Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church,
Tinley Park, Illinois

A parish of the Reformed Episcopal Church

Morning Prayer, 9:30 AM
Holy Eucharist 10:30 AM

A few more photographs of the parish from Christmastide, for your enjoyment: 1) the Nativity Window, 2) the Advent Wreath and Christ Candle with the Incarnation Window in the background, 3) the Very Rev'd Frank Levi, rector of the parish and Dean of the Convocation of the Incarnation, 4) the Nativity in front of the sanctuary.

Please come and visit us if you are in the Chicago area.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The need for a new "Anglican Missal"

According to Canon Charles Winfred Douglas, The American Missal of the 1930s was produced to counter some tendencies in The English Missal and The Anglican Missal that were distinctly Roman and peculiar to the modern Roman Church. However, as is readily evident to the most casual observer, all Missals currently in use in the continuing Anglican Churches include those elements that many churchmen continue to find odd at the least and theologically prohibitive at the worst. What I think is needed by those that utilize any of the Missals is a revisiting of the same issues that concerned Canon Douglas, so that a truly "Anglican Missal" might be brought forth for use in the classical Anglican Churches that desire it. His essay and arguments, thankfully preserved by Project Canterbury, are reproduced below for your consideration.

Missals in the Protestant Episcopal Church
The Churchman, CXLIV (July 25, 1931), 11-12.
by Charles Winfred Douglas

Why the American Missal was Produced

Obviously, the missal of the Protestant Episcopal Church is contained in the Book of Common Prayer; and no other rite possesses any authority save by Episcopal license. Nevertheless, missals containing supplementary devotions have been widely used among us for the past sixty years. About that time, an English book, Divine Service, began to be found on American altars. Later editions of this book bore the imprint of an American publisher. This work had many successors. Half a dozen of them are on my shelves. They all had the serious fault of being adapted to the English Prayer Book, not to our own. This fact led me, in association with the late Rev. Maurice W. Britton, to undertake in 1911 the preparation of an Altar Missal, to have been called The Saint Dunstan Missal. In 1913 the first section of this work, the "Ordinary and Canon of the Mass," was admirably printed by D. B. Updike at the Merrymount Press, and published by the H. W. Gray Company. It aroused no comment other than a few favorable reviews. It has been widely in use ever since, some 700 copies having been sold. But the General Convention of 1913 initiated the long process of Prayer Book revision; and further work on the missal was necessarily postponed until the conclusion of that task.

Meanwhile, two new foreign publications found their way to American altars, The English Missal and The Anglican Missal. The latter claimed to contain the American rite, but did so only in garbled and imperfect form. Both books were frankly Roman; rearranging the order of the Eucharist more Romano, interpolating the Canon of the Roman Mass before the Prayer of Consecration, and adopting the modern Roman Calendar even to such Feasts as those of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and of Saint Peter's Chair at Rome.

To many of us these books seemed alien in manner, inadequate in preparation, and disloyal not only to our formularies, but to our whole morale as a church. Therefore when, before I could resume my own old plan, I was asked by Bishop Ivins to participate in the preparation of an altar service book not open to these grave objections, I regarded it as not only a personal privilege, but a religious duty as well, to accede at his request: and I am proud and happy to have shared with him and with his fellow-editors the labor and responsibility of preparing The American Missal. For a work undertaken through motives of utter loyalty, it has had its share of denunciation, often quite uninformed, from critics whose voices were never publicly heard in condemnation of the disloyal books which it has almost universally replaced. My honored and beloved friend, the Bishop of Colorado, told us last year that the crowning objection to the Roman system was not so much its doctrine in the main, but its rigid regimentation, which dictates every minutest detail of belief, conduct, rite, and ceremony. Some of our brethren and Fathers in God appear to be swayed for the moment by that Romanensian rigidity; against which, as against every attack on the liberty wherewith Christ hath set us free, I remain completely Protestant. But this is too solemn a matter of controversial dealing. It is a matter of man's most sacred prayer; which he cannot pray, whatever book he uses, without the Holy Spirit. We cannot quarrel about a work in which we seek to be led by the Holy Spirit of God: we can only, with complete mutual respect, lovingly try to understand one another.

Now why do some of us feel the need of a book containing devotions supplementary to the Book of Common Prayer?

