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Thursday, December 20, 2007

An Early Christmas Present

Fr. Kimel's blog Pontifications is back. God is good.

From the most recent posting:

I do not fear the God who is Holy Trinity. I fear my own freedom to turn from this God, to hide myself in an impenetrable egotism and despair which will forever close me to the roar of his love. I fear that my self-will will ultimately triumph over my desire for the supreme and ultimate Good. I fear that I am becoming, have become, a person who declares to infinite Love, “My will, not thine, be done.” I fear also the purifying suffering that I must endure, both in this life and beyond, to free me from my bondage to self and the goods of this world. But I do not fear the God of Jesus Christ. I know that if God does truly exist, then at the moment of my death he will meet me as the Crucified, still bearing the marks of his sacrifice on his hands. Judge and Judged, Priest and Victim, absolver of sins and victor over death—to this Jesus I entrust my future; to his Father I commend my spirit. Amen.

Amen. Amen.

And the Point Being, Your Grace?

From the Telegraph:

The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.

Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.

He said the only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague.

Dr Williams said: "Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend."He said the only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague.

(Thanks to Bro. G)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This Holiday Season, Don't Forget Universal Pre-K!

Update: Banished Child of Eve writes, "Normally one puts the name of the gift recipient on the card, not the contents of the gift box. Otherwise, the card is at cross-purposes with the wrapping paper. Possibly Hillary has little experience giving gifts."

Excellent point, Eve! Also note most of these "gifts" are actually vast, expensive entitlement programs of unproved merit, to be paid for by the giftees--oh, except for Hillary's "gift" of surrender in Iraq.

It makes a perfect stocking stuffer!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Run for Your Lives

An Episcopalian writes:

To talk theologically [sic] about women's right to choose is to talk about justice, equality, health and wholeness, and respect for the full humanity and autonomy of every woman. Typically, as moral theologians, we discuss the value of potential life (the fetus) as against the value of lived life - the mature and relational life of a woman deciding her capacity to continue or terminate a pregnancy. And we believe that, in general, the value of that actual life outweighs the value of the potential.

Well so what, you may ask, how does the self-centered twaddle above differ from what spews forth everyday from the Episcopal Church? Here's how: the woman who wrote it is a "priest" and she herself had an abortion while studying for the priesthood; a result of a roll in the hay with a fellow of whom she said "was not someone I would have married" and not "a candidate for fatherhood." She does not regret her decision. She had a kid earlier with her now ex-husband but chose to abort the next one, explaining: "Both choices were choices for life: in the first instance, I chose for the life of the unborn child; in the second, I chose for my own vocational life, my economic stability, and my mental and emotional health and wholeness."

These are the narcissists who become priests these days in the Episcopal Church. I should think this woman "priest," along with ex-governor of New Jersey and turnpike restroom aficionado, James "Knees" Mcgreevey, now a candidate for the Episcopal priesthood, ought to persuade any remaining orthodox Episcopalians still wavering to flee. Can anyone now doubt the institution is finished?

(h/t StandFirm)

How it Came to This

On December 14th, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued his annual Advent Letter to the Anglican Communion in which he stated (if I may distill it, boldly and crassly, to a few words): "The Communion is in a mess, something should be done but I'm not sure what. Whatever is done, however, nothing more may be asked of the Episcopalians, they've already yielded as much as they can. To ask for more would be most unfair." The Rev. Canon J. Gary L'Hommedieu of the Cathedral of St. Luke, Orlando, FL. has read the letter and writing on VirtueOnLine, explains lucidly how the Archbishop's letter betrays all that is wrong with Anglicanism and why her prospects for survival are dim indeed. Some excerpts:

The long bluff of the Anglican Communion has been called. There is not a conformity of faith, but at any given moment one might observe parallel expressions of faith. Thus, while we may be joint partners in specific ventures or rejoice in a common heritage, we have no basis to call ourselves a Communion. We are simply a gathering of national or regional corporations that share some things in common -- almost by coincidence. We may cheer each other on, but does that make us a Communion?


Communal Anglicanism has come to the birthing stool and given up the ghost. If it was ever anything besides the religious mode of the British Empire (before the sun finally set on it), Anglicanism has devolved into a set of rubrics. The genius of the English Reformation is that it was not a confession, like the great Lutheran and Reformed confessions, but a permissive settlement in which the catholic heritage of Christendom might be interpreted within specified parameters. This free acting out of a common heritage is apparent in the construction of the 1979 American Prayer Book. However, the "permissiveness" is not now that of the Common Prayer tradition, but of the 70's American popular culture.


...When Gene Robinson's election was approved, this was the trumping of holy writ by the mandate of culture. No amount of acknowledging the good intentions of the national church community could fudge this.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has tried to do just that -- fudge the crisis of Anglican self-definition. Perhaps he has done so with all the best intentions, or then again, perhaps with sheer political calculation. He is clever enough make a go of either. The one thing he has certainly done in his long awaited letter is bear witness to the self-validating quality of personal experience -- and that of those who otherwise would be disciplined! -- and he has declared their experience inviolable. Experience is now the one transcendent reality remaining after the disappearance of Anglicanism.

L'Hommedieu's essay (and the ensuing comments) is well-worth reading in its entirety, by Anglicans and Catholics alike: Anglicans, so they may understand why that noble Church was nonetheless fundamentally flawed; that she could survive the many controversies over the centuries (albeit often by resort to famous Anglican fudging) so long as the combatants were agreed on the basics of Scripture and tradition, but is utterly helpless against the present assailants who reject even those. Catholics should read it to be reminded once again be on guard against those innovators in Holy Mother Church who would be pleased to follow the Anglicans. They know all to well they are constrained by Pope and Magisterium so work non-stop undermining and thwarting them.

The devil is patient and persevering.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Beers Motel: Christians Check In But They Don't Check Out

Deposition testimony from Motel Manager & Chief Exterminator David Booth Beers, Chancellor of the Episcopal Church:

Question: Does a parish have the authority under any circumstances to withdraw from the Diocese?

Beers: No.

Question: Does the parish have any authority to decide to be part of a different diocese?

Beers: No.

Question: Does the Diocese have any authority to withdraw from the Episcopal Church?

Beers: No.

Question: Are there any circumstances under which the parish would have the authority to withdraw from the Diocese?

Beers: Not as a parish. The congregants could leave.

Question: Are there any circumstances under which a diocese could withdraw from the Episcopal Church?

Beers: No. Oh, with consent. I'm sorry.

Question: You're talking about without consent.

Beers Without consent.

Question: On its own, unilaterally?

Beers: Right. My answer stands.

Question: So if, for example, the -- the National Church would adopt a non-Christian faith and declare holy war on the United States, the Diocese would not have the authority to withdraw?

Beers: No. [emph.added]

Question: And the same thing, if the National church would adopt a non-Christian faith and declare holy war on the United States, a parish would not have the authority to withdraw, is that ---

Beers: That's correct.

(h/t VirtueOnLine)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Department of Redundancy Department

Kentucky Fried Chicken is promoting a new offering called the "Festive Feast" and it's chock full of poultry chicken.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Safe Harbor

Update: The Common Cause Partners, an umbrella group of various disaffected Anglican organizations, including Forward in Faith, an Anglo-Catholic association, have just announced "December 18, 2007 will mark the formal beginning of a 'separate ecclesiastical structure' in North America." This is all to the good, it will provide refuge for all those Christian Episcopalians whose dioceses have no intention of leaving. The concerns I express below about the fate of Anglo-Catholics still stand, however. (h/t the Newbie Anglican)

Over the weekend came the heartening news the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin (Central California), lead by the estimable +John-David Schofield, voted overwhelmingly at its annual convention, for the second and final time, to disassociate itself from the Episcopal Church, making it the first diocese to hightail it from that woebegone institution. As of Saturday, December 8th, the Diocese of San Joaquin is no longer part of the Episcopal Church but is aligned with the colorfully named Province of the Southern Cone, which consists of Anglican parishes found in the southern half of South America (the pointy part). The archbishop of that province, the Most Reverend Gregory Venables (now there's a fine Anglican name), only a couple of months ago extended an invitation to disaffected Episcopal Dioceses in the United States to come unto his fold. We may expect to see within the next year or so three more dioceses, Quincy (Illinois) and Fort Worth, both Anglo-Catholic, and Pittsburgh, evangelical, to follow the San Joaquians to South America. That may seem a good solution for those few Episcopal dioceses remaining which profess Christianity but there is, unfortunately, a fatal flaw and that is the possible inclusion of the Diocese of Pittsburgh; less because it is evangelical than that it permits the ordination of women, unlike the other three dioceses. Indeed, its ordinary, +Robert Duncan (who is a good and decent man), has stated he has no problem with it.

