Saturday, July 30, 2005

adiaphora... we can't always agree to disagree

It will not do for a hypothetical him to say Jesus is Lord and for a hypothetical her to say Jesus is not Lord and then to say “the act of saying our common prayers together, [will hold] us together in the midst of remarkable theological diversity.” It is false to say she believes racism is serious and he believes racism is no big deal but “the act of saying our common prayers together, [will hold] us together in the midst of remarkable theological diversity.” It is untrue to say she thinks eucharist can be optional, he thinks eucharist is crucial, but “the act of saying our common prayers together, [will hold] us together in the midst of remarkable theological diversity.” NO. No, no, no, no, no.

From T:19. Read the whole thing here. Thank you, Fr. Harmon.

Fr. Harmon also relavently quotes this bit of the Windsor Report:

This does not mean, however, that either for Paul or in Anglican theology all things over which Christians in fact disagree are automatically to be placed into the category of ‘adiaphora’. It has never been enough to say that we must celebrate or at least respect ‘difference’ without further ado. Not all ‘differences’ can be tolerated. (We know this well enough in the cases of, say, racism or child abuse; we would not say “some of us are racists, some of us are not, so let’s celebrate our diversity”). This question is frequently begged in current discussions, as for instance when people suggest without further argument, in relation to a particular controversial issue, that it should not be allowed to impair the Church’s unity, in other words that the matter in question is not as serious as some suppose. In the letters already quoted, Paul is quite clear that there are several matters - obvious examples being incest (1 Corinthians 5) and lawsuits between Christians before non-Christian courts (1 Corinthians 6) - in which there is no question of saying “some Christians think this, other Christians think that, and you must learn to live with the difference”. On the contrary: Paul insists that some types of behaviour are incompatible with inheriting God’s coming kingdom, and must not therefore be tolerated within the Church. ‘Difference’ has become a concept within current postmodern discourse which can easily mislead the contemporary western church into forgetting the principles, enshrined in scripture and often re-articulated within Anglicanism, for distinguishing one type of difference from another.”

Friday, July 29, 2005

dan brown and the symbolum davinci codi

RC blogger and sometime writer at Pontifications, Michael Liccione, has pointed the way to Dan Brown's admission that he actually believes all the nonsense he wrote in the DaVinci Code. Finally, all of his turning up on the television in tweed jackets, smoking pipes, is explainable: he really does take his own insanity that seriously. But they believe it all at Harvard too, don't they?

Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

melanesian religious communities come to lambeth

O Christian women, Christian men,
All the world over, seek again
the Way disciples followed then:
Alleluya, alleluya, alleluya.

Tuesday afternoon's Eucharist in the Lambeth Palace Chapel began appropriately with George Bell's Christ is the King, O friends rejoice! The hymn was followed, as tradition dictates, by the confession and absolution, the collect and a reading. Then, at the point in the service when the appointed Psalm would normally be recited, someone quietly hummed a simple melody. A pause. Suddenly, music - rich, confident, joyful music - burst forth from the mouths of twenty-seven white-robed Melanesian congregants. Brilliant sound filled every corner of the chapel. Deep, swirling harmonies transported the heart. The Canticle of the Sun, a hymn reminiscent of Saint Francis' Canticle of All Creation, praising the beauty of the land and people of Melanesia, rose heavenward.

Members of the Melanesian Brotherhood, joined by members of the Sisters of Melanesia, the Society of St. Francis and the Sisters of the Church, were visiting Lambeth Palace as the special guests of Archbishop Rowan and Mrs. Williams. The Melanesians have been in England since April, sharing their ministry of drama, music and dance with the Dioceses of Chester and Exeter.

As you know, Beloved, I have a special place in my heart for the Anglican (very POD) religious communities of the Church of Melanesia. They are a powerful witness for the rest of us. Do keep them in your prayers, and support them in whatever way you can.

From the Anglican Communion News Service. Read the whole thing here.

an interview with bp. iker

From the Living Church. Read part of it here. The whole thing is supposed to be at The Living Church, but their site seems to be messed up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

pray for the church

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from GODLY Union and Concord: that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one Hope of our Calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul, united in one holy bond of Truth and Peace, of Faith and Charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Join the love train, Beloved.

From Meam Commemorationem and A-C Ruminations.

them's fightin' words

Here goes the escalation, apace. I told you so, Beloved. But I fear this is not the end. I fear that this will provoke some further entrenchment by +Connecticut, as he has shown himself to be of a mind not to back down, but rather to ratchet up the heat of resentment and discord. We shall see. This is what puzzles me so much about the inhibition of Fr. Hansen: +Smith had to have known that measures such as these would be taken. Why therefore does he persist?

I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? (1 Corinthians 6.5-7)

Read the comments at T1.9.

27th July, A.D. 2005

A Second Open Letter to the Bishop and Standing Committee of Connecticut:

Dear Bishop Andrew and Brothers and Sisters of the Standing Committee,

Seventeen bishops, thirteen of them diocesans, wrote you on the 14th of April. We wrote you about the very public conflict between you, the Bishop and Standing Committee, and six Connecticut parishes.

In April we pled that you might turn back from this conflict. We asked whether it was not Bishop Andrew’s actions that had abandoned the (Anglican) Communion: participation in the New Hampshire consecration, ordination of same-sex partnered clergy, and refusal to allow appeal to the Panel of Reference. We called on you as Bishop and Standing Committee to turn back from continued abuse and mis-application of the Canon on Abandonment of Communion [Title IV, Canon 10] in dealing with these six parishes and their clergy.

On July 13th Bishop Andrew led a team who invaded St. John’s, Bristol, confiscated their buildings and accounts, and—without vestry consultation—installed a priest-in-charge. All of these things were done under the pretext of abandonment of communion, the Standing Committee having indicted the clergy of all six parishes on that charge on April 29th.

In our letter of fourteen weeks ago we asked whether there was not “some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops?” In the actions of April 29th and July 13th the answer you have given is clearly “no.”

Therefore, the diocesans signing this letter have determined to intervene in the case of St. John’s, Bristol—and in the cases of the other five parishes should that become necessary—with the following measures:

1) shaping of a presentment against you for conduct unbecoming [Title IV, Can.1, Sec.1 (j)] a Bishop of this Church;
2) raising legal and financial support for the six parishes in such civil suits as may be brought by or against you;
3) providing episcopal care to St. John’s and the other parishes in such ways as to give them tangible evidence that we are in full communion together, in compliance with the Windsor Report.
4) Immediate licensing of the Rev. Dr. Mark Hansen for functions within any of our dioceses to the extent he might have opportunity to function among us.

You have used the unsupportable pretext of inhibition of a faithful priest to take over an orthodox parish. The conflict we face here is about much more than Connecticut, as we advised you back in April. As we asked fourteen weeks ago: “Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?” We would prefer to find some way other than this deepening battle, but we refuse to allow this recent aggression to go unchecked or unchallenged.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Bishop of Albany
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Ft. Worth
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon. Bishop of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

one sometimes wonders

Read the wikipedia article about the Rt. Rev. James Pike, fifth bishop of California. He was one of the first bishops bold enough to deny the virginity of the Blessed Virgin, trinitarian orthodoxy, and a number of other denials that are now rather pedestrian within ECUSA. Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco, calls him a "Spiritual iconoclast and theological pioneer, [who] helped to prepare the way for the church in the new millennium."

Was he a prophet? Well, he died prophetically... of hunger and thirst, wondering around lost in the Judean Wilderness. Sad.

more on the new western hempisphere alliance

By Auburn Faber Traycik
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)

IN ANOTHER REMARKABLE CHAPTER in Anglican realignment, a “Covenant of Understanding” has been signed calling for a formal alliance for mission and ministry in North and South America and the Caribbean

The pan-American fellowship is envisioned as a mechanism to link those of similar theological perspective and could eventually include more than 1.5 million Anglicans in the hemisphere. It is being organized under the guidance of two Primates (provincial leaders) of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone of America.