Probably every priest and bishop says private prayers of some kind before, during, and after the Eucharistic celebration. Our private prayers are not prescribed by bishop or by convention; they remain completely free. Hundreds of us, in the exercise of this lawful freedom, prefer to utter prayers sanctified by ages of use in God's church, rather than our own improvisations. They are printed for the convenience of the priest who desires to say them; and they are the proper concern of no other person whatever, save possibly a lay server at his side. From among these devotions, our Prayer Book has recently been enriched by the beautiful Collect for the Unity of the Church.

The Introits, Graduals, Alleluia Responds, Tracts, Offertories, and Communions, taken from Scripture; and the Sequences, taken from the Hymnal, are of course definitely provided for in the Prayer Book in the precise places where they occur. They make up the devotional treasure of the choir, which from very early Christian times adorned the Eucharist with God-inspired words rather than with later and less worthy hymns.

In another category are the additional services for an enlarged calendar. They are supplementary to the Prayer Book, as are the similar services in the Book of Offices set forth by the House of Bishops. For the use of either, the consent, at least tacit, of the diocesan, is required. But may I point out that this calendar is a composite of those approved by the bishops visitors of the various religious orders working in our church? The priests whose devotional leadership is sought in our retreats, our parochial missions, our summer conferences, our schools of the prophets, our college of preachers, are largely those who daily use this calendar. The tree is known by its fruits: and the good tree of devout commemoration of God's Saints in every age is yielding the good fruit of saintly lives in our age. Who wishes to deny the religious and their associates the benefit of daily devotion?

The special observances of Holy Week and of some other days, when they are not wholly drawn from Bible and Prayer Book, are of course "subject to the direction of the ordinary." This means that they are to be treated precisely as the popular devotion of the Three Hour Service on Good Friday.

Apart from their practical value to those who devoutly and wisely use them, such books as The American Missal have a larger significance and importance. Their wide use is a bond of relationship with churches both Protestant and Catholic toward which we have mode overtures of sympathetic approach with a view to eventual intercommunion. Many of us are unaware that great numbers of our Protestant brethren have gone far beyond us in the matter of historical liturgical enrichment. I have before me several recently published Protestant service books, each of which contains much of the material characterizing a missal. One of them, by no means the most Catholic in tone, contains Tenebrae, the Reproaches, the Adoration of the Cross, the private prayers which have been objected to in The American Missal, Proper Prefaces for Lent, Passiontide, Corpus Christi, and Feasts of Apostles; and other similar devotions. The missal of the Old Catholics, with whom we seem on the verge of intercommunion, is precisely similar, in its faithfulness to what is Catholic and its rejection of what is merely Roman, to The American Missal. The Orthodox, with whom we already have economic intercommunion, are accustomed to greater liturgical richness than that of our official books. Perhaps The American Missal will prove to be an agency blessed by God in bringing us to that wider outlook and larger responsibility for Christian unity so convincingly urged by the Lambeth Conference.

from Project Canterbury

Friday, December 22, 2006

Some changes. . .

I know, I know. . .I said I'd be taking a holiday until secular New Year's, but I've had some time this week to work on the blog and get some entries ready for January.

As to one of the changes on the blog, now anyone can post, not just registered bloggers. However, I do reserve the right to remove posts (at any time for any reason--there may be freedom of speech in general on the net, but this particular blog is a benevolent dictatorship).

I hope to have some posting on Anglican history as well as some starters for discussion on the ever popular topic of predestination.

God bless and Merry Christmas!

As you may have noticed, I've allowed advertisements on the blog. I'm not allowed to click on them, but I can see where the link goes and check it out through the address box. I've found that some of the links are (to my mind) very good: links to Anglican Province of Christ the King parishes. Some are questionable: links going to religious sites that will tell you the "truth" about some thing or another. Some are from the mainline Episcopal Church, so (as Forrest Gump once noted) "ya never know what yer gonna get." Please use common sense and patience as the software that runs the advertisement placement "figures out" what kind of a blog "The Anglican Cleric" is and who it is for.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Earth and Altar--A Journal of Anglican Life and Worship!

Please examine this new web based journal prepared by classical Anglicans:

Also, one of my favorite hymns for Advent (and for the Eucharist):

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wing├Ęd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

In my "virtual" absence until January 1, I've decided to post some "re-runs" of previous topics (in that they seem to come up again and again). Enjoy.