But it is still a problem. Back in the 'seventies, women's ordination was the camel's nose under the tent, the means by which the innovators were able to establish residency in the Episcopal Church. Once inside the host, which was a healthy and thriving institution, they set about the work of its destruction. The Province of the Southern Cone does not permit the ordination of women but by inviting the Diocese of Pittsburgh to join it, it imports the same virus that is leading to the demise of the Episcopal Church. Pittsburgh may claim it is "orthodox" in its beliefs but permitting the ordination of women betrays it as latitudinarian, willing to jettison those parts of orthodoxy that offend contemporary mores. His Grace Venables ought to remember the whole mess began in 1976, in Minneapolis, when the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to make legal the illegal ordination of women that had taken place a few years earlier. It was the beginning of the end.

The three Anglo-Catholic dioceses that have left or will leave the Episcopal Church no doubt concur with the Holy Father John Paul II when he wrote :

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

How do you compromise with that? You can't and sharing digs with those who think they can dooms the arrangement from the onset as it does, in time, the entire Anglican Communion. Bishop Schofield and his diocese, as well other Anglo-Catholic bishops and flocks who flee, should keep that in mind and, as I have written before, come to regard the Southern Cone as a most welcome but temporary refuge; where they may regroup and be restored before heading off, one more time, to the only safe and logical destination left these days for Anglo-Catholic conservatives.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cardinal Kasper: "Wouldn't You Rather Swim the Bosphorus?"

The Catholic Herald (UK) reports that

One of the Vatican’s most senior cardinals has dismissed the idea that a breakaway group of Anglicans might be received into the Catholic Church en masse – despite Benedict XVI’s personal support for such a move. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told The Catholic Herald: “It’s not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome.” The cardinal’s comments refer to the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a rebel group which claims to represent 400,000 people. Its bishops sent a letter to Rome last month requesting “full, corporate and sacramental union”.

But the bishops did not send their letter to Cardinal Kasper. Instead they addressed it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), where, it is understood, they expected a warmer reception.

It has been claimed that 60 Anglican parishes have joined the rebel group since their request became public. Vatican insiders say that Benedict XVI is scrutinising the matter very closely and believes that the TAC is setting out a path that other Anglicans will follow.

Cardinal Kasper may speak more hopefully than descriptively: it is hardly in his and other liberal Catholics' best interests for a large influx of Anglican traditionalists being received into the Holy Catholic Church, especially now, knowing most of them are hardly disposed toward the post-Vatican II radical reforms of the past thirty years. For at the same time the Roman Church was going through the wrenching and destructive reforms which she is only now beginning to shake off and reverse, so too, the Anglican Church, particularly in England and in North America, has undergone similarly destructive innovations. The outcome of the battle for the Anglican Communion as a whole, while not favorable, is still not determined but for England the battle is all but lost and for North America it is lost, decisively.

Weary Anglicans who flee the heresies of the past thirty years and relievedly embrace the full Catholic Faith and her undisputed sacraments, will cast a jaundiced eye upon those in Holy Mother Church who insist she must take the same broad path the Episcopalians and others took, leading to their perdition. Anglicans who pope may be battle weary but they are also battle hardened and are not likely to stand by (as many of us did in the early years of the assault on our former Church) to see a similar fate befall the One True Church, indeed they will fight more fiercely than ever. Innovators in the Catholic Church have good reason to fear and lobby against their en masse reception for they will present formidable and spirited opposition to their heterodoxy.

(h/t Creative Minority Report.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Religion of Peace

Calls in Sudan for execution of Briton

By MOHAMED OSMAN, Associated Press

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."

In response to the demonstration, teacher Gillian Gibbons was moved from the women's prison near Khartoum to a secret location for her safety, her lawyer said.

The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages against Gibbons, who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation. She avoided the more serious punishment of 40 lashes.

They massed in central Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed. They did not try to stop the rally, , which lasted about an hour...

D'ya suppose, in light of this utterly preposterous but frightening incident, the nutroot organizations might reconsider casting as moral equivalents deranged, murderous Islamic thugs and Christian fundamentalists?

Yeah, I know. Stupid question.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Betty Butterfield and the Roman Catholic Church

I don't care much for female impersonators but I find hard to resist the character of Betty Butterfield, an addled working-class gal who is tirelessly shopping for a church that fits her style. Here she recounts a visit to the local Catholic church and I'm pleased to report she finds it mostly favorable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

N.O.W. ♥ Islamo-Fascists

From Fox News:

Sudan Charges British Teacher With Insulting Religion

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan on Wednesday charged a British teacher with insulting religion and inciting hatred, a crime punishable by up to 40 lashes, six months in prison or a fine, after she named a class teddy bear "Muhammad."

The charges come a day after a 7-year-old Sudanese boy said Gilliam Gibbons, 54, asked him as part of a school assignment what he wanted to call the stuffed animal and he said, 'Muhammad,' after his name.

A spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women said the situation "is definitely on the radar, and N.O.W. is not ignoring it.

But she added that the U.S.-based organization is "not putting out a statement or taking a position."

No surprise there, the dedicated freedom lovers at N.O.W. could hardly be expected to take a stand against the stupefyingly barbaric treatment of women in Islamic countries. While they will trot out the usual Newspeak justifications, blathering about "cultural hegemony" and such to rationalize their silence, there is a far more critical purpose to their remaining mum: avoiding even the merest soupçon they--radical feminists--endorse the policies of the Bush administration; the enemy of their enemy is their friend. To the brave gals at N.O.W., it's better the schoolmarm's flogging goes unprotested than risk the sin of leftist apostasy. Besides, it happens in a part of the world in which they would never, ever dream of finding themselves.

(h/t The Jawa Report)

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury Enclowns Himself

From the Times of London

US is‘worst’ imperialist: archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Read it all to learn His Grace is as facile as an Oxbridge poli-sci prof when spewing forth anti-American twaddle (in this instance, in a feeble attempt to earn street creds with the Muslims). I suspect the dwindling number of Anglicans who pin their hopes on +Williams holding the unravelling Communion together may find their ranks even further reduced following this embarrassment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yet Another Bishop Popes...

This time His Grace John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. I think his departure for Rome from the Episcopal Church is the most significant in years. Lipscomb and his counterpart +Herzog of Albany, who took the swim last March, could hardly be considered Anglo-Catholic. Both of them, egregiously, supported women's ordination (unlike +Steenson, whose leaving for Rome in September was not a huge surprise) but Herzog at least was Roman Catholic well into adulthood before converting to the Episcopal Church. Holy Mother Church has an uncanny ability at luring back even the most wayward members of her flock (think Lord Marchmain in "Brideshead"). Lipscomb has been Episcopalian for many years (coming from a Baptist upbringing) and his Tiber crossing serves as a clarion call to Anglicans everywhere: it is not just Anglo-Catholics who are embracing the full Catholic Faith, unable to abide the new-age, Gnostic cultists proliferating in the Anglican Communion, but also more mainstream protestants who realize only the Holy Catholic Church can fend off the onslaught of the heathen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

De Profundis Clamo ad te Domine

Madam Schori on the current unpleasantness in the Episcopal Church:

"I'm not sure it is a stalemate," she said. "I think this church and others may just be becoming clearer about who they are."

"I believe we only know the fullness of God's truth at the end of time," she said. "And in the meantime, we have to be careful about being so sure that we understand it all."

"I think there are many in our church who feel beleaguered, and often they don't hear from other parts of the church that they, too, are beloved," the bishop said during the conversation with diocesan leaders in the sanctuary of St. Stephen's in the Field Church. "If we can ratchet it down a little, we may find a way to live together even if we don't agree.

And, for good measure, one from one of Madam's friends:

"She speaks from a very deep place," said Valerie Valle, a priest from Arroyo Grande near San Luis Obispo. "She listens to everything that's said, then goes deep."