Inspired by the influential Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, the new Council of Anglican Provinces in the Americas and the Caribbean (CAPAC) will be open to provinces, dioceses, networks and ministries that are committed to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to historic Anglican formularies. Given the Communion’s current crisis, a call to conform to theological standards outlined in the Windsor Report is also being emphasized.

Initially developed at a recent conference in the Bahamas, the agreement to form CAPAC will be presented to Provincial structures in the West Indies and Southern Cone for discussion and ratification. The alliance is intended to support members and share resources in mission, ministry, and theological education; enable constituents to speak as one on common concerns; and seek to “provide regional solutions to regional needs,” including those arising from ongoing challenges to orthodox faith in North America.

Among the chief concerns motivating this initiative is the need for adequate episcopal care for faithful Anglicans “in serious theological dispute” with their bishop or province, a provision endorsed by Anglican Primates. With the international weight it will now bring to any task, CAPAC will seek to promote such care in cooperation with official Anglican structures, notably the Panel of Reference charged with monitoring substitute bishop arrangements.

“One of the great misconceptions has been the ridiculous assertion that those who remain committed to the faith of the Communion are somehow ‘dissidents.’ “By providing a mechanism to join together, it makes it obvious that those of historic Biblical faith are part of the overwhelming majority in the Anglican Communion,” observed Archbishop Venables.

“In addition to addressing the isolation that some conservative congregations experience,” Venables continued, “CAPAC will provide a way to work together and reach out more effectively with the Gospel.”

THOUGH MODELED on CAPA–a leading orthodox voice amid the Communion’s current crisis over homosexuality and authority–CAPAC will differ from it by not automatically including all the Anglicans in the region. This is necessary because of the actions of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada that do not conform to historic faith and practice.

Another difference is that affiliate status is envisioned for those who, though they are outside the “official” Anglican structures, share a common theological perspective and commitment to historic Anglican formularies.

While CAPAC will not be designed to supersede or subsume constituent groups or bodies, it will aim to strengthen ties and cooperation among faithful Anglicans fragmented by history and the ill effects of liberal revisionism, and ultimately “to provide a solution in the context of the wider Anglican Communion.”

Archbishop Gomez said, “It is crucial for the future of the Anglican Communion that we find a way to forge links based on shared theological commitments. Despite the fact we have shared some elements of history in the Communion, the current crisis has arisen because we do not share a common theological bond with those who are unilaterally seeking to change the faith.”

A first step for CAPAC has been the production of a “Covenant of Understanding.” It has been agreed to by the two Archbishops and the Moderators of the Anglican Communion Networks in Canada and the U.S. The next step is for the provinces or any other group desiring membership in the pan-American fellowship to ratify the covenant.

The initiative is drawing support from the Networks’ “Common Cause Partners,” comprised in the U.S. of Episcopal Church (ECUSA) organizations such as the American Anglican Council and the traditionalist Forward in Faith, North America (which forms a separate convocation within the Network), and at least three bodies outside ECUSA: the Anglican Mission in America, Anglican Province of America, and Reformed Episcopal Church. Allies in Canada include both Anglican Essentials Canada partners (The Federation and the Network) and the Anglican Communion in Canada.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has been kept abreast of developing plans and was notified of the intention to inaugurate CAPAC shortly before this report was issued.

Nigeria’s Archbishop Akinola, CAPA Chairman, was among primates who warmly welcomed the new pan-American alliance. “The formation of this new regional body should be greeted with applause and strong support from across the Communion,” he said.

CAPAC will not conflict and may eventually link with the convocation that Akinola is launching in the U.S. for expatriate Nigerians unable to find a compatible church home in ECUSA.

Archbishop Yong Ping Chung of South East Asia echoed Akinola’s welcome, adding, “What is wonderful is the coming together of many different groups. We are very encouraged to see this level of cooperation.”

Spokesman for CAPAC organizers, Canon Bill Atwood of the international Ekklesia Society, said, “We owe a great debt to CAPA and other global South provinces that are really and truly focused on mission that is based on Anglican theological formularies. Their example has demonstrated that a shared theological perspective can produce a rallying point for mission and ministry. We need to move away from decline and irrelevance into mobilizing to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone in the Americas and Caribbean.”

Permission to circulate the foregoing electronically is granted, provided that there are no changes in the headings or text and this notice is included. To learn more about THE CHRISTIAN CHALLENGE magazine, please visit

a new alliance thing



Following a conference July 6-8 in Nassau that gathered dozens of leaders from across North and South America and the Caribbean, plans for a new body committed to the historic Anglican faith and formularies have been announced. Inspired by the effective witness of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), Archbishops Drexel Gomez and Gregory Venables announced plans for the formation of the Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean (CAPAC).

Initial steps organizing CAPAC were taken by the two Archbishops and the Moderators of the US and Canadian Networks leading to the creation of a body that will “enable coordination, cooperation, collaboration, and communication, and to encourage mission as well as resource theological education and ministry of the Gospel in the Caribbean and the Americas.” It has become necessary because of the confusion and theological chaos that has been introduced in the region by the unilateral actions of the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) and the Anglican Church of Canada, who have departed from historic Anglican faith and practice. The ensuing conflict has drained huge amounts of energy and resources from the mission of the church around the world. CAPAC is being organized to re-energize mission and ministry in the region.

Read the whole thing here. (Thanks Fr. Harmon.) Also, read the comments and the linked documents, etc.

From what I understand, the Caribbean Anglicans are notoriously Anglo-Catholic. I think they wear Birettas while they sleep.

the diocese of fort worth and the panel of reference

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference for assistance in our dispute with the Episcopal Church in the United States over the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. The Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese made the appeal on July 11, 2005, in objection to the actions of the 1997 General Convention that made the ordination of women priests mandatory in every diocese, while the Anglican Communion seeks to maintain an “open process of reception” on this issue.

Read the whole thing here. Attention drawn immediately by Lee. An opportunity to pray, Beloved.

Monday, July 25, 2005

st. james the greater

The Collect from the Breviary:

Grant, O merciful god, that as thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him: so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections; may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments. Though the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of thte Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Collect from the Prayer Book:

O Gracious God, we remember before thee this day thy servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we prayh that thou wilt pour out upon the leaders of thy Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among thy people; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and they Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever. Amen.

Holy James, pray for us.

today is the feast of st. james the greater

From the Anglican Breviary:

James, the son of Zebedee and Salome, (which latter is known in the Gospel as the sister of the Blessed Virgin,) was the brother of the Apostle John, and a Galilean. he is called the Greater, to distinguish him from that James who was the first Bishop of Jerusalem and who (because he was lesser either in age or in stature) is entitled James the Less, which same is known as the Lord's brother, and is commemorated on May 1st, along with the apostle Philip. Next after Andrew and his brother Peter, the Lord called as Apostles James James and his brother John, whilst they were in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And immediately they left the ship and their father, and followed him. And he surnamed them Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder. Peter and James and John were the three Apostles whom the Saviour loved best. They alone were present at the healing of Peter's wife's mother. them Christ took and brought up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them. When he went to the house of the ruler of the synagogue to raise his daughter from the dead, he suffered no man to follow him save Peter and James and John. And at the last, when he came unto the place called Gethsemane, and said unto his disciples: Sit ye here while I go yonder: he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee.

After Christ our Lord was ascended into heaven, James preached how that Jesus is God, and led many in Judaea and Samaria to the Christian Faith. as for his martyrdom, the Acts of the Apostles saith that Herod stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church, and that he killed James the brother of John with the sword. But according to a Spanish tradition, as recorded by the holy Doctor Isidore in the seventh century, before James was martyred he went to Spain, and there brought some to Christ, of whom it is said that seven were afterwards made bishops by blessed Peter, and were the first such sent into that country; and that thence he went back to Jerusalem, where he taught the Faith to divers persons, among whom was Hermogenes the Magician.

