Catholic Church, which she’d left at 18. They surely knew that Stan Rice, her husband of 41 years, died of a brain tumor in 2002. And though she’d moved out of their longtime home in New Orleans more than a year before Hurricane Katrina, she still has property there—and the deep emotional connection that led her to make the city the setting for such novels as “Interview With the Vampire.” What’s up with her? “For the last six months,” she says, “people have been sending e-mails saying, ‘What are you doing next?’ And I’ve told them, ‘You may not want what I’m doing next’.” We’ll know soon. In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. “I promised,” she says, “that from now on I would write only for the Lord.” It’s the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” announced that he’d been born again.

Read the whole thing here. Pretty amazing.

Friday, October 21, 2005


This is interesting.

a life jacket from p-ben?

The Vatican has placed Newark Archbishop John J. Myers in charge of admitting Anglican clergy into the Catholic Church.

Myers will work with all U.S. bishops to make sure the prospective priests, some of whom are married and serve in the Episcopal Church USA, are properly received and prepared to serve the Catholic Church.

Read the whole thing here. Thanks A-C Ruminator. Let us all pray for a renewal of true catholicity for Anglicans, and trust that our Lord holds our hope in his merciful mind.


Fr. Harmon posted the Living Church thing about orienting ourselves eastward. (Heh: 'orient'.) Read the comments. Hoozah for unanimity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


...don't know nothin'... 'bout my soul. they don't know...

the blog roll

New Anglican blogs in the links section, Beloved.

First, there's Thoughts from Seminary. Whom is CWM racing?

The Zahl family blog roll begins with Fr. Paul. PZ's Corner is definitely worth reading. Bobble Head Luther? Exactly.

Last, but not least, there is J. Arthur Zahl at John's Camp. Is he the most prolific blogger in cyberspace? My money is on it, though Fr. Harmon is ever close behind.

Monday, October 17, 2005

light from light: more on facing east

Tertullian informs us that Christian churches are "always" oriented "toward the light".

Origen asserts that the direction of the rising sun obviously indicates that we ought to pray inclining in that direction, an act which symbolizes the soul looking toward the rising of the true light, the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ.

Saint John Damascene says that, while waiting the coming of the Lord, "we adore Him facing East", for that is the tradition passed down to us from the Apostles. Other Church Fathers who confirm this usage are Clement of Alexandria, Saint Basil and Saint Augustine. To this day, the ancient Coptic Rite of Egypt retains in its eucharistic liturgy (just before the Sursum corda) the age-old exhortation of the deacon: "Look towards the East!"

Read the whole thing here. I like how in the Eastern rites the deacon issues all those commands and exhortations. "Let us attend!" "Pray!" "The doors!" Etc.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

face east; its better

It would seem that we no longer go to church to look at God. Apparently, we now go to church to look at one another. It is not a bad thing to look at one another. We are certainly taught to love our neighbors as ourselves. But to do this properly, we must first look to God and love him. We do not love our neighbor simply because she is our neighbor, we lover her because God loves us, and to practice such love we must first learn it from "Love the Lord [who] is on the way."

This does not mean that free-standing altars must be uprooted and moved. It does not matter where the altar stands: Priest and people may still face east at a free-standing altar. In ancient basilicas the altar was free-standing, but the priest came from his seat in the apse, around the altar, to face east for the eucharistic prayer. In fact, to restore such a movement to the modern liturgy would provide a striking symbol of the unity of priest and people making their common offering of themselves, their souls and bodes, to God.

From the Living Church via A Worker in the Vineyard. Thanks Fr. Lee.

I agree completley. Everyone, priest and people, should face the same direction during the offering of Eucharist. This is not, as they say, a cross to die on. But facing east is better than the alternatives.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

archbishop rowan decries euthanasia

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was profoundly opposed despite watching his mother die a painful death. On the eve of a House of Lords debate on the issue, Dr Rowan Williams described in The Mail On Sunday how he sat by the bed of his mother, Nancy, during her final months of dementia. He said that he nevertheless remained convinced that voluntary euthanasia was wrong.

Peers are due to discuss the issue today. A Bill which would allow voluntary euthanasia will be introduced later in the year by Lord Joffe.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, said he believed that the Bill would be defeated in the Lords.

