Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Naming and Circumcision of Jesus

Timely thoughts from the Bishop of Buckingham on law, grace, and the mystery of today's feast. A happy civil new year to everyone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


"Reappraisers" don't need to "win" The Debate: they need only wait for the baby boomers to retire: Anglicans my age who oppose the blessing of same-gender unions are as unusual as those of my parents' generation who still hold out in "safe" parishes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009


With thanks to Michael, here is Candlemass in the Use of Sarum. St Thomas's, Huron Street will celebrate this tradition on 2 February 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ideas for the next revision of the Book of Alternative Services

*Extend Christmasstide to Candlemass
*Provide a form for the full Vigil of Pentecost
*Provide propers for a Mass at Dawn on Easter Sunday
*Designate the Thursday in Trinity week as an optional memorial in Thanksgiving for Holy Communion
*Raise all feasts of Our Lady to the rank of Holy Day
*Provide propers for Accession Day

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Anglo-Catholics in the Anglican Church in North America

I'm assuming this is a border difference: in the American news, we read much about "spiky" trad-minded bishops like Iker and Ackerman joining the new body. In Canada, it was an entirely Evangelical venture. The only AC parish to join the Network was St John the Evangelist, Calgary, which now along with three other parishes forms a rump of Network congregations remaining in the Anglican Church of Canada.

In fact, it surprises me that Anglo-Catholics in the US were drawn to ACNA. When it was first announced, one of the bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada wrote an op-ed in the Post waspishly but aptly criticizing the ACNA folks for accepting change that suited them (such as women clergy, who freely populate ACNA) but then deciding that gay relationships were "too much" of a break from Tradition. And certainly, the ecclesiology of ACNA is not Catholic. Mind you, "traditional" Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England have been occupying a thoroughly Protestant ecclesiological no one's land for nearly two decades (for what could be more Protestant than a statutory right to opt out of communion with one's diocesan?) and they don't seem to be bothered. But here we have "Catholic" Anglicans who withdrew from their province over a dispute over the sacrament of matrimony, only to settle in a body that enshrined the 39 Articles! (And no Newman tricks here: the "literal and grammatical sense" is the definitive).

I live and write in Toronto. The city of Toronto falls within the purview of at least three ACNA dioceses including the Reformed Episcopal Diocese of Central and Eastern Canada. If I were a prospective ACNA ordinand, I could easily shop around, without actually moving around! And now Bishop Iker is saying that if Archbishop Duncan ordains women bishops, Fort Worth will pull out. Well, why not? They did it once. And no doubt when the next metropolitan they pick out does something they don't like, they'll move on again - and, again, try to take the silver with them! That's understandable, and it's human, but it isn't Catholic, and it's unworthy of someone who (presumably) fancies himself an episcopal defender of Catholic order.

(Thanks to my friend Max at Stuck in the Myddel for triggering this train of thought!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmass in Toronto and Hamilton

24 December
*4.30pm Choral Evensong, Cathedral Church of St James (standing room only)
*4.30pm Evensong & Benediction, St Bartholomew's Church
*11pm Solemn Pontifical Midnight Masses at both St Thomas's (with the Primate) and St Mary Magdalene (with the Area Bishop, preceded by Said Mattins at 10.15pm). Musical preludes at 10.30 at both churches.

25 December
*12am Solemn High Mass (extraordinary form) at St Vincent de Paul Church
*10.30am Morning Prayer at St George's Reformed Episcopal Church, Hamilton
*11am Sung Mass in Latin (ordinary form) at Holy Family Church
*5pm Evensong at St John's Convent

6 January
*7pm First Mass of Christmass, Christ the Saviour Monastery, Hamilton

Looking ahead, the Procession and Solemn High Mass on Candlemass (Tuesday 2 February, 6.15pm) at St Thomas's, Huron Street, will be celebrated according to the Use of Sarum.

Christmass at S. Clement's

(Audio attack)

24 December
*10am Low Mass of the Vigil
*12noon First Vespers and Compline
*9.45pm Mattins
*Confessions: 5-6pm, 10.30-11.30pm

25 December
*12am Procession and Solemn High Mass of Midnight
*8am Low Mass of the Dawn
*11am Solemn High Mass of the Day

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Eucharistic spectrum

In an introductory tract to Anglicanism I once read, the author stated that both memorialism and transubstantiation are outside of the scope of acceptable Anglican belief. At the time, this grated, because although I had found myself in Anglican Church for pragmatic reasons, my theology still essentially came from the Council of Trent. And indeed I continued to believe in the real absence of bread and wine in the Sacrament well in to my candidacy for Reception into the Anglican Communion.

Now I think I would grant the point. Anglicanism embraces the influence of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason (though differences abound about the nature of the interaction of the three). Memorialism or Zwinglianism is certainly against Tradition, as surely even Calvin would agree. But also, perhaps surprisingly (I would say ironically, but I am suspicious of my judgment of its use given my membership in my generation), it is unbiblical. Jesus tells us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Those words did have idiomatic meanings then - to revile and condemn someone, akin to "chewing them out" today. Are we to condemn Jesus? It can't be explained away by a purely symbolic exegesis.

