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"Protestant and Reformed according to the principles of the ancient Catholic Church." Bishop John Cosin (d. 1672)

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Monday, August 25, 2008


Bishop Ridley on the Holy Eucharist

(in discourse with representatives of the Church of Rome)

"Both you and I agree herein, that in the Sacrament is the very, true, and natural Body and Blood of Christ; even that Which was born of the Virgin Mary; Which ascended into heaven; Which sits on the right hand of God the Father; Which shall come from thence to judge the quick and the dead; only we differ in modo, in the way and manner of being. We confess all one thing to be in the Sacrament, and dissent in the manner of being there. I, being by God’s word fully thereunto persuaded, confess Christ’s natural Body to be in the Sacrament indeed by spirit and grace, because that whosoever receiveth worthily that Bread and Wine, receiveth effectually Christ's Body and drinketh His Blood (that is, he is made effectually partaker of His passion); and you make a grosser kind of being enclosing a natural, a lively, and a moving body, under the shape or form of Bread and Wine. Now this difference considered, to the question thus I answer, that in the Sacrament of the Altar is the natural Body and Blood of Christ vere et realiter, indeed and really, if you take these words ‘indeed and really’ for spiritually by grace and efficacy; for so every worthy receiver receiveth the very true Body of Christ. But if you mean really and indeed, so that thereby you would include a lively and moveable body under the forms of bread and wine, then, in that sense, is not Christ's Body in the Sacrament really and indeed."

"Always my protestation reserved, I answer, thus; that in the Sacrament is a certain change, in that the Bread, which was before common bread, is now made a lively presentation of Christ's Body, and not only a figure, but effectuously representeth His Body; that even as the mortal body was nourished by that visible bread, so is the internal soul fed with the heavenly food of Christ's Body, which the eyes of faith see, as the bodily eyes see only bread. Such a Sacramental mutation I grant to be in the Bread and Wine, which truly is no small change, but such a change as no mortal man can make, but only that omnipotency of Christ’s word." – Works, edit. 1843, p. 274

"Think not because I disallow that Presence which the first proposition maintaineth (as a presence which I take to be forged, phantastical, and beside the authority of God’s word, perniciously brought into the Church by the Romanists,) that I therefore go about to take away the true Presence of Christ's Body in His Supper rightly and duly ministered, which is grounded upon the word of God, and made more plain by the commentaries of the faithful Fathers. They that think so of me, the Lord knoweth how far they are deceived. And to make the same evident unto you, I will in few words declare what True Presence of Christ's Body in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper I hold and affirm, with the word of God, and the ancient Fathers.

"I say and confess with the Evangelist Luke, and with the Apostle Paul , that the Bread on the which thanks are given is the Body of Christ in the remembrance of Him and His death, to be set forth perpetually of the faithful until His coming.

"I say and confess the Bread which we break to be the Communion and partaking of Christ's Body with the ancient and the faithful Fathers.

"I say and believe, that there is not only a signification of Christ's Body set forth by the Sacrament, but also that therewith is given to the godly and faithful the grace of Christ's Body, that is, the food of life and immortality, and this I hold with Cyprian.

"I say also with Saint Augustine, that we eat life and we drink life; with Emissene, that we feel the Lord to be present in grace; with Athanasius, that we receive celestial food which cometh from above; the property of natural communion, with Hilary; the nature of flesh and benediction which giveth life, in Bread and Wine, with Cyril; and with the same Cyril, the virtue of the very Flesh of Christ, life and grace of His Body, the property of the Only-Begotten, that is to say, life, as He Himself in plain words expounded it.

"I confess also with Basil, that we receive the mystical advent and coming of Christ, grace, and the virtue of His very nature; the Sacrament of his very Flesh, with Ambrose; the Body by grace, with Epiphanius; spiritual flesh, but not that which was crucified, with Jerome; grace flowing into a sacrifice, and the grace of the Spirit, with Chrysosthom; grace and invisible verity, grace and society of the members of Christ's Body, with Augustine.

"Finally, with Bertram, (who was the last of all these,) I confess that Christ's Body is in the Sacrament in this respect; namely, as he writeth, because there is in it the Spirit of Christ, that is, the power of the Word of God, which not only feedeth the soul, but also cleanseth it. Out of these I suppose it may clearly appear unto all men, how far we are from that opinion, whereof some go about falsely to slander us to the world, saying, we teach that the godly and faithful should receive nothing else at the Lord’s table, but a figure of the Body of Christ." – p. 201, 202

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

With Angel and Archangels and All the Company of Heaven. . .

