Friday, December 28, 2007

Patronal Vespers and Benediction of the Holy Family

On Sunday, God willing, I will be at Solemn Vespers and Benediction for the Patronal Festival at Holy Family, Toronto Oratory. Here is what the bulletin promises:

Office Hymn (p. 20): Of the Father’s love begotten
Ps. 110 (p. 33) (Antiphon): Thine is princely rule in the day of
thy power in holy splendour. From the womb before the daystar
have I begotten thee.
Ps. 114/115 (p. 39) (Antiphon): Light is arisen in darkness
unto the righteous of heart; the Lord hath sent deliverance to his
people; he hath commanded his covenant for ever.
Apocalypse Canticle (p. 43) (Tone VI & R. K. Marlow after
Tallis, O nata lux de lumine, 1575)
Light hath shined upon us,
for on this day is born a Saviour, alleluia.
Short Responsory: Verbum caro factus est, alleluia. Verbum.
Et habitavit in nobis. Alleluia. Gloria. Verbum. (The Word was
made flesh. Alleluia, alleluia. The Word. And dwelt amongst
us. Alleluia. Glory be. The Word.
Magnificat (p. 46) (Tone VII with fauxbourdons by P.
Tolle puerum et matrem eius, et vade in terram Israel:
defuncti sunt enim, qui quærebant animam pueri. (Take the
child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they
are dead that sought the life of the child.
Final Antiphon: Alma Redemptoris Mater (Orlandus Lassus)
Organ: Chorale Prelude, “In dir ist Freude” (Orgelbuechlein)
(J. S. Bach)

Extraordinary form (Tridentine/Traditional Latin) Masses in the Archdiocese of Toronto

I intend this to be a definitive list of regular extraordinary form Masses in the city of Toronto. Masses elsewhere in the archdiocese (such as York Region), and those of the SSPX, are excluded without prejudice. Please notify me of any errors or omissions.

Keywords: Indult, Toronto, extraordinary form, Tridentine, traditional Latin Mass, Archdiocese of Toronto, Summorum Pontificum

9am Missa Cantata (?) - St Patrick's Church, Schomberg
11.30am Missa Cantata - St Vincent de Paul Church, Toronto Oratory
1pm Missa Cantata - St Theresa Shrine of the Little Flower

Monday to Friday
11.30am Low Mass - Holy Family Church, Toronto Oratory

8.30am Low Mass - Holy Family Church, Toronto Oratory

St Theresa's also has a Low Mass at ten-thirty on First Saturdays, preceded by the Rosary at ten o'clock.

NB: Holy Family does not have a TLM on Sunday, but is interestingly the only parish in the archdiocese with a Latin Mass according to the ordinary form every Sunday (at eleven o'clock). They are also, as far as I know, the only parish with weekly Solemn Vespers and Benediction (five o'clock on Sundays), which is a bilingual service in the ordinary form.

*Toronto Oratory
*St Theresa's Parish

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

High Mass of the Day at St Thomas's, Huron Street. Setting: Missa "Corde natus ex parentis" (Willan) (except Gloria and Credo, de Angelis, and Lord's Prayer, Merbecke).

Entrance Hymn: "O come, all ye faithful"
Sequence: "From east to west" (Christe redemptor)
Offertory: "O little town of Bethlehem" (Forest Green)
During Communion: "Angels from the realms of Glory" (to a tune called Larkin, the first time I have heard it song to anything other than Regent's Square, even though the leaflet indicated that it was sung to the latter at 9.30).
Recessional: "Hark, the herald angels sing"

There was a station at the Crèche afterwards.

Midnight Mass

Choral Eucharist for Christmas at the Church of the Nearest Sunday, at eleven o'clock at night. The Mass was preceded at ten-thirty by Christmas carols.

