Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some timely thoughts on the Eve of the Circumcision

A real brawl is brewing over at MadPriest's lair over neonatal male circumcision. I was born at a time (1988) and in a place (North America) where routine circumcision of baby boys was still relatively common. I was a bit startled to learn, when I made the acquaintance of my English friends, that this is not the case there (in fairness, they were correspondingly startled). My grade 11 parenting teacher was vehemently opposed to the practice, and urged us not to subject our sons to it in the absence of a religious injunction to do so. (Since I'll become a parent, if at all, by acquisition rather than procreation, I'm unlikely to have to make such a decision).

From a religious viewpoint, the lady who runs Fisheaters has a rather angry and didactically graphic discussion on why Traditional Catholics should resist the procedure.

I do remember that in high school my girlfriends and I turned up our noses at the idea of becoming intimate with any boy in possession of a foreskin, which I now think was immature of us. (Plumbing is generally not something I now get excited about - earlier in the month I asked out an FTM friend, and was gently rebuffed). But there's no doubt, to anyone who reads the personals in Xtra!, that many gay men have strong - even fetishistic - preferences, whether for or against.

In my first year of university, several of my gay male cohorts joined a Facebook support group for men grieving the loss of their foreskins. I was sceptical, not really having strong feelings either way. (I admit, though, that the natural lubrication provided by the foreskin must save the men who have them considerable amounts otherwise spent on artificial subsitutes therefor. But there's no use crying over, erm, spilt milk).

This is rather nitty-gritty. I wonder if The Rose Maniple will be flagged for this post. Indeed, I wonder if I'll even want to leave it up tomorrow. But I couldn't resist bouncing around my ideas about a subject that seems to get so many in a tizzy, as we used to say in my group home.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I beheld water...

Seasonally inappropriate, I know, but I couldn't resist sharing...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Evensong of Christmas

I attended the strangest service of my life this afternoon.

Five people gathered in the Lady Chapel of St Bartholomew's, Regent Park. The priest vested in surplice, stole, and cope, blessed the crèche (using the Canadian Book of Occasional Offices) as we stood by and were sprinkled along with it. Your correspondent held the aspersorium. Evening Prayer was then sung, with the psalms to idiosyncratic organ and wind instrument accompaniment, but the readings were not those in the Prayer Book. Instead they were Isaiah ("The people who sat in darkness...") and Luke's nativity narrative.

Hymns: "O little town of Bethlehem" (Forest Green)
"In the bleak midwinter" (Cranham)
"The Maker of the sun and moon" (Newbury)

A sermon was preached.

We all participated in a procession to the crèche and sang ""While shepherds watched" (Winchester Old)

The Benediction hymns were, disappointingly, not the proper plainsong, but Gonfalon royal (which I don't really know) and Grafton. The collect was omitted. The congregation stood in front of the altar rail behind the priest (I alone knelt at it). The benediction was given, rather perfunctorily, at the very end - after the (unabridged) Divine Praises and Psalm 117, with the antiphon sung strangely. (I'm used to "...most ho-o-oly sacrament," not "most holy sa-a-acrament").

All in all, I was of course glad to be there. Blessed, praised, and adored be Jesus Christ upon His throne of glory, in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, and in the hearts of His faithful people!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas messages from folks I admire

I'll be back soon to report on the First Evensong of Christmas & Benediction. Blessings to all of you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent IV

Originally posted on the Ship of Fools:

Yesterday's Mass was as Marian as it gets at our place. The collect, secret, and postcommunion in the Book of Alternative Services all explicitly recalled Our Lady. The homilist wove the First Lesson, the Canticle (the Magnificat, in lieu of a psalm), and the Gospel together, though he stopped short of identifying Mary as the Ark of the Covenant. The choir sang the Ave Maria to Victoria during Communion, on the chancel steps.

Setting: Missa Quarti Toni by Victoria (but Sanctus to Merbecke).


Introit: "Hail to the Lord's anointed" (Crüger)
Offertory: "Tell out, my soul" (Woodlands)
Communion: "The God whom earth and sea and sky" (O Amor Quam Ecstaticus, which I'd not heard before)
Final: "People, look east! The time is near" (Besançon)

Friday, December 19, 2008

I must see this!

Meryl Streep as a nun and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a priest? Heeell, yeah!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Gaudete treat

This carol was featured at the Evensong, Advent Carols, & Benediction service I attended Sunday afternoon, and I haven't been able to stop playing it since.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gaudete Sunday

Here is a shot of the Sacred Ministers at St Thomas's, Huron Street. The flash causes the vestments to appear less deep in colour than in fact they are.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anglican denominations in Canada redux

By number of congregations

Anglican Church of Canada (2,884)
Anglican Church in North America (total: 47)
  • Anglican Network in Canada (23)
  • Anglican Coalition in Canada (12)
  • Reformed Episcopal Church (12)
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (42)
Independent Anglican Church, Canada Synod (8)
Christian Episcopal Church (3)
United Anglican Church (3)
Anglican Orthodox Church (2)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Butterfield Detective Agency

Thanks to Max of the late, lamented Max's Wiblog for this:

Sunday, December 7, 2008


It occurs to me that, should I remain a lifelong celibate (a distinct possibility), I could seek ordination in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. Then I wouldn't have to worry about crap like this.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Classics corner

Am I dating myself?

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Christmastide Schedule

Christmas Eve
4.30pm - First Evensong of Christmas and Benediction, St Bartholomew's, Regent Park
10pm - Mass during the Night, Church of the Nearest Sunday

Christmas Day
11am - Solemn High Mass during the Day - St Thomas's, Huron Street

St John's Day
(tentatively) 10.30am - Mass with Bishop Yu and the Sisterhood of St John the Divine at St Thomas's

Holy Innocents
11am - Solemn High Mass at St Thomas's

Eve of the Circumcision
4pm Te Deum and Festal Sung Mass, St Matthias, Bellwoods (so civilized - no rolling into the Holy Sacrifice hungover in the morning)

6pm Procession and Solemn High Mass - Church of St Mary Magdalene

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


One frequently hears that the Episcopal Church USA is "dying" and that young people are turned off of churches that don't teach anything substantial.

But it's equally true that young people simply don't care what another person's sexual orientation is. So, Nicene orthodoxy = good. Pauline sexual ethics = not so much. The assumption, though, seems to be that if you're liberal on teh gayz, you must be a scripturally-illiterate post-Christian Arian. And therefore you won't pull in the young'uns. But I'm far from the only Anglican under 30 who can sign off on my manifesto.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Full communion on the ground

I assisted this morning at the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified at Belmont House. After the service, Father spoke with a woman who held his hand and tearfully thanked him over and over again. She said the ritual was the same as at her church and asked him if he was Lutheran and he replied that he was an Anglican, which was very close. "It's just like my church," she kept saying through her tears. And I was very pleased at that moment to be in full communion with her.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The First Sunday in Advent

Yesterday was of course the First Sunday in Advent. My desktop colour has been altered accordingly and my current pinup, Matt Prokop, seems to be enjoying his new colour.

At my own parish, breakfast was served between the two Sung Masses. I therefore arrived early and received dispensation from the Eucharistic fast from a somewhat bemused Mother. I then prepared to serve as subdeacon.

Unfortunately, our Advent set is blue. For all the Ritual Notes diva that I am, I can accept blue as a variant of violet that emphasises the different (from Lent) character of Advent. I do wish, however, that the celebrant wouldn't wear the stole over the chasuble.

Yesterday's celebrant was the Dean of Divinity at Trinity College. He is a standup guy, and I hope he is still there when I get there. The setting of the Mass was Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli. It's just as well that the Gloria is not sung in Advent, as the Kyrie was long enough for both. I remarked to the celebrant after Mass that he could have done the entire canon under the Sanctus. He replied that he had been going to, but didn't want to set the tone for bad behaviour!

I admit that I cried during Mother's sermon. She spoke of the desire to remember past Christmases as perfect. I was filled with nostalgia for the Christmas celebrations at the group home of my youth. At first it was a little dribble, but soon I found myself rather inelegantly wiping my face on my surplice (alas, no tunicles for us).