Read the whole thing here.

Its good to see ++Rowan taking a strongish stand on the side of life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

fr. zahl on ecclesiology; me on the same

I don't get quite so riled about the church in general, and this is because experience has taught me to have a pretty low ecclesiology. In fact, the New Testament depicts the "church," i.e., the Pharisees and the Temple leaders and the people who persecuted St. Paul, in extremely unflattering perspective.

Do I have any "ecclesiology" at all? Based on experience in the church for decades now, if there is any ecclesiology there at all, it is pretty negative. The church, as an institution, punishes its own, and generally martyrs its own. If you really set a lot of store on entities such as "The Episcopal Church," you get disappointed, and deeply so. Because my theology focuses on other things than ecclesiology, I just don't lose so much sleep over the church, institutionally speaking. Meddling and intrusive bishops, punishing and exiling bishops, give me the creeps. But again, you can find big sins among the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the Roman Catholics, and especially with their official leaders.

Did you read Updike's In the Beauty of the Lilies? I think it is an obnoxious and perverse novel, but... there is a scene with a Presbyterian bureaucrat, interviewing a poor lost New Jersey pastor, that is about as crushing of any hopes you may have of a benign "church structure" as anything you could ever read -- outside of Tolstoy's Grand Inquisitor [NB: Its Dostoevsky, right? WB]. So I think we do best when we have a low ecclesiology.

Read the whole thing here.

I have to say, I disagree pretty strongly with Fr. Zahl (and with nearly everyone around me) about ecclesiology. Maybe that just means I'm not a good Anglican. But maybe it means that good Anglicans aren't good readers, markers, learners, and inward digesters of the Word of God.

Consider our Lord's own words about the Church in Matthew (16.18) (one of only two places in the gospels where the Church, as such, is mentioned): "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

Apart from the contentious first bit of this verse (though it was never contentious until the Reformation), what do we hear from our Lord about the Church? First, that he himself builds it. Second, that he builds it on a rock, i.e. with a firm, unassailable foundation. Third, that the gates of Hell shall NOT prevail against the Church. Fourth, that there is ONE Church. This all seems pretty important. I mean, our Lord himself seems to have a highish ecclesiology. At least he doesn't seem to think that the Church is just some fallen, corrupt, sinful, human institution that is ordained to perpetual fractiousness.

Consider Acts 20.28: "Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son." We can glean from this verse that the Holy Spirit himself makes overseers for the Church (and through them, we might say, himself watches over the Church). But most significantly we learn that the Church was purchased by the Father "with the blood of his own Son." How dear to God must the Church therefore be? Unless the language of God's self-revelation be unintelligibly equivocal, the Church must be more dear to him than unclean lips can say: he bought it with the blood of his own Son. And if it is dear to him, for the sake of his own Son's blood, then for the sake of his own Son's blood ought it not be dear to us?

In Ephesians 1, the Father is said to have given all things to the Lord Jesus: "and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." Again, it is for the Church (or "to the Church") that our Lord has been exalted by the Father. And indeed the Church is his mystic body, here called the very fullness of the Lord -- i.e. the Church is the fullness of the Filler of Everything. How can we then have a low regard for it? For it, the Church, is That through which "the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 3.10). The Church is the Vehicle ordained by God himself to manifest his own light to the whole world, that the whole world might come to know the sacramental plan of God "hidden for ages" in himself. What was hidden in God for ages? Is this not the Word of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit became flesh in the Virgin's womb?

This then is the sacramental plan, the "oikonomia tou mysteriou", the "dispensatio sacramenti" which the Father makes known through the Church (Ephesians 3.10): that the Word of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, became flesh in the Virgin's womb for our sake. This is the truth made known to the whole world through the Church. Ought we not then love the Church, since the Father has ordained the Church for the manifestation of this saving mystery? Ought we not love Her because we love her office and because we share her mission, because as Christians we exist ONLY in her bosom, and not least because we have ourselves been delivered from sin and death through her sacramental ministry?