Very, very deep. If you must have more, take a gander as the Los Angeles Times plants a full-on-the-mouth, sloppy wet kiss on on Mrs. Schori or spare yourself that excruciation by reading David Trimble's crisp and excellent summation on his blog, Still on Patrol. I advise the latter.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Temporary Measure

Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth in the Episcopal Church, made a bold observation and pronouncement yesterday in his address to the delegates at the diocese's annual convention.

And then just last week, the Presiding Bishop sent me an open letter, that she quickly posted on the internet, threatening disciplinary action against me if I did not prevent this Convention from acting on certain legislative proposals. I believe all of you have seen my reply. What you may not have seen is the Episcopal News Service story saying that if I did not heed her warning it would (and I quote) “force her to take action to bring the diocese and its leadership into line with the mandates of the national Church.” Now hold on there a minute. I don’t want to force her to do anything, but I must object to the claim that the Presiding Bishop has any canonical authority in this Diocese or any legitimate power over the leadership of this Diocese. She has no authority to bring Fort Worth into line with the mandates of a so-called “national Church.” There is no such thing as “the national Church.” We are a confederation of Dioceses, related to each other by our participation in General Convention. From the earliest days of the beginnings of the Episcopal Church in this country, including the formation of dioceses and eventually the creation of the General Convention itself, there has been a strong mistrust of centralized authority that is deeply rooted in our history as Episcopalians. We do not have an Archbishop in this Church, who has authority over other Bishops and their Dioceses. Instead, we have a Presiding Bishop, with very limited canonical responsibilities, mainly administrative in nature. We must object to the tendency in recent years in this Church to create some sort of central bureaucracy at the top that holds power and authority over the various Dioceses of this Church. We do not have a Curia that dictates policy and dogma in this Church. We do not have a Presiding Bishop with papal authority over us, nor do we believe in the infallibility of any Bishop or any council or, indeed, of any General Convention. If I may be so bold to speak on your behalf, dear friends: the leadership of this Diocese does not need to be brought into line with the mandates of some mythical “national Church.”

Well done, your Grace. The loose structure of the Episcopal Church would indeed seem to make it difficult for Katharine the Great, along with her Imperial Chancellor, to swoop down from New York and crush dissension in your diocese. Sadly and ironically however, it is that same lack of powerful central authority that permitted egregious innovations to irreversibly corrupt the Episcopal Church and will, I fear, do same to the entire Anglican Communion, owing to its own lack of central authority. Bishop Iker, along with (should they join him) his worthy counterparts Ackerman and Schofield of Quincy and San Joaquin respectively and the only Episcopalian dioceses remaining that may make any claim to Catholicity, ought to regard alignment with the Province of the Southern Cone as a lifeboat: welcome, to be sure, and on which their dioceses will thankfully remain afloat, yet still only a temporary vessel upon which they must continue the journey to the only seaworthy craft extant.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Now This Ought to be Fun

BOSTON (AP) - Sen. John Kerry, whose 2004 presidential campaign was torpedoed by critics of his Vietnam War record, said Friday he has personally accepted a Texas oilman's offer to pay $1 million to anyone who can disprove even a single charge of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

(h/t Patterico)

Sanity from a Most Unlikely Source

The most left-wing by far of the courts of appeals, the wackadoodle 9th Circuit, ruled today in favor of the Bush Administration that "a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program could not go forward because of the 'state secrets' privilege." The lawsuit was filed by one of those Arab "charities" that in reality served as a money-washing machine for Al Qaeda . "In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, which had argued that allowing an Islamic charity's claims that it was illegally spied upon to go forward would threaten national security."

It is a dark day for the nutroot organizations. The 9th Circuit for years has served as Old Reliable for those itching for a ruling against the Bush Administration, no matter how barmy the complaint. Even more galling for the MoveOners, Democratic Undergrounders and Kossacks, one of the three judges was a favorite of theirs, lefty Harry Pregerson. I guess now if they want to get their way on this issue they'll be forced to have a stab at the quaint and old-fashioned method known as legislation. I'm sure Speaker Pelosi will be happy to accommodate them but then, unlike judicial edicts, it will have to be voted on.

More here and here.

This Guy Means Business

Damian Thompson, in the Telegraph, writes His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has big plans.

The 80-year-old Pontiff is planning a purification of the Roman liturgy in which decades of trendy innovations will be swept away. This recovery of the sacred is intended to draw Catholics closer to the Orthodox and ultimately to heal the 1,000 year Great Schism. But it is also designed to attract vast numbers of conservative Anglicans, who will be offered the protection of the Holy Father if they covert en masse

The underlying motive:

The liberation of the Latin liturgy, the rapprochement with Eastern Orthodoxy, the absorption of former Anglicans - all these ambitions reflect Benedict's conviction that the Catholic Church must rediscover the liturgical treasure of Christian history to perform its most important task: worshipping God.

Duh. Read it all. Naturally, the liberals are livid.

(Thanks to William Tighe.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Balls in Baltimore

From the Baltimore Sun

Funeral prompts firing of priest
S. Baltimore pastor joined by Episcopal priest during Mass

Baltimore's new Roman Catholic archbishop removed a priest who was pastor of three South Baltimore parishes for offenses that include officiating at a funeral Mass with an Episcopal priest, which violates canon law.

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien personally ordered the Rev. Ray Martin, who has led the Catholic Community of South Baltimore for five years, to resign from the three churches and sign a statement yesterday apologizing for "bringing scandal to the church."

Martin led the funeral Mass on Oct. 15 for Locust Point activist Ann Shirley Doda at Our Lady of Good Counsel with several clergy, including the Rev. Annette Chappell, the pastor of the Episcopal Church of the Redemption in Locust Point, Martin said.

Good for his Grace. Naturally, the Sun (and sadly, too: it was once edited by H. L. Mencken, one of my favorite atheists) the entire slant of the story, from the headline on down, is of the mean old bishop of the mean old Catholic Church victimizing a dedicated, if idealistic priest and includes a few sob quotes from the plantee's survivors who are stunned the bishop could be so cruel. Never mind Fr. Martin has repeatedly pulled stunts likes this, has repeatedly been counselled not to and has repeatedly ignored that counsel; never mind the survivors' upset could have been avoided if Fr. Martin had simply followed the Church teachings he vowed to uphold at his ordination. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore couldn't have stated Bishop O'Brien's case more clearly: "How can we expect our own people to follow the teachings of the church if the priests don't?" Indeed, sir and a word to the wise: if you don't nip these things in the bud you must nip them in full flower and that is far messier.

(h/t Creative Minority Report)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shooting the Moon

A while back the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church sent the Rt. Reverend Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth, an Anglo-Catholic stronghold, a snippy letter suggesting she would larn him good, via ecclesiastical discipline, if he didn't toe the line. The good bishop replied to that threat over the weekend in a letter that is a masterpiece of clarity, so unlike the usual unctuous goo which oozes from the new religionists running the Episcopal Church. It is worth quoting in its entirety.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Katharine,

I have received your letter of November 8th and am rather surprised by your suggestion that I have somehow abandoned the communion of the church and may be subject to ecclesiastical discipline. Such a charge is baseless. I have abandoned nothing, and I have violated no canons. Every year at our Chrism Mass, I very happily reaffirm my ordination vows, along with all our clergy, that I will be “loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” (BCP, pages 526 and 538)

It is highly inappropriate for you to attempt to interfere in the internal life of this diocese as we prayerfully prepare to gather in Convention. The threatening tone of your open letter makes no attempt to promote reconciliation, mediation, or even dialogue about our profound theological differences. Instead, it appears designed to intimidate our delegates and me, in an attempt to deter us from taking any action that opposes the direction in which you are leading our Church. It is deeply troubling that you would have me prevent the clergy and laity of this diocese from openly discussing our future place in the life of the wider Anglican Communion, as we debate a variety of proposals. As you well know, the polity of this Church requires the full participation of the clergy and lay orders, not just bishops, in the decision making process. It grieves me that as the Presiding Bishop you would misuse your office in an attempt to intimidate and manipulate this diocese.

While I do not wish to meet antagonism with antagonism, I must remind you that 25 years ago this month, the newly formed Diocese of Fort Worth voluntarily voted to enter into union with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. If circumstances warrant it, we can likewise, by voluntary vote, terminate that relationship. Your aggressive, dictatorial posturing has no place in that decision. Sadly, however, your missive will now be one of the factors that our Convention will consider as we determine the future course of this diocese for the next 25 years and beyond, under God’s grace and guidance.