Transubstantiation runs into difficulty with reason. I don't think it's fair to compare it to memorialism, because I believe that in this case the problems are not insoluble. But in order for transubstantiation to work, it needs to be adapted so as not to assume Aristotelian physics as a premise. Outside of such groups as the Palmarians (who believe in the Real Presence of Our Lady in the Blessed Sacrament), surely no one believes that a chemical analysis (while blasphemous) would not show the chemical properties of bread and wine? Indeed, say what you will about Luther, his Eucharistic theology of the horseshoe in the fire is entirely Catholic: the fire and the metal are both present yet as one. So too do the Body and Blood of Christ coexist incarnationally with the bread and wine we give back to God.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Conception of Our Lady

An unusually high number of people visited The Rose Maniple on Tuesday. For those who are interested, I marked the day with a Procession and Solemn Mass at the Church of St Mary Magdalene. The leaflet hasn't been posted, but this pdf from a couple of years ago is pretty typical - although, maddeningly, the processional hymn this year was to "Daily, daily."

The day before, on the feast of St Ambrose, I visited Trinity College Chapel, where the Dean of Divinity, the Revd Canon Dr David Neelands, presided at Holy Communion after the rite of 1552. There were some anachronisms. By habit, most people said some prayers (the general confession, the prayer of humble access, for example) that the rubrics clearly meant to be presbyteral orations. "O come, O come, Emmanuel" and "Comfort, comfort ye my people" replaced the metrical psalms that we had had sung the year before. Several people made liberal use of the Sign of the Cross. The Dean celebrated in a comely surplice standing at the north side (not end, for the orientation was done the right way) of the holy table, with an unrealistic number of communicants (last year, at least, they had to sign up in advance) kneeling in a circle around the perimeter of the chancel from the end of the Exhortation. The rector of St Thomas's, Huron Street, preached what I suspect may have been one of the Homilies.

Readers in the Southern Ontario area should note the celebration of the First Mass of Christmass at Christ the Saviour Monastery in Hamilton, Wednesday 6 January, tentatively at 7pm. The Hamilton Schola Cantorum will sing the propers of the ancient Western Rite.

My ideal parish profile

• Catholicized Prayer Book (Rite I-style) rite (p. 230) in the BAS supplemented by the Anglican Gradual and Sacramentary, OR 1962 BCP augmented by the Anglican Missal. The Gregorian Canon is wrapped around Eucharistic Prayer B in the former case; in the latter, around the Prayer of Consecration. If the older sources are used, Intercession, Confession & Absolution, and Blessing are retained, but the Comfy Words, and the Prayer of Humble Excess (or the Humble Crumble, if you prefer). The Preparations and Last Gospel are vestry devotions. Would use whatever authorized Eucharistic Lectionary I inherited.

• Early celebration (BCP, preferably in Latin, or SBH), breakfast, Sung Mattins (Anglican chant) & Litany, Solemn Mass (Asperges before, chanted Angelus after), Solemn Evensong (with Antiphon of Our Lady) & Benediction. Or, if there is an interested neighbouring Roman Catholic congregation, a joint service there according to the rite for Evensong or Vespers authorized by their ordinary.

• Ritual Notes and Fortescue interpretation. The Use of Christminster colour scheme is followed. I lean toward the lay subdeacons in maniples school of thought, but consider it an anomalous point of acceptable difference created by the situation where the diocesan does not ordain subdeacons. I have some Liturgical Movement preferences: I like Gospel processions, for instance, and I like to receive the Sacrament on Good Friday. I am in the process of compiling a supplement to Ritual Notes for the orderly implementation of these practices in congregations where they have become customary, but which otherwise adhere to traditional liturgical customs.

• Mattins, Mass, & Evensong (1962 Office lectionary, 1918 if I can get away with it) seven days a week. Votive of Our Lady on Saturday, weekly requiem. Corporate Confession & Forgiveness (LBW) with individual absolution at the altar rail on Saturday evenings.

• Predominant emphasis on congregational chant. Lots of psalm tones.

• Close relationship with any nearby religious communities, full communion partner congregations (I just realized the other week that Sankt Georg is around the corner from St Mary Mag. Potential? There are two Mar Thoma congregations in the Greater Toronto Area).

• Strong student outreach, Christian Education, Company of Servers.

• Social justice activities; readiness, given the availability of necessary means, to offer the protection of the Lord’s sanctuary to victims of the faulty immigration appeals system. Relationship with Catholic Workers and SCM. Focus on spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

• If I were to find myself in the US, read the following as equivalent. Re-ordered rite = Rite I. 1962 = 1928.

• In an English context, I would be happy to serve any Resolution C parish maverick enough to put up with my concelebrating at both Chrism Masses.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Why Anglicanorum coetibus is not a big deal

*Lay people don't care about retaining an Anglican-style liturgy. They are either liberals, who would gladly have gone over after Summorum Pontificum but for their views on women and/or gays, or the rare remaining ultramontanists whose motives for not doing so are mysterious. But in either group Anglican rubrics are typically seen as constraints, rather than a "patrimony" preservation whereof is desirable. (The Book of Divine Worship is not safe for those who suffer from requiem-onset allergies to the A-word, and the English use the Pauline Missal anyway). The best reconciliation of North American Anglo-Catholic practice with the authorized provincial texts is the Anglican Gradual and Sacramentary linked at the sidebar. The archetypal Anglo-Catholic parish, S. Clement's, Philadelphia, is known for its faithful execution of the Pre-Pian liturgical tradition. And it is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, under Her Grace's metropolitical primacy.