Hymn: "While shepherds watched" (Winchester Old)
Choir: I sing the birth (Michael Praetorius arr Philip Moore)
Hymn: "In the bleak mid-winter" (Cranham)
Choir: Wexford Carol (arr. John Rutter)
Hymn: "O little town of Bethlehem" (Forest Green)
Choir Wassail Carol (William Mathias)
Hymn: "See amid the winter's snow" (See amid the winter's snow)

Pontifical Eucharist followed. After "O come all ye faithful" and the lighting of the Christ candle was sung Joy to the world. The retired archbishop who was celebrating did so, bizarrely, in a cope. Ironically, earlier in the day, I was speaking on the phone to an Apprentice who told me that his parish priest would be celebrating Midnight Mass in a cope and told him it would never happen in Canada! The deacon wore cassock-alb and stole and the subdeacon wore cassock and surplice.

The setting was Missa Brevis (Piccolomini-messe) by Mozart, and even the Gloria was sung by the choir to this setting. The crèche, sadly, was not blessed.

"Good Christians all, rejoice" (In dulci jubilo) was the gradual hymn. There was no confession and absolution. The Lord's Prayer, at least, was sung congregationally to Merbecke. At the Fraction, and Invitation to Communion from the New Zealand Prayer Book, based on the Prayer Book words of administration, was said in lieu of the Prayer of Humble Access. Communion hymn (by the choir): "All my heart this night rejoices" (Bonn).

We sang "Silent Night" before the Blessing, which came from Common Worship, then the recessional followed to "Hark, the herald angels sing".

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fast living

I've been up since five o'clock this morning. It's always nice when I get up before 8 on a Sunday morning, not only because I then have ample time to prepare for my Communion, but also because I can eat breakfast, since I typically attend Mass at eleven, and observe the three-hour fast before Mass.

In this time of Advent, when we are trying to dodge the commercialism of the season and engage with solemnity in the coming of Christ (even if not in the same penitential manner as in Lent), it's particularly appropriate to think of our disciplines. Here is what the Saint Augustine Prayer Book, by the Order of the Holy Cross, has to say about the Eucharistic fast.

The fast before Communion is not primarily an act of penance, but one of homage to our Lord, in order to receive the Blessed Sacrament as the first food of the day. It is normally a strict fast from both food and drink from midnight. At the Midnight Mass of Christmas it is natural and reverent, though not of obligation, to fast for some hours beforehand. No fast before Communion is required of those in danger of death. (And this is held to justify some relaxation in the case of those on active duty in the armed forces, for whom the fast from midnight may, if necessary, be replaced, according to widespread practice, by one of two to four hours, under the authority of Chaplains or others ministering to those involved.) Liquid food may be allowed to those seriously ill, or to those bed-ridden for over a month, but in such cases, no one should presume to "dispense himself," for the Priest who dispenses the Sacrament is the guardian of the Church's requirements, from whom a formal dispensation should ordinarily be sought.

Since the eucharistic fast is not penitential, it is not understood to prohibit smoking. However, common sense and good manners ought to regulate those things which do not fall within the formal regulations of the Church, such as smoking, the use of lipstick, propriety of dress, and personal cleanliness.

There is no law of the Catholic Church as to what hours of the day or night the Eucharist is to be celebrated. The law concerns only the fast before Communion, and thus the hour for celebration must be set according to the ability of the Celebrant and Communicants to fast from midnight previous to reception. Hence there is no justification for celebrating the Eucharist in the afternoon or evening, except those unusual circumstances indicated above, which may, by permission from the proper superior authority, excuse from the normal observance of the fast, namely, imminence of death or danger thereof, or absolute impossibility of normal reception of the Holy Communion.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Upcoming liturgical events

Here's what I'm up to in the near future:

December 24 (Christmas Eve) - Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nearest Sunday
December 25 (Christmas Day) - High Mass of the Day at St Thomas's, Huron Street
December 30 - High Mass at the Cathedral Church of St James
December 31 (New Year's Eve) - Sung Mass at St Matthias, Bellwoods