Archbishop Temple and Anglican Orders

Archbishop Frederick Temple is not known as an original theologian or scholar. In fact, Frederick Temple is probably best known as the father of a future Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple. However, one extremely important event occurred in 1896 while Frederick was Primate of all England: The Church of Rome, in the person of Pope Leo XIII in his bull Apostolicae Curae, declared the Holy Orders of Anglicanism--the Orders that had been bestowed upon the likes of Lancelot Andrewes, William Laud, Samuel Seabury, and John Wesley--"utterly null and void."

This declaration was based upon the assumption that the revised Ordinal prepared by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549 was defective. One of the objections made to the Anglican Ordinal was that the language used was insufficient in the making of bishops. The words of the Anglican Consecration rite were "Take ye the Holy Ghost, and remember that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by imposition of hands" while the Roman Pontifical simply states "receive the Holy Ghost." If Anglican bishops are not to be accounted as properly raised to the episcopate, neither then are the Popes of Rome by the same standard so applied.

Pope Leo XIII also objected that the Anglican priests were not instructed by the Ordinal to offer the Mass for the quick and the dead; instead they are told to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments. As the instruction pertaining to the Sacrifice of the Mass was only added to the Roman Ordinal in the 11th Century, again it must be stated that if Anglican priests are not properly priests then neither were any of the presbyters of Western Christendom.

Other spurious arguments were made by various Roman authorities against Anglican Orders, much of the same caliber as those already mentioned. Some of the arguments pertained to the vestments worn or posture taken by the priest during Holy Communion. One other objection was that Anglicanism itself lacked a full understanding of the Eucharist as sacrifice. Indeed, the Church of England had rejected, both in her liturgy and in the 39 Articles, the notion that each Mass offered Christ as a new Sacrifice to the Father. Instead, in its liturgical theology it chose to emphasize the teaching of Saint Augustine of Hippo:

'If you wish to understand the body of Christ, listen to the words of the Apostle: "You are the body and the members of Christ." If you are the body and the members of Christ, it is your mystery which is placed on the Lord's Table; it is your mystery you receive. It is to that which you are to answer "Amen," and by that response you make your assent. You hear the words "the body of Christ," you answer "Amen." Be a member of Christ, so that the "Amen" may be true.'

This sentiment is echoed in Cranmer's Prayer of Oblation (which follows the reception of the Bread and Cup in the English Rite):

"And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all partakers of the Holy Communion, may be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and be made one body with him, that we may dwell in us and we in him." This is the Eucharistic theology prayed through the Anglican liturgy.

When Frederick Temple responded to Leo concerning this important issue, he did so via a letter directed to "the whole body of Bishops of the Catholic Church."'We make provision with the greatest reverence for the consecration of the holy eucharist, and commit it only to properly ordained priests and to no other ministers of the church. Further, we truly teach the doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice, and do not believe it to be "a bare commemoration of the sacrifice of the cross," an opinion which seems to be attributed to us (by Roman Catholics). But we think it sufficient in the liturgy which we use in celebrating the holy eucharist--while lifting up our hearts to the Lord, and when now consecrating the gifts already offered that they may become to us the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ--to signify the sacrifice which is offered at the point of the service in such terms as these. . . .[F]irst we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; then next we plead and represent before the Father the sacrifice of the cross, and by it we confidently entreat remission of sins and all other benefits of the Lord's passion for all the whole church; and lastly we offer the sacrifice of ourselves to the creator of all things which we have already signified by the oblations of his creatures. The whole action, in which the people has necessarily to take part, we are accustomed to call the eucharistic sacrifice.'This is the eucharistic theology of St. Augustine, enshrined in The Book of Common Prayer and taught by the Anglican divines of the Reformation, the Restoration, and beyond. Archbishop Frederick Temple, when faced with the challenge, asserted the theology of the Church of England succintly and authoritatively.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Christian Priest in the Anglican Tradition:

Posted originally as part of a broader discussion at

(from the Rev'd Dr. C.B. Moss and his text The Christian Faith):

The Anglican Communion claims that its bishops, priests, and deacons are bishops, priests, and deacons in the sense in which those words were used by the ancient Church and by the Roman Communion today. The Archbishop of Canterbury is a bishop in the same sense as the Pope. Every Anglican priest is as much a priest as any Romanist priest. It is his duty and his privilege to offer the Eucharistic sacrifice, to give absolution, and to bless in the name of the Church; and this claim is supported by the Prayer Book...' (The Christian Faith, 408).