*The bull is soft on the provision for married priests. They won't be allowed in the same way as in most Catholic rites apart from the Latin. So the clerical draw won't be as big. And of course, no women need apply. (Recall that there are women in diaconal orders who are card-carrying members in good standing of Forward in Faith. I would speculate that even the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, whose departure I lament, would have countenanced a hierodeacon among their number. But then I'm a shameless optimist. I'm already musing about Massachusetts-resident clergy ministering in Canada).

I predict that Western Rite Orthodoxy, which offers an ancient Western liturgical tradition, a married priesthood, and unquestionably authentic apostolic pedigree, will be far more successful. Meanwhile, the "liberal" Catholic wing of the Canterbury-affiliated churches in North America will acquire greater visibility.

The catholic voter

What to do? Every so often we see directives, and so often they seem veiled invitations to vote Conservative (not the now-tiny party of Sir John A. Macdonald and John Diefenbaker, nor the remaining senators but the latest rebranding of the Reform Party/United Alternative/Alliance). But voting with a truly consistent life ethic is a trade-off. You're not going to have a candidate who opposes abortion (buggering up the beginning of life), and the death penalty (the end), and capitalism (the middle bit). So you decide. In the United States, many American Catholics decided for Obama's health care reform. In Canada, the Liberals have always enjoyed broad Catholic support. (The Conservatives aren't a sure bet either: they're likely to be okay with letting gay people rent apartments). And at least one Roman Catholic priest has stood for the NDP.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Late-breaking Toronto alert!

The Church of St Mary Magdalene will offer a Sung Votive Mass of Our Lady in plainsong on the feast of her Presentation, Saturday 10am. Morning Prayer is read at 9.30.

Also, a Pontifical Tridentine Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Annunciation at 9am.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A suggested order for Morning Prayer and Holy Communion

Although the rubrics of the 1962 BCP envision such a service, they are cagey about the execution. What follows is my proposal for an orderly celebration of this liturgy. This service may be used when it is desired both to sing the service of Morning Prayer and to offer the Liturgy of the Sacrifice. It may be adapted for use in the evening.

*Begin the service of Morning Prayer with the Preces and Venite.
*Follow with the psalm appointed by the Revised Common Lectionary.
*Use the readings from the RCL, placing the Gospel after the Benedictus
*Continue the celebration of the Eucharist from the Nicene Creed
*Commemorate the Collect in the biddings to the Intercession.
*Sing the Gloria before the final blessing as prescribed.

This system seems to solve the problems inherent in trying to follow the rubric to the letter, complete with changing lectionaries, and the apparent disappearance of the collect of the day.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A collect after Communion or before the Blessed Sacrament

Rite I
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst seat thy blessed mother next to thy throne in heaven: vouchsafe to deliver us whom thou hast sanctified in baptism and who now receive (behold) thee veiled from sight, and bring us together with all thou hast made, into the thine eternal kingdom of righteousness and charity, where with the Father and the Holy Ghost thou livest and reignest, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Rite II
Lord Jesus Christ, you seated your mother next to your throne in heaven. May we who have been baptised into your death and resurrection and now receive (behold) you veiled from sight be brought with all creation into your eternal kingdom of justice and love, where you live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

(Another indulgence for the first one to guess which I wrote first)

Underappreciated liturgical destinations in Toronto

I’m not the New Liturgical Movement. I try to report on the Anglican beat in Toronto with occasional ventures into Niagara and Montréal. It’s a niche market, but affirming (or more aptly traditional-egalitarian) Catholicism is coming into vogue now. With that in mind…

*St Simon-the-Apostle. Tempted to check out Morning Prayer in spectacular St Paul’s, Bloor Street? If you’re looking for the BCP service with Anglican chant and choral music from your childhood, you’ll be disappointed. Walk two or so blocks east and you’ll be at St Simon's, where you can bellow Battishill’s Jubilate Deo to your heart’s content. (On the other hand, if you are someone who wants an old-fashioned preaching service in one of the most breathtaking churches in Canada, then I cannot recommend St Paul’s to you heartily enough).

*The Chapel of St James-the-Less. There’s only one opportunity each year to assist at Mass here: the cathedral’s Choral Requiem on the Saturday nearest All Souls’ Day. It’s worth going to, although it’s not a Fauré affair in black, the A-word appears, you'll be censed (or incensed!), and you’ll grit your teeth during the Agnus Dei. But it’s ad orientem and at least it’s not done in white (you all know who you are…).

*St Matthias, Bellwoods. I go here to sing my old Catholic Book of Worship favourites. But the spirit of devotion runs deep. You’ll witness generous Asperges, May Crownings, and Benediction on Corpus Christi (complete with “One bread, one body” of course). And on festal occasions, the food never disappoints.

*St Bartholomew’s, Regent Park. I can’t do it justice here. I’ll offer my comments on the Use of Regent Park in a future post.

Postscript: Regrets

I used to vow every year that I would make to 10 o'clock Benediction at the cathedral on Maundy Thursday night, and then they stopped doing it. My bad.

Last year, Trinity College did a Solemn Requiem according to the English Missal on All Souls. To my ongoing amazement, this didn't filter through the grapevine to me. As if I would knowingly have deprived you, dear readers, of a photo of the Dean of Divinity in a biretta!