I am already excited for Gaudete Sunday. I'll be at St Thomas's, Huron Street in the morning (rose vestments!) and at the Church of St Mary Magdalene for Solemn Evensong, Advent Carols, & Benediction, followed by neighbourhood carolling.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Archbishop's Reflections on Advent

Once again a commendable video that I can't embed. Here is the Most Rev. Dr Rowan Williams's Advent message for 2008. It's worth watching both for the insightful content and the sheer therapeutic value of His Grace's voice. Let's face it, the man is a British James Earl Jones.

Headline Howlers

From the Anglican Communion News Service:

Anglican bishops oppose death penalty, Jamaica

Indeed. Neither the death penalty nor Jamaica can possibly be justified by right-thinking Christians.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Talking points on Scripture and homosexual relationships

The best defence of the "reappraiser" position is to be found in Br Tobias Haller's "Sex Articles". For all their protests, none of the "anti" crowd have ever come up with anything nearly as sophisticated, and his points remain unrefuted .

Because of the density of his work, however, I have come up with my own cheat sheet to remind me why (lest I become complacent and take my position for granted) I regard the classic Christian position on homosexuality as untenable. Here they are:


*Because St Paul had no concept of an innate "homosexual" orientation (hence my double invert commas: it's an anachronism). You can't try to stretch what he says to fit a topic he wasn't writing about.

*Because St Paul was fallible. He was only the human instrument of divine inspiration.

*Because the Greek of the passages in question, to the extent that it is intelligible at all, seems to refer to specific forms of "homosexual" activity that we wouldn't recognise today.

*Because each of the passages in St Paul comes in the context of a broader rhetorical argument of which "homosexuality" is not the point. It's used as an example of depravity, one which would not have been questioned in that time and place.

*Because St Paul in general does not express a recognisably Christian ethic of marriage and sexuality. It's laughable—and incoherent—that so many who profess to believe in the sanctity of marriage (or rather, some marriages) take their cue on homosexuality from a man who didn't believe in that sanctity ("It's better to marry than to be aflame with passion," remember?)

*Because Jesus himself reduced the Law to a bare minimum expressed in the Summary of the Law and the Golden Rule.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

He's a gay man now!

This post is dedicated to my mother, a somewhat less exaggerated version of the heroine in this sketch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Visitation of the BVM

Somehow, these never went up. They are from the final Saturday of the May Festival, at the Church of St Mary Magdalene.

Inside a Reformed Episcopal church

Mobile photos of St George's Reformed Episcopal Church, Hamilton (previously St Margaret's Anglican).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Ontological subdeaconness" and the extraordinary form

Patrick Cook pointed out today that I am only a subdeacon when acting in that capacity, since the Anglican Church has, for the most part, not ordained subdeacons since the Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church, outside of certain priestly societies with an indult, has not done so since the Second Vatican Council. Fr Clough, my last RC pastor (post passim), was among the last generation of seminarians ordained to minor orders and the subdiaconate while doing so was still "ordinary."

Until the publication of the Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders rendered my defection to Anglicanism necessary, it had been my intention to offer myself to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, the setting of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Affiliated with the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, the seminary's formation includes a year of spirituality, two years of philosophy, and three years of theology. Beginning in the second year, seminarians begin the process of admission to minor orders before being ordained to the subdiaconate and Holy Orders.

Because it was my desire to follow this course (the wisdom of which I may now question with the benefit of hindsight), my lack of "ontological subdeaconness" is something of a sore point for me. But in the context of the Anglican Church of Canada, Patrick is of course quite correct. I wonder, though, if that means that it's wrong to say one is a server (as opposed to saying one serves at the altar) because the Anglican Church has not retained the minor order of acolyte. But perhaps I split hairs.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What St Peter might say about my shoes

In the promise of the breaking in of your shoes, you rejoice, even if now for a little while your feet have had to suffer various trials, and be clothed in Band-Aids all day, so that the genuineness of your desire for new shoes - being more precious than the ratty old ones you had before - may be found to result in your not looking like a homeless person.

Although you have not seen this breaking in, you love it, and even though you do not see it now, you believe in it and rejoice with an indescribable joy, for you shall receive the outcome of your sufferings, the ability to be seen in public.

(cf. I Peter 1.6-9)

A treat from Remembrance Sunday

Another goody from St John' s Episcopal Church in Detroit, which alas does not allow most of their videos to be embedded. But it's here for the viewing. I got to sing this yesterday during Choral Mattins at the Church of the Nearest Sunday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Requiem aeternam (part III)

A Requiem Eucharist was held for Br William Gatewood Sibley, OHC, at the church of St John's, West Toronto, yesterday, followed by a reception at Holy Cross Priory. Bishop Ann Tottenham, visitor to the Priory, who is freaking awesome and needs to have my babies, offered the Holy Sacrifice. Br Christian Swayne, OHC, Prior, functioned as deacon.

This was as modern as modern can be. The Mass was celebrated in white at a nave altar. Loaf bread was used for the sacrament. The church was devoid of kneelers, and there was no altar rail: communicants had to stand assembly line-style. Nevertheless, I was touched that the requiem form of the Agnus Dei was used.

There were no liturgical books on hand, which led to the comical sight of the censing of the leaflet from which the Gospel was to be read.

"Come and journey with a saviour" (Beach Spring) (the organist missed the last verse)
"The Christ who died but rose again" (St Magnus)
"Sister, let me be your servant"(Servant Song)
"You are Salt for the Earth" (Bring forth the kingdom)

Br Robert Sevensky, OHC, Superior, preached, or eulogized rather. Although I did not know Br William I was moved by the Superior's words and glad to be with the community at this time. At one point Br Robert mentioned Br William's drift away from Anglo-Catholic orthodoxy (in fact characteristic of the Order as a whole), illustrating his point by referring to the deceased's distaste for "cookie worship." I was amused that the rector of the only church in the diocese with regular Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was in the congregation.

Bishop Ann allowed me to kiss her ring, and there was a very lively reception next door at the Priory, where I got to touch base with the brothers. It had been too long since the last time I was there, and I was starting to feel like a wayward associate. I had a chance to meet the superior and the newest brother at the Priory, a recent transfer from the mother house in upstate New York.

Mom spanked the gay out of me!

(Courtesy of Tom)

Erm, yes, of course children get naked with each other all the time and pour sand into one another's arse cracks. Didn't you?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Requiem aeternam (part II)

Requiem High Mass of All Souls Day at St Thomas's, Huron Street.

Mass was celebrated ad orientem in black vestments according to the Book of Common Prayer (1962) with Fauré's setting. The black high mass set at St T's dates back to the requiem offered in 1917 for the dead of the First World War. There was no gradual, but there was a tract (to plainsong). The Dies Irae was, to my regret, not sung. The Lesson was read, but the Gospel was chanted. We then sang "Christ enthroned in highest heaven" (Ad perennis vitae fontem) as a collection was taken. The bell was tolled during the Solemn Remembrance of the Departed. I had a moistened eye as Fr Warren Eling, whose heart-rending story was made into an episode of Canadian Case Files, was named. (He was also remembered at the requiem I attended on Saturday, post passim).

A BAS prayer over the gifts was interpolated. The Communion Hymn was "The King of love my shepherd is" (St Columba). The ceremonies at the catafalque concluded the Mass. Though the leaflet promised (as last year) that the Kontakion of the Dead would be included, it was not (as last year). We did not, I regret, sing "Let saints on earth in concert sing" as we did last year.

It was a very moving liturgy, and is one of the highlights of the Christian Year for me, along with the other distinctively Catholic feasts of Corpus Christi and the Visitation. It was good to be back at St T's, especially for so reverent and inspiring a Mass.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Requiem aeternam (part I)

This morning I attended the annual All Souls Requiem at the Chapel of St James the Less, at the cathedral's cemetery. It was a moving service in its way, though not quite how I would have done things. The Missa Cantata was set to Byrd's Mass for Four Voices. Vestments and paraments were, sadly, violet, but the priest (a brother of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd) celebrated ad orientem. (When I approached the altar rail for communion I saw that in fact the altar has never been moved forward). The Very Rev. the Dean of Toronto assisted and the cathedral's transitional deacon, a former Presbyterian minister who now occasionally sports a biretta I understand, read the Gospel. He was in surplice and deaconwise stole. (Are deacons meant to wear their stoles diagonally with a surplice?)