In closing, let me be very clear. While your threats deeply sadden us, they do not frighten us. We will continue to stand firm for the unchanging truth of the Holy Scriptures and the redeeming Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whatever the costs. I shall continue to pray for you, as I trust you will pray for me, in the difficult days ahead.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth

Isn't that just fine? It always warms my heart seeing someone stand up to a bully.

Bishop Iker will likely pull his diocese from the rapidly failing Episcopal Church and align it with the Most Reverend Gregory J. Venables and his Province of the Southern Cone, which by the way is not an exotic ice cream treat but refers to the lower part of South America. The Southern Cone is probably a safe harbor for Bishop Iker and his diocese but I wonder, since Iker and virtually all of the Diocese of Fort Worth are Anglo-Catholics and ardently opposed to the "ordination" of women (and other innovations), whether he shouldn't yank his flock entirely from the Anglican Communion, which is getting increasingly soft world-wide on women's ordination, and consider a different tack. The Pope has just announced he will be visiting New York next spring. His Grace just might want to consider making a trip to NYC at that time and petition his Holiness to receive his entire diocese into the Holy Catholic Church: a slightly audacious suggestion, to be sure, but it would make a splendid fit.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nipping it in the Bud (What Took So Long?)

Excommunication looms for would-be women priests

St. Louis, Nov. 8, 2007 ( - Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has warned two local women that they face excommunication if they go through with plans for a Sunday ceremony at which they will claim to be ordained as priests.

The archbishop sent personal letters by courier to Rose Marie Dunn Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath, reminding them that they would incur the "censure of excommunication" if they participated in the ceremony, which is being held at a Jewish synagogue under the auspices of the "Womenpriests" organization.

Archbishop Burke noted that the fraudulent "ordination" ceremony, held in direct violation of Church teaching and authority, would constitute an "act of schism." He warned the women that additional penalties could be used against them, along with the excommunication that would be automatically imposed.

Well, of course and bravo! It's nice to see a bishop showing spine: no "listening process," just plain clear (but respectful) English laying down the law. We need to see more of this. If we don't, before long we will hear from men demanding they should be nuns.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Who Says Germans Don't Have a Sense of Humor?

He's making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice.

(h/t Creative Minority Report)

Urgent Prayer Request...

For the parents of these morons (from the New York Sun):

Five students at Columbia University are staging a hunger strike to protest what they say is a Eurocentric core curriculum and a growing climate of racism on campus. They are also protesting the university's Harlem expansion plan, calling it disruptive.

Two sophomores at Barnard College and three Columbia students last ate Tuesday evening and said they would not break their fast until the school committed to a core curriculum that includes a seminar addressing issues of "racialization and colonialism," among their other demands.

I'm already hungry," a senior at Columbia, Bryan Mercer, 22, said yesterday, less than 24 hours into the strike. Mr. Mercer, who is majoring in anthropology and comparative ethnic studies, said he has been scaling back his diet for weeks in preparation for the strike. His said his last meal was a sparse helping of fruit and bread...The strikers said they would stop attending classes when they felt too weak to concentrate.

I wonder the outrage the progenitors of these cub Marxists feel after shelling out $45,095 (tuition and fees for this year alone) to learn their precious ones have stopped eating, stopped going to class and ditched their expensive dorms to encamp al fresco on the steps of Low Library; especially when they read their inchoate babblings to the press. On the other hand, these parents are boomers (like me), quite possibly of the socialist millionaire class (assuredly not like me) and perhaps feel nostalgia and a vicarious thrill as their little ones form ad-hoc coalitions and compose their very own "hey, hey, ho, ho" chants; the same jejune behavior Mommy and Daddy sported in when they were undergraduates.

Meanwhile, the reaction from the Columbia administration is depressingly familiar:

"Columbia encourages students to express their points of view and supports their right of public protest," a spokeswoman for Columbia, LaVerna Fountain, said in a statement. Administrators are planning to meet with striking students this week, and the health center will be monitoring students' vital signs.

We need to face up to the fact America's leading colleges and universities, public and private, are lost to the Marxists. While football is still played, beer is still slogged and the halls still ivy-covered, it is all a facade; they are utterly transformed within. Poll after poll reveals the overwhelming leftist slant of most college faculties and administrations. Opinions even slightly contrary to the leftist canon are ruthlessly suppressed while at the same time dreary noisome protests for every leftist cause, no matter how inane, are openly or tacitly encouraged.

One fine day, maybe, many more parents in this country not embarrassed to call themselves Americans (in other words the vast majority of them) will realize superb educations can be had at the numerous small, often religiously affiliated, non-name brand liberal (in the true sense of the word) arts colleges throughout our land: institutions they can confidently send their kids to knowing they will not come home Christmas break as brainwashed Marxist automatons. Let us pray that day comes and the oligopolistic Marxist factories like Yale, Harvard, Columbia et al. will be driven out of business; by forces of the market, no less.

Oh well, it's fun to imagine.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Telling it Like it is

Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee has created a stir over a speech he gave a few weeks ago to the Family Research Council, at which he addressed the abortion issue. From the Jewish Daily Forward:

Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee emerged from the recent Values Voter Summit with a new wave of support from Christian conservatives, but he also garnered some unwanted attention from Jewish leaders incensed over his use of the word “holocaust.”

...“Sometimes we talk about why we’re importing so many people in our work force,” Huckabee said. “It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our work force had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973.”

Some Jewish leaders have taken exception to Huckabee's use of "holocaust," Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League in particular. He fired off a letter of protest to Huckabee claiming use of the word “only trivialize[s] and diminish[es] the horror." I am sympathetic with Mr. Foxman. There are cranks and nut jobs out there who complain, "the Jews think they own the Holocaust" but they do, really; we must remember in six years the Germans wiped a third of them off the earth. Huckabee would be wise to find other words to describe the horror of abortion: "wholesale slaughter" or "genocide" would do just fine. That said, however, Huckabee also earns my huge respect for at least calling abortion for what it is, not dancing around it and mincing words as do many of the Republican presidential candidates; not to mention all the Democratic candidates for every office from president to county clerk.

(h/t Creative Minority Report.)

Exodus 20:3

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

On the other hand, they're facing the other way so it must be OK.

(Pic from here but brought to the world's attention and winging its way 'round the blogosphere thanks to the singular and entertaining Anglican Beach Party--unlike any other Anglican website!)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Another Encouraging Development from Rome

The new English translation of the Mass is complete.

Nov. 2, 2007 ( - The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has completed a draft of its English translation of the Roman Missal.

The ICEL draft, which was unveiled on November 1, will now be submitted to the bishops' conferences of the English-speaking world. Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, explained that ICEL will solicit comments on the draft, make appropriate changes, and hopes to complete the English translation by the end of 2008...

Among the most notable changes proposed in the new translation are:

The Creed begins with "I believe," rather than "We believe"-- in a simple and accurate translation of the Latin " Credo ."

When the priest says to the congregation, "The Lord be with you," the response is now: "And with your spirit"-- again, a faithful translation of the Latin " Et cum spiritu tuo. "

The use of "inclusive language" is generally avoided, so that masculine pronouns are more broadly used-- especially in cases where the pronoun might refer to Jesus or to God.

One can only imagine how this will go over with certain clergy of a certain age in the United States (especially the jettisoning of "inclusive language"). Some have complained pre-emptively the new translation is far too literate for the average Catholic to comprehend. I guess we should feel for the critics and their distress at seeing years-long efforts dumbing down worship going up in smoke but I think also of Fr. George Rutler, who when asked what he missed most about Anglican worship after crossing the Tiber replied succinctly, "The Mass in English." Suffice it thus to say howling, bemoaning and gnashing of teeth over the new English translation of the Mass will be directly proportionate to its efficacy and quality.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Encouraging Development from Rome

Alas, it will take a bit longer than that but this item from a couple of weeks ago (which I managed to miss) contains some most encouraging news. From www.chiesa:

ROMA, October 18, 2007 – In the span of just a few days, a series of events have unfolded at the Vatican which, taken all together, foretell new provisions – at the pope's behest – to foster the rebirth of great sacred music...

In effect, since just over a year ago, Gregorian chant has been restored as the primary form of singing for Mass and solemn Vespers in Saint Peter's basilica.