(An indulgence the next time I injure myself to the first one to identify the especially strategic Oxford comma in this post. -ed.).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Modern Profession of Catholic Faith for Private Devotion

complementary to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed

[NB: I offer the following for comment and theological proofreading, as it were. -ed.]

I believe in one triune, coeternal God, who is both immanent and transcendent.

I believe that God has delivered God's people from fear and sin throughout history, by creating all that is out of nothing in an act of perfect sovereignty and love, by showing mercy when we rejected God, by delivering us from bondage, and ultimately by becoming one of us, and by dying and rising to defeat death. I believe that my own life reflects this pattern of ongoing deliverance. God is now present with us in the sending of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation of the Gospel, the Tradition of the Church, and the sacraments, especially and uniquely in the most holy sacrament of the altar. Eventually, God will return to establish a reign of perfect justice, love, and mercy.

I believe that all living are united with the communion of saints in the collective offering of prayer and praise to God. I trust that in the fulness of time I along with many, if not indeed all, shall be purged of my sin to dwell in the eternal repose of God's presence. At that time, all manner of thing shall be well.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Gregorian Canon with the Hanc Igitur according to the Canadian rite of 1959

Most merciful Father, we humbly pray thee through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, and we ask that thou accept and bless These gifts, these presents, these holy and unspoiled sacrifices. We offer them unto thee, first, for thy holy catholic Church: that thou vouchsafe to keep it in peace, to guard, unite, and govern it throughout the whole world: together with thy servant N. our Pontiff and N. our Bishop and all the faithful guardians of the catholic and apostolic faith.

Remember, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids N. and N and all who here around us stand, whose faith is known unto thee and their steadfastness manifest, on whose behalf we offer unto thee: or who themselves offer unto thee this sacrifice of praise, for themselves, and for all who are theirs; for the redemption of their souls, foe hope of their salvation and safety; and who offer their prayers unto thee, the eternal God, the living and the true.

United in one communion, we venerate the memory, first, of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of blessed Joseph, her most chaste spouse, and thy blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian: and of all thy Saints; grant that by their merits and prayers we may in all things be defended with the help of thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing and glory and thanksgiving be unto thee Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memorial of that his precious death, until his coming again.

Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took Bread; and, when he had given thanks, he brake it; and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat; this is my Body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he took the Cup; and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all, of this; for this is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.

Wherefore, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, we thy humble servants, with all thy holy Church, remembering the precious death of thy beloved Son, his mighty resurrection, and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming again in glory, do make before thee, in this sacrament of the holy Bread of eternal life and the Cup of everlasting salvation, the memorial which he hath commanded; And we entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion; And we pray that by the power of thy Holy Spirit, all we who are partakers of this holy Communion may be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction; through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

Remember also, O Lord, thy servants N. and N., who have gone before us sealed with the seal of faith, and who sleep the sleep of peace.

To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech thee to grant the abode of refreshing, of light, and of peace. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

To us sinners also, thy servants, who hope in the multitude of thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with thy holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all thy saints: within whose fellowship,. we beseech Thee, admit us, not weighing our merit, but granting us forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord.

Through whom, O Lord, thou dost ever create all these good things,: dost sanctify, quicken, bless, and bestow them upon us.

Through him, and with him, and in him, God the Father almighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honor and glory are thine.

Throughout all ages, world without end.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Readers in the Greater Toronto Area might be interested to know that on Monday 7 December at 5.15pm, the Lord's Supper will be celebrated in Trinity College Chapel according to the rite of 1552. Communicants should notify the Dean of their intention in advance at d DOT neelands AT utoronto DOT ca.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pontifical High Mass at St Matthias, Bellwoods

The Lord Bishop of Toronto celebrated and preached at St Matthias, Bellwoods, today. The Mass was Willan's Sancta Maria Magdalena. St Matthias tends to follow modern Roman ceremonial, and thus there was no deacon or subdeacon, but the rector concelebrated.

In his sermon, Bishop Johnson recalled the last time he functioned liturgically at St Matthias - as a deacon, in 1977. It was the Litany in Procession and High Mass in Advent, according to the Use of Sarum, under Fr Gregory Lee. Then Deacon Johnson's maniple slid off in the course of the liturgy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Nativity of the BVM

I went to St John's Convent yesterday for the 125th anniversary of the order's foundation. The primate celebrated Mass and preached.

Unusually, perhaps due to the larger crowd this year and concerns over sensitivities, there was no incense. The setting (Gloria and Sanctus only) was Margaret Rizza's Mass of the Bread of Life. The primate wore a chasuble and mitre, and carried a crosier. The "assistant," a nun in priest's orders, vested in dalmatic and read the Gospel and the intercessions that had been interpolated into the Eucharistic Prayer.

Several secular priests were present, as well as the neighbouring communities of the Order of the Holy Cross and the Community of the Sisters of the Church. Bishop Colin Johnson, the convent's visitor, was not present, but I saw Bishop Ann Tottenham, visitor to Holy Cross Priory.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What do Reformed Episcopalians do, anyway?