Burial sentences from the Prayer Book (setting by Croft) were sung by a quartet from the cathedral choir. (The abolition of the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys is a rant for another post). The greeting was said rather than sung. The crucifer read the lesson ("But the souls of the righteous...") rather like a weather report. He concluded "The Word of the Lord." I couldn't help recalling the story of a layman of my acquaintance who is said to have stood up in the cathedral and shouted "No it's not; it's the Apocrypha!"

The psalm was sung to plainsong. The leaflet indicated that the choir would sing the psalm, but since it was a basic plainsong setting, I defiantly joined in. (I would do this again during the Gospel Acclamation [with Alleluias by Ager] and the Kontakion of the Dead [with antiphon by an unindicated composer]).

The intercessions named seemingly every Anglican in the diocese ever to have died. The offertory hymn was "O what their joy and their glory must be" (Regnator orbis). The crucifer-cum-thurifer committed the cardinal sin of censing the congregation at a requiem. I was so astonished that I omitted to sing the last verse of the hymn.

At Communion, the motet was Tomkins: "I Heard a Voice from Heaven." The prayer after communion (from the BAS) was followed by the Kontakion of the Dead. The beginning and ending ("Give everlasting") were sung to a choral setting, with the middle to plainsong. Then the celebrant said the prayer of commendation. The concluding hymn was "Jerusalem the Golden" (Ewing).

I was rather chagrined when I saw that the leaflet indicated to kneel at certain points (Kyrie, Eucharistic Prayer) since I did not in fact have a kneeler. I assumed that this was a typo and that this would be a standing Mass. I looked around, however, and saw that others did have kneelers. And those who didn't tended to solve the problem by sitting, which I refused to do on principle. So I was the lone congregant standing at those times, which was a tad awkward.

I will report back on Monday's Requiem High Mass at St Thomas's, Huron Street (which will be in black).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Making out like a bandit

Yesterday I took in the Trinity College book sale, and managed to pick up half a dozen books for 16 dollars. My favourite is a copy of "the Rule, Constitutions, and Custumal of the Order of the Holy Cross" from the 40s, before they went all soft during the Vatican II era, and before they entered their current Benedictine Lite phase in the 80s. I think my director of associates at the Priory, who was instrumental in the reforms of the 1960s, will be bemused. This document is still clearly Anglo-Catholic (Benediction is to be held every Sunday!).

Other finds

*Man, Woman, & Priesthood, edited by Peter Moore (not the same as this book)
*Galley's Ceremonies of the Eucharist (purely for reference, you understand; Ritual Notes is my bible)
*Reconciliation: Preparing for Confession in the Episcopal Church by Fr Martin L. Smith, bound with Sex Money & Power: an Essay in Christian Social Ethics by Fr Philip Turner
*The Ceremonies of Holy Week: Solemn Rite and Simple Rite, a Commentary by J.B. O' Connell (1957)
*Holy Communion: Preparation and Companion by Bishop Walsham How, from 1901

All very cool, especially for sixteen dollars!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Solemn Evensong and Benediction to end all Solemn Evensongs and Benedictions

I told you I wouldn't forget...

The Sunday before last was the feast of Dedication for the Church of St Mary Magdalene, transferred from October 13, the actual day the church was consecrated. Since they're nearing the end of their renovations, it seemed to good to the Holy Spirit and to them to re-dedicate the church at Solemn Evensong and Benediction. Your faithful correspondent was there, among many others - the church was packed, unusual for Evensong there.

The liturgy began with the Service of Light. I tend to make fun of SMM for this, since the BAS rubrics assume the lighting of a candle, whereas at SMM they simply switch on the electrical lights to "O gladsome light, O grace" (Nunc Dimittis). The psalms were 84 (tone I.2) and 122 (IV.6). Office hymn was "Blessed city, heavenly Salem" (Urbs beata).

The Magnificat was sung to tone I.5 and the Nunc Dimittis to tone II.1, in both cases with fauxbourdons by Willan. The motet was "Locus iste" by Brückner, which sounded to me suspiciously like the theme song from Mr Bean. I personally would have liked to hear Howells's "O pray for the peace of Jerusalem" per the second psalm. Bishop Philip Poole preached in his usual lively way before "Christ is made the sure foundation" (Westminster Abbey). As with the first hymn, I defiantly sang "consubstantial, co-eternal" during the last verse. To my dismay, the congregation did not join the singing of the Salve Regina (in Latin) and I didn't wish to be too contrary. After the Antiphon of Our Lady and its collect, we sang the Litany of the Saints, the first time I have done so in an Anglican church. Bishop Poole led a prayer of re-dedication which was followed by a Solemn Te Deum (again, to my chagrin, choir-only) in procession with Asperges. I caught a drop on the elbow. We followed with "Thou art the way, by thee alone" (St James).

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed as usual. The O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo were sung to their plainsong tunes, sandwiched around the motet "At thy great name" (Martin). The Divine Praises at SMM irritate me by leaving out the Assumption. Psalm 117 was sung with its antiphon, to tone VI.

There was a delightful reception afterward at which I got to catch up with a few people. Fr Theo sported his biretta; unfortunately the lighting did not allow me to capture him on my phone for posterity. (He appeared rather relieved by this, despite initially giving his consent). I did, of course, get to kiss the bishop's ring.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Proustian madeleine


Rev. Brian Clough was hurriedly fired as Rector of St. Augustine’s [Seminary] because of his “soft” attitude to homosexuality at the seminary just before the Pope’s arrival... [in Canada in 1984].

I find this fascinating. Fr Clough was my last parish priest as a Roman Catholic and though he obviously ultimately failed to reconcile me to the Roman Catholic Church, he was pastorally sensitive. I hardly think he was a dissident on the gay issue, though he didn't seem inclined to refuse the Sacrament to homosexuals. He acknowledged that Dignity, while "not the most Catholic organization," was made up of people "trying hard to be Catholics, and the Church doesn't turn away people who try." I'm not sure whether he was more nonplussed by my membership in Dignity or in Una Voce. (I sometimes wonder if I was the only Roman Catholic ever to belong to both).

Fr Clough is still at the sleepy residential parish where I grew up, and still Judicial Vicar (chief disciplinarian) of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He did bar a retired priest of the Scarborough Missions from celebrating Mass publicly or preaching when he spoke in favour of same-sex marriage as a private citizen. (His order did not similarly discipline him, so he was able to function within it as before). I would not have thought that he was "soft" on homosexuality - indeed he spoke plainly that as rector he had had to dismiss seminarians for "acting out" with members of both sexes. But he wasn't an asshole, and I wonder if that was enough to be characterized as "soft" in the hype building up to the first papal visit to our country.

Fr Bill is famous

Did he call him "reverend"?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Requiems and homosexuals

Since I attended Mattins last Sunday and will be attending Evensong tomorrow, I thought that I had better go to Mass at some point during the week, lest I go three weeks without communicating. For High Mass today, the only game in town was a Requiem at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, my parochial home-away-from-home. A long-time member recently died, and the requiem was the first Mass held in the church proper after the recent renovations. So I went, despite feeling rather like the woman in The Twilight Zone who hits up the funerals of strangers.

Since SMM is much enamoured of the spirit of Vatican II, there was no black in evidence, I regret to say. But it was a very moving funeral - indeed I teared up at a couple of points, and I did not know the deceased. Afterwards I took my sister to brunch at a local breakfast food place. Since my parents' separation each of us has resided with the parent of the opposite sex, so I don't see her as often, especially since both of us now have part-time jobs. Every couple of weeks I make a point of taking her to brunch at this particular restaurant. For forty dollars, I can spend an hour with her and delight in her company and conversation. She has a very sharp wit and is much more pragmatic than I am - indeed we are opposites in so many respects that I often wonder how we could have sprung from the same parents.

