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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coming Home

The vestry of Mount Calvary Church (Episcopal), a small but historic Anglo-Catholic parish in Baltimore, has voted unanimously in favor of two resolutions: first, to leave the Episcopal Church and second, to become an Anglican Use parish in the Holy Catholic Church under terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution announced last year by the Vatican that provides for "personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering full communion with the Catholic Church," while allowing them to retain most elements of Anglican worship using a modified version of the Book of Common Prayer.

The rector of Mount Calvary, the Rev'd Jason Cantania, has sent his parishioners a letter (posted below) announcing a special meeting on October 24th at which the vestry's resolutions will be voted upon by the parish. Fr. Catania writes: "The result of these developments is that the Archdiocese of Baltimore now stands ready to welcome Mount Calvary as a body into full communion with the successor of St. Peter, and the process of establishing ordinariates in various countries, including the United States, has begun."

While certainly a dramatic move, the impact of Mount Calvary's departure for Rome remains to be seen. The number of Anglo-Catholics in the United States has always been relatively small and after thirty-some years of increasing heterodoxy in the Episcopal Church, many of those not having gone theologically "soft" have already left, most to breakaway Anglican churches, a few to Rome. Not all, though, and I can think of celebrated Anglo-Catholic parishes in Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere that will regard with great interest the doings of Mount Calvary. Ultimately, however, I suspect most of them, having a visceral dislike of the Holy Catholic Church, will elect to accommodate the Episcopal Church's continuing innovations--or simply look the other way--and stick it out until the bitter end.

Liturgy and music loving Catholics in the Baltimore area, however, should rejoice at Mount Calvary's impending Tiber crossing for that church is celebrated for both. Since there are not many Roman parishes in the region for which the same may be claimed, I predict average Sunday attendance at Mount Calvary will rise more than a little if the church becomes an Anglican Use parish.

It is my understanding the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, while saddened by Mount Calvary's decision, has indicated, happily, its willingness to negotiate an amicable separation that will permit the parish to keep its property. It is also believed there will not be objections from 815 Second Avenue in New York in as much Mount Calvary is leaving for Rome, not another Anglican entity. Let us pray it is so.



September 21, 2010

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write today to inform you of a special meeting of the Congregation of Mount Calvary Church which has been called by the Vestry for Sunday, October 24, following the 10:00 am Solemn Mass. The purpose of this meeting is to vote on two resolutions which have been unanimously approved by the Vestry. They are as follows:

Resolved: In accordance with Article 12 of the amendment to the Charter of Mount Calvary Church, Baltimore, adopted April 10, 1967, the Vestry of Mount Calvary Church hereby determines that The Episcopal Church (formerly known as the “Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America”) has clearly, substantially, and fundamentally changed its doctrine, discipline and worship, and that Mount Calvary Church should become separate from and independent of The Episcopal Church. The Vestry therefore calls for a special meeting of the Congregation of Mount Calvary Church to be held on Sunday, October 24, 2010, following the 10:00 AM Mass, to affirm and enact this resolution.

Resolved: That Mount Calvary Church, upon separation from The Episcopal Church, seek to become an Anglican Use parish of the Roman Catholic Church.

Most of you are fully aware of the history which has brought us to this point. That history extends all the way back to the 19th century, when Mount Calvary became well-known, throughout Maryland and throughout the Episcopal Church, for its adherence to Catholic faith and practice. Indeed, to some it was notorious for its “popish” ways, and in fact for many clergy and people over the years (including two of my predecessors as rector), Mount Calvary has been their last stop before “crossing the Tiber”. The immediate process which brings us to this historic moment began with a Vestry retreat in October 2007, where it was decided unanimously that Mount Calvary should explore the possibility of becoming part of the Roman Catholic Church. Since then, two crucial events have occurred. The first was the reception of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, our own parish sisters, into the Catholic Church in September 2009. The second was the announcement the following month of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution calling for the creation of “personal ordinariates” (essentially non-geographical dioceses) for groups of Anglicans entering the Roman Catholic Church while retaining elements of their tradition. The result of these developments is that the Archdiocese of Baltimore now stands ready to welcome Mount Calvary as a body into full communion with the successor of St. Peter, and the process of establishing ordinariates in various countries, including the United States, has begun.