And then there is Ephesians 5. O, Ephesians 5, wherein is revealed the true, beautiful, glorious nature of Holy Mother Church! How can we have a "low view" of our Lord's own Bride, whom he is destined to present to himself "without spot or wrinkle... holy and without blemish" (5.27)? How can we dare hold in low regard what the Lord Jesus nourishes and cherishes as his own flesh (5.29)? And you see that Ephesians 5 refers back to Ephesians 3: the Church is indeed the sacramental custodian of the Lord's own flesh. Christian marriage points or refers, in the dispensation of sacramental signification, to the oneness of the Church and the Flesh of the Lord Jesus.

It is for this reason, beloved, that we must conform ourselves to the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Because our Lord submitted himself to death for HER sake (Ephesians 5.25), and because to HER is entrusted by God himself the mystery that saves us from eternal death. She alone can illuminate that mystery which is otherwise inscrutably and impossibly withheld in the darkness of the Godhead (Ephesians 3.9). If we would have communion with the substance of the Body of Christ, without which there is no life in us (John 6.53), we had better hold fast in the Bosom of his Bride, for whom he gave himself up to death. If we would be sanctified, we had better hold fast in the Bosom of his Bride, because for his own sake he sees fit to ordain Her to sanctification and glory.

It is for these reasons that I cannot understand a "low ecclesiology". How can we have a low regard for what God will present to himself in splendor?

Incidentally, Beloved, Ephesians 5 is the key to the Christian understanding of sex and marriage. And it must be read, among other things, within the context of Creation as in Genesis.

Monday, October 10, 2005

fr. leander harding on the back-and-forth between fr. kimel and fr. zahl

The reason we must pursue with new committment real ecumencial discussion, despite the distraction of the meltdown of mainline Prostestantism, is a missionary reason. I am completely convinced of the dictum of Leslie Newbigin that denominationalism (of which non-denominationalism is the apotheosis)can never convert Western secular culture because it is the form of church which has already fatally conformed itself to the commodification of religion in a consumerist society. We must still strive that the prayer of the Lord be answered and that we shall all be one, even as the Father and the Son are one, and not bed down in reified positions and counter-positions but seek the common interests of those who desire to keep faith with the Apostles and their mission. It is hard to see how the way forward can be anything other than a reformed-catholic faith that can accomodate the pentecostal revival. Though Anglicans have not got it right yet, we have been working parts of this problem for a while and may have something to share and not the least with ourselves.

Read the whole thing here. Not long, and well-worth it. Not sure what I think. Maybe I'm too into protecting theological interests, overstating my position, defending it intractably, etc. (Though not about the Lord Jesus being God and Son of God.)

Here is Pontifications, and here Fr. Zahl's blog.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

for a new russia, new relics

MOSCOW — Russia is rewriting its history, one corpse at a time.

The latest chapter involved a funeral with full military honors inside the sacred Donskoi Monastery here on Monday, attended by the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksy II, and some of the country's leading politicians. The body of Gen. Anton Denikin, a czarist commander of the losing side in the Russian Civil War, was laid to rest again, this time in his motherland, 58 years after he died in the United States.

He was not the first. Several other outcasts of the Soviet period - White Russians, ideologically suspect intellectuals, descendants of czarist royalty - have at last found their place, posthumously, in a new Russia. Buried with General Denikin last week was Ivan Ilyin, a philosopher who was expelled by the Bolshevik dictatorship in 1922 aboard what came to be known as the "philosophers' ship."

"They believed that a time would come when our country great and free would take them back," Aleksy told the mourners. "Now that day is here."

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, October 07, 2005

roman policy on gays now seems more sensible than reports sounded initially

A forthcoming Vatican document on homosexuals in seminaries will not demand an absolute ban, a senior Vatican official told NCR Oct. 7, but will insist that seminary officials exercise “prudential judgment” that gay candidates should not be admitted in three cases.

Those three cases are:

If candidates have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years;

If they are part of a “gay culture,” for example, attending gay pride rallies (a point, the official said, which applies both to professors at seminaries as well as students);

If their homosexual orientation is sufficiently “strong, permanent and univocal” as to make an all-male environment a risk.

Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

more on mediation, fr. zahl, etc. from pontifications

In a previous posting, whether here or over at Titusonenine I forget, I inquired why Cranmer’s own private opinions or theological beliefs should enjoy any more “normative status” in Anglicansim than those of William Perkins, Richard Hooker, or Lancelot Andrewes (or, added as an aftethought, John Shelby Spong). My point was (cf. the final paragraph of that article by Gregory Dix that I sent you some months ago, “The Revelaing Church”) that there is really no such thing as a preseciptive standard of “Anglican orthodoxy” and that in practice, or at least before the advent of Spong or his intellectual and spiritual granddaddy Bishop Barnes of Birmingham in England, so long as one professed a purely conventional (and uncontroversial) orthodoxy on matters of the Trinity and Christology “on paper” one might well take Cranmer or Perkins or Hooker or Andrewes for the quintessential Anglican, and who might dare nay-say one’s choice. But there is another side of this: whatever the vast, and even unbridgeable, theological chasms between those who take one or the other of these men as quintessentially Anglican, none, not one, of them advocated a “comprehensive church” none of them thought it one of the glories of the Church of England that, as a kind of eccleiastical Noah’s Ark, it could fill itself with beasts both clean and unclean. Diarmaid MacCulloch makes it clearin his momumental biography of Cranmer that his subject in all likelihood would have been appalled by “Anglican comprehensiveness” were he but able to see it. So why, on what basis, when Christianity from the beginning has been a dogmatic ecclesiastical religion that comes to conclusions in matters of faith and penalizes those that gainsay them, are we to believe that “Anglican comprehensiveness” to be a good thing? From a historical prespective, the only “denomination” that ever embraced “comprehensiveness” was the Unitarians here in the USA (I know less about English Unitarianism), and their embrace of it led them within 50 years right out of Christianity. Is thiswhat “ethanasius” and Mr. Montgomery want? If so, then the road is wide open to “reconciliation” between ECUSA and the UUA. My own suspicion is that it comes from a lack of doctrinal seriousness on the part of those that espouse such a view, plus the American cracker-barrell view that “I’m an American and nobody is going to tell me what I have to believe, even in the church I belong to” — which is as much to say that the real religion of many “Christian Americans” is “American values” and even their own churches’ doctrines must be subordinate to these “values.”

Nor do I understand why Mr. Becker should write that “there is room in the Reformation traditions for Zwinglian perspectives …” especially as I take him for a Lutheran. Either the “Zwinglian perspectives” are false (as Luther most certainly believed) and, if false, there ought to be no “room” for them in Christian truth, or else they are true, and should be embraced by all, or all at least who profess “Reformation traditions.” But if they can be regarded as “false” (from a Lutheran prespective) and yet have a legitimate “room” in “Reformation traditions” than let’s also make room for Servetus, Arius, Montanus, Marcion and Valentinus. Noah’s Ark was very “inclusive” and I don’t see why a comprehensive “Reformation traditions” should be any less so.

As the verse on the door of the “Protestant plantation” town of Bandon in Ireland ran: “Enter here turk, Jew or atheist/Any man except a papist.” Fuinseoig may know the verse that some Irish rascal is said to have affixed below it in 1798, but I won’t quote *that* here.

Comments by William Tighe at Pontifications. Read the whole thing here.

The "verse affixed below it" was as follows:

'Turk, Jew or atheist may enter here, but not a papist.’

A Catholic wit responded

‘He who wrote this wrote it well, the same is written on the gates of hell.’

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

iraqi anglicans feared dead

London, 28 Sept. (AKI) - Five lay leaders from the main Anglican church in Iraq are feared dead after failing to return from a conference in Jordan two weeks ago, British newspaper The Times reported on Wednesday. Canon Andrew White, the clergyman in charge of the church, is quoted as saying: "Anglican leaders in Baghdad have been missing for two weeks and they are presumed dead." He said he had been told the five Iraqi-born Anglicans were attacked while returning along the notorious road linking the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. "It is the most dangerous area in Iraq," he said, speculating that they may have been kidnapped or killed. No ransom demand has been received.

Read the whole thing here. I first heard about this a few days ago from a friend, but it somehow got lost in the mix. Pray.