Now it was about the year 44 that Herod Agrippa (who had been raised to the kingship under the Emperor Claudius) stretched forth his hand against the Church and, to curry favour with the Jews, condemned James to death for his open confession that Jesus is God. Clement of Alexandria saith that the officer who accused James at the judgement seat, at the sight of the courage with which the Apostle went to martyrdom, forthwith declared that he too was a Christian. Moreover, as they were hurried to execution, the erstwhilee unbeliever implored forgiveness from James, who forthwith gave him the Christian Kiss of Peace, and its salutation: Peace be with thee. Thereupon they both were beheaded, but not before the apostle had found the opportunity to heal a paralytic. According to the afrementioned tradition of Spain, the body of the Apostle was afterwards taken to Compostella; where, at his famous shrine, pilgrims from all parts of the earth come to pray or to pay their vows. Today's solemnity of the holy Apostle James is celebrated by the Church on this date because it is the traditional anniversary of his body's translation to Compostella. But it was near Easter Day that he bore witness to Jesus Christ with his blood at Jerusalem, being the first of the Apostles to do so.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

a response to a response

An Anglican Scotist has written a response to the Anglican Communion Institute's "The Holy Scriptures and the Teaching of the Church Universal on Human Sexuality." Here is a pertinent exerpt from the Scotist:

The paper admits the "Church is the Bride of Christ" and that marriage is a "covenant relationship" that "reflects God's eternal purpose." Ephesians is even stronger--marriage is to be modeled after the relationship of Christ to the Church. Given such premises, it follows gay marriage is permissible: the relation of Christ to the Church includes the relation of male to male (a male Christ to a male Church member, each resurrected). If marriage here below is to be modeled after a relation in which males are relata, men can be the relata in marriage here below.

And here is my response to it:

Its seems to me that you are conflating the relationship between Christ (the Bridegroom) and the Church (the Bride), on the one hand, and the relationship between Christ and members of the Church on the other. Your assumption that Christ relates as Bridegroom to male members of the Church therefore manifests a deficient ecclesiology. It no more follows that Christ relates to, e.g., Griswold (who is a member of the Church) from the fact that Christ and the Church itself relate as Bridegroom and Bride, than it follows from the fact that I relate to my wife as Bridegroom that I therefore relate in the same way, e.g., to her great toe. Indeed my relation to my wife’s toes depends entirely on my relation to her, as it were, cuncti. Were I to lose one of her toes (if it were, say, cut off and thrown in the fire), that certainly be sad and painful, but it would pale in comparison to losing her entirely.

The consistent witness of Scripture and Tradition have been to the applicability of gender predicates and conjugal images to Christ and the Church. Indeed the suitability of the analogy of Matrimony (again, as witnessed both by Scripture and Tradition) hangs perhaps primarily on Christ’s masculine and super-abundant gift, and the Church’s complimentary feminine reception, of the Holy Spirit. It is from this divine outpouring and gracious reception of the Spirit that the fecundity of the Church is manifest, because it is precisely in her reception of Christ’s outpouring that she shares Christ’s own divine corporeality, it is in this conjugal communion between Christ and the Church that the Church becomes the Body of Christ, that the two become one flesh.

This is not so for individual members of the Church. The members of the Church (as in the analogy of the Body), share in Christ insofar as the Church shares in Christ. But the fullness of communion is between Christ and the Church. This is why it has been the universal teaching of the Church that there is no salvation outside of herself, namely because Christ gives himself exclusively and eternally to her.

And indeed the notion of the members of the Church being properly understood as Brides of Christ is implicitly rejected in the gospels (e.g. Luke 5), where the disciples are called "guests" at the wedding feast, rejoicing in the presence of the Bridegroom.

You may object that this understanding of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride the Church assumes an outmoded gender essentialism. However, one would be hard-pressed indeed to show that the Bible does not itself likewise assume gender essentialist categories (as does the Universal Tradition). If therefore, as you say, you think it laudable to “start with biblical theology”, then I am afraid you commit yourself to starting with gender essentialist categories. This is doubly so if you wish to “keep common ground with ACI.”

(Incidentally, this reminds me of Scotus's response to Henry of Ghent on the question of what exactly is the natural object of human intellection in theology. God is a not proper object of human intellection because, for one thing, human intellects, as created objects, do not contain the uncreated divine essence virtually -- according to Scotus a necessary condition for direct intellection. It stands to reason that only at the conjugal meeting of created and uncreated -- the Bridegroom and the Bride -- are created things graced [i.e. the sacraments -- instituted and actualized, again, by the Bridegroom's super-abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the grace of Holy Order] such as to become knowable by humans.)

the jury will now read the verdict

In light of all the comments (thank you, Beloved), I think that all of the labels hitherto invented are inadequate. I therefore decree that what once were called liberal and conservative, orthodox and heretic, theological republican and theological democrat, will now be called...

Lupsfargh and Snique.

Everyone should be happy with that. There is not pejorative baggage in the respective semantic fields. We are good to go.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


What this blog (and the world) needs is more uniform policies -- policies governing all manner of things.

The first policy I would like to adopt (doubtless in order shortly to abandon it) concerns the best terminology governing the divide between the various parties of our current theological dissensions. I have in mind something like this:

A person who believes the consecration of Gene Robinson was a good thing is X.

A person who believes the consecration of Gene Robinson was a bad thing is Y.

Now, I know that this gets into the debate about universals (cf. William of Ockham for the right answer -- Ahem, Johnn Awesomo) and the categories (cf. Aristotle for naming the problem) and what not. I am also aware that it involves, by definition, generalizing. Nevertheless, I believe that generalizing helps us get on in the world (cf. the various aformentioned debates). We just function better in life if we can divide stuff up into genera.

So, some options are:

Conservative / Liberal

Traditionalist / Progressive

Theological Republican / Theological Democrat

Reasserter / Reappraiser (a la Fr. Harmon's terms of choice)

Griswoldian / Akinolite

It is now time for you, Beloved, to post a comment on what you think might be best. Yes, Beloved, your Blogmaster needs you. I wouldn't call this a "vote", as in the end I will just decide how to proceed. But I am interested in hearing what you think.

Personally, I like the subtlety and nuance manifested in a question once asked me by a monk at Mount Athos: "Are you Orthodox or are you heretic?" I showed him, though. I out-subtled him with a short excursus on the via media. For the duration of my stay they made me sit in the exonarthex of the church during the offices.

Okay, comment.

more podcasting

Or should we call it "Godcasting"? I'm sure someone has thought of that before. At any rate, John O'Sullivan, at Pious and Overly Devotional, has commenced Anglo-Catholic podcasting. He promises regular dissemination of things related to the Breviary. Subscribe!

Friday, July 22, 2005

one-o-five live

Vatican Radio has a podcast. You may also recall that they were prosecuted for ellectromagnetic pollution or some such thing.

This warms the cockles of my heart. Subscribe on iTunes! Download from the website! Do whatever it takes.

Step one, go here.

websites of note

I've been intrigued by the "emerging church" for some time (about two months). This is mainly due to their self-consciously post-post-modern aesthetic.

In that vein, the WB Diaconal Prize for Forward-Looking Website Aesthetics (WBDPFLWA Prize) goes to the following:

The Anglican Mission in America


Vatican Radio.

Vatican Radio clearly comes in second place.

the meeting between +andrew connecticut and the people of st. john's

From the AAC blog via T1:9. Read the whole thing here.

Throughout the evening, as he attempted to answer their direct questions, the bishop seemed remarkably unfamiliar with the canons of the church as well as their proper application and limitations. I have served as a Canon to the Ordinary and have never seen a bishop as apparently uninformed about basic canon law as was Bishop Smith on Sunday night. His invocation of Title IV, Canon 10 (abandonment of communion) as the basis for all his actions was repeatedly challenged by the laity present. When his chancellor attempted this same un-canonical approach to explain the lock-out of the parish, he must have realized the weakness of his approach and quickly switched tacks, trying a “landlord/tenant” relationship as a justification. When it was pointed out to him that any landlord/tenant laws require due process before eviction or a lock-out, he used a third approach: the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He claimed that the diocese’s actions fall within the First Amendment, which gives certain freedoms and a correlating loss of some other freedoms. He then sat down. It was clear to even a casual observer that Bishop Smith had decided to invoke “abandonment of communion” for the inhibition of the priest, as well as using it as justification of the hostile takeover of the building, leaving his chancellor to explain the un-justifiable. But, according to Bishop Smith and his chancellor, the First Amendment provides the Constitutional basis for their actions.