While I know that the vast majority of you are enthusiastic about making this transition, I realize that some may still have questions and concerns about the prospect of entering the Roman Catholic Church. In the weeks ahead, prior to the congregational meeting, I will invite a series of guests to speak about their experience of life in the Catholic Church and to answer questions. Some of these guests will be well-known to you; indeed they will include former parishioners and clergy of Mount Calvary. I think all of them will be helpful in allaying any fears there may be.

Let me conclude by saying how truly grateful I am to be leading Mount Calvary Church at this moment in time. When I became your rector over four years ago, I had not the faintest idea that this would be the journey we would take together. Nonetheless, there is not a doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Holy Spirit and truly the will of God, not simply for me, but for Mount Calvary. This is not about rejecting our past and our heritage, but rather fulfilling it. We have before us the opportunity to carry with us the richness of the Anglican tradition into full communion with the wider Catholic Church. I therefore ask that each of you pray that God’s will be done in this place which we all love so dearly as we approach this momentous decision.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev’d Jason Catania, SSC

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Blind Leading the Blind

The Pew Forum recently tested a sampling of Americans on their knowledge of religion and not surprisingly, we didn't do very well. A shorter version of the test is available on line and you can take it yourself. I did and while I will never make any claims to scholarship, I managed to get every one of the questions right, as any reader of this blog should. Nevertheless, getting all the answers to some remarkably dumb-ass questions places me, according to Pew, in the 99th percentile of the American public.

Most appalling, however, is that only fifty percent, on average, of Catholics tested answered correctly the bread and wine become the the actual body and blood of Christ during communion. What in God's name goes on in Catholic schools and confirmation classes these days, other than the passing around coloring books of Bible scenes and pamphlets describing where the priest is allowed to touch you?

Sacrificing Oneself for Status Quo

Mr. Jann S. Wenner, society leader and publisher of an old and established journal for the elderly well-heeled, steels himself and services our President--for the good of the nation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"He Loves His Damned Old Rodeo as Much as He Loves Me...

"Someday soon, goin' with him, someday soon."
(Judy Collins)

Cowboy lassos animal-rights protester.

(Thanks to Justin Martyr)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just How Mad are They, Even in New York?

This mad:
Flame-throwing Republican Carl Paladino is within striking distance of overtaking longtime gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, a shocking new poll finds, according to our State Capitol Bureau Chief, Ken Lovett.

Among likely voters, Democrat Cuomo has a paltry 49% to 43% lead over Paladino, the maverick Buffalo businessman who won a shocking and decisive victory last week in the GOP primary against Rick Lazio, the Quinnipiac University poll finds.
Other polls show a greater gulf between the two candidates but the fact it is a contest at all is simply astonishing. Cuomo, presently the state's attorney general, has been considered a shoo-in by most pundits (and has acted that way) while Paladino is regarded as a gadfly (to put it politely) at best. He recently attacked Cuomo as not having "cojones" for refusing to debate him and described Manhattan as "home to smug, self-important, pampered liberal elitists" (having lived in Manhattan for many years, I can concur) and that he would "send state police into the city and 'every other sanctuary city in the state to pick up illegals [sic] and turn them over to the feds.'"

The leaders of New York's Republican Party, the wimpiest Republican organization in all the land, are naturally appalled by all of this and advising other candidates to keep Paladino at "arm's length." They may come to regret that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Cause There's No Nicer Witch than You

Not enjoying success skewering Republican Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell over her views on masturbation, the Democrats and their media poodles are now waxing ecstatic over superannuated talk-show host Bill Mahre's dredging up, from twelve years back, footage of her confessing she once dabbled in witchcraft. Furthermore, Mahre is extorting O'Donnell (although neither he nor the media will use that word) by threatening to run more damaging clips of her until she agrees to appear on his show. Ms. O'Donnell duly canceled her Sunday morning TV appearances today and is no doubt taking stock.