I'm just back from Hamilton, where I visited St George's Reformed Episcopal Church for Communion Sunday on the Labour Day weekend. The 1962 BCP was followed pretty faithfully, although options such as the Agnus Dei were not used. The hymnal was that of 1938, but again with more Evangelical choices. There was some added congregational participation - such as during the Thanksgiving after Communion and the Grace, interpolated Mattins-style at the end of the recessional hymn. Most bizarrely, the Prayer of Consecration was read in unison congregationally from the after the Words of Institution to the Doxology. I didn't recognize the Gloria. The Sanctus and Benedictus was said, and I missed the Decalogue, so couldn't say whether the responses were sung. (Our bus driver on the Hamilton Street Railway decided to stop at Tim Hortons while en route, so we ducked in during the Epistle). The acclamations before and after the Gospel were sung to an unfamiliar setting, as was the blessing over the alms.

Although it was decidedly low church, I would have no trouble returning to St George's on future visits to Hamilton for a change of pace. The people there are very friendly and the service was reverently executed. And they really do celebrate at the north end in surplice and tippet (although all paraments, including burse, veil, and super-frontal, were green).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A field guide to Toronto Anglo-Catholicism with New York as a reference

*St Thomas's, Huron Street ≈ St Thomas, Fifth Avenue
*St Mary Magdalene ≈ St Mary the Virgin
*St Bartholomew's ≈ Resurrection
*St Martin-in-the-Fields ≈ St Luke in the Fields
*St Matthias, Bellwoods ≈ Trinity Church (?)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More about St Bart's

St Bartholomew's is the most traditional Anglo-Catholic parish in the Diocese of Toronto, looking away politely from St T's female servers, Revised Common Lectionary, and GABbing (though they do TARP). A full set of minor propers is sung, introit and gradual/alleluia from the BCP and the offertory and communion from the English Hymnal. Under the most recent rector (a former superior of Bracebridge monastery), the Angelus was sung to Anglican chant following the Sung Mass. An icon of St Charles Stuart, King and Martyr, greets you as you stoop to pick up a leaflet and add a name to the intercession sheet. It's one of only three churches (two others) where I've spotted a biretta. It's the only church in the Diocese to keep Corpus Christi on the Thursday (whereas the Bishop of Toronto, my own father in God, recently turned up at the very lovely Sunday celebration at St Matthias, Bellwoods, the mother church of Ritualism in the Diocese of Toronto).

This very awesome community is going to have a new website soon, to which I will be sure to point!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Patronal Festival of St Bartholomew

I went to the Sung Mass (what Ritual Notes would call a "Simple High Mass") at St Bart's today for their anticipated feast of title. We actually had a procession round the block while Father, a military chaplain who occasionally celebrates Mass in the parish, sported a biretta. An infant was baptised using the full BCP service; the Nicene Creed was still sung at Mass, interestingly. The celebrant "dressed for dinner," albeit in a splendid cope bearing symbols of the Blessed Sacrament. Interestingly, the cup was withheld from the laity by order of the interim priest-in-charge, something not done even at the Tridentine Mass I once attended at Trinity College.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dream incumbencies

*S. Clement's, Philadelphia
*St John's in the Village, Baltimore
*Holy Trinity Cathedral, Havana
*Church of St John the Evangelist, Montreal
*St James, Vancouver
*St Peter's Cathedral, Charlottetown
*St Luke's ELCA, Chicago
*Parish of the Falkland Islands

Friday, August 7, 2009


Sorry to have been incommunicado for a bit. I am entering my final year now, and things have been a bit hectic. Following posting on the Assumption at St Thomas's, regular service will again lie dormant until I return from youth conference to report on St Bartholomew's Day in Regent Park.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A weekend in the Diocese of Niagara

This weekend I ventured out to the town of Dunnville, Ontario, for a house party with some young Anglican acquantiances et alia. It's a hassle to get out there: the bus to Hamilton is fairly straightforward, but getting from Hamilton to Dunnville necessarily involves the mercy of someone with a driver's licence.

For the first several hours there was a sort of pre-party made up of the inner sanctum of friends, as it were. For much of this time, I was the eldest guest, and I hit it off with the locals quite well. No one seemed troubled by the presence of a big-city queen; indeed, one lad told me I was "a pretty cool guy." Later more people arrived and the intimate atmosphere changed, but I kept myself close to my new acquaintances from the afternoon.

On Sunday morning I went to Mass at the parish church. Unfortunately, this was a modern-language Sunday, and instead of the BAS, they use a form of service based on Common Worship. This meant an alternative "affirmation of faith" in lieu of a Creed, a terrible Elton John-like praise chorus solo instead of a gradual, and a metrical Gloria. The celebrant faced east in surplice and stole (no chasuble because of the heat, I was told). I'll be sure to come back again for a BCP Sunday - perhaps even for monthly Mattins.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Taking my first Sunday service

Yesterday I made my debut as officiant at Sung Mattins at the Church of St Simon the Apostle. Straddling the economically disparate neighbourhoods of Rosedale and St Jamestown, and not far from the gay village, St Simon's is full of colourful characters but provides traditional language services sung congregationally with the support of an excellent choir. In yesterday's service, I read the sentence, sang all the responses, led the psalm and Creed, and read the Prayer of St Chrysostom. A priest led the confession and absolution, blessed the offering, read the Grace, and preached. The Venite, Te Deum, and Jubilate Deo were sung to Anglican chant by the congregation (the choir being on holiday for the summer). I look forward to getting my monthly dose of Mattins at St Simon's (see MW report in sidebar).