January 7 (Julian Christmas) - Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church
January 13 (Baptism of Christ) - Sung Latin Mass (Ordinary form) at Holy Family, King Street, Toronto Oratory; Sung Eucharist and Ordination of Priests at the Church of the Redeemer

February 2 (Purification of the BVM) - Sung Eucharist and Ordination to the Episcopate at the Cathedral
February 6 (Ash Wednesday) - Choral Eucharist at the Church of the Nearest Sunday
February 10 - Choral Mattins at St Olave's, Swansea
February 17 - Sung Eucharist and Ordination to the Priesthood at St John's Convent

Gaudete Sunday

Below is my report on Gaudete Sunday, one of this blog's two patronal festivals, as posted on Ship of Fools. Sadly, due to the snow storm, I was unable to make it to the Church of St Mary Magdalene for their Solemn Evensong, Advent Carols, and Benediction (pdf warning, and the last two pages are strangely distorted). To add insult to injury, I won't be able to make it next month either because I will be at an Ordination Mass.


Gaudete Sunday at St Thomas's, Huron Street.

The Sacred Ministers were vested in what one of the priests of the parish described to me as "a violet set that passes for rose." It's too difficult to second-guess whether I would have caught on had I not been told this. The frontal and the amices of the other ministers of the sanctuary were purple, as were all but one of the stoles of the priests sitting in choir.

The Mass setting was Missa XI: Orbis Factor.

The choir sang the Introit ("Gaudete...") in Mode I during the entrance and there was quite a respectable quantity of smoke.

Sequence: "Creator of the starry height" (Conditor Alme Siderum). Creed to Merbecke (I believe this is an Advent/Lenten exception to the usual rule of De Angelis). Offertory hymn: "Lo! from the desert homes" (Crofts 136th). Motet: "Canite tuba" (Palestrina). Communion hymn: "The Lord will come and not be slow" (Old 107th). After Communion, "King of Love, O Christ, we crown thee" (Hermon, of course). The prelude and postlude (by Bach) were both entitled "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland."

My belated report on the Conception of Our Lady

Procession and High Mass at the Church of St Mary Magdalene. The Mass was Cum iubilo. Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion verses from the traditional Roman Rite sung to Plainsong.

At the Procession: "Ye who own the faith of Jesus" (Den des Vaters sinn geboren)
Sequence: The Lord whom earth and sea and sky (Puer nobis nascitur)
Offertory: Sing we of the blessed Mother (Abbot's Leigh)
Advent Prose
Her Virgin eyes saw God incarnate born (Farley Castle)

The celebrant preached an interesting homily on S. Joseph.

Having made my Communion, I proceeded to Holy Family, King Street, one of the two Oratorian parishes. They had had a "Sung Latin Novus Ordo Mass" at the same time as SMM's do. I missed the Mass, the first lecture, and the Angelus. I got to participate in the Litany of Loreto and the second lecture. Then the MBS was exposed and we said the Rosary with meditations on the Joyful Mysteries and with hymns (though no Creed or Salve Regina).

I was a bit miffed that no texts were provided, nor were the hymns announced. I'm pretty sure the Magnificat (for the Visitation) and the Nunc Dimittis (for the Presentation/Purification) were sung, but I don't know the Latin texts by heart, and could only join in for the Gloria Patri. We did however sing "O come all ye faithful." Of that much I am certain.

Benediction brought further mystery hymns. The O Salutaris (in Latin) was sung to the tune of "New every morning is the love" (Melcombe, Oremus tells me). The Tantum Ergo (ditto) was sung to Pange Lingua. These were fortunately in the Adoremus Hymnals in the pews, along with "Holy God, we praise thy name" (Grosser Gott), but not, unfortunately, the psalm and antiphon (again, Latin) sung during the repose of the sacrament.