Nearly 75 minutes into the two-hour meeting, Bishop Smith finally admitted that the grounds for his actions against Fr. Mark Hansen and the parish were based on Mark’s being a co-signatory to a letter earlier in the year calling the bishop to recant his theology, understanding of Scripture, and certain votes at General Convention–a letter also signed by the five other Connecticut Six congregations. He stated that this letter, along with Mark’s taking a sabbatical which “falls outside of Diocesan policy”, provided grounds for abandonment of communion. Since their priest has, according to the bishop, abandoned communion, the bishop had to take over the building and put a new priest in place. When commotion ensued, the bishop raised his voice exclaiming that all his actions were predicated upon Title IV, Canon 10 and yelling: “Let me be clear, you have to work with me.”

Once more, I can't see the angle on this one. Why does Bp. Smith see this as a good move? What does he get? It seems obvious to me that the people of St. John's get nothing. Fr. Hansen gets nothing. Looking around for a beneficiary, we're left pretty much with Bp. Smith as the only possibility. But what could he possibly get? Vengeance? That's all I can come up with. Does any one else have any ideas? Seriously. I'm stymied. This whole thing is just bizarre.

c of e house of bishops writes to billy graham

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that the House of Bishops had sent a message of support to Billy Graham. The message read: “On behalf of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, I wish to convey to you our sincere greetings and immense gratitude for your many years of ministry and mission, not only to these shores but to the world. We want you to know how much we have appreciated your faithful preaching of the gospel, and our Church, and many individual Christians, give thanks to God for all the visits you have so generously made to us over the years.” Dr Williams told Faith Hanson (Derby) that a proposed visit by Dr Graham in November had been put on hold, but the House of Bishops expressed the hope that he would be able to visit Britain again at some time in the future.

From the Church of England Newspaper, by way of T1:9. Read the whole thing here.

the priesting of women as justice and why protestants shouldn't have a say in the debate, etc.

As sometimes happens when my own comments become book-length, this one has become a post unto itself. It is in response to Rob's comment in my previous polemic against some comments of the Bishop of Southwark. Now I will duck and cover.

Two things.

The main thing is an ecclesiological point: The reason I believe women should / can not be priests is that it is an enormous theological innovation, i.e. it is a practice that has never (ever), as far as anyone knows, been received and accepted by the Universal Church. It has, on the other hand, been tried before (e.g. among early Gnostic sects), and whenever it has been tried, it has in every instance been condemned and forbidden. In short, there is in the Tradition absolutely no justificatory precedent for the priesting of women, and on the other hand there is has been considerable thought given to the subject by the Episcopacy over the centuries, and they always concluded in the negative, that is, until 1976 or whenever it was. Maybe the Philadelphia Eleven (or whatever) were, in fact, prophetic. But I just don't see it. I mean, the ecclesiological and theological circumstances of those "ordinations" don't seem to me to fit the bill for true prophetic witness. E.g. enormous divisiveness ensued, thousands of people left ECUSA over it (our numbers have declined steadily ever since), it dealt a devastating blow to the potential for unity with Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, etc etc, and it has been an occasion, indeed, for what I would call little persecutions all over ECUSA. (A seminarian friend of mine, for example, was told by his dean that he "had to" receive from women, against his conscience.)

The second point is that, yes, I think the Protestant understanding of ministry is impoverished. When I said that "protestants don't get a say" I only meant that the point I am interested in is whether women can be PRIESTS. (Most) Protestants don't claim to have a sacrificing priesthood anyway, so to admit them to a discussion of whether women can be priests is a little unfair to them, i.e. they are speaking a different language when they speak of the ordained ministry. As I've said before, I've got nothing against women being protestant ministers. Or rather, I'm happy to let protestants address that question. I'm not really that interested.

In short, when someone asks "Can women be priests?" I would say "No." If they then asked "Why?" I would say "Because the Church says so, and has said so consistently and universally for nearly 2000 years" [i.e. point 1 above]. If my interlocutor then pressed me, "But WHY has the Church said so?" I would then say, first of all, "It doesn't matter WHY the Church says so, it is sufficient for us that the Church has, in fact, said so. Our job (as members of the Church) is to obey, to conform to the Apostolic Discipline which the heirs of the Apostles, the Bishops, have consistently laid down for us on this question." I would then add, "Theologians have given various answers to the question of why the Church has said what She has said on the subject." I would then refer my interlocutor to the works of Aquinas, Bonaventure, Durandus, Duns Scotus, Hildegaard of Bingen, Edith Stein, and the encyclicals Inter Insigniores and (especially) Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and maybe St. Chrysostom's treatise on the priesthood.

The arguments I most often have heard in favor of the priesting of women are arguments invoking justice. Here are some not-atypical comments from the Episcopal Women’s Caucus, concerning the Anglican Mission in America’s lengthy study on the question of women priests. (The AMiA's document can be found here.)

The Board of the Episcopal Women's Caucus (EWC) has read the much-anticipated 142-page report from the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) on the Ordination of Women and responds with sadness and chagrin to the AMiA's October 31, 2003 announcement of their policy on women's ordination.

How unfortunate, indeed, for Archbishops Kolini of Rwanda and Chung of Southeast Asia, sponsors of the AMiA, to "provide guidance to ordain properly qualified and called women as deacons but not as priests or bishops." In a missionary evangelical movement like AMiA, it seems to us an insult to the Body of Christ to claim to be open to the Spirit in the fullness of that Body's vocational life, and yet deny that same fullness in the spiritual and vocational life of women.

However, what seems truly bizarre to us is their decision that "the two women who had already been ordained priests and had affiliated with the AMiA, will be permitted to continue their ministry as priests, serving on staff where called. However, women who seek affiliation with the AMiA, from this point on, who are already ordained as priests, will be asked to serve as deacons."

One small step for man, two giant steps backward for women -- and the theology of ordination.

It is the prayer of Jesus that, "We all may be one." It is the firm belief of the Episcopal Women's Caucus that as long as the cause of unity is carried on the backs of women, or any others not in power, the mission of Christ in the world will not be fulfilled.

First of all, note that the letter is full of assertions, but woefully short on argument or on any kind of justification for their assertions. If an ecclesial body does not ordain women, that body is guilty of denying a “fullness in the spiritual and vocational life of women”, and not ordaining women means that an ecclesial body is not truly “open to the Spirit”.

But, for Catholic Christians, the chief manifestation of the Holy Spirit is in the Apostolic ministry of the Episcopacy of the Universal Church (cf. John 20). Why, given the choice, would I side with a subset of an obscure branch (really a twig) of the Universal Church, rather than with the overwhelming and consistent witness of the Universal Church herself? And how are we meant to test the spirits, to see if they are of God in this new scheme? Is the Episcopal Women’s Caucus the new arbiter of true inspiration? Is the Episcopal Women’s Caucus assuming a magisterial function?

And why is it “bizarre” to permit the two women already serving as priests in AMiA to continue to do so? It seems to me just largesse and graciousness, and a provisional measure in the interests thereof. There’s nothing “bizarre” about it.

The most telling bit of the letter, though, (and this again is typical in my experience) is that the correctness of a theology of ordination depends (apparently solely) on the question of whether that theology permits the admission of women to the priesthood. We are meant to believe that it all comes down, in the final analysis, to questions of power. The Church is not doing God’s will unless it is “empowering” people. Nevermind that this notion of “power” seems incredibly impoverished as a Christian notion of power (cf. Philipians 2 and 1 Corinthians 1.18). The idea that access to the priesthood is a way to empowerment manifests, frankly, a rather debased and primitive clericalism.