Off to St Thomas's for Evensong, where the retiring rector of the Church of St Mary Magdalene was guest officiant, and kindly conveyed Christ's blessing with the veiled ciborium at the conclusion of the service.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Breaking news

The background to and text of the new gender-neutral service for the Blessing of a Civil Marriage in the Diocese of Niagara can be found here. This rite will be available on a local-option basis beginning 1 September.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I have been looking for this on YouTube for about two years now. Simply fabulous!

Monday, June 29, 2009

SS Peter and Paul

Solemn First Evensong & Benediction at St Thomas's, Huron Street.

The service was preceded by a recital so there were a lot of unchurched visitors. I arrived five minutes to the hour and had to sit near the back. My neighbours, who flinched every time I put down the kneeler, treated me to a superb Protestant cough during the Mag. Canticles were Brian Kelly's Emmanuel Service.

We sang Aeterna Christi Munera to the plainsong, and used Hereford (ugh) and Grafton (tolerable, but not the plainsong) at Benediction, which involved the veiled ciborium, though we did get the actual Benediction over us at the end. The Sacred Ministers wore splendid red copes, though I had to crane my neck to see them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sad news

On Thursday, 3 September
in the Year of Our Lord 2009
a Very Special Mass
will be Celebrated
in the Chapel
of All Saints Convent
Catonsville, Maryland
with the Archbishop of Baltimore -
Edwin O'Brien - as the Chief Celebrant
During this Mass
Mother Christina, Sister Emily Ann,
Sister Mary Joan, Sister Hannah,
Sister Elizabeth, Sister Elaine,
Sister Catherine Grace, Sister Julia Mary, Sister Mary Charles, and Sister Margaret will be received into full communion with the Holy See.
Mother Virginia and Sister Barbara Ann have chosen to remain Anglican.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Laudia Sion

Sorry for my absence. Here's a treat for the ongoing Octave.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TradCom rides again!

Yesterday I got to hear Mass with Fr W. Tay Moss, AHC, at the Church of the Messiah. It was the monthly BCP Low Mass or "Traditional Communion". The Mass was celebrated at a nave altar (though we approached the communion rail at Communion), and the introit and gradual were used congregationally. Fr Tay wore surplice and green stole (no Octave of Pentecost here!) The Agnus Dei was omitted, which is an option allowed by the 1962 BCP, but otherwise it was a pretty straightforward iteration of the BCP Eucharist.

Afterwards, lunch was served and Fr Tay gave me a tour of the church, with a highly knowledgeable explanation of the place and its history. A big thank-you to Father for his hospitality!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Point of information

Does anyone know how I can contact Iosephus about getting an invitation to Salus Animarum Suprema Lex?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Visitation

Concelebrated Pontifical High Mass and Outdoor Procession today. The principal celebrant and homilist was the Lord Bishop of Jamaica. The rector of the Church of St Mary Magdalene was deacon and a female member of the Society of Mary was subdeacon. Three priests from St Thomas's, Huron Street, concelebrated, the interim superior of the SOM Ward of Our Lady of Hope, the chaplain of Royal St George's College, and another priest whom I could not identify who was one of the inductees into the Society.

Three Marian motets by Willan were sung by the Gallery Choir before Mass. The music of the Mass was listed as Missa Quarta by Palestrina, but as it was set to the Prayer Book words, I imagine it was in fact a Willan setting. The Gloria was sung antiphonally to the Missa Kyrie Deus Sempiterne and the Credo was denoted "Authentic Tone." A new statue of Our Lady of Viggiano, commissioned by a parishioner from Viggiano, Italy, and executed by the sexton, was blessed by the bishop.

The white and blue High Mass set was worn, minus maniples, and splendid gold copes were donned at the end for the procession down Bathurst street. The bishop shouted the Ecce Agnus Dei over the singing of the Agnus Dei, and sang the final blessing (after the reciting of the Regina Coeli). Over lunch, I got to kiss the bishop's ring, of course.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"It's a penis, but you can eat it."

The sequel to this post. Sorry for my absence. School is out as of today, and tomorrow I'll report back on the Lord Bishop of Jamaica's Solemn High Mass of the Visitation and the Outdoor Procession at the Church of St Mary Magdalene.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And then what happened?

Did you know that Holy Trinity, Trinity Square was originally a product of the Tractarian movement? I sure didn't. It may be one of the most (ahem) cutting-edge parishes in the diocese now, but at its inception it was the only parish in the diocese with weekly Holy Communion, free pews, and a surpliced choir.

(The first full-blown Ritualist parish in the diocese was, of course, St Matthias, Bellwoods, which itself has seen a great deal of change).

There have been other casualties. When my own parish priest celebrated her first Mass as a newly ordained priest in the 1980s at St Aidan's in the Beaches, it was a Solemn High Mass ad orientem. Much has changed.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Today I was inducted as a member of the Society of Mary at the second Saturday of the May Festival of Our Lady. St Thomas's, Huron Street hosted the Solemn High Mass and Procession, followed by a luncheon and ending with Rosary and Benediction.