Christmas at S. Clement's

(Courtesy of Magic Wand at Ship of Fools)

Christmas Eve
Monday, December 24
11:00 a.m. - Prime and the Christmas Martyrology, Terce, Sext, and None
12:10 p.m. - Low Mass of the Vigil
12:45 p.m. - First Vespers of Christmas and Compline
9:45 p.m. - Matins and Veneration of the Bambino
12:00 midnight - Procession, Blessing of the Crib, and Solemn Mass
1:30 a.m. - Lauds

Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 25
8:00 a.m. - Low Mass
9:30 a.m. - Prime, Terce, Sext, and None
10:30 a.m. - The Devotion of the Steps of the Infant Jesus
11:00 a.m. - Solemn Mass and Veneration of the Relic of the Crib
12:30 p.m. - Vespers

Eve of S. Thomas of Canterbury
Friday, December 28
5:30 p.m. - First Vespers of S. Thomas and Compline
6:00 p.m. - Matins and Lauds

S. Thomas of Canterbury, Patron of the College of Beneficiaries
Saturday, December 29
9:00 a.m. - Prime, Terce, Sext, and None
10:00 a.m. - Sung Mass and Veneration of the Relic of S. Thomas
12:00 noon - Vespers

Sunday within the Octave
Sunday, December 30
8:00 a.m. - Low Mass
10:00 a.m. - Prime and Terce
10:30 a.m. - Rosary
11:00 a.m. - Solemn Mass and Te Deum
3:00 p.m. - Sext and None
4:00 p.m. - Solemn Vespers and Benediction

Circumcision of Our Lord
Tuesday, January 1
9:30 a.m. - Prime, Terce, Sext, and None
10:30 a.m. - Rosary
11:00 a.m. - Veni Creator and Solemn Mass
12:30 p.m. - Vespers

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Howlers from the Niagara Anglican

Two points from the January 2008 Niagara Anglican (in pdf here)

Eleanor Johnston, from St Thomas's, St Catharines, writes of an experience hearing Bishop Don Harvey preach at the cathedral in St John's: 'The sermon, by Bishop Harvey, was the most narrow-minded and hostile we had ever heard, both in terms of his tone of voice and the content of his message. He ranted at us about the sin of believing in modern theology. One line in particular I remember: "If you do not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, you do not belong in this church!" We sat there, stunned.'

I mean, how could he? Doesn't he know that that could offend some people's theological sensibilities? Jesus doesn't really care if you believe his word or his Church as long as you're really nice to your neighbour, right?

Likewise, the Very Rev. Peter Wall, Rector of Christ's Church Cathedral and Dean of Niagara, chides us for not being accommodating enough of, erm, non-Christian Christians.

"Inclusive worship should also be a hallmark of our parishes and communities. Inclusive of different approaches and needs, of different preferences and experiences, of differing views and responses. A member of the Cathedral community said not so long ago to me that he had real trouble with The Holy Trinity—didn't think that he could believe in it, and struggled with the divinity of Christ. He translated that into a sense of unworthiness to celebrate weekly with the gathered community."

Good for the Dean! After all, people who don't believe in Christ's godhead (and thus, one assumes, not in the Eucharist itself) can still be good Christians, right? To think that one shouldn't partake in the sacraments just because one doesn't believe in them is so retro and self-loathing. Who's to say whether they are good Christians? (Maybe the Council of Nicea?)

Sundays at S. Clement's

The Sunday schedule at S. Clement's, Philadelphia, my dream parish, of which I am currently enrolling as a Friend.

7.30am Matins
8am Low Mass
10am - 10.45am Confessions
10.30am Most Holy Rosary
11am High Mass and Sermon (English Missal)
4pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction (Anglican Breviary)

They are gradually posting a video of their High Mass, Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction for Corpus Christi. It will soon be available for purchase as a DVD.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Me on the Greg Venables show?

(With apologies to whoever wrote the book for "Bye Bye Birdie")

Am I the only one who finds it odd that the two examples of agreements that the Anglican Church of Canada has broken which spring to ++Venables's mind (Lambeth I.10 and Windsor) are in fact, not "agreements"? Of course, if they represented consensus in the Anglican Communion, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.