The point of the Cross is that what seems to earthly eyes like power is really slavery, and that what seems to earthly eyes like slavery is really power. Thus in the catholic Tradition, the pope is called servus servorum dei – slave of the slaves of God -- and likewise the humblest of our fellowship are counted as the greatest saints. To agitate for the priesting of women because women are thereby thought to be empowered is, it seems to me, to debase the priesthood as it was given us by our Lord and as the Catholic Church has consistently and universally preserved it. It is not to lift up the cause of women, but rather radically to reduce the doctrine of the priesthood.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

new links, etc.

Beloved, I have added many new links, all of which I urge you to investigate. I hope for good things from all of my new neighbors in the blogosphere. Of particular note:

Adam's new site, Anglo-Catholic Ruminations; The Rev'd "Lamby" Lucas's new site, Expectations (road trips and devotion to our Lady); then there's Rob Leacock's pensées au sujet de God's money; then there is this an extremely clever papist, Andrew Cusack and his welcome coverage of many of the things that make life worth living (maces, the Knights of Malta, unfortunate Brooklyn architecture, etc.). Then Ryan McDermott takes an intense-ish look at theology and literature. Richard's thoughts run much along the lines of my own when he rambles.

And there's much else besides. Don't neglect the very links, Beloved. If you've never looked at it before, investigate Oremus (even if they are seemingly Af.Cath.), and maybe pray the office for a week from the comfort of cyberspace. Read about Sewanee's controversial but fascinating history.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

pray for the meeting of bishops in los angeles

Dear readers, one senses that we have come to a time when prayer is particularly urgent. Pray for the bishops meeting in Los Angeles, where the future of ECUSA will perhaps be decided, maybe inadvertently.

The meeting of the twenty bishops with the intent of finding a way forward (and, if not possible, a way to an amicable divorce according to rumor) begins today. What do we know? We know that Bishops, Bruno and Chane will be there. We know that Bishop MacPherson will be there. Rumor further has it that Bishop Iker may be there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jenkins is there. Bishop Duncan has been invited, and is coming, based on what I hear, but I also hear that he has told the inviting group that if there is any foolishness, he will be on a plane home, and quick. I’ve also heard that Bishop Lipscomb is one of the organizers, and will be there also.

From Drell's Descants. Read the whole thing here. And do pray. See also the discussion at T19.

++cantuar on john spong

This is from the Church Times (1998) by way of John Mark Ministries and t1:9. The whole thing is well worth the read. It has only become more pertinent in the ensuing seven or so years.

Of course the parameters of ethical understanding shift: but the shifts in Christian ethics on, for example, slavery, usury and contraception, have had to argue long and hard to establish that they are in some way drawing out an entailment of what is there, or honouring some fundamental principle in what is there. In other words, these changes in convention have had to show a responsibility to certain principles that continue to identify this kind of talk as still recognisably Christian talk.

This, by the way, is what I take to be more or less entirely absent from ECUSA's efforts to justify its actions: an engagement with the Tradition. If someone would engage compellingly with the Tradition, who knows? A Brave New World of Christian possibility might open up. That's what has tended to happen, through the centuries, with new theological paradigms which the Church has received.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

more on sufjan stevens

Once again, I'd like to say that Sufjan Stevens is an amazing chap. (Recall that I urged you to check him out previously.) If you haven't done so, go out and buy all of his records, including his latest, Illinois. This guy seems to be a pretty profound Christian. Its especially evident in his album Seven Swans.

Here is a pertinent excerpt from an interview with Stevens at the Onion A.V. Club.

O: Also, you're Episcopalian, and growing up Episcopalian is not really the same thing as growing up, say, Southern Baptist.

SS: I wasn't actually raised Episcopalian. I go to a kind of Anglo-Catholic church now that I've been going to for the last three years, but I haven't really been raised that way. I'm definitely entrenched in the tradition now. I kind of admire it for being so traditional and sort of unchanging and unwavering in a lot of its doctrine, but also very sort of open and broad in its understanding of human nature. I like that it's kind of open to the discussion about the tensions between those two things.

O: No Episcopal youth camps in your past?

SS: I missed all that. I've read in a couple stories that I was raised Episcopalian, but that's not true. I think that's just people assuming things. In some ways, I wish I was raised Episcopalian. I was kind of raised hodgepodge.

Read the whole thing here.

a random thought from st. augustine of hippo

To this God we owe our service – what in Greek is called latreia – whether in the various sacraments or in ourselves. For we are his temple, collectively, and as individuals. For he condescends to dwell in the union of all and in each person. He is as great in the individual as he is in the whole body of his worshippers, for he cannot be increased in bulk or diminished by partition. When we lift up our hearts to him, our heart is his altar. We propitiate him by our priest, his only begotten Son. We sacrifice blood stained victims to him when we fight for truth ‘as far as shedding our blood’. We burn sweetest incense for him, when we are in his sight on fire with devout and holy love. We vow to him and offer to him the gifts he has given us, and the gift of ourselves. And we have annual festivals and fixed days appointed and consecrated for the remembrance of his benefits, lest ingratitude and forgetfulness should creep in as the years roll by. We offer to him, on the altar of the heart, the sacrifice of humility and praise, and the flame on the altar is the burning fire of charity. To see him as he can be seen and to cleave to him, we purify ourselves from every stain of sin and evil desire and we consecrate ourselves in his name, For he himself is the source of our bliss, he himself is the goal of all our striving. By our election of him as our goal – or rather by our re-election… we direct our course towards him with love (dilectio), so that in reaching him we may find our rest, and attain our happiness because we have achieved our fulfillment in him. For our Good, that Final Good about which the philosophers dispute, is nothing else but to cleave to him whose spiritual embrace, if one may so express it, fills the intellectual soul and makes it fertile with true virtues.

(From the City of God)

maybe divorce should be an ecusa sacrament

I've noticed a pattern among some high-profile homosexual ministers in ECUSA. Many are divorced. A part of the rhetoric of homosexual apologetics centers on the notion of "sexual identity". The ministry of our Lord, it is claimed, was about the liberating love of the divine, enabling the faithful to live into their true, God-given, sexual selves. Consider the following from the Rev. Susal Russell, who heads Claiming the Blessing and Inegrity, and who is a partnered lesbian. It is exerpted from an article about Russell in the Los Angeles Times.

But delving into her past, she said, forced her to confront questions about her sexuality. She had never had much interest in dating in high school. Her closest friendships had always been with women. Her marriage, she said, "was never awful, but it never quite worked."

At one prayer service, she said, she had a breakthrough. "I heard in my head the voice of God," Russell recalled, "saying 'This is how I made you.' "

She separated from her husband in 1997, and they divorced two years later. She was ordained in January 1998.

Recall, also, that +Gene Robinson was married, and had two children, before discovering his own true sexual self, getting a divorce, and partnering with another man.

The logic of this line of thought, it seems to me, would indicate that Christian marriage in both the cases of Russell and Robinson, was a byproduct of sin. That is just to say, that their heterosexual marriages were the result of their failure to acknowledge their true selves, to live into the grace of their God-given sexual identities. Plausibly too, this failure was itself only made possible by the sinful reality of an oppressive and heteronormative ecclesial and cultural context which obscured the homosexual image and likeness of God at the core of their beings.

Divorce, therefore, because it is the condition of possibility for the full actualization of God's gift of identity in these cases, might accurately be called an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Perhaps it ought to be an ECUSA sacrament.

I'm obviously not the first to have such thoughts. Not long ago, the Episcopal Church's website in fact played host to a "divorce rite" (as well as to a "women's eucharist" which the authors' elsewhere called a "Eucharist to our Mother Goddess"). You may read about them in the Washington Times.

It would all be quite in keeping with the subjugation of the Apostolic Faith to the critical aparatus of our own individuality, all the rage now in ECUSA.

N. Wilt thou have this Woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

I will [until something more gratifying comes along].

N. Wilt thou have this Man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love him, comfort him, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as e both shall live?

I will [until it gets tedious or boring].

Non servimus.