The Mass was a setting by Giles Bryant, and was sung by the choir of Royal St George's College (the choir school of the Cathedral Church of St James), which was quite a treat. It ended with a congregational procession to "The happy birds Te Deum sing," and the May Crowning.

The rosary was chanted antiphonally by gender, and I regret to say that the hymn tunes at Benediction were not the proper plainsong ones.

At the offertory, I submitted my new parishioner form for St Thomas's. My first Sunday there will be the Patronal Festival in July.

Marian hymnody AND dancing boys?

I'm off to the second installment of the May Festival today, so in honour thereof, here's a true foretaste of the banquet. Tip of the biretta (erm, sorry, coif) to Michael at Synaxis.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Eastertide resurrection

The former Sarisburium is back as Synaxis, for commentary from an Orthodox perspective.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good Shepherd Sunday at St Bartholomew's, Regent Park

I was pleased to be able to attend the Festal Mass of the Second Sunday after Easter at St Bartholomew's Church at Parliament and Dundas. The Mass included incense and the celebrant was assisted by a deacon (the interim priest-in-charge) in alb and stole (which he even wore to the luncheon following!)

The Prayer Book rite was followed very strictly, without many of the changes customary in Anglo-Catholic parishes. We didn't GAB (Gloria at beginning) and the offertory preceded the Intercession. I don't know what the Mass setting was, other than the Credo and Gloria (congregationally sung to de Angelis).

We began by singing a cappella the proper Introit appointed in the Book of Common Prayer to plainsong. After the Epistle, the proper Gradual was chanted in the same fashion. The deacon chanted the Gospel, and the Nicene Creed immediately followed. At the offertory, a minor proper from the English Hymnal was sung by the choir and the celebrant changed from a cope into a Latin chasuble (but no maniple). The Sursum Corda responses were accompanied by organ. The Lord's Prayer was transposed in customary Anglo-Catholic fashion. Although the Peace was of course said in the Prayer Book place rather than at the end of the Liturgy of the Word as in the BAS, the celebrant turned to face the congregation, which often doesn't happen in BCP Masses.

At the end, we sang the Regina coeli to "Easter Hymn." A splendid morning, all in all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Whither the Vigil of Pentecost?

Does anyone still observe the traditional Vigil of Pentecost, with the blessing of water and the prophecies? None of the Anglo-Catholic parishes here do, and of course the Oratory of St Philip Neri follows all the Pian and Johannine reforms. I had high hopes when Christ the Saviour Monastery hung up their Western Rite Orthodox shingle nearby, but the Abbot tells me they don't do it either. I suppose I could give the local Lefebvrist chapel a try.

Propers in pdf format from the Anglican Gradual & Sacramentary.

Unreasonably Happy III/Requiem aeternam

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Week 2009 at Christminster

Here's what they've got planned this week at Christ the Saviour Monastery in Hamilton:

12 April - Palm Sunday
9am Blessing of Palms, Procession, & Sung Mass with the Passion of St Matthew

Wednesday 15 April
6.30pm Vespers and Anointing Service

16 April - Maundy Thursday
8am Tenebrae
6pm Sung Mass and Stripping of the Altar

17 April - Good Friday
8am Tenebrae
12noon Stations of the Cross
6pm Solemn Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified

18 April - Holy Saturday
8am Tenebrae
7.30pm Great Vigil and First Mass of Easter

19 April - Easter Day
9am Morrow Mass of Easter
6.30pm Vespers & Benediction

Friday, April 10, 2009

When is a Mass not a Mass?

When it's a Mass of the Pre-Sanctified, of course!

This morning I hopped on my bike and rode to St John's Convent where I joined the sisters for a silent lunch of vegetable soup, cheese, and matzoh. After a dessert of canned apricots and plain yogurt, we shuffled into the chapel for the Good Friday Liturgy.

The order was that in the Book of Alternative Services and the colour, I fear, was red. (Stole until the Restoration of the Blessed Sacrament, chasuble from then on).

The Liturgy of the Word featured John's account of the Passion, and the homily was followed by "O sacred head, surrounded." The Solemn Intercessions followed. The sisters sang the Reproaches, with the congregation joining for the Trisagion. The Blessed Sacrament was brought in (a pair of humeral veils made an appearance at this point) and we sang "There is a green hill far away." After Communion, the service continued with the Lord's Prayer and was followed by a prolonged silence.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My first Chrism Mass

Photo borrowed from the cathedral newsletter

I went to my first Chrism Mass today. It was a pleasant experience, though I didn't know what to expect. Br Christian, OHC, was in St George's Chapel hearing confessions prior to the Mass. The order used was considerably divergent from that contained in the Book of Alternative Services.

The Mass setting was Schubert's German Mass - as arranged by Proulx - for the Kyrie (no Gloria) and Sanctus. The Agnus Dei was identified as "Senchur." Part of the cathedral's splendid Passiontide crimson set (namely, the chasuble and the two dalmatics) was in evidence. A photograph of the set can be be found on page 6 of this PDF.

The confession and absolution took place during the Gathering of the Community, as I've seen done in Lent. The collect (but not the secret or postcommunion) was sung. The psalm was a haunting setting by the cathedral's music director, Mr Ager (I'm a big fan of his Alleluia) and the Tract was his work as well. The Bishop of Toronto preached expertly from the altar steps without the aid of notes. The clergy of the diocese renewed their vows, remaining standing while the rest of us were asked to sit down (which was slightly uncomfortable). Stoles were presented to priests in their 25th and 50th years of priestly ministry, or at least to those thereof who showed up.