Serge has a Field Guide to Anglican Churchmanship that I have found to be somewhat helpful in articulating the vagaries of churchmanship. Because it is somewhat polemical in nature, I have adapted it here to better reflect the self-identification of the groups themselves. (For example Open Evangelicals do not consider themselves "former" Evangelicals, nor AffCaths "former Catholics").

For the evangelical section, instead of Serge's original categories, I have drawn on Stephen Bates's taxonomy from A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality, which differs slightly.

I have omitted the "Anglo-Orthodox" category, since I have only ever encountered isolated individuals using it. (I call myself an "Affirming Anglo-Lefebvrist" but I am certainly a party of one). I have also inserted English Use as a subcategory, since it still has some currency in some circles in the CofE.

1. Anglo-Catholic
a. Anglo-Tridentine (Predominately North American).
b. Modern Anglo-Papalist (UK only).
c. Prayer Book Catholic. Considers the classical line of the Book of Common Prayer (1549-1962) a sufficient expression of Catholic faith. Eschews “Italianate” liturgical norms.
d. Modern “Prayer Book” Catholic. Non-Papalist, uses contemporary worship book of his/her Province. Most (but not all) Anglo-Catholics who hold liberal views on women clergy and homosexuality fall within this category.
e. English Use. Looks to pre-Reformation English ceremonial, often as adapted by the The Parson’s Handbook.

2. Central
a. High Central – Similar to 1c or 1d but with less “localised” view of the Eucharist.
b. Middle of the road
c. Low Central – Protestant, into emotive worship, sometimes charismatic. Shies away from Calvinism and believes in the necessity of the historic episcopate.

(Traditional and modern streams with regards to the ordination of women).

3. Evangelical
a. Conservative Evangelical. Biblically inerrantist and literalist. Opposes “headship” of women. Often Calvinist.
b. Charismatic. Conservative view of Scripture, but open to continued revelation by the Holy Spirit.
c. Open. Most theologically liberal strand, and least "Romophobic". Higher view of sacraments and liturgy. Accepts women in positions of leadership. Some are also more progressive than other Evangelicals with respect to homosexuality.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, I've been away too long! I've attended a few exciting liturgies this month. On 4 November, I was able to take in Solemn Evensong and Benediction at St Mary Mag, which was delightful as always. On Remembrance Day, I played conscientious objector and instead of my own parish's Choral Mattins visited the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields for their Patronal Festival.

I've become something of a regular at Trinity College's Monday Community Sung Eucharists. This month I saw an Agape Meal, a valiantly-attempted Tridentine Mass, and a wonderful 1552 Communion Office.

My own parish celebrated its feast of title this past Sunday, and had a visiting retired suffragan as homilist. She also dedicated the children's chapel, now under the patronage of S. Nicholas.

Tonight I will be going to Evening Prayer at Wycliffe College and comparing it to my experience across the street and up the candle at Trinity.

After a period of neglecting the Office, I am experimenting with online sources. This morning I used the Book of Divine Worship website.

Also, Toronto has elected a new suffragan bishop, Canon Linda Nicholls. She is said to be a moderate conservative and an introvert.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sung Mattins at St Olave's

I have to plug the Choral Mattins service at
St Olave's, Swansea
, in West Toronto. It's almost entirely congregationally sung, with a decent choir leading the chants, and takes places on the first, fourth, and fifth Sundays of the month.

Monday, October 22, 2007

And the nominees are...

Today, the nominees for the election of a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Toronto were announced. The post is that of Area Bishop of Trent-Durham. The rector of the Church of the Nearest Sunday is among the candidates.