The rebirth of Gregorian chant at St. Peter's coincided with the appointment of a new choir director, who was chosen by the basilica chapter in February of 2006.

The new director, Pierre Paul, a Canadian and an Oblate of the Virgin Mary, has made a clean break with the practice established during the pontificate of John Paul II – and reaffirmed by the previous director, Pablo Colino – of bringing to sing at the Masses in St. Peter's the most disparate choirs, drawn from all over the world, very uneven in quality and often inadequate (emphasis added).

Fr. Paul put the gradual and the antiphonal back into the hands of his singers, and taught them to sing Mass and Vespers in pure Gregorian chant. The faithful are also provided with booklets with the Gregorian notation for Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and the translation of the texts in Italian, English, and Spanish. The results are liturgically exemplary celebrations, with increasing participation from a growing number of faithful from many nations. There's still much to do to bring back to life in St. Peter's what was, in ancient times, the Cappella Giulia – the choir specifically founded for the basilica – and to revive the splendors of the Roman musical style, a style in which the sacred polyphony pioneered by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Gregorian chant, also sung in the Roman manner (virile and strong, not like the monastic models inspired by Solesmes), alternate and enrich each other.

"There's still much to do..." Indeed there is but this a splendid first step. There is no more effective way for Holy Mother Church to promote high-quality liturgical music than by insisting on it in her own home (the Anglican Church's world-wide reputation for musical excellence no doubt results from the glorious sounds heard in her English cathedrals and the chapels of Oxford and Cambridge). Obviously most Catholic churches do not have the resources of St. Peter's but the Church, by demanding the best music in that most prominent locale, sends a powerful and encouraging message to churches everywhere they should strive for the same; that one cantor properly intoning the minor propers is infinitely preferable to trotting out the wobbly biddies to croak out (again) "Canticle of the Sun" or "On Eagles' Wings".

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Tale of Two Churches

From the Living Church:

The decline among youth involved in [the Episcopal] church is particularly sharp. Episcopalians tend to be disproportionately older than the general population, Mr. Hadaway said. “That means a higher death rate and a lower birth rate. We are not replacing those members who are dying,” he said. During the past five years, membership has declined 7 percent. The five-year decline in average Sunday attendance is 11 percent.

From the Washington Times:

Roman Catholic churches nationwide are rushing to accommodate a surge in demand for the traditional Latin Mass, which is drawing a surprising new crowd: young people.

Since July, when a decree from Pope Benedict XVI lifted decades-old restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass, seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules.

"I love the Latin Mass," said Audrey Kunkel, 20, of Cincinnati. "It's amazing to think that I"m attending the same Mass that has formed saints throughout the centuries."


The Tridentine Mass helps people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in a culture that lacks stability and orthodoxy see something larger than themselves: the glory of God, said Geoffrey Coleman of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter"s Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.

I don't wish to be accused of triumphalism when I juxtapose these quotes. As I have written before, I get no joy seeing the Episcopal Church spiraling into oblivion but at the same time it's hard to muster up sympathy for those blinkered fools running it who claim their 'sixties agenda, their clown and Hip-Hop Masses, their U2charists etc. are all aimed at drawing young people into the emptying churches. All they have to do is attend a Traditional Latin Mass at a Catholic Church and make a rough calculation the percentage of those attending who are under forty. If they did, they might reconsider their hideous innovations but only if they are truly interested in getting all young people into their churches, not just those who think exactly as they do.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Brain Drained

As institutions and nations decline it is typical for individuals of ability and intelligence in them to decamp for more favorable climes, thus further hastening the decline; recall the infamous "brain drain" of 'fifties England as socialism worked it magic spell throughout the economy and the academy. Stateside, we see something similar in the Episcopal Church, an institution where most people with half a brain or more have left or will do so, sooner or later. A most unfortunate example of the intellectual atrophy affecting that once grand institution took place this weekend at the annual convention of the Diocese of Maine, where delegates passed a resolution that calls for

the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen of England to disavow and rescind the 1496 Royal Charter issued to John Cabot and his sons. The charter authorized the Cabots "to find, discover, and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions, provinces of heathens and infidels...which before this time were unknown to all Christians." The Charter also reads in part, "John and his sons or their heirs may conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands, and mainlands so discovered."

This "doctrine of discovery" set forth by King Henry VII was relied upon as justification for the dispossession of lands and the subjugation of non-Christian people. The resolutions further requires that Bishop Knudsen officially convey the expression of the resolution to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England (Queen Elizabeth II), presumably when she is in England in the summer of 2008 at the Lambeth Conference. The resolution also requires that a similar resolution is submitted to the General Convention in 2009 for its consideration.

That splendid bit of blather was (big surprise) a sop offered by the guilt-laden white Episcopalians to the Indians as partial atonement for the unpleasantries committed by their forebears two hundred years ago (and three three hundred years after Cabot's peregrinations). To those of normal intelligence, of course, it is hardly necessary to point out had Cabot and his progeny not received the odious royal charter and gone exploring there would be no guilt-laden liberal white Episcopalians today calling for its revocation but we are dealing with seriously challenged folk here. I await to see how this resolution fares in the General Convention next year: if it passes, and there's a fair chance it might--there's nothing foolish liberals love more than the empty gesture, than I would say the Episcopal Church is, without question, flat-lining and no extraordinary procedures should be employed to revive her.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Finally Dealing with a Colossal Nuisance

The Holy Father speaks: Through prayerful reading of the Scriptures, St. Ambrose sought union with God, and urged his flock to do the same. Pope Benedict strongly recommended that example to his audience. "Whoever educates people in the faith," he said, "cannot risk playing the role of the clown," trying to entertain his listeners.

That takes care of that.

A Big Stretch

Diogenes takes on another iteration of a favorite accusation of left-wing organizations, by the United Nations in this instance, that owing to her proscription on the use of condoms the Catholic Church is culpable for the spread of AIDS. That, of course, is absolute bunk and just a clumsy attempt by advocates for the promiscuous to absolve their charges of the hideous consequences of their foolish and risky behavior. After all, as Uncle Di points out, the Church also insists on chastity and fidelity and while many of the more strident AIDS activists will condemn that as "moralizing" (which is only acceptable when coming from the left) even they will have difficulty making the point that not sleeping around helps to spread AIDS (but patience, in time they'll come up with something: the left already wears comfortably the notion of "repressive tolerance").

There is, however, an even greater absurdity to the UN charge. Supposing, arguendo, the Church changed her teachings and OK'd the use of condoms. It would be quite a stretch indeed, even for the ideological contortionists at the UN, ACT-UP and in the editorial room of Playboy Magazine, to then believe roués headed out on the town to bag a moose will henceforth think to themselves: "Uh, oh! the Holy Catholic Church insists I use rubbers when I go shagging; better lay in a supply of Trojans on my way to the bars." Especially if the roué is a Protestant.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just Who Was Being Served?

A sad tale of an aging boomer who just can't let go of the past. From a comment on Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog:

One of my friends went to Mass recently where the parish is being renovated back to a more traditional expression of Catholicism...Well, they were making some more ornamental changes last week, restoring the use of votive candles, etc. One of the habitless nuns who ran the liturgy for years...came into the Church all aflutter seeing what was being added (the votive candle racks). She thought that the candle racks on either side of the sanctuary and the new golden candlesticks on the high altar detracted from the portable altar, standing in the center in all its Vatican II bareness.

“This is all too distracting, it takes away from the altar table,” she said. (She used the term “altar table” like the Protestants do, not just “altar.”) She walked about the sanctuary very agitated, snapping at parish volunteers and griping about the new traditional decor of the Church. She walked over to the portable altar and, practically hugging it, cried "And what are you going to do with this?"

“We’d like to wheel it out to the trash bin, but we don’t have Father’s okay yet” came a sarcastic reply. Several of the parish volunteers laughed at this nun, who is about 67 and with her 2 nun assistants devoted years and years to turning the parish into something just like the neighboring Methodist Church instead of Catholic.

The nun turned on her heel, stomped across the sanctuary showing no respect for the blessed sacrament, and slammed the door so hard it broke the stained glass in it.