On the subway ride home from brunch, a somewhat disheveled (but apparently sober) man with a gash on his face struck up a conversation with another man nearby on how vexing he found "homosexuals," who he said wanted rights but didn't seem to want to respect the rights of others - such as to protect their children from sexual exploitation. The climax was when he whipped an adult magazine out of his rear pocket and remarked "That's what life is about." And I thought, really? Because I find that very sad. If this man's "life" (or his sex life) is indeed merely "about" the consumption of pornography (which in and of itself I can tolerate) then he will, it seems, never know the meaningful intimacy in body and mind that thousands of same-sex couples live out every day. I couldn't help but thinking that this man was wrong in his estimation that he had gotten the better deal in life. That may be self-righteous of me, but I can only be honest about it.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Sorry about being slow to update (and abounding in steadfast love). I am, you see, a working man now. I will, however, be sure to report back on the re-dedication of the newly renovated Church of St Mary Magdalene this Sunday, which will take place during the afternoon service of Solemn Evensong, Te Deum, and Benediction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

The best postlude ever

Skip to about 1:30 to hear the music.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On flying bishops

[Originally posted as a comment at Of Course, I could be wrong]

While I am not without sympathy for those who cannot in conscience receive the priestly ministry of women (I am not among them myself), I remain unable to see why alternative episcopal oversight is necessary in a jurisdiction like England or Wales where women are not ordained to the episcopate. Unlike here, an English FiFer need only ensure that s/he receives the sacraments only from male priests. (Here, s/he would need to know the gender of the priest, his ordaining bishop, the bishop's ordaining bishop...)

The only arguments I have heard are rather fine-spun ecclesiological lines about how the FiF priests can't be in the collegiality of the presbyterate with female priests. In which case I would have thought it was time to leave your diocese and the Anglican Church, rather than associate only with a non-diocesan makeshift "presbyterium."

Monday, September 22, 2008

All Saints Sisters of the Poor

Here is the horarium of All Saints Convent in Maryland. Impressive!

5:30 am Rise
6:00 am Angelus
6:00-6:30 am Meditation in the Chapel
6:30 am Lauds
7:00 am Mass
7:30 am Breakfast
9:30 am Terce
12:00 pm Angelus and Sext
12:15 pm Dinner
3:00 pm None
5:00 pm Vespers, followed by Angelus
5:30 pm Supper
7:15-8:00 pm Recreation
8:00 pm Beginning the Greater Silence, until 9:00 am
8:30 pm Compline
10:00 pm Lights Out

The intervals from 10:00 am to 12 noon and from 2-5 pm are times of silence except on Sundays and greater festivals, and are spent in prayer, work, or study, according to each Sister's personal schedule.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Josie Cotton: Johnny Are You Queer?

Johnny what's the deal boy?
Is your love for real boy?
When the lights are low
You never hold me close

Well I saw you today boy
Walking with the gay boys
God it hurt me so
Now I gotta know
Johnny are you queer?

'Cause when I see you
Dancing with your friends
I can't help wondering
Where I stand

I'm so afraid I'll lose you
If I can't seduce you
Is there something wrong?
Johnny come on strong

Oh why are you so weird boy?
Johnny are you queer boy?
When I make a play
You push me away
Johnny are you queer?

'Cause when I see you
Dancing with your friends
I can't help wondering
Where I stand

Johnny you're forsaking
A love you could be taking
I wanna give it to you
But you never come through

Oh why are you so weird boy?
Johnny are you queer boy?
When you asked for a date
I thought that you were straight
Johnny are you queer?

Oh Johnny are you queer boy?
Johnny are you queer?
Tell me, Johnny are you queer?
Tell me, Johnny are you queer?
Johnny are you queer?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Classics corner

Language warning.

"I'm gonna betchslap ya, shetbag!"

Convent time

Today I went to St John's Convent in Toronto for the Sisterhood of St John the Divine's foundation day, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bishop Ann Tottenham, of whom I am rather fond, was the celebrant and homilist. Unfortunately, attendance was rather poor for such a festal day.

The sisters were very friendly and welcoming, but they can never quite hide their bemusement that a male university student would care to visit them.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Confession circle

Yesterday my cousin, who works at Sporting Life (or Sporting Death, as my sister likes to call it) attended to Jeffrey Buttle while working the fitting rooms. I would be lying if I denied having screamed when told this.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anglican Chant Sunday

I'm off to Choral Mattins at one of the bastions of Protestantism in this diocese, so here's a weather report and the British Highway Code set to Anglican chant. Tip of the biretta to Ren.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


The airline on which I was planning to book my flight (but didn't yet, thank God) has gone under, so my plans for next year's Anglican National Pilgrimage are up in the air. Damn it all.

Friday, August 29, 2008

No homo

My (entirely unchosen) sexual orientation has, as many readers will already know, barred the fulfillment of two of my great ecclesiastical dreams: to study at Nashotah House, and to become a member of the Society of the Holy Cross (though there's always the Society of Catholic Priests).

It seems, though, that my seminary options are even more limited than I previously understood. Nashotah is far from the only no-fly zone for gay seminarians. One individual went so far as to declare: "Your only option is Trinity College." My parish priest, herself a Wycliffe alumna, tells me: "I don't think you could survive Wycliffe." Another priest said: "I think Wycliffe would drive you nuts." (Perhaps he simply meant the habitual guitar masses? Wycliffe is not a place where they believe that "Praise Bands Annoy God," as the Facebook group is titled). Annoyingly, a gay but archconservative friend remarked to me: "Wycliffe teaches the faith, Trinity the doubts." But apparently learning the faith isn't an option for me, though as a Trinity student I could take courses at Wycliffe. (For reference, here is Wycliffe's Statement of Moral Vision - scroll to bottom of page).

Another gay but archconservative friend, who grew up in the West Indies, warns me that the social climate there rules out Codrington College. And my English friends warn me that St Stephen's House, Oxford, once a hotbed of seminarian fraternization, has really tightened up the reins since the principalship of David Hope. All of which is beside the now exorbitant cost of studying in the UK for non-Europeans.

All of this has brought Trinity to the top of my list, though I may apply to a couple of American schools, like Berkeley-Yale and the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York. I have nothing against Trinity (and I relish the opportunity to apply to Massey), but I rather resent having the decision made for me by default, because of a personal (possibly even biological) characteristic I can do nothing about.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

St Mike's time

I'm off to the St Michael's Youth Conference, Ontario, aka Prayer Book Society boot camp, so no posts this week. I note this despite having a feeling that no more than a dozen people follow The Rose Maniple.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

At First I was an Anglican

Today, I ventured to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Toronto (Wikipedia) for Divine Service with Holy Communion. Attendance was sparse and I was personally greeted by the pastor upon my arrival. I was struck by the absence of kneelers, and also by the high altar, which was adorned with "big six" and fixed against the wall. I was all primed for an ad orientem celebration.

I had brought both Evangelical Lutheran Worship and the Lutheran Book of Worship with me, not knowing which they used (I figured it was a safe bet to leave my Service Book and Hymnal at home).

The pastor wore a Geneva gown and an unspeakably tacky green stole. We began with a hymn, so that the Confession and Forgiveness was the beginning of the service (rather than a sort of pre-service followed by the opening hymn). The hymn was "There's a wideness in God's mercy" sung to a tune called Lord, Revive Us. It's also given to St Helena in ELW, but not to In Babilone. Bizarre, I know. Setting One from ELW was sung with a distinct lack of enthusiasm by the tiny congregation. I have no idea what lectionary was used. Psalm 30 was read, like all of the lections, by the pastor. The Epistle was from First Corinthians, and the Gospel was part of the Parable of the Sower from Matthew. There was no Old Testament lesson. The congregations is affiliated with the Protestant Church in Germany as well as the ELCIC, so perhaps the lectionary was theirs.

I was disappointed at the Words of Institution (there was no Eucharistic Prayer), at which point the pastor spun around and held up the elements, consecrating them in midair while facing verus populum. Oh, well. At least he faced east for the Intercessions and Postcommunion.

The pastor bravely communicated me on the tongue. There was a communion rail, which I found interesting given the lack of kneeling in the rest of the Liturgy. Several people declined the chalice and opted for Presbyterian shooters instead.

Afterwards, a woman asked me if I was a Lutheran. Perhaps she had seen me crossing myself. I replied that I was an Anglican. 'Same difference,' remarked another woman, which is indeed true in Canada as of 2001. The pastor marvelled that I had travelled all the way from North York (he must have read my entry in the guestbook, which I signed before Mass). I didn't get to ask about the Lectionary, or my other burning question: was the congregation LCA-CS or ELCC before the merger?