• The Rev. Andrew Asbil
• The Rev. A. V. (Terry) Bennett
• The Ven. Peter Fenty
• The Rev. Millie Hope
• The Rev. Canon Dr. Linda Nicholls
• The Rev. Judy Paulsen
• The Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Rois
• The Rev. Canon Mark Tiller (Diocese of Niagara)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Christian Ethics and the sexually active adolescent

There is a certain dichotomous tendency in most Christian approaches to sexual ethics that I find unfortunate. The extent of the guidance many seem to be willing to give is "faithfulness in marriage [often defined as heterosexual marriage] or abstinence outside of it." This is certainly the ideal (though I define the sacrament of matrimony differently than most of my co-religionists), but what of those who fall short of this ideal? Are we then to consign them to a total absence of counsel on our part? Can we give them no ethical guidance whatsoever? It can only be vindictive to say to them "Obey the Church perfectly, or we'll give you no help at all." It seems to me that many of my friends in their teens who are sexually active believe that the Church has nothing to say to them about their sexual behaviour. (This despair is particularly evident amongst gay young people, but that is not my immediate concern in this column). They do not comply with the ideal, so we will not give them any advice at all.

Might it not be more helpful to adopt what social service professionals call "a harm reduction approach"? The parent who makes condoms available to her child need not condone his activities, nor the worker in the safe injection site who provides her charges with clean syringes. Rather, both seek to minimise the potential for resulting suffering. I recall my mother telling me, in my early adolescence, that if I ever wished to experiment with marijuana, she hoped I would do so under her supervision.

Can we not then learn to talk to those who are sexually active outside of marriage, rather than abandoning the Church's teaching ministry to them? They are not lost causes: their failure to remain chaste in the conventional sense does not give them liberty to abandon all respect for human dignity. Every sexually active teenager can tell of the partner who does not call, or who cavalierly transmits a venereal infection, or who is a bully in seeking to satisfy his wants. Why should we not show appropriate pastoral concern for such people, especially young people, and help them to avoid promiscuity, that is, to seek sexual relations only in stable romantic friendships? Even though they may not meet the Christian ideal, most could approach it far more closely than they now do.

Many of the stories my unchurched friends relate of their exploits are occasions for deep chagrin. Perhaps we, like the astute mother or the realistic social service worker, can alleviate their sadness and suffering, even if our ethical standards remain unchanged in and of themselves. There is simply no need to allow anyone who requires pastoral care to remain unassisted.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Holy Cross Day

Procession and Solemn Mass of Holy Cross Day at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto. It was the first of three Masses I will be attending for the feast (that one, tomorrow afternoon at Holy Cross Priory, and Sunday morning at the Church of the Nearest Sunday).

The vestments were a smart red set with black orphreys; ditto the full-length frontal (unusual for St. Mary mag; the altar normally wears a miniskirt). It was a modern set: no horizontal bars on either the dalmatic or tunicle, and no maniples in evidence.

The Mass was a homegrown Healey Willan Mass for the feast. The subdeacon's, shall we say, untrained voice made the Epistle rather painful. In lieu of a gradual, the psalm was said with a refrain accompanied by children on glockenspiels and sundry other percussion instruments, which was rather experimental for a Solemn Mass at SMM, but they pulled it off, in my opinion. The children later returned for the response to the Prayers of the People.

A new motet composed for the occasion by SMM's music director on the text of John 3.16 was quite haunting and lovely. The hymns were "The royal banners forward go" (Vexilla Regis), "When I survey the wondrous cross" (Rockingham), "All praise to thee, for thou O king divine" (Engelberg), and "Lift high the cross" (Crucifer). I fell in love with Engelberg the first time I heard it, so I was quite pleased.

Did anything distract me? Apart from the seemingly obligatory pierced-eyebrowed blond in low-rise jeans sitting ahead of me, there was a point during the offertory when someone in the chancel party began to brush up against his/her microphone for a painfully prolonged period of time, causing much mirth.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sung Eucharist and Reception of Oblates at St. John's Convent for the Nativity of the BVM and the Foundation Day of the Sisterhood of St John the Divine. Neither of the main AC shops in town had anything beyond the usual weekday Low Mass, so I headed uptown to visit the sisters for their big day.

