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.