I’ve chosen to address the Invocation of the Saints (a bit of a repost, to be honest) because I was reminded of this topic by Father Chad's fine post on Saints and the Liturgy:

http://philorthodox.blogspot.com/2008/08/saints-and-liturgy.html

How to address this contentious issue, the issue of the "Invocation of the Saints"? Do Anglicans accept this practice? Many do, but think that the Articles are thereby opposed to “Catholicism” as they see it because it denounces the "Romish Doctrine of Invocation." As with some of the other issues we’ve addressed, we must not equate the Roman practices of the Reformation era (or the 19th century, which many Anglicans chose to mimic) with Catholicism proper.

We’ve seen that Purgatory is not a Catholic doctrine (rejected as it is in the Eastern Church and without foundation in the ancient Church), but a Roman one. Here too we must distinguish the Roman from the Catholic, for they are not identical. We can still pray for the departed (as we do in the 1549 and 1928 Eucharists) and have no need to embrace the Roman justification for engaging in the practice by making recourse to the concept of Purgatory. So, do we Anglican believe that the saints pray for us? Yes, for we pray with “all the company of heaven” in the Holy Eucharist (whether one uses the 1549, the 1662, or the 1928 variations). I’ve read pieces by C.S. Lewis and the Rev’d Dr. Toon supporting the notion that as we can ask the saints on earth for their prayers (“oremus”), so too can we ask the Saints in heaven for theirs. However, are there objections to the practice? I must admit that there are, if we engage in this practice after a certain way, namely phrasing the prayers to the saints without reference to God the Father or Christ Jesus. Can the objections be overcome? I believe they can, in a manner commensurate with the thinking of the Caroline divines of Anglicanism and the practice of the ancient Church. On this issue I will first turn to a favorite English Catholic text of mine—Vernon Staley’s The Catholic Religion, for I believe Canon Staley addresses this issue in a concise, honest, and forthright manner:

“That the saints who have gone before pray for us, has always been the belief of the Church. We believe that they join in prayer for us on earth with a power which was not theirs whilst in the flesh—the mother for her children, the priest for his flock, friend for friend. And it is lawful to ask God to grant us a share in their intercession. In what way, or to what extent, the saints are conscious of our needs, has not been revealed to us. The Church of England, in Article XXII condemns “the Romish doctrine concerning invocation of the saints,” that is to say, that system of prayer to the saints which led to their being regarded otherwise than as exalted supplicants. Before the Reformation serious abuses had arisen. It was supposed, for instance, that the saints had power with God because of their own merits, and that they were kinder, and had greater sympathy for sinners than Christ our Saviour. Upon this subject we quote the words of Dr. Pusey—

The exclusive address of unseen beings has an obvious tendency at once to fall into a sort of worship; it is too like the mode in which we address almighty God to be any way safe; the exclusive request of their intercession is likely at once to constitute them intercessors in a way different from God’s servants on earth, and to interfere with the office of the Great Intercessor;”

and again ,

For members of the English Church, who desire the prayers of the departed, it has to him ever seemed safest to express the desire for those prayers to God ‘of whom and through whom and to whom are all things.’”pp 130-131

Here we are actually left with a solution to any perceived problem with “invoking the saints,” which we will come back to shortly. In summary of the points above, Canon Staley notes that the Roman practice was tied up with the saints having merits of their own, something that is rejected in the Articles when they reject the works of supererogation: “whereas Christ saith plainly When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.” The only merits we can rightfully plead are the merits of Christ. So this element of the practice must be left by the theological wayside. We must also reject the notion that the saints are, in a sense, replacements for Christ as a mediator—that Christ is too far off, too fearfully awful that we must come to Him through another channel. The is a notion of the Middle Ages that Staley rightfully notes as erroneous. This idea must be countered, for Christ is our only Mediator and Advocate who intercedes with the Father on our behalf. That Christ is too remote or unsympathetic is no justification for invoking the Saints: We do not come to Christ through the Saints; rather we have communion with the Saints in and through Christ.