Friday, July 15, 2005

king charles the martyr

I have been meditating this afternoon on some of the prayers of Blessed Charles, shortly before his martyrdom in 1648. They are eddifying. They can be found in the Eikon Basilike, Charles's memoirs and prayers.
Of related interest, Dcn. Lee Nelson has a post about the last of the Stuart heirs to the throne of England, who was a Roman Cardinal. He was Henry Benedict Maria Clement Thomas Francis Xavier Stuart. King Charles is also the Patron of this blog.

Holy Charles, pray for us.

Where thou dwellest, O King of Kings; who fillest Heaven and Earth, who art the fountaine of eternall life, in whom is no shadow of death.

Thou O God art both the just Afflicter of death upon us, and the mercifull Saviour of us in it, and from it.

Yea, it is better for us to be dead to our selves, and live in thee; than by living in our selves to be deprived of thee.

O make the many bitter aggravations of My death as a Man, and a King, the opportunities and advantages of thy speciall graces and comforts in My Soule, as a Christian.

If thou Lord wilt be with Me, I shall neither feare nor feel any evill, though I walke through the valley of the shadow of death.

To contend with death is the worke of a weake and mortall man; to overcome it, is the grace of thee alone, who art the Almighty and immortall God.

O My Saviour, who knowest what it is to die with Me, as a Man; make Me to know what it is to passe through death to life with thee My God.

Though I die, yet I know, that thou my Redeemer livest for ever: though thou slayest Me, yet thou hast incouraged me to trust in thee for eternall life.

O withdraw not thy favour from me, which is better than life.

O be not farre from me, for I know not how neer a violent and cruell death is to me.

As thy Omniscience, O God, discovers, so thy Omnipotence can defeat the designes of those who have, or shall conspire my destruction.

O shew me the goodnesse of thy will, through the wickednesse of theirs.

Thou givest me leave as a man to pray, that this cup may passe from me; but thou hast taught Me as a Christian by the example of Christ to adde, not My will, but thine be done.

Yea Lord, let»our wills be one, by wholly resolving mine into thine: let not the desire of life in me be so great, as that of doing or suffering thy will in either life or death.

As I believe thou hast forgiven all the errours of my life, so I hope thou wilt save me from the terrours of my death.

Make me content to leave the worlds nothing, that I may come really to enjoy all in thee, who hast made Christ unto me in life, gaine; and in death, advantage.

Though my Destroyers forget their duty to thee and me, yet doe not thou, O Lord, forget to be mercifull to them.

For, what profit is there in my bloud, or in their gaining my Kingdomes, if they lose their owne Soules?

Such as have not onely resisted my just Power, but wholly usurped and turned it against my self, though they may deserve, yet let them not receive to themselves damnation.

Thou madest thy Sonne a Saviour to many, that Crucified Him, while at once he suffered violently by them, and yet willingly for them.

O let the voice of his bloud be heard for My Murtherers, louder than the cry of mine against them.

Prepare them for thy mercy by due convictions of their sinne, and let them not at once deceive and damne their owne Soules by fallacious pretensions of Justice in destroying me, while the conscience of their unjust usurpation of power against me, chiefly tempts them to use all extremities against me.

O Lord, thou knowest I have found their mercies to me as very false, so very cruell; who pretending to preserve me, have meditated nothing but my ruine.

O deale not with them as bloud-thirsty and deceitfull men; but overcome their cruelty with thy compassion and my charity.

And when thou makest inquisition for My bloud, O sprinkle their polluted, yet penitent Soules with the bloud of thy Sonne, that thy destroying Angel may passe over them.

Though they think my Kingdomes on earth too

little to entertaine at once both them and me, yet let the capacious Kingdome of thy infinite mercy at last receive both me and my enemies.

When being reconciled to thee in the bloud of the same Redeemer, we shall live farre above these ambitious desires, which beget such mortall enmities.

When their hands shall be heaviest, and cruellest upon me, O let me fall into the armes of thy tender and eternall mercies.

That what is cut off of my life in this miserable moment, may be repaied in thy ever-blessed eternity.

Lord, let thy Servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy salvation.

Vota dabunt, quae bella negarunt.

the escalation begins

Here is an exerpt from Bp. Duncan's comment on Bp. Smith's inhibition of Fr. Hansen. You see? I told you so. The inhibition does nothing good for anyone, and it will prove especially bad for the progressives. (I don't rejoice in that.)

Read the whole thing here. Thank you Fr. Harmon.

I say again what we all said in our April letter: At the March meeting of the House of Bishops we agreed as Bishops not to cross diocesan boundaries for Episcopal acts. But our agreement to this moratorium was based on other moratoria being observed as well as on the maintenance of status quo as regards actions against the conservative minority. Bishop Smith has again broken that status quo, jeopardized the future of a faithful Episcopal parish and taken steps that, if unchallenged, would end the ministry of a loyal Episcopal priest. I have no choice but to work with other communion leaders directly to challenge this action.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

+tom southwark and the clamorers for women bishops

There is an interesting article from the Catholic News Service about potential Anglican converts to Roman Catholicism in the wake of the very likely election of women as 'bishops' within the next ten years or so. (Read the whole thing here.) Here is what +Tom Southwark had to say:

Anglican Bishop Tom Butler of Southwark said during the debate that the Church of England should not be deterred by its relations with Catholics.

"The Church of England, catholic and reformed, has before acted prophetically for the wider church: The vernacular liturgy, married clergy, have all been pioneered by our church and have proved to be a blessing to other communions also," Bishop Butler said. "The same I believe will be true of women's orders, which we are pioneering."

But that's just ludicrous. And why does he have to use that vacuous and boring rhetoric about being "prophetic"? In addition to being muddled and backward, its downright Griswoldian in its inducement of yawning.

Does His Grace really think that the Anglican Church is the inventor of married clergy? I mean, St. Peter was married! (Cf. Mark 1:29-31.) Which is to say nothing of the near universal presence of married clergy in the Church for centuries, and their lawful continued presence in parts of the Church, uninterrupted, down to the present, e.g. among the Greek Orthodox.

And the liturgy in the vernacular was invented by Thomas Cranmer?! I suppose that means that Latin, Greek, Coptic, Slavonic, Ethipoic, etc. etc. not only are now, but have always been dead languages.

But as far as I know, no part of the One Church with plausible claims to catholicity has ever attempted the ordination of women to the presbyterate or episcopacy - until about 1976, or whenever it was.

Which brings me back to "prophecy". I'm sure its been said before, and better, but this "prophetic role of the Church", so often cited by the apologists of innovation, manifests a seriously bastardized understanding of prophecy. Its certainly not the biblical model. Its more akin to chrystal-ball gazing: an ability to predict and anticipate the cultural viscicitudes of secularism.

On the contrary, Jeremiah, for example, is clear: "Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness. Behold, we come to thee; for thou art the LORD our God" (Jer 3.22). The prophet's role is to call the people back to God and to what he had anciently revealed.

Again, Malachi (2.7ff) does not equivocate: "For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction. "

Malachi, in his prophetic functioning, is not the advocate of something new, but the herald of the custodianship of the Levitical covenant (Holy Tradition), comme il faut. He comes to change nothing but the deviation from that which has always bound the people.

This is authentic prophecy. And an authenticly prophetic role for the Church today would likewise be in calling the people back to what God has anciently revealed: back to the Holy Tradition, back to the authenticity of Catholic faith.

My Lord Bishop should know better.

the new face of chastity and much else

Here is a very interesting article in Rolling Stone. Its flawed, but treats its subject matter with seemingly authentic liberality and struggles tremendously to be fair. Well worth the read. Read the whole thing here. The article is about those pictured.