I will certainly return to First Lutheran again, and am thinking of Reformation Sunday as a possible time for my next visit.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Proof that I was born too late

My friends, especially my gay friends, are somewhat bemused by me. I appear to be some perverse kind of homo time traveller.

It's not my fault that young gay men of my generation have traded in disco, Anglo-Catholicism, and Stephen Fry for house music, Wicca, and Margaret Cho.

A religious priest

Today was the Sunday on which both of our priests' summer holidays overlapped, so a priest from one of the religious orders in the diocese was our celebrant and homilist. During the sermon, she included a few autobiographical details on how she came to the monastic life. I felt a slight pang when I heard this, which may be a sign. The religious life still holds a certain measure of appeal for me, it seems. My RC confirmation teacher, whom I idolised at the age of 14, once told me that religious priests were the best priests.

It was nice to sing the liturgy to Merbecke, which I never tire of, but despite being "page 230" (what our American cousins would call "Rite I") the celebrant injected a highly contemporary "feel" into the Mass. For one thing, we (I was the subdeacon) administered the sacrament to her, which I am not accustomed to doing (though I did so once in a Lutheran context). This was after she had communicated us, which would spark controversy in some circles. Personally, I can see merit to both the host-eats-last and completing-the-sacrifice-first arguments, so I tend to err on the side of Tradition.

It was a successful service, and I hope Sister will be back with us soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lutheranism done right

Misery Synod, of course. =(

Non-gay homosexuals to remain eligible for Holy Orders

'The Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) Monday presented the world’s Anglican bishops with a proposal to create a pastoral forum that would create a “safe space” for conservative Anglicans who have left their churches. It also recommended a “future” and “retrospective” moratorium on same-sex blessings, the ordination of openly gay homosexuals and cross-border interventions by provinces.'

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine...

Robert Goulet plays himself...sort of.

Latin Mass (Rite II - 1979 BCP)

From the Church of the Advent of Christ the King in San Francisco. Mass is sung in Latin there on the first and third Saturdays of the month at 5pm.

Mystery Worship report here.

(^ Introit to Gloria)

(^ Collect to Gospel)

(^ Sermon)

(^ Creed and Intercessions)

(^ Offertory to Sanctus)

(^ Eucharistic Prayer to Ecce Agnus Dei)

(^ Holy Communion to Angelus)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Support our troops


Guilty pleasures

À propos de rien, here's Sid Vicious in a thong.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Churches to visit on my trip to England next year:

*St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill
*St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town
*St Mary the Virgin, Bourne Street
*Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
*All Saints, Margaret Street
*Immaculate Heart of Mary, Brompton Road

Depending on whether I can swing an extra week, and whether I can get there from Manchester, I'd love to see the English Missal bastion of All Saints, North Street in York.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A New Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

A proper preface is said, found on pp. 218-226 of the Book of Alternative Services.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed + is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

We laud and glorify your name, O God, for the gracious favour you have shown to your children. Wondrously you created us in love, and still more wondrously you redeemed us by the sending and sacrifice of your only Son. He shattered the hardness of human hearts and proclaimed an eternal kingdom of justice and love.

When the time came for him to be glorified by a death he willingly embraced, he shared supper with his disciples. He took this bread into his sacred and caring hands; he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them saying:

“All of you, take and eat of this, for this is my body, which will be broken for your sake. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper, he took this cup of wine: he blessed it and gave it to them saying:

“All of you take and drink from this, for this is my blood of the new and eternal covenant, the mystery of faith; it will be shed for you and for the multitude, so that sin may be blotted out. Whenever you drink it, do so for the remembrance of me.”

Now, O God, we gather to fulfil his command. We plead his sacrifice before you, and though we can add nothing to it, we offer you these gifts of bread and wine, in obedience to our Lord’s ordinance. Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, by the hand of your holy angels, and let it ascend to your heavenly throne as a pleasing offering, looking beyond our shortcomings through your infinite mercy. Send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts and upon us, transforming them by your power that they may be for us the Body and Blood of Christ, and that we receiving them may be sanctified + for your service. Grant also to all who have gone before us the healing comfort of your eternal presence. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord:

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The dilemma of naturalness

(A response to a friend's discussion of the biological basis of one-night stands)

There is a scene in "The King and I" where the King of Siam declares that men are to be like honeybees, travelling from flower [woman] to flower. The converse, of course, is not true, and he holds that female polyamory is analogously unnatural. On one level, on a level of evolutionary biology, he is quite correct. Men indeed appear to be programmed to spread our seed far and wide, in a way that women (obviously) are not. For whatever reason, this holds true even for those of us whose sexual orientation is inverted.

The naturalistic fallacy and the "is-ought" problem definitely come into play here. Because many of us, if left to our own devices, would conduct our sexual lives in such a way as to have a clear disregard for our partners. It is often stated that men will "say anything" to "get some." And I think, on a purely natural level, there is a certain truth in this. I recently escorted someone to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at which the speaker defined alcoholism as the condition wherein the obtaining of alcohol becomes a priority - even over the feelings of others. Men certainly have a tendency to behave this way in regard to sex.

Locating myself as I do within a particular theological tradition, but like any ethically-minded person, I am obligated to avoid making decisions based purely on what is "natural." Virtue is unnatural. Altruism and selflessness are unnatural. But all of us, not only those of us who "believe in a power greater than ourselves" can ever seek to behave in a manner that is loving and ethical, with a healthy disregard, when needed, for that which is purely, amorally "natural."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cathedral of the Annunciation

On Sunday I was in Ottawa reviewing the Sung Mass at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. The ACCC is a part of the "Traditional Anglican Communion." Founded in the 1970s, it rejects:

*the ordination of women
*the Book of Alternative Services
*the remarriage of divorcees
*the blessing of same-sex unions

So, while I disagree with its entire raison d'être, I figured it would be interesting to check out. I was right. They put on a lovely Sung Mass, using Willan's Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena and the Missa de Angelis. The cathedral is an intimate little space, but the ceremonial was handled well and the incense made it an even warmer, cozier setting. The ACCC's suffragan bishop for Central Canada assisted pontifically in choro. And the people were ridiculously friendly.

I chose to receive Holy Communion, according to the bishop's announcement that those who are "baptized and ready and desirous to be confirmed" may do so. Although confirmed by a woman, I figured I could access the sacrament on the basis of this rubric.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Best. Movie. Ever!

"There is more here than meets the eye, isn't there? Lots of dirty little secrets!"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The New Avengers

Why isn't this show, or its predecessor, on anymore?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


A post I made on the Ship of Fools in a discussion of the Episcopal Church USA's acceptance of non-episcopal rites of "mature adult profession of faith" as valid substitutes for the sacrament of confirmation:

The problem, of course, is that confirmation isn't by nature a "mature adult profession of faith." You can have confirmation without adulthood or conscious faith and a profession of faith without the sacrament of confirmation.

The 1979 BCP's shrill insistence that it can declare baptism to be the fullness of Christian initiation by fiat is rather bemusing, not to mention unfortunate. Since baptism is one half the early Church's rite of initiation, it clearly is by definition not its "fullness."

Haugen Alert

Courtesy of Max - I'm unreasonably fond of this. It's about the only thing we agree on! (It's on the high end of what he likes, and the low end of what I like).

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The religious life

For a while now, I've been toying with the question of whether I might be called to the religious life. I'm nowhere near the same stage of self-understanding on that score as I am with regard to the priesthood (where I'm convinced myself and am working to convince others and the Church at large). I go back and forth on it quite a bit. My involvement as an *Associate of Holy Cross began on the premise that I wanted to test such a vocation, and assumed that I would either conclude I was so called, or else wish to be a friend of the religious life.

These are the communities I'm investigating.

Christian Communities
*Oratory of the Good Shepherd
*Brotherhood of Saint Gregory (which one interlocutor dismissed as "religious life lite for slutty gay men." "Where do I sign up?" was my retort.)

Religious Orders
*Holy Cross Monastery (Order of the Holy Cross - West Park, NY)
*Julian House Monastery (Order of Julian of Norwich - Waukesha, WI) (But their Rule scares the shit out of me.)
*St Gregory's Abbey (Order of St Benedict - Three Rivers, MI)
*Society of St John the Evangelist (Boston, MA)
*St Joseph's Priory (Order of St Augustine - Springfield, NS)

St John's, Detroit, on YouTube


Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at Detroit's 1928 BCP Anglo-Catholic shrine. The O Salutaris was sung to a tune other than "Verbum supernum," and Jesus wept.