The last issue that Staley notes it the idea that the Saints in heaven may not be conscious of our needs. This issue must be addressed. Pusey remarks that “The exclusive address of unseen beings has an obvious tendency at once to fall into a sort of worship; it is too like the mode in which we address almighty God to be any way safe.” Pusey is not rejecting prayers to the Saints—he is commenting that prayers composed in a manner in which they are exclusively addressed to the Saints comes too close to the form of prayer we use to address God alone. What then is the remedy to this and to the criticism that we have no assurance that the Saints even hear our requests? Pusey provides the suggestion that addresses both of these issues, that

“. . .for members of the English Church, who desire the prayers of the departed, it has to him ever seemed safest to express the desire for those prayers to God ‘of whom and through whom and to whom are all things.”

Here we have a conclusion that was arrived at also by the Caroline divines, one that is illustrated by reference to the old Roman Mass itself. For in the old Roman Mass, we have a prayer addressed to God Almighty, but within this prayer there is a request for the prayers of the saints. Again, note that this is not initially a prayer addressed to the Virgin, St. Andrew, or St. Agnes—it is addressed to God and concluded “through Christ.” What many Anglo-Catholics rejected (see Pusey, Staley, or Westcott’s Catholic Principles) were long prayers addressed to the saint alone and giving the saint (especially the Blessed Virgin) titles usually reserved for Christ. But the prayer in the old Roman Mass is different. Within it is a petition that the saints may pray for us. Several other prayers of the old Missals resemble this prayer. Consider this prayer on the Vigil of the Feast of St. Andrew:

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God: that as we do prevent the festival of Thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, so he may implore Thy mercy for us; that we being delivered from all our iniquities, may likewise be defended against all adversities. . .”

At this point it should be clear that this older manner of requesting the prayers of the Saints addresses the main concerns that usually arise. In that we are addressing the prayer to God through Christ, we have the assurance that the Saints in heaven are being commanded by God. We do not pray to the saints to bypass Christ because He is too stern and the saints more merciful—the mercy of God is implored and His omnipotence is rightly assumed. Also, we do not use titles and manners of address reserved for God in Trinity. As Pusey rightly states, those who desire the prayers of the saints ought address this desire to God, in whom are all things.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Icons, shrines, and Anglicanism

Iconoclasm, the destruction of images of Christ, the Virgin, or the Saints, stems from an insufficient appreciation of the full humanity of Christ, and as such it is a heresy. The creation of specific imagery of Christ and other Christian figures did not become prevalent until after the waning of paganism. Iconoclasm was most prevalent during these introductions; by the 8th Century a great deal of superstition had arisen in connection with the images and the debate concerning their use had become contentious (Moss, The Christian Faith, 1957, p 88). Saint John of Damascus clarified the issue of images as it related to Christology, stressing the reality of Christ’s humanity. The Second Council of Nicea in A.D. 787 condemned the iconoclasts and directed pictures be restored to the churches.

Churches north of the Alps not represented at Nicea II rejected the decrees of the council. The Council of Frankfort declared that pictures could be used in churches, but not worshipped (misunderstanding the nuances of Nicea II between "veneration" and "adoration" or worship). The authority of Nicea II was questioned by the theologians of the western Church as late as 1540. The Protestant Reformation ignited a new wave of iconoclasm in the West, especially in the churches of the Puritan, Presbyterian, and Reformed traditions. Iconoclasm did not affect Lutheranism to a great degree—crucifixes, statues, and paintings have been in continuous use in Lutheran worship since the Reformation.

Anglicans had varying views on the subject. The cross and candles upon the Altar were often retained by the high churchmen (for instance, Queen Elizabeth I kept an ornate crucifix in her chapel). Post-Reformation portraiture of Anglican divines such as Cranmer, Andrewes, and Laud demonstrated the development of a type of “Anglican iconography,” as did the continued practice of creating effigies for the monuments of the deceased prelates in English Cathedrals. During the Puritan Commonwealth much ancient Christian art left in place in England at the Anglican Reformation was thoughtlessly defaced (literally—it means to destroy the faces) or otherwise destroyed. Anglo-Catholic churches (from the late 1800s to the present) have brought back the crucifix, icons, and statues of Saints to Anglican places of worship (they were never completely gone in some places), but the iconographic structure and organization of the images as found in the Eastern churches is often lacking. Indeed, in many parishes proportion and focus are lost amid a sea of statuary and images and a repetition of the crucifix.