There were three stages in the sacrifice or self-offering of our Lord, corresponding to three stages in the Old Testament sacrifices. The first was His death on the Cross, corresponding to the slaying of the victim. The second is His perpetual self-offering in Heaven which began with His Ascension and corresponds to the entry of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies carrying the blood of the sin offering on the Day of Atonement. The third is the Holy Eucharist, corresponding to the feast upon the sacrifice which belonged to the peace offering.The sacrifice of Christ is one and cannot be repeated. There is no sacrifice in the Christian religion other than the sacrifice of Christ. The Holy Eucharist is not in any sense whatever a repetition of Christ's death on the Cross or of His offering of Himself in Heaven. It is not called a sacrifice in the New Testament, nor are the Christian ministers called priests (hiereis). The reason is clear. Jewish priests and heathen priests were well known to the first readers of the New Testament. If the Christian presbuteroi (elders) had been called priests, it would have been supposed that animal sacrifice was part of their duty. But animal sacrifice had been abolished. Nevertheless, sacrificial language was used of the Eucharist, as we have seen, by our Lord Himself, who said, "This is My blood of the covenant", when He instituted the Eucharist. St. Paul called himself leitourgos, a sacrificial word (Rom. 15:16), doing priestly work (hierourgounta), that the offering (prosphora) of the Gentiles might be made acceptable. He contrasted the "table of the Lord" with "the table of devils", the heathen sacrifices (I Cor. 10:21), showing that he regarded the Christian Eucharist as sacrificial. The sacrifice of Christ was the Christian Passover; "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast" (I Cor. 5:7). Compare also I Cor. 10:18: the Jews who "eat the sacrifices" and "have communion with the altar" are compared to the Christian at the Eucharist.All the Fathers beginning with St. Clement of Rome called the Eucharist a sacrifice. So do all the ancient liturgies. But whereas the New Testament appears to regard the Eucharist as corresponding to the feast which was the last stage of the sacrifice, the Fathers taught that it was also the representation of earth of what is continually going on in Heaven. As the Epistle to the Hebrews constantly asserts, our Lord is the true High Priest, "a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:20) who passed into the heavens at the Ascension bearing His own blood (like the High Priest into the Holy of Holies), and who perpetually presents to the Father His own life, for His priesthood is unchangeable (7:24). The Christian Church of which He is the Head is "a royal priesthood" (I Peter 2:9) sharing the priesthood of its Head and His heavenly work of offering. This the Church does by the whole of her life which is, ideally, one long self-offering, united with the self-offering of our Lord in Heaven. But she shares in His self-offering especially at the Eucharist, in which the congregation is united with Jesus Christ in Heaven, first by offering His Body and Blood (with which all their other offerings, their alms, the bread and wine, their own lives, are united), and then by receiving it in communion.The earthly priest is the necessary organ of the Church for this purpose, as the eye is the necessary organ of sight. There can be no offering without him, but the offering is the people's, not his alone... (The Christian Faith, 369, 370).

The word "priest" represents both presbuteros, presbyter, and hiereus, sacerdos. The latter title was given to bishops from the third century onwards and later to priests as well. It describes them as "offering sacrifice". The Christian priest is not a priest in the same sense as the Hebrew priests under the Old Covenant. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only Priest in the proper sense under the New Covenant. In what sense the Christian "presbyter" is also "sacerdos", sacrificing priest, has already been explained. The use of the word "presbyter" in the Catholic Church to mean a member of the second order of the Apostolic ministry is not to be confused with its use by the "Reformed churches". The Calvinist "presbyter" is not a priest but a preacher, as we shall see.The essential duties of the priest which cannot be performed by anyone but a priest (all bishops being also priests) are to consecrate the Eucharist, to give absolution to sinners, to anoint the sick, and to bless in the name of the Church. (Anyone may bless as a father blesses his children, but the blessing of the Church is given only by the bishop, or in his absence by the priest.)All these duties of the priest belong properly to the bishop and are performed by the priest as the representative of some bishop (or person with the jurisdiction of a bishop). In early times the bishop, when present, was always the celebrant of the Eucharist. The absolution and the blessing in the Eucharist are still given by the bishop of the diocese (or the suffragan or assistant bishop who represents him), even though he is not the celebrant.The priest is also ordinarily a pastor, teacher, and evangelist. He is the normal minister of baptism. These duties can also be performed by others; but they form the largest part of the priest's work, and his training is chiefly directed to prepare him for carrying them out. Experience has shown that though the functions which are confined to the priest are limited and can easily be learned, priests who should do nothing but perform those functions would be of little use. The priest's highest duty is to consecrate the Eucharist, and the next to give absolution. But the Eucharist must be accompanied by preaching and teaching, and the absolution must usually be accompanied by counsel. Therefore the priest must be a man of holiness, of learning, and of knowledge of human nature. He must know his Bible and be trained in dogmatic, moral, and ascetic theology, and in the art of teaching (The Christian Faith, 393, 394).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