A "Frankenmass" with an odd setting of the Preces. And with the second set of preces ("O God make speed to save us...") missing, 1979-style. Still, I know where I'd go to Mass if I lived in Windsor (we won't even entertain the notion of my living in the US).

Ye who own the faith of Jesus

My induction into the Society of Mary has been postponed again. Last year, I was prepared for admission, until at the last minute it was revealed that I hadn't been to enough meetings. This year, due to a confluence of a number of things not going as planned, it wasn't able to take place on the Feast of the Visitation once again. It was too bad, since Bishop Victoria Matthews was there this time. I've been told I can be admitted in the fall, but I prefer to wait until next Visitation. (Technically, the Visitation won't occur next year as it is displaced by Pentecost. In practice, I suspect SOM will keep it on the last Saturday of May as usual, and bump Roberta Elizabeth Tilton, Founder of the Anglican Church Women). In any event, I was glad to get to St Mary Mag again for another outdoor procession. The weather cleared up just in time!

I will note briefly (now that I've seen it twice and know that it's not a one-off) SMM's odd practice of switching the places of the Te Deum and Benedictus at Morning Prayer.

Detail of the Solemn Mass and Outdoor Procession below.


The Mass was Willan, of course: Mass 3 (except Gloria and Credo, de Angelis). The motets were also Willan. Two motets preceded the Mass: "Fair in Face" and "Rise up, my love."

The Mass itself began with the Introit, not the traditional one, but a generic one of unknown provenance ("Rejoice we all, and praise the Lord, celebrating a holy day..."). No smoke, as the principal celebrant was in the nave for the wreath ceremony. He blessed the wreath and sprinkled it, and placed it around the base of the statue of Madonna and Child.

The Ritual Choir had the wrong gradual with them, but improvised valiantly. The sequence hymn, which blew me away, was "Virgin-born, we bow before thee" (Mon Dieu). Offertory hymn was "Sing we of the blessed Mother" (Abbot's Leigh). Another Marian motet by Willan: "I beheld her, beautiful as a dove."

In addition to the principal celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon, there were two concelebrants. And when I say "concelebrants," I mean they wore discrete chasubles and extended their hands in a vague, Anglican fashion during the dominical words (which one of them, but not the other, murmured along with the principal celebrant).

The Communion proper was sung as an antiphon on the Magnificat. After the post-communion, we embarked on a procession with the statue of Our Lady. Lots of favourites for the hymns:

*"Sing of Mary, pure and lowly" (Hermon)
*"Hail Mary, blest Mother" (French)
*"Hail, O Star that pointest" (Ave Maris Stella)
*"Now in holy celebration" (Oriel)
*"Ye who own the faith of Jesus" (which during the May Festival is sung to "Daily, daily")
*"Sing how the age long promise of a Saviour" (Coelites Plaudant)
*"Tell out, my soul" (Woodlands)
*"Be joyful, Mary" (Regina Caeli - sung more slowly - and with an odd pause - than the way I learned it. "Alle-luuuuu-ia.........Rejoice, rejoice", etc.)
*"For Mary, mother of Our Lord" (St Botolph)

Upon returning to the church, we repeated "Sing of Mary, pure and lowly" and said (alas) the Angelus before being blessed and dismissed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Saint Augustine Prayer Book

Tip of the biretta to Fr Tay Moss, from whom I received this morning, to my surprise, a copy of the Saint Augustine Prayer Book. Subtitled "A Book of Devotion for members of the Episcopal Church," the prayer book was originally published by the Order of the Holy Cross in 1947 and revised in 1967 to reflect changing liturgical norms. Even in its revised form, however, it's quite traditional, and follows the basic shape of the American Missal in its order of Mass. A table of contents can be found on Wikipedia. Many of these prayers are much "higher" than anything I've encountered at Holy Cross Priory in the twenty-first century. (Nonetheless, the Marian Antiphon is unfailingly sung at Compline and I understand that Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament does occur on occasion at the mother house in West Park, NY).

I've been pouring over the little volume all day, and it's quite a treasure. There's much in here to enrich my practice of the Daily Office and of private prayer. Many thanks to Fr Tay, whose thank-you note has already been dispatched. Now I really must return my parish priest's copy to her, as it's been on loan to me for too long! It's quite frail and makes me rather nervous.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Revising the Marriage Canon

An excerpt from the minutes of Council of General Synod, 24 May 2008.

Revision of the marriage canon

Lela Zimmer asked on behalf of the committee if COGS could clarify whether it wants to consider a revision of the marriage canon, or a process to consider such a revision. She also requested clarification on whether this work is to include all legally qualified persons, or the particular category that includes same-sex couples.


As a result of the conversation, the following resolution was adopted: the Council of General Synod

* concurs in the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee's understanding that it is to address the particular category of "legally qualified persons," i.e. same-sex couples at least one of whom is baptized Christian;

* agrees that development of a theological rationale for the marriage of such couples should precede the preparation of any draft amendments to or revision of the Marriage Canon;

* requests the committee to report to the COGS no later than November 2009, and

* directs that, if the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee develops such a rationale, it should, in conjunction with the Handbook Concerns Committee, prepare draft amendments to, or a draft revision of, the Marriage Canon for consideration by the COGS in March 2010 for possible submission to the 2010 session of the General Synod.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Corpus Christi at SMM

As Jack Benny would say: Well!

Solemn Mass, Outdoor Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction at the Church of St Mary Magdalene.

The "Gathering of the Community" omitted the Asperges, but otherwise was the usual Introit-Greeting-Kyrie-Gloria-Collect sequence. The Mass was Willan's Mass 12 (the Gloria and Credo were de Angelis).

After the First Lesson, Gradual verse, Epistle, and Alleluia verse, the choir and congregation took parts in the proper sequence (Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem) from the New English Hymnal. The deacon chanted the Gospel, and the rector/celebrant preached. After some announcements about renovations (moved up in the service because of the ensuing Procession), the deacon led the singing of the Prayers of the People, which was followed by the Kiss of Peace.

The offertory hymn was "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" (Picardy) which was too fast and loud for my liking. The offertory verse was sung in Latin. The motet was Tallis' O Sacrum Convivium. The Orate Fratres was interpolated.

After the postcommunion, the MBS was exposed in a monstrance, which the celebrant held up for all to see. It was taken under the ombrellino, and we proceeded outside, with two of Toronto's finest escorting us down Bathurst Street. We sang several hymns, not all of them Eucharistic-themed.

*Alleluya! sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
*Eternal Monarch, King Most High (Deus tuorum militum)
*Jesus, gentlest saviour [Caswall (Wem in Leidenstagen)]
*Once, only once, and once for all (Albano)
*Of the glorious body telling (a familiar but unidentified tune, attributed to St Thomas Aquinas)
*The Church's one foundation (Aurelia)
*(I think the last was) Though art the way, to thee alone (St Magnus [Nottingham])

When we returned, we were treated to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the motet for which was "Ave Verum Corpus" (Martin). The Divine Praises were said (no Precious Blood, no Assumption, "noble" Joseph). The Angelus was omitted.

I did regret the omission of "Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour" and "One bread, one body," but look forward to singing them at St Matthias, Bellwoods's observance of Corpus Christi next Sunday (they did their Patronal today).

I thought my mother would faint when we were done. "You didn't tell me it was going to be two and a half hours long!" she cried at me. Her initial reaction of "I'm never doing that again!" was ultimately tempered to "Now that I know what to expect, I can handle it once a year." She also agreed that Benediction, which she had been worried about participating in for the first time, worked well.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A heavily-disguised illiterate

The top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing users. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blessed be St Matthias, numbered with the Apostles

Today I went to St John's Convent for Low Mass with Hymns on St Matthias Day. Although I didn't plan it this way, I happened to be there on the day the postulancy committee was interviewing. A number of people were there for that reason, including the entire College of Bishops, my parish priest and Christian Education minister, and a couple of other priests I know informally. I got to sit at Mass with our CE minister and the diocesan bishop.