While God the Father cannot be pictorially represented (He is never depicted in the icons of the Eastern Church, although He often is in the West—as an elderly mirror image of Christ; this is indeed an example of bad theology), both the Holy Ghost and Christ have been depicted in Eastern iconography, the Spirit as a dove or a tongue of fire, both images with biblical foundations. As Christ was Incarnate and fully assumed our human nature, it is not incorrect that His image can be likened as best we can assume He appeared in the flesh. Honor (veneration) paid to such an image is not to the wood or paint, but to the Person of Christ (just the same as when we bow in the Liturgy at the Name of Jesus, we bow not to vibrations in the air, but to the Incarnate Word). The ability to depict Christ as man, as Incarnate God, speaks to the truth of Christianity—we don’t just worship some unseen Deity. Even though we cannot imagine the glory of God the Father nor create any likeness of Him, we have the human attestation of His nature in the Person of Christ.

I have a Methodist relative (I come from that tradition myself and have a bust of John Wesley on my desk) and she has a picture of Jesus (normal European depiction: flowing hair, pale skin, blue eyes) in her bedroom. When I visited her house some time back she mentioned, looking at the picture, that she talks to Him every day. I knew what she meant, as would almost any other Christian. Nobody would think that she spoke to the picture or thought that it had any special power. She had an implicit theory of Christian iconography. She speaks not to the image, but to the One that it represents.As Christ was Incarnate, we can depict Him and revere His image and likeness. As the Saints were humans, we can do likewise. We cannot think that the images have any value or power in and of themselves. They are not magic. I believe most protestants have an understanding of icons close to the understanding of the Second Council of Nicea, even though they might abhor or question their use in Lutheran, Orthodox, Anglican or Roman Catholic worship. Pictures of Christ (or even the Holy Family, if it is Christmas time) might be set upon the mantle and treated with respect in Christian homes of many traditions. If someone were to come into the home and spit upon the image of Christ or smash the crèche the person would probably be horrified, because they would rightly interpret the attack upon the image as an attack on the idea of Christianity or the person of Jesus. If a Democrat has a picture of Kennedy on the wall or the Republican a picture of Reagan and a visitor looks at the image and expresses pleasure or disdain, almost everyone knows that the displeasure or appreciation is directed at the person, not at the image.

The Affirmation of Saint Louis embraces the Seven Ecumenical Councils without qualification. The Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church states: “Nicea II (787). . .is disputed in respect of its ecumenicity and application, though in principle its condemnation of Iconoclasm is conceded to be orthodox.” Therefore, the bulk of classical Anglicanism embraces the theology of Nicea II. The main questions that remain for many classical Anglicans pertain not to the general theological conclusions of Nicea II, but rather to the wording of many of the directives within the pronouncements of the Council. The canons resulting from this council do not just allow for images in places of worship, but direct that images be placed in all churches and that honor be paid to these images through gestures (bowing, kissing, etc), and that those who reject “all ecclesiastical tradition, whether written or non-written” be condemned (something that would have to be reconciled to the Articles and their affirmation that nothing is required than that which can be proven by Holy Scripture). An Anglican service of the Holy Eucharist can be validly celebrated without a cross upon the Holy Table or a single icon in the parish church; several Anglo-Catholic churches I know have no images and no stained glass except for the cross or crucifix on the altar. An Orthodox liturgy (to the best of my knowledge) demands the use of an icon--even a mission parish requires a portable set of standing icons. It is in these regards that many Anglicans still question the “ecumenicity and application” of the council, while readily admitting that its Christology in defense of Christian art and its use is orthodox. If any Anglican you speak with says otherwise, ask him if he has a Nativity set or has sent a Christmas card with the Virgin and Child upon it.

Relics and Pilgrimages

Every year or so I go to a large shrine that houses the mortal remains, the relics, of a man beloved by millions--the shrine is huge and impressive, filled with icons of the man entombed there. There are paintings, busts, and in a museum nearby numerous wax figures. It is the shrine of the 16th president of the United States. Usually I will take a token of my pilgrimage back with me; last time it was a bust of President Lincoln. With this example we see that most people will embark on some manner of pilgrimage in their lives to visit the tomb of a famous person now deceased, even if it is a secular one. All of us visit the graves of those we have loved and lost. Even the most ardent Protestant must admit the similarity between the two practices.