Lord, defend your servants in Iraq. Go before them and confound those who would do them harm. Let your holy angels dwell with them to preserve them in peace, and to keep them from all violence and defilement. Proclaim thou thyself on their lips, and minister thou thyself at their hands. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

the protesting turn

In recent decades, pragmatism has been recycled in the form of self-esteem doctrines, the therapeutic gospel, and the health-and-wealth message proclaimed by prosperity teachers. More recently we have seen outcome-based education and the endless stream of mission statements we must fashion to spell out in advance just how God may transform our lives. Thoughtful challenges to these teachings have been made, but we keep leaning in the pragmatic direction.

What follows was occasioned by recent conversations, on the blogosphere (particularly Fr. Kimel’s interlocutions with Fr. Zahl), as well as the above which I believe I found on T19, and finally by an ongoing conversation I have been having with a priest who has repeatedly and adamently denied that the Lord Jesus is either God or the Son of God (to say nothing of his denials of the Virgin Birth and his very strange assertion that God sometimes sins).

There seem to be two possible turns for Protestantism in general (Protestantism taken as protest of Catholicity). One is toward Fundamentalism, the other is toward the "therapeutic gospel". These turns are two sides of the same coin, and have to do, ironically, with too-high an anthroplogy, or rather perhaps an emphsis on the specific protest against the catholic notion of mediation. Specifically, these errors have their source in our having seized upon the idea of Jesus as our only mediator and advocate, that our Lord's supreme mediation is extracted and distorted and taken to mean that an individual's relationship to God is through Jesus only, and has nothing to do with the Communion of Saints, nothing to do with those with whom, traditionally, Christians were said to share the faith. I suspect that this abstracting of our Lord’s mediation is the source of evangelicalism’s having failed hitherto to come up with a coherent ecclesiology. It is therefore, perhaps, also the reason for Protestantism’s continual fracturing into oblivion.

Once religion has become divorced from the communion of saints, divorced from the Church, divorced from obedience to our Lord's command that we should love one another as he has loved us, which means, in part, with a mediatorial love -- bearing one another's burdens -- then the Protestant turn moves to insist that what is important is the individual's relationship to Jesus, the individual's walk with the Lord, the individual's being right with God. The turn has then been made definitively toward the chiefest general error of the heirs of Reformation, namely that of private judgment. It is all about MY relationship with God. And who is to judge the status of that relationship but me and God? The exhortation and prayers of my neighbor turn into exhortations to a private life of loving God, rather than to the correction, teaching, and admonishment of one another which is a proper function of catholic Christianity (Colossians 3.16), and to growth in the love of God and the indwelling of his Holy Spirit together, in the communion of the Church, and the fellowship of all the saints who are our ancestors in the Faith and on whose shoulders we stand. They are the ones who, by the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, wrote our Creeds, collated the Canon of Scripture, and defined for our benefit the Word of God; who likewise preserved for our benefit the Sacred Liturgies and the forms of our Common Prayer. They are the ones who thereby mediate for us God’s own self-revelation, and apart from whom our Faith would be without form and void. For it is the same Holy Spirit of God, brooding over the Waters of Chaos (Genesis 1), which separated the light from the darkness, the same Holy Spirit of God which God’s Son breathed onto his Apostles, to the Church, giving them authority to bear witness to himself to the ends of the earth, teaching faith in Christ Jesus to all nations. It is the same Holy Spirit of God who broods over the Waters of our renewal (our re-Creation), in Baptism, who incorporates us into the Communion of all who have accepted the Faith taught by the Apostles, who separates us out of the Darkness of sin and death, and into the Light of His own Life (Psalm 36.9). It is the same Holy Spirit of God given to us through the apostolic laying-on of hands in Confirmation by which we receive power and authority to take our place in the Apostolic mission of bearing witness to Christ to those still in Darkness.

It is the Church, therefore, who mediates for our benefit both the Doctrine of God (i.e. God’s self-revelation, chiefly as in Scripture), as well as our prayers and petitions TO God. The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church translates God’s self-revelation into language comprehensible to those whom he has made. And the Church gathers the prayers of the faithful and offers them liturgically, translated into the language of God: into, namely, the perfect Sacrifice of the Son of God, the only oblation acceptable to God the Father, the only language He speaks. The language of God is spoken within the faith of the Church, and nowhere else. This language is the language of sacramentality. The Church alone translates the substance of creation, bread and wine, into the substance of the Body and Blood of the eternal Word of God, through whom bread and wine, and all things, were themselves made.