Actually, I feel nothing but sadness for that nun. No doubt she made life miserable for the traditional Catholics in her parish for many years but at 67, the post-Vatican II reforms having defined her whole career, she now nears retirement and watches the disavowal of her life's work by the very people she imagined she was serving, especially the young--the most galling, I should think. We must pray for her, it serves no purpose to laugh her to scorn; that she will find peace as the traditional worship she so abhors slowly makes its way back into Holy Mother Church and she will accommodate herself to it. At the same time she should also ask herself, who was being served by the innovations of the past thirty-five years, God or the egos of His creatures? It seems to this writer every reform foisted upon the people (in the Episcopal Church as well as the Catholic Church) was about making the people the object of worship and reducing God to the adjunct, the celestial Ed McMahon, guffawing in agreement.

Every folk Mass, every felt banner, every Sister Corita silk-screen Scotch-taped to the walls in the youth center and, especially, every card table altar with the priest's body and visage turned the wrong way from Jerusalem, seems to proclaim the same erroneous message: aren't we all just fabulous and God you'd better agree. Mercifully, this nonsense seems to be coming to an end in the Catholic Church (sadly, the Episcopal Church has irreversibly devolved into a gnostic death cult and will be extinct within a generation or two). There will be many casualties resulting from the mending of the severe damage done to the Holy Catholic Church in the name of reform, the poor nun above being an unfortunate example, but we must not lose sight of the fact the people shrieking the loudest over the corrective measures now being taken are often the ones who necessitated them.

(Thanks to Bro. James).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Healing the Breech

At the Shrine of the Holy Whapping there is an extended and ongoing thread debating the Traditional Anglican Communion's announcement their desire to be reunited with the Holy Catholic Church. It is fascinating to read and gratifying as well: the depth and knowledge of those commenting is nothing short of remarkable and for this former Episcopalian, weary of plumbing the shallows of that church's leadership, to find such richness and depth of thought is an added and welcome bonus to embracing the full Catholic Faith.

Much of the debate in the thread concerns the logistics, technicalities and politics over how, when or if the Traditional Anglican Communion should be admitted to Rome. Some are objecting, saying the admission of that particular branch of the continuing Anglican Church may roil the waters and make it more difficult for other dissenting Anglicans to be brought back into the See of Peter. To this admitted newbie, I think those worries are misplaced. The Holy Father seems to share the eagerness, even passion, of his predecessor Blessed John XXIII of reuniting his separated brethren. Thus it should come down to this: whether Holy Mother Church will seeks ways to make it possible for Anglicans, continuing or not, to return to the Holy See or seek ways to thwart them. Naturally, I opt and expect the former: Anglicans returning to Rome will bring with them not only a rich heritage of liturgy and music but also a heightened appreciation of Magisterium (we know all too well what happens in its absence) and it can only be to the benefit of the Holy Catholic Church. Returning Anglicans, in exchange, will enjoy the glorious benefit of undisputed sacraments; a good deal, I say.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Visit with Mother Cabrini

Since it's just a few minute's walk from where I live, I elected to fulfill my Sunday obligation this week at the St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine in Northern Manhattan, built to honor the first
American citizen to be canonized and a truly remarkable woman. Since I have been attending Mass at Catholic churches for some five months now, you might wonder why I've waited so long to attend one in my own neighborhood. Here's why.

Yep, I was scared off. Yesterday, however, I steeled myself and made my way to the shrine for the nine o'clock Mass. The shrine is a sight to behold, built in the mid-fifties during Cardinal Spellman's tenure (hard to believe the striking Church of Our Saviour in midtown and this oddity--also striking but in a disparate way--are contemporary). I arrived a few minutes before nine to find mostly empty pews so I had a gander at the altar and found myself taking in Cabrini Under Glass, lit with bare fluorescent tubes, giving our saint a ghastly pallor. The Mass began about nine and from there until halfway through the Creed the rest of congregation drifted in, nearly filling the pews I'm happy to say. A wobbly alto, using an over-amplified microphone, and I were the only ones who sang the hymns. People kept turning and staring at me even though I wasn't singing very loudly. The first hymn was of eighteenth-century Protestant origin, St. Anne (Oh God Our Help in Ages Past), the rest of nineteenth-century Protestant origin. How weird to hear "How Great Thou Art" in a Catholic church. I kept looking around to see if Elvis were making an appearance but alas, not today; if he had I would have begged him to nudge aside the wobbly alto, taking over her charge. Besides, the architecture would have suited him.

The homily was quite good. Well-wishers have warned me Catholic preaching leaves much to be desired but that hasn't been my experience. In all the Catholic churches I have attended, the sermons have at least been adequate and some excellent. There is something else I found at the Cabrini Shrine (and other Catholic churches) which was most heartening: Catholics. As a life-long Episcopalian, it is marvellous and instructional to see people of every color, race, nationality and economic status together on bended knee worshipping our Lord and Creator. Even if they come to Mass late, don't dress properly and don't seem much interested in singing, they are there just the same, making their communion (no matter how imperfectly) with our God. That is beautiful and I'll be back, Mom (but let's try to rummage up some quartz halogen bulbs for you, you deserve better).

Friday, October 19, 2007

What Price Glory?

The exhausting lives of America's ruling class take their toll on the participants. Let us begin with His Grace the Bishop of New Hampshire, V Gene Robinson.

As you read this, I will be beginning a three month sabbatical leave, as prescribed for clergy in this diocese every five years. To say the least, the last five years have been busy for me – at times busy and exhilarating, at other times difficult and challenging. I am ready for a rest.


Now it is time for me to rest a while. I intend to do so. I also will be doing some things that I have wanted to do, and which this time will permit me. For a month, I will be traveling in the Pacific...These “stops” include Hong Kong, a remote diocese in the Solomon Islands (Province of Melanesia), Australia and New Zealand.


My promise to you is that I will not fill it up with activity, but use it to get the rest and refreshment I need and crave.

We are relieved and have no doubt you will keep that promise, your Grace. You will surely take comfort to learn you are not the only cultural icon staggering under the weight of his office.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ellen DeGeneres' talk show was put on hold for a day because of her emotionally wrenching dog-adoption drama.

"It's been a long week and a tough week and we decided to take a long weekend and be back on Tuesday," said Laura Mandel, a spokeswoman for Telepictures Productions, which produces "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."


The battle over Iggy, a Brussels Griffon terrier mix, pitted DeGeneres against an animal rescue agency and, at one point, had her in tears on her show. The agency's owners complained of receiving death threats over the dispute.

DeGeneres adopted the dog, then gave it to her hairstylist's family after the dog, despite training, couldn't get along with the comedian's cats, her publicist has said.

Oh, the price of fame. A moment of prayer please, joined in no doubt by our country's shift workers, for the speedy recovery of these two national treasures from their arduous and burdensome responsibilities.

Godwin's Law and the Roman Catholic Church

Go over to the Creative Minority Report and read the unhinged ranting of an ageing Catholic Priest, embittered his beloved 'sixties seem finally to be coming to an end. A tasting:

The gospel is meant to enlighten and challenge us! It is my opinion that the use of Latin should have been done away with hundreds of years ago. This is one of the things that Martin Luther was right about. After WWII Christians worldwide shook their heads in sober sadness and declared that Christianity had failed in Europe because it had let Hitler and his hateful and mad ways to succeed. Some very holy people said: "No, Christianity was just never tried." I fault the use of Latin as partly responsible for the rise and success of Hitler and his neo-pagan mythology which was obviously the religion he was supporting and that actually managed to capture the German imagination. I say the people, because of Latin never were confronted by the gospel. The Mass and the sacraments never really reached down deep into the soul. There are some notable exceptions of priests and laity and some very heroic ones as well as Protestant theologians who confronted the lies of Hitler - of course, they were gotten rid of.

That is but a mere sampling of the savory collation the Rev'd Delirious serves up (God have mercy on his poor parishioners). I offer it to allay concern expressed to me I have my eyes open as I cross the Tiber. Not too worry, thanks. We have the very same kind in the Episcopal Church, the only difference being they run the joint.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Finally, Something We Can All Agree On...

No more clowns in church. We'll discuss the other venues later.

Christian Clown In Perv Bust
Illinois man had porn cache from trip to Philippines orphanage

OCTOBER 10--An Illinois man who worked as a "Christian clown" named Klutzo was arrested yesterday on child pornography charges for allegedly taking naked photographs of young boys at a Philippines orphanage. According to a federal criminal complaint, Amon Paul Carlock took the illicit photos during a "clowning" trip to the House of Joy orphanage earlier this year.