Wheaton College in Illinois has a collection of the "relics" of C.S. Lewis (personal belongings, etc) and many Christians have made pilgrimages to see them. However, there are no indulgences granted for such trips, and no years will be taken off of time to be spent in purgatory. What such pilgrimages will do is help to connect the living with the faithful who have "departed this life in Thy faith and fear" that "we might follow in their good examples."There should be no objection to pilgramages to such shrines, either to C.S. Lewis or to Lancelot Andrewes, or to the site of Cranmer or Laud's martyrdom. What most find abhorent (as the Reformers did in the late Middle Ages) is the creation and selling of relics--body parts taken from the grave, dismembered portions from a desecrated corpse removed from his resting place in Christian burial and sold for profit. There is a great and important difference between visiting the tomb of a faithful Christian and taking parts from that faithful Christian in order to create "a tomb away from the grave." We must ask ourselves if we would approve of the dismemberment of a saintly elder of our family so that a church might have "a piece of her" for the parish. . .I would hope not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A piece that illustrates some of the perils on the ground of Anglicans hoping for "The Roman Option"

The Roman Option
(from http://www.unavoce.org/)

Commentary and proposal
by Mark Cameron

I recently read (almost at a sitting actually as I found it quite gripping) William Oddie's The Roman Option (New York: Harper Collins, 1997), the story of the entry of Anglo-Catholic dissidents into the Catholic Church in the UK, and to a lesser extent the US, after the decision of the Church of England to "ordain" women. I think there are many lessons in this book which are relevant to traditionalist Catholics, especially when it comes to tactics on how to carve out our own distinct but integral place in the Church.

The Anglo-Catholics were by and large perfectly orthodox, willing to accept all Catholic doctrine and to submit themselves to reordination. But they also wished to preserve some of their liturgical and historical traditions. Quoting Pope Paul VI's statement to Anglican Archbishop Michael Ramsey, they wished to be "united but not absorbed." They also wished to maintain their group and parish identities, not simply be absorbed into the anonymity of large (and liberal) suburban Catholic parishes. While traditionalists may argue with some of their liturgical preferences, and certainly with married priests, I think most of us would sympathize with their general goals.

The path they faced in trying to find a way to join the Church as distinct groups and to preserve their liturgical heritage is both discouraging and highly familiar to traditionalists. At first, they received a warm welcome from Cardinal Hume, and an even warmer welcome in Rome (where their biggest ally was, surprise, surprise, Cardinal Ratzinger). Their ideal goal was an Anglican rite personal prelature. But they quickly realized that this was a non-starter, so they started negotiating for a lesser aim: a canonical structure that would allow them to be catechized and join the Church together, and to continue to worship together after they had joined. (I will come back to the details of this later) Rome was keen for this, and Hume was initially willing. But the English Catholic bishops, egged on by liberals and feminists in the Church who did not want to see 1,000 priests and 50,000 laity loyal to Rome and against women priests enter the Church, balked. What the English Bishops eventually produced was a very watered down statement saying that parishes or groups could join together, but once received they would be absorbed into the mainstream church. The hope of staying together as parishes or keeping elements of Anglican liturgy was more or less crushed. It was join Father Flippant at St. Teilhard de Chardin's for the Novus Ordo, or nothing.

Some U.S. bishops, led by Cardinal Law, were more keen and were promoting a wider explansion of the "pastoral provision", by which a few Anglican parishes, mostly in Texas, had already been received into the Church. Rome tried to push for a more generous settlement in both the US and the UK, but it came to nothing. Some of the individual stories are shocking. One key player in the negotiations was Episcopalian Bishop Clarence Pope of Fort Worth, Texas. He tried to negotiate for a personal prelature, or some form of nationwide, expanded patoral provision, with the help of Cardinal Law. They had a meeting in Rome with key Cardinals, which concluded with a dramatic meeting where Pope John Paul II embraced Bishop Pope and gestured towards him saying, "in communion." But when they went back home, nothing happened. Finally, the ailing Bishop Pope announced his retirement as Anglican bishop, and that he couldn't wait any longer and wished to come into the Church as an individual. On retirement, he moved to the diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The bishop of Baton Rouge had said that he would happily reordain Bishop Pope as a priest. But having said this, the bishop then said that he would first... (wait for this) put it to a vote of the diocesan priests council. Guess what? They voted against allowing an Anglican bishop, involved in direct negotiations with the Pope and Cardinals Law and Ratzinger, to become an ordinary priest. Pope was completely isolated from the Catholic community in Baton Rouge, and was left in the dark as to what was happening atthe national and international level (after all, he was just a retired layman now). Old and sick, he started getting calls from the Episcopalian primate and the new Episcopal Bishop of Fort Worth to return to the Episcopal Church to the dignity of being a retired bishop. He did, thanks to the petty jealousies and heartlessness of a small bishop and his liberal priests.