Smells but no bells for this Mass of St Denis by Barrie Cabena. Introit hymn: "Sing of Mary, pure and lowly" (to "Hermon"), a dreadful "Hymn of Oblation" written by one of the Oblates about pressing on in God's love "together with the Sisters". I forgave the lyrics because it was set to Abbot's Leigh. Offertory hymn: "Heavenly message". Communion: "Virgin born, we bow before thee". Post-communion: "The God whom earth and sea and sky". It wasn't the tune I'm used to singing it (as well as "O love, how deep") to, which is Puer nobis nascitur.

The homily opened with a great anecdote about Irish Nuns in Quebec but lost me after a while. The highlight of the Reception of Oblates was two of the women breaking down in tears. The Dismissal, which was noted as "Romanian" on the sheet, got up my hopes of something Byzantine, but seemed rather to have been an adaptation of a folk tune.

Overall, it was a reverent, joyful celebration (no kneeling whatsoever) and I look forward to my next visit.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Lift up your hearts

...But chiefly ought we to praise thee, gracious Glendon, for cancelling classes on major Jewish holidays, for though this statute clearly hath its origin at the main campus, which hath an higher concentration of Jewish students, yet thou dost bountifully allow us who are in the midst of WASPy Lawrence Park to benefit from its peaceful succour. Therefore with Angels ...

How I learned to stop worrying and love Reformation Sunday

A response to my friend

I was introduced to Reformation Sunday at a very liberal-catholic Lutheran parish, and no doubt its observance there was unorthodox. My pastor was a devoted ecumenist, had letters from Roman Catholic bishops on his office wall, and owned a biretta. When I walked into church on Reformation Sunday, I commented to him that I was uneasy with Protestantism. "I am not a Protestant!" he replied. "I am an Evangelical Catholic!"

The theme of the Mass was very much Reformation in general - he even tied in his views of same-sex blessings during the homily. As an Anglican, I see myself as both a Catholic and a reformed Christian. Throughout the calendar of saints, I celebrate my church's catholicity, so I don't feel bad celebrating its Reformation heritage once a year. Errors *were* corrected at the Reformation; I acknowledge that for the most part they have been corrected by Rome since then as well.

That's how I celebrate Reformation Sunday with a quiet conscience. I'm probably not typical, and there are likely parishes (probably Misery/Wisconsin Synod, or one of the non-Lutheran denominations that celebrate it, like the Christian Reformed) where it is an occasion to glorify Protestantism. But the bottom line is that I, a decided non-Protestant, have no objection to Reformation Sunday in principle. (Though, like a true Anglo-Catholic, I would rather celebrate Reformation Day with a High Mass on October 31 than transfer it!)

This year, I hope to go to St. Peter's Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Toronto for Reformation Sunday. Their English mass is early enough that I can still make it to my own parish ("the Church of the Nearest Sunday") for my regular mass. (Although, I'm possibly revising my Sunday morning schedule on the second and fourth Sundays of each month - details soon!)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

To do

Goals to accomplish this year:

*Take academic writing workshop
*Join Athletic Club
*Finish Jules Verne novel
*Date a Francophone
*Attend Solemn Evensong every Sunday
*Give up Facebook for Lent (except Sundays!)
*Visit friends in Guelph as often as finances permit

Theory busted

In Toronto, there is a parish called the the Swedish Lutheran Church in Toronto. I had been under the impression that they were dually affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (which is in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada) and the Church of Sweden (which is in apostolic succession and blesses same sex unions). Can you see where this is going? I thought I had found a loophole. The Swedes not only include rings in their ceremony (unlike New Westminster) but have declared themselves open to allowing the actual wedding to take place in church if same-sex marriage (as opposed to civil unions) is legalised by their government. And in Canada, that's already the case...

But I was wrong. Here is an excerpt from an email I received from the congregation's Pastor Anna Runesson.