John Kass

The Chicago Tribune

Ancient faith faces an uncertain future

Published November 26, 2006

Imagine the Vatican surrounded in a fiercely secular yet very Muslim Italy.The Christian community there has dwindled to only a few thousand after decades of ethnic cleansing. Much of the church's property has been seized. The government has closed the only seminary and refuses to reopen it.A law has been passed: Any future Roman Catholic pope must be born on Italian soil, even though there is no seminary to train the young priests, even as the Christian community shrinks to a handful. A cold shadow falls on the Western church.

I asked you to imagine this because it's going on, right now, but not in Rome.It is happening in Istanbul, where Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, patriarch of Constantinople and spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Church, is facing extreme pressure by the Turkish government.This week, Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Turkey and pray with Bartholomew, and witness the liturgy in the Church of St. George.The focus will be on the pope relying on the patriarch to help make inroads with Muslims, after comments the pope made this year about violence and Islam.But I hope his visit will also draw attention to the desperate plight of the Orthodox Church, which has been largely ignored.

There are an estimated 250,000 Orthodox Christians in the Chicago area, enough, you might think, for attention to be paid, especially now.The pope will hear the liturgy as it was sung more than a thousand years ago, when there was only one church, before the split into East and West."They will exchange the kiss of peace, and they will bless the people, and they will recite together the `Our Father' in Greek, the original [scriptural] language," said Archbishop Demetrios, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, who will lead the American delegation."Then the two of them will go out to the elevated balcony, if you remember it, and bless the people who will be gathered in the courtyard," the archbishop told me.I do remember. I was there, at St. George, at the patriarchate this past summer, watching the baptism of my nephew. We had the honor of visiting with Bartholomew, who said with a smile that he reads the Chicago Tribune online.

Obviously, I have strong, personal and religious feelings about this and can't pretend otherwise, yet I mean no disrespect to Turkey or to Islam.The streets in that quarter of Istanbul are narrow. The bus stops at the bottom of the hill. You walk past a few shops, on up, and eventually, through the gates of the compound.Once there, you begin to realize how central the patriarchate has been to Christianity, dating from about A.D. 300, when the Gospels of the New Testament were being selected, and later, when the Nicene Creed, a statement of faith recited by Catholics, Orthodox and other Christians, was created before the schism.That the media ignores the patriarch's plight is astounding and hurtful to me. As is the realization that all that history could be gone if things don't change in Istanbul, in what was once called Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine Empire.At the patriarchate, one of the exterior doors is never opened. It has remained closed since 1821, when Greece fought for its independence from the Ottoman sultans, and the patriarch then was dragged out and hanged from that very doorway.Today, Turkey is a fascinating, wonderful place, worthy of American tourism, worthy of American respect.The people are friendly and hospitable, and the history is astounding. The Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, the ancient covered market, still thriving. That it has remained a nation is testament to the intense will of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern secular Turkish state, which now must deal with growing Islamic fundamentalism.All of this is important for Americans to grasp, as the West realizes, finally, that ignoring Islam is impossible.For me, it was especially important to visit Hagia Sophia, literally, the Church of Divine Wisdom, the ancient domed structure that was turned into a mosque when the Turks took Constantinople in 1453.It is an immense structure, larger even than its copy, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and is nearly 1,500 years old.There, I thought of the worshipers fearfully singing the liturgy as the city walls were breached, as the slaughter began, as a Christian empire that had stood for more than 1,000 years perished.

Most icons were destroyed, but you can see the Virgin Mary on the wall near what had been the altar. A sign prohibits religious observance, but the guards don't stop you from praying.Pope Benedict is also scheduled to visit Hagia Sophia, now tersely referred to as a museum.As he visits there, the news images may be sent around the world to remind us of what was, and how what little is left is slipping away.