In the end, thanks to a myriad of stumbling blocks on the Catholic side, and a more creative response on the Anglican side by giving the dissident parishes four bishops of their own and allowing them to opt out of the regular Church of England structure, the negotiations with Rome and Westminster came to nothing. Many individual priests and laity came over, but the prospect of a mass conversion of whole parishes flopped.

The similarities to the position of Roman rite traditionalists to the Anglo-Catholics discussed in Oddie's book were striking. How many times have we had friendly words or documents from Rome, only to be shot down by bishops? How many times have we heard initially positive responses from bishops, only to be shot down by a vote of the priests council? How many times have we had to endure insults that we are not really loyal to the Church because we want our own distinct liturgy? It also makes me think that if Rome is too powerless to bring over an Anglican bishop who the Pope has said he is "in communion" with because of the Baton Rouge priests council, or unwilling to help bring over 200+ whole Anglican parishes, how much power will they have or energy will they spend to help us? We may have to come to the same sad lesson that most of the Anglo-Catholic dissidents still in the Church of England came to: the bishops and priests don't want us, and Rome is unwilling or unable to help us. Therefore, we have to help ourselves. The dissident Anglicans, with their own four bishops, are united through the Forward in Faith movement in the U.K. (and now in the U.S.as well) This will give them a powerful structure to negotiate with Rome as a bloc. Next time, it will take more than kind words from Cardinals: they will want it in writing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Anglican Unity

There is a great hunger for Christian unity within Anglican circles these days, pulling various factions of Anglicanism in different directions. In some respects one of the forces at work seems to be the desire to be part of "something bigger." On the one hand you have groups like the Traditional Anglican Communion (represented in America by the Anglican Church in America) and perhaps certain elements of the Diocese of Forth Worth hoping to become something of a "uniat" Anglican Rite within the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, for most traditional Anglicans this is not a viable approach. Perhaps more viable (for those who desire to be a part of a larger group of Christians), given the Anglican ethos, is to explore the Western Rite currently in use in one or two Orthodox jurisdictions. Why do I see this as more viable? I have a copy of the Western Rite Service Book and roughly 90% of its contents comes from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer--most high church Anglicans probably couldn't tell the difference during a service. However, one thing that hinders many is the feeling that they are second class citizens in Orthodoxy as those who use either the 1928 liturgy or the Gregorian canon and not one of the "real" Orthodox liturgies. The creation of a western rite bishop--or working towards such a creation--would be a great move forward.

However, many Anglo-Catholics feel the pull of Rome much more strongly, even if they have previously identified themselves as being of one mind with the Seven Councils (thereby rejecting the peculiar Roman additions to the faith). The visible unity that Rome provides is apparently far stronger.

Similarly, the pull from remnants of the Canterbury Communion is also very strong. The Common Cause Partnership, which includes Anglo-Catholic dioceses from the Episcopal Church, elements of Forward in Faith, the Anglican Mission in America, and the Reformed Episcopal Church is hoping to become the new orthodox Anglican province in North America and become recognized by the more conservative elements of worldwide Anglicanism that met in Jerusalem. However, parts of the Common Cause Partnership ordain women to the priesthood and show no signs of stopping--as Bishop Martin Minns has put it, there are "two integrities" on this issue, both of which will "be respected" (as women continue to be ordained). I hate to sound cynical, but this language is remarkably like that of the Episcopal Church from a few decades back. However, leaders such as Bishop Hewett of the Diocese of the Holy Cross sound very hopeful that the majority in Common Cause will win the day and the historic order of the Church will be preserved. We will need to wait and see, but the 800 pound (and he seems to be gaining weight) gorilla in the corner of the room need be acknowledged. If he is not, the result will be a new province with "impaired communion" as one of its founding elements, and as such it will not remain viable for long.

Anglican Christians do indeed need to work for unity, but it cannot be achieved at the expense of a common ministry for the Holy Table or Common Prayer built around the Cranmerian-Laudian prayer book tradition.

Just my two cents. . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 15th

Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ

(The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

The Collect
O GOD, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thine only Son: Grant that we who have been redeemed by his blood may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle Isaiah 61:7-11
THEREFORE in their land they shall possess a double portion: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love justice. I hate robbery and wrong; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

The Gospel St Luke 1:46-55.
MY soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

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