[ ]

Regarding the naked photos of young boys, Carlock explained, "That's how they live." Three of the boys seen in the photos told investigators they woke up to find Carlock fondling and caressing them.

Enough. No more clowns. Let's just stop it right now.

(h/t The WebElf)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Full, Corporate, Sacramental Union

Here's an interesting item. The Traditional Anglican Communion, one of many "continuing" churches made up of former Anglicans distressed over modern trends in the Anglican Church and claiming half a million members worldwide, held a meeting last week in of its College of Bishops. Today a statement from TAC's Archbishop John Hepworth was released and reads as follows (posted on the excellent blog The Continuum):

The College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) met in Plenary Session in Portsmouth, England, in the first week of October 2007. The Bishops and Vicars-General unanimously agreed to the text of a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union. The letter was signed solemnly by all the College and entrusted to the Primate and two bishops chosen by the College to be presented to the Holy See. The letter was cordially received at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Primate of the TAC has agreed that no member of the College will give interviews until the Holy See has considered the letter and responded.
+ John

Should the Holy Father respond favorably to the request, and I hope he does, it seems possible and desirable we could see an expansion of Anglican Use, in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Holy Father seems determined to bring separated brethren back onto Barque of Peter and since Anglican Use is already in place, it could be the vessel back to Rome for many more Episcopalians and other Anglicans. There is no doubt many issues that will have to be dealt with (Anglican orders and the bugaboo of women's ordination, for example) but even reaching the talking stages would be a most encouraging development. Let us pray.

(h/t William Tighe)

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Rare Display of Spine in Europe...

By Denmark, of course.

Brian Mikkelsen, the Danish culture minister, has indicated the government would be willing to allow outspoken Dutch-Somali author Ayaan Hirsi Ali to live in Denmark under its protection from fanatical Muslims seeking to kill her.

Over the weekend Mikkelsen sent out a request to the country’s municipalities to invite the threatened author and filmmaker to live here. The move is supported by a recent parliament proposal to establish several ‘free cities’ for persecuted writers, a programme to be created with the support of the International City of Refuge Network.

‘Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be number one on the list of authors we should invite to Denmark,’ Mikkelsen announced on Sunday. ‘She has fought for the freedom of expression and has personally received threats on her life.’


Mikkelsen said the government would be willing to pay all the expenses relating to Ali’s residence in Denmark.

‘It’s obvious the protection of Hirsi Ali would be a substantial expense,’ he said. ‘But we have to view that from a positive standpoint.’

(Also read this from the Jawa Report). How that small nation remains immune to the toxic and cowardly expediency of political correctness surrounding her is a mystery but may God bless Denmark and her people.

(h/t LGF)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Writing on the Wall

The latest kerfuffle among traditional Episcopalians results from a free-spirit 'sixties-style priest, a Fr. Kerbel, who posted on his blog last week twenty proposed "reforms" of the Anglican Mass to make it more "welcoming;" expunging vast chunks of it and transforming it into a "rap session," "encounter group" or whatever the addled, brain-dead hippies called them back then. I'll copy just one of his suggestions to give you a taste.

9. Cut the fat. Here are some suggestions - THE GLORIA - The COLLECT FOR PURITY - Doxology and Prayers at the presentation - the concluding collect at the end of the prayers of the people. Cut down the number of PSALM verses used. Psalms are incredibly deep, a little bit goes along way. Use 6 verse max at a time. Let me sit and contemplate.

The reaction, not surprisingly, has been intense but the fact is this nonsense has been going on for years, decades even; it is nothing new. If Fr. Kerbel were transported back to the mid-seventies and stepped into, say, Emmanuel Church in Boston he would feel right at home. When I was a parishioner at the nearby Church of the Advent those days, mention of wacko establishments like Emmanuel simply elicited head shaking and comments like, "Oh, pay them no mind, they're just a bunch of eccentrics" (check out Emmanuel's website: the wackiness continues).

Well, we paid them no mind and that proved to be a fatal error. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum now and it's churches like Advent that are now regarded as the eccentrics. You can be damn sure those in charge will pay them plenty of mind as they continue the purge of non-PC heresies in their Episcopal Church.

Outrage over matters like Fr. Kerbel's reforms is a waste of time, other than to vent one's spleen. Kerbel is a country parson and he can hardly be faulted for holding and parroting the beliefs of virtually every man and woman in an executive position in the Episcopal Church. The sad truth is, over the past thirty years we have had plenty of warning of what was to come. For me the shot across the bow was the General Convention vote in 1976 that purported women could be ordained. I actually remember a sinking feeling at the time, thinking that decision could lead to the break up of the Church. But other than that I, like the majority of Episcopalians, did nothing. Après cela, le déluge.

I had a friend at that time who was a nun (sadly, we lost touch) with whom I sung in the university chapel choir. We often engaged in good-natured debate over the merits of the Anglican vs. the the Catholic faiths. Occasionally I scored points against her (I realize now that she let me, good soul that she was) but when when I did, she would always respond: "Oh, someday we're gonna get you, we're gonna get you." Dear Sister, how right you were!

Necessary Reminders

In all seriousness, a day doesn't go by where I have don't have pangs of regrets over my decision to leave the Episcopal Church. The Anglican spiritual tradition is a rich one and never to be dismissed, nor I hope forgotten. Fortunately, however, whenever the pangs become acute, good ol' TEC reminds me why I left; that the tradition I love has long ago passed. Just yesterday there were two good reminders, provided via Christopher Johnson at MCJ, and both taken from the "Calendar of Events" on the Episcopal Church website.

First up for your inspection, "Movement as Prayer: A Workshop. An Experience. An Education." At Saint Mark's Cathedral in Seattle you are invited to

Join us on October 13 for a day of learning and experiencing the ways in which movement becomes a form of worship. There will be opportunities to whirl with the Sufis, dance with liturgical dancer Betsey Beckman, to walk the labyrinth.

There will be both instruction and demonstrations; no previous experience needed. It is about turning and turning until we come around right (emphasis added).

Uh oh, that could make for a long, long day. You might want to hire a sitter and leave the kids at home...and wear comfortable shoes. Speaking of kids, next up is "Hip Hop Schoolhouse" where in the land of the bean and the cod

All are welcome at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts on October 13 at 5:30 p.m. for the HipHopEMass 'Big Bean' Celebration with the newest Hip Hop Bishop (sic), 'Great Momma' Gayle Harris.

On October 14, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., the Cathedral will then host HipHopEMass Schoolhouse where the elements of Hip Hop, theology of Hip Hop, Hip Hop liturgy and evangelization will be introduced.

Ah, the Hip Hop Mass; an old favorite of mine. This one pretty much defies belief but picture if you will a bunch of ageing baby-boomer Episcopal Clergy in vestments, shoutin' out into over-amplified hand-held mikes the likes of

The Lord is all that, I need
For nothing
He allows me to chill.
He keeps me from being heated
And allows me to breathe easy.
He guides my life so that
I can represent and give
Shouts out in his Name.
And even though I walk through
The Hood of death,
I don't back down
For you have my back.
The fact that you have me covered
Allows me to chill.
He provides me with back-up
In front of my player-haters
And I know that I am a baler
And life will be phat
I fall back in the Lord's crib
For the rest of my life

"And life will be phat." God have mercy. Anyway, that would be the 23rd Psalm, in case you were wondering and fo' shizzle my nizzle that'll get my homies into the pews, yo! And, I guess, da bling.

I feel much better now, thank you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oh Please, Please, Pretty Please?

Rumors are flying Al Gore is contemplating another run at the presidency.

(h/t Riehl World View)

Baloney Sandwich

Mr. Franklin Jennings writes: "I'll sing in an ordinary form liturgy just about the time I hear the cantor intoning the Propers. Heaven deliver us from the four hymn sandwich. Somebody wrote the propers for good reason."

Well said, sir, and understandable given that the sandwiches served up in most Catholic churches are made with Wonder Bread and Cheez-food product. It can be done better: in most Anglo-Catholic churches the minor propers are song as well the four hymn sandwich. The difference is in the hymns. The 1940 Episcopal Hymnal, most often used in A-C parishes, may be the finest collection of hymns ever assembled. Not only are most of the tunes (composers/arrangers include, Palestrina, J.S. Bach, S.S. Wesley, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Holst and Vaughan Williams, to name a few) and the set verses top notch, the hymns are meticulously arranged by subject and chronology so the music director and the priest may select hymns pertinent to the Mass. Further, in most Anglican churches you will find the "choir edition" of the hymnal in the pews so congregants may sing parts if they like (and many do). Every verse is sung.