"You are correct in your understanding concerning same-gender blessings within the Church of Sweden. However, my position in Canada looks a bit different. I am an ordained pastor for the Church of Sweden, but the Swedish Church in Toronto does not officially belongs to this church. We are an ethnic church within Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCIC). This means that I officially work for ELCIC, which position, as you know, is not the same as the Church of Sweden in this question. I am, therefore, not eligible to perform blessings of same-gender unions in Canada as an employed ELCIC pastor. Personally, I would have preferred the order of the Church of Sweden in this matter."

Oh, well. We'll keep trying.


From the Anglican Journal: Legal experts tackle same-sex questions

So the dust has settled and General Synod has, at the end of the day, declined to pass a resolution affirming diocesan authority to permit the blessing of same-sex unions. But the fight's not over. No one is really happy: "liberals" don't get their SSBs (yet) and the "conservatives" are going to lose in 2010 (they won only by two votes in the House of Bishops).

Part of the confusions stems from the fact the resolution would not have "authorised" dioceses to allow SSBs, but rather would have "affirmed" their authority. This to some reads like an acknowledgment of existing jurisdiction, so that the resoluion's narrow defeat is in fact a moot point. I'm not sure I buy this interpretation, but certainly the lack of clarity is unfortunate. The Rt. Rev. James Cowan, Bishop of British Columbia, writes “There are those who argue that because General Synod did not pass a motion claiming its authority on the matter, it may be left to a local church (diocese, parish, or parish priest) to make decisions about moving forward with same-sex union blessings. I am not of that opinion...". Certainly "that opinion" may or may not be accurate, but wouldn't it have been easier on everyone if General Synod had made that clear one way or the other? Am I the only the one who thinks we need a Clarity Act like the one that sets the ground rules in Canadian law for any future secession of Quebec?

This ambiguity, combined with the resolution declaring that there is nothing in creedal doctrine preventing the blessing of same-sex unions, makes it unclear what in fact the consequences will be for anyone who blesses such a union. Fr Eric Beresford poses the question of “whether or not it is lawful to require obedience from a priest on something the General Synod of the church has declared to be matter indifferent.” Are we going to end up like the the Lutherans of Eastern Synod (Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes), where Bishop Michael Pryse has pledged to impose "the least severe forms of discipline" ( on pastors who bless or even marry same-sex couples? Already, the Dean of Niagara and a retired Archbishop of Toronto have been given slaps on the wrists for doing just that.

So what about the good news? It's threefold, as far as I can tell. 1) Priests can now offer Mass for civilly married same-sex couples, with intercessions for their union, providing that no exchange of vows or nuptial blessing takes place. 2) Any similar motion is sure to pass in Halifax in 2010. 3) and most importantly, a resolution asking Council of General Synod to study the possibility of allowing "all legally qualified persons" to marry in the Church has passed. So chin up, and keep praying.



Saturday, August 11, 2007

The importance of diction

"Blessed city, happy salem" re-examined

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"
Yes, I'm a fag, but it can't be as bad
As "No! No! No!"

I don't see the crime
In wearing cassocks all the time
I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"

They'd rather that I go to Yale
I ain't got those kinds of marks
'Cos they say, there's nothing they can teach me
That I can't learn down in Connecticut

I may not get laid
But I'll wear more lace than a French maid

I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"
Yes, I'm a fag, but it can't be as bad
As "No! No! No!"

I will still be fine
If my "Daddy's" left behind
I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"

The deacon said, Why do you want to go?
I said, For the Tantum Ergo
I want, I want to wear my pom
Somewhere everyone knows what it is

He said, I wouldn't think about it
Unless you've got a closet to hang out in

I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"
Yes, I'm a fag, but it can't be as bad
As "No! No! No!"

I don't ever wanna drink white wine
Just 'cos it looks less like blood
I want, I want to do things right
Where no one says that cottas are unsightly

It's not about "Pride"
It's just till I'm on the bishop's good side

I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"
Yes, I'm a fag, but it can't be as bad
As "No! No! No!"

I don't see the crime
In wearing cassocks all the time
I wanna study at Nashotah
They say "No! No! No!"