"Abstinence," says Dunbar, "is countercultural," a kind of rebellion, he says, against materialism, consumerism and "the idea that anything can be bought and sold." It is a spiritual war against the world, against "sensuality," according to one virginity manual popular with men like Dunbar. This elevation of virginity -- especially for men -- as a way of understanding yourself and your place in the world is new. It's also very old. First-century Christians took the idea so seriously that many left their wives for "house monasteries," threatening the very structure of the family. The early church responded by institutionalizing virginity through a priestly caste set apart from the world, a condition that continues to this day within Roman Catholicism. Now, though, the Protestants of the Christian right are reclaiming that two-tiered system, only they're projecting it onto individual lives, making every young man and woman part of an elite virgin corps.....

Back in high school, Rushford dated guys who called themselves Christians who constantly pressed her for more. She kept her virginity, but only just, and when she left for college, she vowed to never let herself get used again. For her, virginity is the one truth about herself that no man can touch. But then, that's long been the case for Christian women. Riley regards his chastity, lost and regained, as just as precious. His feelings about it are, by traditional standards, almost feminine. That's what celibacy offers Christian men: the vulnerability of being a woman.....

....The world, she says, is pulsing with sex. Some of it ugly; some of it, like the Song of Solomon, very beautiful; and most of it stupid and sad. Most people, she says, can't help but look at the world through what she calls the "flesh-colored lens." But Christians, she says, see a different reality. Like The Matrix, she claims. The Wachowski brothers' trilogy of women in black latex and men with big guns have become cult films to Christian conservatives, drawn by the Christ story at the movies' core, the search for "the One" - i.e., the Messiah. The fact that the series portrays the everyday world as not only in a state of decay but ruled by evil forces makes for an easy parallel to the theology of Christendom.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

the falling sky

Some days, more than other days, I feel like the Church, or at least the little corner of it I inhabit, is crumbling. Today was one of those days. First there was the commentary from England about the synod vote to clear the way for women bishops and, what's sort of worse, the apparent unliklihood of much in the way of concessions to the catholic-minded. (More on this to follow.)

And then there was the news from Connecticut. This situation is really scandalous, and has taken a turn for the truly disheartening and sad. Here following are some of the documents to come out today regarding the sudden inhibition of Fr. Mark Hansen by Bp. Andrew Smith. I have pilfered them from T-1-9. Thank you, as often, Fr. Harmon.

In my humble opinion, this is all terrible for everyone involved. I can't see how it helps Bp. Smith or the diocese, nor ECUSA's theological cause, nor our standing with the rest of the Communion. It will only confirm the suspicions of conservatives, that progressives are acquisitive and intollerant, despite the rhetoric. Etc. Etc. Etc. And in the meantime, Fr. Hansen and his family are put in straits, along with the people of St. John's. Its all very sad, and I exhort you, good readers, to pray. Pray for Fr. Hansen, Bp. Smith, the people of St. John's, the Diocese of Connecticut, and the other Connecticut 6 priests and congregations.

(1) A Press Release from the Diocese of Connecticut

Contact: Karin Hamilton, Director for Communication & Media
860-233-4481 or home: 860-434-0087 or cell: 860-608-6969 email:

This morning, the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese
of Connecticut, inhibited the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in
Bristol, the Rev. Mark H. Hansen, removing him from that office, and
appointed the Rev. Susan J. McCone to serve as priest-in-charge of the
parish, effective immediately.

In March, Fr. Hansen announced to his parish that he would be taking
sabbatical for an unspecified period of time. Although Episcopal priests in
the Diocese of Connecticut formally apply for sabbatical, Fr. Hansen
neglected to notify Bishop Smith of his departure as rector of the parish.
In recent months, the bishop has become increasingly concerned for St.
John’s well-being as a full and healthy member parish of the Episcopal
Diocese of Connecticut.

“I am concerned for the life and ministry of St. John’s,” said Bishop
Smith. “In the past few months Fr. Hansen has made decisions that left the
parish without sustained clergy leadership.”

A letter formally inhibiting the Rev. Mark H. Hansen, St. John’s rector,
was delivered by Bishop Smith to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol.
The Bishop was accompanied by the diocesan Canon for Stewardship and
Administration, John ("Jack") W. Spaeth III, the Rev. Susan J. McCone, and
Mr. Ed Seibert, who will provide administrative assistance. Fr. Hansen was
not at the church or rectory; the bishop has not been notified of an
alternate address.

In April, the diocesan Standing Committee, a council of advice for the
bishop with specific responsibilities for clergy, recommended that Fr.
Hansen be inhibited for abandoning the communion of the
church. “Inhibition” means that the Fr. Hansen may not exercise the
privileges of ordained ministry in the Diocese for a period up to six
months. If before six months is over, the bishop is satisfied that he has
returned to the communion of the church, the inhibition will be lifted
(removed). If after six months the bishop does not believe Fr. Hansen has
returned to the communion of the church, the bishop may depose him,
permanently removing the privileges of ordained ministry in this and all
other dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Smith has appointed the Rev. Susan J. McCone as priest-in-charge of
the parish, effective immediately. She now has the responsibility for the
worship, ministry, mission, and property, under the bishop’s direction. Ed
Seibert, an administrative and financial consultant, has been asked to
assist in parish administration and to review parish records. The bishop
will provide pastoral counselors who will be available to meet with and
listen to members of the parish who may wish to speak with them.

A letter is being sent today to the members of St. John’s, notifying them
of these events and inviting them to a special meeting with Bishop Smith on
Sunday evening, July 17. That meeting will be open only to members of St.
John’s Episcopal Church, Bristol, and closed to the media and non-members
of the parish.

(2) A Letter from Bp. Smith to Fr. Hansen

July 13, 2005

The Rev. Mark H. Hansen
831 Stafford Avenue
Bristol, Connecticut 06010

Dear Father Hansen.

In a letter to me, dated March 17, 2005, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, acting in accordance with the provisions of Title IV, Canon 10, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, signified to me that they have determined that you have abandoned the communion of this Church. The Standing Committee, again in accordance with Title IV, Canon 10, Section 1, on April 29, 2005, set forth for me in writing the facts upon which they relied in making their determination.

In accordance with Title IV Canon 10, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church I have affirmed the determination of the Standing Committee of this diocese, and I do Inhibit you as of the date of this letter, July 13, 2005, from the exercise in this diocese of the responsibilities and privileges conferred on you in ordination.

Please find enclosed with this notice a copy of the Standing Committee’s determination and statement, and additional matters which have led me to affirm the Standing Committee’s determination.

Unless it is lifted by me (or an appropriate ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese of Connecticut) this Inhibition shall remain in effect for six months. The six months’ Inhibition allows time and gives opportunity for reconciliation and resolution of the matter of abandonment of communion.

I hereby notify you that you have rights specified in Title IV, Canon 10, Section 2 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

So long as this Inhibition is in effect, you are not to attend worship or other functions in Saint John’s Church, Bristol, nor enter the church or buildings used by the parish for worship, meeting and education. You are to arrange to have your personal property removed from these buildings under my supervision. And you are to refrain from interfering in any way with the life of Saint John’s Parish and with the deliberations of its leaders.

In the coming days I shall be reviewing the arrangements that you have made with Saint John’s Church Bristol concerning compensation, housing and your sabbatical, to ensure that the agreements meet diocesan policies and that they are appropriate and fair for you and for the parish.

I am deeply concerned for your well-being and that of Saint John’s Church. It is regrettable that your actions have brought us to the point where the initiative which includes this Inhibition has become necessary. I do pray and trust that we will find a way forward.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Yours in Christ,

Andrew D. Smith
Bishop of Connecticut

(3) A Personal Statement from Fr. Hansen in Response to Bp. Smith's Inhibition

The Rev. Mark Hansen

A Personal Statement in Response to Bishop Smith’s Inhibition

I am personally devastated by Bishop Smith’s actions today. In inhibiting me on the grounds of abandonment of communion, he has misrepresented facts and caused tremendous stress on both my family and St. John’s Church. The bishop is fully aware that family circumstances necessitated a sabbatical leave. I have informed him of the fact that our son has needs requiring a variety of specialized support services. The needs are real, and the services are expensive. In inhibiting me, the bishop has knowingly and willfully endangered my family’s well-being and security. If the bishop had issues with my contractual arrangements with the congregation, surely his concerns could have been expressed through pastoral rather than canonical actions, particularly in light of his knowledge of my specific circumstances.