In many Catholic churches I've attended there doesn't seem to be much thought given to hymn selection save for ease of playing by the often incompetent organist (by the way, those funny-looking wooden sticks at the bottom of the thing are called "pedals" and can actually be played!). Also, the only function for the hymn in some RC churches is to serve as a bumper. When it's time to move on it's rallentando and coda, no matter where you happen to be. Then there are the hymns themselves: many wonderful hymns are found in Catholic hymnals but others are simply deplorable. I recently saw in the Adoremus Hymnal a sweet and lilting tune used as a setting for a condemnation of abortion. I am vehemently and unalterably opposed to that despicable and murderous act--no argument there--but I don't want to sing about it either; same for the Holocaust and pederasty.

So please don't come down on hymn singing. Done right, it is enormously uplifting and it can be done right in Catholic churches: go to High Mass at Fr. Rutler's Church of Our Saviour in New York and listen to great hymns, well accompanied and song with gusto. You'll swear you're among Protestants . . . well, for a little bit, anyway.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Anglican or English?

Ruth Gledhill in the (London) Times has a good piece on the Rt. Rev'd Jeffrey Steenson , Bishop of the Rio Grande (Episcopal), who recently announced his intentions to resign his orders and be received into the Holy Catholic Church. He hopes to become a priest in Holy Mother Church and though married, it seems a good bet this will happen, owing to the Pastoral Provision created under the aegis of Paul VI that allows married Anglican priests to be received into the Catholic Church and, eventually, into the priesthood. The Pastoral Provision also allows for "Anglican Use," parishes established by former Episcopalians (but of course open to all Catholics) using the modified Book of Common Prayer.

Gledhill writes of Bishop Steenson's dream "creating more space for the growing number of Anglican-rite churches in the Catholic Church in the US." She quotes Steenson: "I hope and pray that the Catholic Church might encourage us to bring a meaningful expression of Anglicanism into the life of the Catholic Church. I think the hope would be that Rome actually countenance the creation of some kind of meaningful Anglican ecclesial community under the umbrella of the Catholic Church."

As an Anglo-Catholic departing for Rome, those should be welcome words, indeed I should be ecstatic. In truth, however, I have mixed feelings. The Holy Catholic Church is at work on a new translation of the Novus Ordo Mass and judging by the enticing snippets I have seen, it is vastly superior to the present translation (proof of its superiority is that there is already whining from the liberals who complain of too many big words, all spelled out and everything; too challenging for the average Catholic Joe). I wonder, however, the efficacy of introducing a new English translation at the same time expanding Anglican Use parishes. Does the Church really need two English translations (three, actually: Anglican Use parishes may also use, if I have it right, the woeful Rite II from the 1979 Prayer Book)?

One of the great virtues of the Episcopal/Anglican Church, before the rot set in, was one could walk into any Anglican service, anywhere in the world, and know exactly what was going on; the glorious English was the same (even if the liturgy was disparate). Similarly with the Catholic Church (that part of it using the Roman Rite, of course) before the Vatican II reforms and the use of the vernacular. Understand, I am not against Anglican Use, indeed I am all for it. The proliferation of A.U. parishes would be a shot in the arm for the dismal music and liturgy found in so many Catholic churches--nothing like competition! It seems, however, to this layman the Holy Catholic Church needs but one (albeit a good one) English translation of the Mass. More might encourage Balkanization.

(Thanks to William Tighe)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Wasting No Time Wearing Out My Welcome

My first RC Mass in the hinterlands: not so ghastly, actually. Owing to obligations Sunday morning, I attended the Vigil Mass (a mild harumph) at a small RC Church not far from Bovina (if there are any Roman Catholics in Bovina, they must number only in the single digits).

What I didn't like:

1. The didactic, namby-pamby, sing-songy English of the N.O. English translation, fit for delivery by a kindergarten teacher: "Good morning, boys and girls, the Lord be with you." "Good morning, Miss Krabappel, and also with you." I've never understood that "also with you" (the Piskies do the same in the '79 Prayer Book). In the N.O. Latin, just as in the Traditional Mass, it reads, et cum spiritu tuo--"and with thy (or "your," if you like) spirit." And would someone tell me why the Latin Mass states Credo (not Credimus) in unum Deum but its English counterpart states "WE believe in one God?" There, like General Buck Turgidson in "Dr. Strangelove," I'm beginning to smell a big fat commie rat.

2. The singing: it's been said Catholics can't sing. That's not quite right, Catholics won't sing. All the hymns (four of them) were well known, easy and accompanied fairly competently on the electronic appliance. Despite that, most of those around me didn't even bother to pick up a hymnal, preferring to stand mute and stare ahead. This Anglican finds that the most discouraging about his future Catholic brethren: they don't even try.

What I did like:

1. The church itself: it was built ca. 1850 and has charm, albeit less than it must have had in earlier days, having been Vatican II Councilized with the picnic table altar and no altar rail (and yes, the Kirk chair; two of them, actually!).

2. The homily/sermon: it was a long one, this Anglican felt right at home. What's more, it was good. Given by an fine old Queens-born Irishman, it properly centered on the readings, of course, but the priest wasn't afraid to have at anti-Catholic bias in the media, singling out the New York Times, as well as the media's unrelentingly pro-abortion stance. It did my heart good to hear that.

3 (and most heartening). The attendance: the small church was packed, even on a Saturday evening. Many of those attending were young (young!), no doubt owing, in part, to there being a college nearby. Parishioners were welcoming (not so, I understand at many RC churches) and I quickly no longer felt the stranger.

So will I be back? Absolutely, the positives far outweighed the negatives and when you add sound doctrine and the unquestioned validity of the sacraments, it's a no-brainer. Just one plea to Christ's Vicar on earth: please, please, please, hurry up with the new English translation I keep hearing is on the way. And while you're at it, can we deep-six that kiss of peace/handshake business? We can commune with our neighbors before and after church. During church, let's keep it to God alone.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Kids These Days . . .

An RC friend sent the pic above, taken in front of the Episcopal church in his suburban New Jersey neighborhood (in Bp. Spong's vibrant Diocese of Newark), expressing bemusement. Well, dear Brother, it's like this: the Episcopal Church is desperately trying to attract younger membership because the actuarial tables are stacked against her. By incorporating the music of the likes of U2 into the Mass (as do ageing Catholics thumping for the Post Vatican II reforms), they hope to lure more young people into the churches; young people who won't be turning fifty for at least a couple of years.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Goodness . . .

Reaction to my last post was a tad more than expected. To all who e-mailed, thank you, I have have tried to answer each of you individually ("Minuteman," my response to you was bounced back for some reason). To those who commented, grateful thanks for your encouragement and solace, I am astonished and gratified at your solicitude.

Answers to a couple of FAQs.

Regarding RCIA: the priest whose care I am under has exempted me from it, a privilege he often extends to Anglicans, he tells me. Nevertheless, I have been attending the classes his parish offers because (apparently unlike so many others) they are informative and stimulating. This week's class, for example, was on grace and there was much discussion of it in the form found in Flannery O'Connor's stories. Hardly boring, that!

Where I attend Mass: I am blessed (in this case, at least) to live in Manhattan where quality Catholic worship is readily available. I find myself attending St. Agnes's on 43rd Street for their superb celebration of the old Latin Rite and Fr. Rutler's Church of Our Saviour where the N.O. is used. The mediocre English is regrettable but otherwise the ritual, music and preaching are superb. Fr. Rutler has announced the Old Rite will be celebrated at Our Saviour when they can figure out where to schedule it. He is a very busy man.

Finally, a personal note to JAC: hearing from you was especially gratifying and due credit is acknowledged. I wonder if you recall a rather heated debate we had back in 2003 about the state of the Episcopal Church. You and I argued vociferously (at that point a fair amount of Hendrick's gin had worked its way into the conversation) the appropriateness of leaving the Episcopal Church. I was against, you were for. That'll larn me. It would be a joy to see you on on the other side of the Tiber but regardless, you'll always be my favorite priest (and you're up against some powerful competition).