The celebrant of the Mass was a Fr Bruce Mutch, who according the diocesan website is an honorary at St Thomas's, Huron Street. Despite being a regular visitor at St T's, I have to say I have never seen the man before in my life. He's one of two priests listed in St Thomas's entry on the site whom I have never seen function liturgically there. (The other is Fr Charles Irish, but I know his wife, so I can vouch for his existence).

The celebrant's stole and chasuble, and the burse and chalice veil, were a strange but lovely sort of burnt orange - almost what (in my politically incorrect childhood) Crayola used to call "Indian Red."

We did not sing the Gloria, but after the Collect we sang "By all your saints still striving" with the special verse for St Matthias. At this point, I was a little sad that the music was provided by a priest on electric keyboard, since done well on organ, "King's Lynn" is just orgasmic. The leaflet indicated that the Apostles' Creed would be used, but the celebrant announced the Nicene, which caused some confusion. The offertory hymn was "Who are these like stars appearing" (All Saints). The Communion hymn was "Father, we thank thee who hast planted" (Les commandemens). We closed with "You call us, Lord, to be" (Rhosymedre).

As always, I came for the Mass, but I stayed for the superb dinner. Today we had a chicken stew on rice with some slightly overcooked (but in a good way) green beans (delightfully enhanced with sliced almonds) and glazed carrots, which always remind me of special occasions at my old group home. Blessed are you, Lord our God, ruler of the universe, you give us food from the earth.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Evensong in Toronto

If you're an Anglican in Toronto, your options for Evensong are limited.

*For those who like cathedral Choral Evensong, there is the Cathedral Church of St James, every Sunday at 4.30pm. There are occasional exceptions (the ordination of deacons and the diocesan confirmation) but it's pretty dependable. It's usually preceded by an organ recital at four o'clock.

*For those who like it Solemn, there's St Thomas's, Huron Street. Solemn Evensong and Devotions, with a little more congregational participation than is to be found at the cathedral, is on Sundays at seven o'clock, except for the Sunday after Christmas. The "Devotions" in question are a sort of Benedictio interruptus, lacking a monstrance and the Divine Praises, and with a bowdlerized antiphon on the final psalm ("Let us adore Christ our Lord in the most holy..."). Most priests, I'm told, discreetly give the actual Benediction, some do not. Look forward to a Procession and Te Deum on big Sundays.

*Choral Evensong is held on Wednesdays in term (5.15pm) at Trinity College.

*On the first three Sundays of each month at seven o'clock, the Church of the Redeemer offers the only BAS Evensong that I know of at any parish in the diocese.

*Once a month from September to May, Solemn Evensong and Benediction is sung to plainsong at the Church of St Mary Magdalene at 4.30pm on a Sunday. This is my personal favourite.

*St Margaret's, North Toronto, has Prayer Book EP on the first Sunday of every month at 4pm.

*St Paul's, L'Amoreaux, the unofficial cathedral of York-Scarborough episcopal area, has "Evensong with hymns" with a choir on the last Sunday of the month at 6pm.

*St Anne's has Choral Evensong "as announced" on Sundays at 4pm. In my experience, St Anne's rarely announces anything, so if you want to catch their excellent choir, best give them a call.

*St Olave's, Swansea, has periodical BCP Choral Evensongs which are announced on the website.

*St Luke's, East York offers something described as "Evening Prayer and Praise" that is "usually" on third Sundays. Best to call.

Worth noting: Holy Family Church at the Toronto Oratory. Solemn Vespers and Benediction (English and Latin) at 5pm on Sundays. I run into Anglicans there all the time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My favourite Mass settings

In no particular order:

*Missa de Angelis
*Cabena: Mass in the Dorian Mode
*Willan: Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena
*Proulx: A Community Mass
*Haugen: Mass of Creation

Monday, May 5, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reitmans = 1; Haute Couture = zéro

You know you love it.

How to Say the Office of the Departed using the Book of Alternative Services

Officiant: Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord.
People: And let perpetual light shine upon them.

The Psalms
The Book of Common Prayer (1962) provides Psalms 90, 121, 130. A Monastic Breviary prescribes that the ordinary psalmody of the day be used. If the psalms are appropriate, this option may be used. The opening versicle and response "Rest eternal..." replace the Gloria patri at the conclusion of each psalm.

The First lesson
The Book of Common Prayer provides Isaiah 38.10-20 OR Isaiah 43.1-7 OR Job 19.21-27a. A Monastic Breviary prescribes Ezekiel 37.1-14 in the morning and II Samuel 12.15b-23 in the evening.

First Canticle or Responsory
Appropriate options include "The Souls of the Righteous" (p. 80), Responsory 1 ("In the evening, tears" on p.101), number 2 ("My life is in your hand, deliver me" on page 101), number 3 ("The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous" on page 102), or the responsory for Lent on page 106. The first line of the Gloria Patri is replaced with Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord.

The Second Lesson
The BCP commends John 5.24-29 OR I Corinthians 15.50-end OR Revelation 1.9-18. A Monastic Breviary prescribes I Corinthians 15.35-49 in the morning and I Thessalonians 5.1-11 in the evening.

Second Canticle or Responsory
See above.

The Apostles' Creed

The Prayers of the People for Funerals, printed on both p. 579 and p.593, are appropriate.

The Collect of All Souls is on p. 429.

The Lord's Prayer
Traditional and contemporary forms are provided in the BAS.

V. Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace [and rise in glory].
R. Amen.

Dextera Domini: the Declaration on the Pastoral Care of Left-Handed Persons

The Declaration on the Pastoral Care of Left-Handed Persons

THE RIGHT HAND of the Lord has adorned his spotless bride, the Church, with many wondrous gifts, not the least of which is the supreme ministry of defending the arsenal of Christian truth. Through the wisdom of a provident God, this congregation, the watchdog of the household of faith, exercises diligent custody over the sacred deposit of doctrine, guarding it like a talent buried in the sand (Matt. 25:25). To this richly satisfying task it brings the feral instincts of a lioness protecting her cubs and the dispassionate zeal of a raptor pursuing its prey, so that the pearl of great price may be safely gathered up with the wheat and deposited in the nets of Peter's bark (Matt. 13:46; 13:30; John 21:6). Wherefore it seeks to infiltrate the entire Catholic world, like leaven mixed into a lump of dough (Matt. 13:33), and so, like yeast, to ferment the pilgrim Church with its viscid and fungal spores so that the entire mass may swell into a frothy, pulsating, gelatinous ooze of faith. Thus, like a prudent householder, it may bring forth from its storeroom both the true and the old (Matt. 13:52).

Having already disposed of other perversions, it becomes necessary to speak out with the profound disgust regarding yet another aberration which, like the pulling of a polyester fiber, threatens to unravel the seamless garment of faith.

This particular menace has been propagated by those who, basing their opinions on spurious sophisms of the psychological and behavioral pseudo-sciences, claim that it is acceptable, or even normal, to use the left hand when engaging in manual activities. In the face of tradition and right reason, they point to a small but vocal minority of individuals who primarily use their left hands or purport to be bimanual. With callous disregard for the natural order they judge indulgently, and even excuse completely, sinistral behavior, that is, the indiscriminate use of the left hand in the place of the right. Such an insidious abuse is defended as though there were no difference between right or left, Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free (Gal. 3:28).

For while it is neither possible nor desirable at present to decide whether this disorder is genetic in origin or merely the result of repeated nasty thoughts, in either case one may never argue that left-handedness is compulsive and therefore excusable. It is, of course, necessary to take note of the distinction between the sinistral condition and the individual left-handed actions, which are intrinsically disordered and utterly wrong.

And although the particular inclination of the left-handed person is not necessarily a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore, both the condition and all acts flowing from it are to be condemned, as are all those who suffer from it or engage in it, and everyone who thinks like them or defends them or befriends them, into everlasting torments in the lowest pit of hell where the lake of fire is never quenched and the worm dies not (Mark 9:48).

I. General Principles
INDEED, CATHOLIC TRADITION has constantly taught that only the right hand
may properly engage in manual activities. The left hand must remain curbed and passive or, at most, ancillary and subservient to the right hand, analogous to the function of a pallet in respect to an artist, or the operation of a dustpan to a broom, or the role of a wife in relation to her husband. Hence, the use of the left hand, either principally or indiscriminately along with the right, has always been held to be an abuse, a sin against nature, and intrinsically disordered as an unnatural vice.