Whether or not this revelation deals a body blow to the O'Donnell campaign remains to be seen. Regardless the outcome, however, one may safely venture Ms. O'Donnell is not, perhaps, the most stellar candidate ever to have run for office (though by no means the least) and what's more, the average Republican voting in the Delaware primary was surely well aware of that. Nonetheless, that is whom they picked, over a much more "qualified" political veteran and choice of Republican Party officialdom, which only drives home the degree of their dissatisfaction with status quo. I happen to think Christine O'Donnell still has a chance at beating her hard-left Democratic opponent and that this witchcraft "scandal," along with other alleged gaffes Bill Mahre choses to reveal, will have little effect other than to provide further adolescent titillation for those on the left.

And Further Still...

My old friend Justin Martyr, who will never be recruited for the diplomatic corps, writes:
Poor Pope Benedict. He has two perfectly nice palaces in Rome, is well north of eighty, and hates crowds -- but he has to go through the motions of all these witches' Sabbaths just because il Papa Polacco loved the nightlife.
Don't sugarcoat it, pal. Still, there is no denying Holy Father has a great deal of work remaining. As I watch him spend precious moments in endless receiving lines, shaking hands with undistinguished pols and Methodist ministers, I cannot help thinking his time left on earth might better be spent at home.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And Continuing the Grousing...

Watching the live feed of the Holy Father's visit to England yesterday I was impressed by Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey, in which the Pope participated. The music was glorious: a superb mix of Bach, Byrd, Purcell (who was the Abbey Organist for twenty-five years), Elgar, Reger, Duruflé, Wesley, Stanford and Howells, all performed and sung magnificently.

In short, it was an embarrassment to any music-loving Catholic. I can't help wonder if the Anglicans did this just to rub it in. If so, they succeeded.

Let Me Count the Ways

While leafing through the hymnalette at the vigilante mass this evening I came across a ditty called "How Can I Keep from Singing?"

Hoo boy, where do I begin?

Well It Is the Catholic Church, After All

From the Guardian:

Pope's astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him

An alien – 'no matter how many tentacles it has' – could have a soul, says pope's astronomer


Speaking ahead of a talk at the British Science Festival in Birmingham tomorrow, he said that the traditional definition of a soul was to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions. "Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul." Would he baptise an alien? "Only if they asked."

Guy Consolmagno, who is one of the pope's astronomers, said he would be "delighted" if intelligent life was found among the stars. "But the odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it – when you add them up it's probably not a practical question."
And I do like this:
Responding to [Steven] Hawking's recent comments that the laws of physics removed the need for God, Consolmagno said: "Steven Hawking is a brilliant physicist and when it comes to theology I can say he's a brilliant physicist."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Did I Miss This?

Arlo Guthrie a Republican? Yep, this quintessential hippie-songster of the 60s (I could probably still recite most of Alice's Restaurant if I put my mind to it) and son of the quintessential commie-folkie of the 30s put an "R" next to his name several years ago. He seems more on the Libertarian side, though, which is all to the good (even if I don't agree with the entire Libertarian platform) because that is the way the Republicans must go if they are going to survive. Read what Guthrie had to say about Ron Paul, whom he endorsed(!) for president.
Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of the United States had he been there. I'm with him, because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago. I look forward to the day when we can work out the differences we have with the same revolutionary vision and enthusiasm that is our American legacy."
I couldn't agree more.

Thanks to DP

The Company They Don't Keep

The Republican Party has been taking it on the chin recently for its churlish reaction to recent defeats of party-approved candidates by the Tea Partiers; Karl Rove in particular has been excoriated for his trashing of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell after her upset victory over Michael Castle, a long-time party hack. Castle himself has graciously refused to endorse her.