I have done all in my power to be faithful to providing for my family, but I have never lost sight of my responsibility to St. John’s. I have had the full support of the church leadership and congregation and remain committed to the church. Despite the bishop’s claims to the contrary, St. John’s has never been without pastoral care in the form of supply clergy for both weekday coverage and Sunday services. I am deeply saddened at the tactics displayed by Bishop Smith and his 12 associates who ignored pleas of St. John’s elected leadership, intimated those who attempted to reason with them, and hacked into computers to obtain confidential church records. How can this possibly be construed as being “concerned for the life and ministry of St. John’s”?

My wife Ceil and I ask for your prayers during this difficult trial.

this is absolutely amazing, and sad

It boggles the mind that there are people in the world who see the slaughter of children as a just means to some politico-religious end. Its sick and insane, the hideous unmasked logotype of Satan. I can't see that war waged against such people could be unjust.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 13 - A suicide car bomb was detonated today near a group of American soldiers who were distributing candy to children in a poor neighborhood here, killing as many as 27 people, about two dozen of them children, and wounding dozens more, government and hospital officials said.

The attack, which also killed one American soldier, caused the highest death toll among children since a similar incident last September, when a pair of car bombs killed at least 34 children who had gathered around American troops during the inauguration of a sewage plant in western Baghdad....

The explosion today in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad al- Jedidah provoked a heartwrenching scene of bloodshed and grief. Women dressed in black wailed and slapped themselves on the chest and face in a ritual of deep sorrow as bodies were placed in crude coffins and carried away. The blast left a wide crater in the street around which childrens' colored slippers, pieces of flesh and shrapnel had fallen.

"They were delivering some sweets and toys to the children and all of a sudden a car drove towards the U.S. military vehicles and exploded," said Basim al-Gaiedi, 45, an engineer who lives in the neighborhood....

One eyewitness said the blast destroyed part of a house, killing a family that was eating breakfast in the yard. Another witness said four laborers resting on the side of the road were also killed.

From the NY Times. Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

catholics and evangelicals - strange bedfellows, but bedfellows all the same

Because I have written about this before on this blog, here is further news of Catholic / Evangelical partnership, only this time its not among Anglicans. I would venture to guess that as little as Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Evangelicals have in common, its nevertheless rather more than what Roman Catholics and Evangelicals have in common. That is, apart from the Holy Ghost.

Anyway, I find it encouraging somehow. Read the whole thing here. Thank you Fr. Harmon.

BUENOS AIRES, JULY 11, 2005 ( Catholic and evangelical figures are finding a new area of common agreement: the need for mutual forgiveness for their disagreements.

That development marked the 2nd Fraternal Meeting called by Renewed Communion of Evangelicals and Catholics in the Spirit (CRECES) and held in Buenos Aires from July 2-4.

The meeting "was not an isolated event," both sides said in a Joint Declaration presented during the meeting. "Similar experiences are taking place and will continue to take place in greater measure in all the nations of the world."

Attending the meeting was Matteo Calisi, president of the International Fraternity of Covenant Charismatic Communities and Associations and founder and president of the Community of Jesus, a Catholic charismatic group that arose in Bari, Italy.

"I heartily encourage you to persevere in this path of praise and adoration, reconciliation and spiritual ecumenism which you already undertook last year," said Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, in a letter addressed to the participants of the CRECES meeting.

Monday, July 11, 2005

jay farrar and the new son volt

A little while ago, I took a break from translating some Anselm to read my housemate's new issue of Harp Magazine. I was reading an interview with Son Volt's brainchild Jay Farrar about their new album, Okemah and the Melody of Riot. I came back into my room, where I had been listening to NPR on the internet, and there was the last ten seconds or so of a song playing, and I thought to myself "That sounds like Jay Farrar." To my surprise, as the song faded out, the announcer came on, saying "That was a track from the new Son Volt album, Okemah and the Melody of Riot." Weird. I think maybe the Lord wants me to buy the new album, which is released tomorrow (July 12).

From the Harp Magazine interview:

The album ends with the Neil Young-sounding "World Waits for You," a beautifully upbeat piano-composed tune ("I've been trying to do more of that" he mumbles) that I imagine, on first listen, is probably about [Farrar's] children.

the feast of st. benedict of nursia

L I S T E N carefully, my child,

to your master's precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father's advice,
that by the labor of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
whoever you may be,
who are renouncing your own will
to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all,
whatever good work you begin to do,
beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
For we must always so serve Him
with the good things He has given us,
that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
deliver us to everlasting punishment
as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.

(From the Holy Rule of St. Benedict)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

homosexuals in rc seminaries

Sources indicate that the long-awaited Vatican document on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries is now in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI. The document, which has been condensed from earlier versions, reasserts the response given by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2002, in response to a dubium submitted by a bishop on whether a homosexual could be ordained: "A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency, is not fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."

Read the whole thing here, which comes via Fr. Harmon.

I hope this doesn't go through. If my (admittedly limited) experience is any guide, there are plenty of holy, talented, homosexual priests, called by God, faithfully proclaiming his gospel. Homosexuality is a cross borne by many faithful Christians, and as such can itself be an instrument of sanctification and, indeed, redemption. To exclude people from the priesthood only because they are homosexual is an exhibition of institutional paranoia and a pious missapplication of Biblical truth.

christoph cardinal schonborn clarifies rc teaching on evolution

EVER since 1996, when Pope John Paul II said that evolution (a term he did not define) was "more than just a hypothesis," defenders of neo-Darwinian dogma have often invoked the supposed acceptance - or at least acquiescence - of the Roman Catholic Church when they defend their theory as somehow compatible with Christian faith.

But this is not true. The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things.

From the New York Times on Thursday. Read the whole thing here. Today there is an article about Cardinal Sconborn's essay.

What is WB's view of evloution? He isn't very interested. I'm happy to defer to the scientists -- so long as they aren't those vitriolic atheist scientists, who have those fish-with-legs that say "Darwin" on the backs of their cars. Those people need to calm down. But apart from that, it seems to me that some "Creationists" are out of control and, without meaning to, distort the message of Genesis. I seem to recall that C.S. Lewis had an enlightened and enlightening essay about how Christians need not get their knickers in a knot about evolution. I commend it to your attention, if you can find it.

But Cardinal Schonborn's point is well taken, in a sense. We must guard against those scientists who, upon the latest discovery of an eighty trillion year old Australoanthropomorphosaurus fossil, cry "There is no god!" If there are such scientists.

Friday, July 08, 2005

follow this closely blogsters; its complicated

From St. Isaiah the Solitary (in the Philokalia): If you find yourself hating your fellow men and resist this hatred, and you see that it grows weak and withdraws, do not rejoice in your heart; for this withrawal is a trick of the evil spirits. They are preparing a second attack worse than the first; they have left their troops behind the city and ordered them to remain there. If you go out to attack them, they will flee before you in weakness. But if your heart is then elated because you have driven them away, and you leave the city, some of them will attack you from the rear while the rest will stand their ground in front of youl and your wretched soul will be caught between them with no means of escape. The city is prayer. Resistence is rebuttal through Christ Jesus. The foundation is incensive power.

St. Isaiah is talking here about hatred of our fellow men, but this advice seems appliicable to all kinds of demonic attack and temptation. There are some technical terms in this little treatise, namely at the end. First there is "rebuttal". Here is how my little Philokalia glossary defines it, being a translation of "antilogia" or "antirrisis": the repulsing of a demon or demonic thought at the moment of provocation... or, in a more general sense, the bridling of evil thoughts. The second technical term is "incensive power". This is in reference to one of the three Platonic divisions of the soul. The three divisions are (1) the Appetitive, (2) the Intellective, and (3) the Spiritive or Incensive. The idea is that each can be bent to negative or positive action. The spiritive or incensive part of the soul can be exercised in the hatred of sin and vice, and directed against the temptations of the devil his demons.