Right reason itself argues for this arrangement. For reason is properly called right reason inasmuch as it emanates from or tends toward the right. Hence, in all things reasonable, the right is right and is to preferred, with the sole exception of the wearing of earrings of men, wherein, left is right and right is wrong.

The very use of language, even in pagan times, confirms that what is on the left side in unfavorable and perverse. It is no linguistic accident, but rather a natural manifestation of the divine will, that the Latin word for "left" (sinister) has come to connote evil, malevolence and villainy, while in common speech a left-handed compliment is no compliment at all.

The aesthetic argument, to be sure further reveals the uselessness of left-handed activity. For who can gaze upon the handwriting attempted with the left hand without sensing that it is tilted the wrong way, that is, as if blown off course by a malign east wind (Exod. 10:13; John 4:8). In the nearly unanimous estimation of humanity such scrawling is a cause of wonderment and no little aesthetic scandal.

Moreover, the Scriptures themselves amply attest to the preeminence of the right hand and the depravity of the left. Thus the right hand confers blessing and signifies strength, while the left hand is treacherous and deadly (Gen. 48:13-20; Exod. 15:6; Eze. 21:22; Rev. 1:16-17; Judg. 3:15, 20:16; 2 Sam. 20:9-10). A place at one's right hand is the seat of honor and dignity (1 Kings 2:19; Ps. 45:9, 110:1). Sagely does Qoheleth teach that "a wise man's heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool's heart toward the left" (Eccles. 10:2). In like manner, both the passivity and the inferiority of the left hand are apparent in the solemn injunction forbidding us to let our left hands know what our right hands are doing (Luke 22:50). And it is by no accident that the elect are to stand like innocent sheep at the right hand of the Eternal Judge, while the reprobates cower and whimper like noisome and tick-infested goats on His left, awaiting their dizzying descent into sulfurous fumes and unfathomable miseries in the mind-bending agonies of eternal damnation (Matt 25:31-46).

In a similar vein, the Fathers of the Church eloquently denounce sinistral behaviour in many and varied texts. Thus, Origen writes that "the perverse, because of their sinister deeds, tend toward the left," while Augustine unambiguously teaches that "the Lord strongly forbids the left hand alone to work in us" (Origen, In Matth. 23,70; Augustine, Serm in Mont. ii,2,9). A multitude of other Fathers and Doctors would have written in like manner had the thought occurred to them.

But by far the strongest and most persuasive argument for the Church's position is drawn from the so-called "teleological proof," wherein it is demonstrated that the purpose of having hands is twofold. The lesser and secondary use of hands is to handle things, or, within limits, people. The greater, or primary, end is to reflect the divine activity itself. Thus manual endeavor is said to be "procreative" in that it mirrors the creative work of God. And God, as is obvious, uses only His right hand, as Scripture clearly teaches (Exod. 16:6-12; Deut. 33:2; Ps 17:7, 18:34, 74:11, 110:1, 139:10; Is. 48:13, 62:8, Lam. 2:3; et al.) In fact, this congregation, privy as it is to the intimacies of the Godhead, is presently studying this very matter and intends to issue a definitive determination regarding the exact number of fingers on the Deity's right hand and how they are adorned.

Therefore, it is obvious that left-handed activity, or sinistrality, lacks an essential and indispensable finality. Such a deficiency marks each and every sinistral act, rendering it defective and incomplete. In short, sinistral behavior, like contraceptive sex and theological dissent, is about as useful as mammary glands on a male bovine [Tr. note: the typica is somewhat more graphic].

Let it not be said, moreover, that left-handed activity is fundamentally private or harmless to society. In a world where the common cold is spread principally by manual contact, such arguments are patently groundless and futile. Manual activity is always social in nature, that is, oriented toward and affecting the lives of others. In view of this, the following practical applications are presented for the religious submission of the minds and hearts of the faithful.

II. Pastoral Norms

SINISTRALS, THAT IS left-handed people, should always be made to feel the depth of compassion that the Church wishes to extend to all contemptible deviates.

It is deplorable that sinistral persons have been the object of malice, prejudice and bigotry in the past; the dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

Having amply touched upon this point, however, it is necessary to add that at times good Christians can and ought to regard such persons with aversion and abhorrence as cheap, vulgar, degenerate, perverse, errant, depraved, vile, warped and base, and totally undeserving of opportunities belonging to right-handed people. Some, of course, may erroneously object that the Church's position could tend to encourage feelings of animosity and intolerance against such maggots. Special care must thus be taken to point out the finely nuanced distinctions operative in this situation. It is, for example, quite possible to love people while simultaneously hating everything about them, including the fact of their existence, just as it is possible to uphold and defend the dignity of an ant while in the very act of crushing it underfoot. History is replete with many sterling examples of this Christian principle in action (See, for example, the decrees of Gregory IX and Sixtus IV establishing, respectively, the Roman and Spanish Inquisitions.) On a practical level, the faithful may legitimately deem it necessary, and even laudable, to discriminate against sinistrals in the following areas, among others:

- the adoption of children and the employment of teachers and coaches, lest, by work and example, the impressionable young be exposed to shockingly offensive manual options;

- housing, since it would offend Christian piety that innocent people, who rightfully protect their homes against vermin and pests, should have to live next door to such human debris;

- the military, for in conformity with the intention of our warrior God, who trains for battle (Exod. 15:3; Ps. 18:34) morally correct guns and weapons of war are fittingly designed only for the right-handed lifestyle;

- the workplace, given sinistrals' well-known tendencies to proselytize, overtly or covertly, and to warp the unwary into a left-handed lifestyle;

- life in general, since the sufferance of sinistral behavior, like a contagious disease, is both a menace to the right ordering of the cosmos and a deterrent to universally accepted natural activities like handshakes and manual transmission driving.

WHEREFORE, BISHOPS ARE to be especially concerned to defend and champion authentic morality, not only in family life and in the prompt transmittance of the Peter's Pence, but also in the regulation of manual activity. While promoting the joy of virtue for its own sake, let them not disdain other effective means to coerce proper manual behaviors among the faithful. Such might well include the occasional homiletic reflections upon an afterlife in company with grotesque fiends, as well as richly detailed accounts of unimaginable torment, excruciating heat and unrelenting pain and putrefaction amid rock-rending shrieks of anguished despair in the bottomless chasm of Gehenna. Above all, they are to remind sinistrals that manual activity may be undertaken only by right-handed people within the context of a lifelong commitment to right-handedness.

Therefore, let sinistral and bimanual individuals be instructed to disguise their sinistrality by keeping it repressed, although under no circumstances are they to keep their left hands in their pockets. For a vice that is truly repressed is no vice at all. To this end, hypnosis and mind-altering pharmaceuticals may be licitly administered so as to render their left hands useless.

If such individuals are indeed incapable of being cured of this disorder so as to properly use the left hand only in a secondary role, if at all, they must refrain from all manual activity with either hand. For God, who is bountiful to his loved ones in sleep, has blessed inactivity for the sake of the kingdom (Ps. 127:2; Matt. 19:12).

Additionally, insofar as these sinistrals still lack the capacity for, or obdurately resist a lifelong commitment to right-handedness, they are to take more urgent measures to be cured. In this connection, it is altogether licit and harmonious with the principle of double effect to resort to the therapeutic use of amputation in accord with Scripture: "If your [left] hand causes you to sin, cut it off, for it is better to enter the kingdom maimed" (Matt. 18:9), etc.

Finally, all sinistrals, to whom bishops and pastors of souls offer the solace of holy religion, should be assured that despite their best efforts they will probably go to hell anyway for thinking left-handed thoughts. Let them thus be encouraged to know that, after a life in which they have basically considered themselves worthless, they will at last find themselves entirely worthy of something; to wit, eternal damnation in the slime-infested miseries of the abyss, where horribly disfigured imps and little red demons with pitchforks and tridents will perform unremitting acupuncture upon their most sensitive bodily parts as they roast in the searing embers of hell. About which, most assuredly, this Congregation will happily have more to say in the future.