Tea Partiers, however, instead of decrying poor-sport whining mainstream Republicans should bow their heads in grateful thanks, for they have received a great gift. The abnegation of the Tea Party and its goals of substantially smaller and limited government, something most Americans whole-heartedly support, by Republican leadership removes a great liability from Tea Partiers: their party's being associated by the Democrats with Republican leadership. And the Democrats won't have Karl Rove to kick around either (not that anyone cares).

UPDATE: Thank you John Kerry!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Goodwill Gesture

The Taliban in Afghanistan are using pages ripped from the Koran as packaging material for heroin and and sending children out into the streets to sell it. I trust the usual suspects in mainstream media will decry this despicable act of Islamophobia.

The wacko evangelical who kept threatening to burn copies of the Koran might better have sent them all to the Taliban, as a gift from his congregation, for use in their shipping department.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sweep Out the New and Bring in the Old

Fr. Rutler on the Shrine to Cardinal John Henry Newman being erected at the Church of Our Saviour in New York City, to be dedicated and blessed by Archbishop Dolan on September 23 [emphasis added]:
The shrine is in the place of one of four confessionals. Many confessions are heard daily in the parish. This fourth confessional, after Vatican II, was enlarged to serve as a Reconciliation Room with chairs and other furnishings. Later, that use was ended and the space served for storage. It visually blocked the St. Jude shrine. The carvings have been preserved and the original woodwork has been restored to its original dimensions.

(Thanks to New Liturgical Movement for image)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Straight to Nowhere

Instapundit links to blogger mistermix at Balloon Juice, who writes of a recent massacre in Buffalo, New York, where eight people were shot and four of them died. The local newspaper looked into the backgrounds of the victims and found that nearly all of them had extensive criminal records. For its trouble the Buffalo News caught much flack from community activist types. Balloon Juice argues, correctly I think, the newspaper actually performed a public service for its readers, whom we assume are mostly law-abiding citizens: by revealing the sordid pasts of the victims they may be reasonably assured they will not meet such violent ends themselves. Balloon Juice goes off the rails, however, in the last sentence: "The sad fact is that the Buffalo News is giving the people what they want and need: context, in the form of code-words that classify the violence that is in large part a side-effect of drug prohibition."

It's pretty much de rigeur among Libertarians (which is one of the reasons I cannot count myself among their numbers) that all drugs should be legalized, that people have the right to do to themselves whatever they like, even commit suicide on the installment plan. Up to a point, I concur, but when Libertarians also argue the legalization of illegal drugs will lower crime by eliminating a major source of it, I must part company with them.

To believe legalizing drugs lowers crime one must also believe the neighborhood dope peddler, when deprived of his livelihood, will go in search of licit employment. Not at all: he will instead try his hand at car theft, gun running, armed robbery, extortion, you name it. Drug dealers are not wannabe accountants or doctors who for want of opportunity go to the dark side. They ply their trade not just for the lucre, which is undeniably attractive, but also for the glamor, excitement and respect they think that violence and criminality will earn them in their rotten neighborhoods (sadly, they are greatly encouraged in their twisted ambitions by our utterly corrupt popular culture). To argue drug dealers will go straight when their contraband become legal is as ridiculous a notion that the mafia would disappear with the passage of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Forward to the Past

I'm on an Anthony Trollope kick these days (right now working my way through the Barsetshire novels, nearing the end of Framley Parsonage). I'm reading his works on a digital reader, which is a marvelous device indeed; I recently bought "50+ works" of Trollope online for the princely sum of $5.69, impressive, I think.

I also think this is the future for the distribution of literature. There will always be a market for fine hardbound editions, of course. They are still best way to read while curled up in a comfy chair by the fire (somewhere buried in the family book collection there's a nineteenth-century complete editions of Trollope's works I intend mining for this weekend) but with crappy paperback editions costing upwards of $10 these days, and the price of digital readers coming down, I think we will see their demise relatively soon.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Where's the JumboTron?

This is the structure the hierarchy of the Holy Catholic Church in England will erect for the beatification of John Henry Newman by the Pope when he visits later this month.


I wonder whom they despise more, Newman or the Pope?

(Thanks to the MCJ)