One can see the cycle of individual protest. We abandon the Faith of the Saints by insisting that what is important is my own walk with God, rather than my walk with God as part and parcel of my progress in the common Faith of the One Hoy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The turn is toward Quakerism on the one hand -- in believing that what is important is the divine "inner light" the potential for which is common to all and beyond which nothing is necessary -- and on the other hand to Fundamentalism -- in beieving that “the Bible said it; I believe it; that settles it," without recourse to the interpretive framework provided by our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and especially our brothers the bishops, who have inherited from the Apostles, and through them from our Lord himself, the special charism of teaching, exhorting, and building-up the Church through the passing-on of the Apostolic faith taught to them by Jesus -- our Lord and our God – himself (John 1.48 and 20.28).

These are they who have forsaken the voice of the Lord, who have not walked according to what He taught them, but followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals (Jeremiah 9.14) -- that is, those who have gone after a god cast in their own image, not the God revealed in Scripture, Who made the heavens and the earth, but a god who submits him/herself to their own smallness of mind, to their little expectations of divinity, to their own pet ideologies and interests. For "though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to instruction" (Jeremiah 32.33). And by spurning the language of God’s self-revelation, by insisting on their self-sufficiency apart from the Bride of Christ, the spotless Chosen-of-God, the form of their Faith unravels, as they slide backward past the primordial chaos and into the Nothing that is the foundation of sin and evil, that is eternal death.

What therefore is the way? Paul reminds Timothy: “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” Here we have it succinctly: Scripture and Tradition. Remember, in other words, (1) the teaching of the Catholic Church (‘what you have learned’), (2) THAT it is the teaching of the Catholic Church (‘from whom you learned it’), and (3) the testimony of Scripture (‘the sacred writings’). “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and god our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. Finally, brethren, pray for us…”

new supreme court nominee is member of conservative, evangelical church

White House Counsel Harriet Miers had a Catholic upbringing but joined Valley View Christian Church 25 years ago. Barry McCarty, the church’s preaching minister, has been chief parliamentarian for every Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting since 1986, the only non-Baptist to hold the post.

Miers’ pastor, Ron Key, who left the church recently after 33 years, said she taught Sunday school, made coffee, brought donuts and served on a missions committee. “She worked out her faith in practical, behind-the-scenes ways,” Key said, quoted by Marvin Olasky in a World Magazine blog. “She doesn’t draw attention to herself. She’s humble, self-effacing.”

Nathan Hecht, a Texas Supreme Court justice and elder at the church, described the congregation as “a conservative evangelical church … in the vernacular, fundamentalist, but the media have used that word to tar us.”

Key told Olasky that the church is strongly pro-life, but that in the 25 years he has known Miers they never talked about her views on abortion, an issue certain to be a focus of her confirmation hearings. O’Connor has been a swing vote in several cases involving a woman’s right to privacy in early pregnancy and permitting restrictions in later terms only if they don’t endanger the woman’s health.

The abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America said the burden is on President Bush and Miers to demonstrate she shares O’Connor’s commitment to “fundamental freedoms, including a woman’s right to choose.”

Read the whole thing here. Via T19.

Monday, October 03, 2005

fr. kimel on fr. zahl on pieter saenredam

Zahl comments: “There is no preacher in the pulpit. Christianity has become invisible: no mediator! The painting evokes the spiritual, the ’spirit-and-truth’ Word of Jesus in John 4:24, the finally fully abstracted character of God’s abiding presence with us in the negation of the object” (p. 36).

Zahl urges us to rid ourselves of all mediations of the ascended Lord. We must bravely face the truth that between the ascension and the parousia our relationship to God enjoys an enduring non-mediated character. God is with us always and everywhere, “but not with us now in any particular time or space” (p. 37).

Read the whole thing (Fr. Kimel's whole thing) here.