The offertory was smoke-free, but the preface was sung. The Lord's Prayer was the ubiquitous McNeil Robinson setting and the motet was the Duruflé Ubi Caritas.


Introit: "Blest by the sun, the olive tree" (Gonfalon Royal)

Offertory: "Eternal ruler of the ceaseless round" (Song 1)

Communion: "Tree of life and awesome mystery" (Thomas)

Exit: "Restore in us, O God" (Bellwoods)

Whither Holy Cross?

From Time Magazine of 24 March 1924:

There was a long procession. Censers swung continually. The celebrant of the mass was censed. So was the 'deacon and the subdeacon. The Gospel was held by the subdeacon, with two taper bearers on either hand, and was read by the deacon, first on one side of the altar and then on the other. The Bishop's ring was kissed. The Bishop and sacred ministers were censed. The sacred host and chalice were raised high at the sound of the sacring bell. Before the altar the ministers were prostrate, while kneeling acolytes elevated waxen tapers that flamed. Then followed the kiss of peace received from the celebrant by the Bishop's chaplain and by him transmitted to the Bishop, subdeacon and all other priests.

Thus were venerated the whiskers of St. Charles, who to the lay world is known as Charles Stuart, King of England, whose head, for various reasons, was cut off in 1649. To high churchmen Charles I was a martyr of religion.

The monks of the Holy Cross are the highest churchmen among Episcopalians...

They also used to practice Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament every Sunday. O to have been alive in 1924!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The new shortlist

*Berkeley Divinity School, Yale University

*General Theological Seminary

*Bexley Hall, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

*University of Trinity College, University of Toronto

Montréal Diocesan Theological College, McGill University

Huron University College, University of Western Ontario

Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Wilfrid Laurier University

*Holy Cross Monastery, Order of the Holy Cross

*Monastery of St Mary and St John, Society of St John the Evangelist

*St Gregory's Abbey, Order of St Benedict

*Julian House, Order of Julian of Norwich

Saturday, April 4, 2009

True Confessions

I haven't seen this, but it looks quite well-researched (although I'm sure someone will be along to correct me). The fanned-out array of the Sacred Ministers is a bit odd, but I'm guessing it was simply judged to be better staging. And the Canon seems to end in a rather abrupt, Cranmerian place. The film, for those of you who like me weren't aware, is based on the Black Dahlia murders.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gloria, laus, et honor

Just in time for Palm Sunday, with thanks to Max of the dearly departed Max's Wiblog.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Et in Arcadia ego

This morning, at the age of 21, I found my first grey hair. My life is over. Memento mori, y'all.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


TRM is back and taking a new, friendlier direction. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Strange moments from "Clergy in Motion"

In the words of Kelly: "What the hell?"

I've seen some strange notices in the diocesan Clergy in Motion. There was the notice that one rector had been "deprived of his licence to function as a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada" - shortly after the secular press reported that his church had burned down. But this one takes the cake:

"Deaconess Gail Marshall will be recognized as a Deacon at a service of reaffirmation on March 22 at 4 pm at St Matthew, Islington, Toronto."

Pardon? We have deaconesses? In 2009? I thought all that had been done in back in the day. Didn't the Lambeth Conference affirm that deaconesses were to be reckoned as ordained deacons? Heck, I even knew one priest who was "set apart" as a deaconess in the Church of England and then priested in the Diocese of Montréal purely on the strength of the previous rite's being analogous to diaconal ordination.


Update: A resolution to this effect passed in the House of Bishops in October of 1971. So why is this "service of reaffirmation" happening more than 35 years later? In any event, prayers for the imminently Rev. Ms Marshall on this new step in her vocation.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

In which our heroine causes the Principal of Wycliffe College to squirm

Today I went to an open house at Wycliffe College. I went in without any real intention of applying; it was more an exercise in networking. My own parish priest was educated at Wycliffe but has warned me against it. As I spent the morning, I began to hear some good arguments for Wycliffe. Admittedly, in contrast to the genially bitchy atmosphere at Trinity, Wycliffe folk come off as rather boringly earnest. But there were good points, too - honest.

Anyway, the highlight for me came when we "broke out" into smaller programme-specific groups. The principal met with those of us planning to apply to the Master of Divinity. One of the questions I asked was about the college Statement of Moral Vision. I had read it, I said, and knew it was likely my family life would fall outside of what it envisions. Should I still consider Wycliffe? As an Aspie, it's hard for me to be subtle, but I was gooood. The whole conversation was so subtextual that at one point another young man interrupted and said: "Can I ask what we're talking about?" The principal graciously circumlocuted that the Statement covered a variety of issues including (his examples) the avoidance of plagiarism and the affirmation of "the Biblical view of marriage." The confused gentleman only became more confused: why on earth would anyone take issue with the Biblical view of marriage? (He clearly realized I wasn't an irredeemable plagiarist). The Principal avoided my question with a great deal of Anglican fudge about Wycliffe being what it is, and pointed to the presence of divorced students in the college. When I cornered him by asking, "So should I apply?" he looked rather crestfallen and said: "Come and talk to us."

So don't let anyone tell you that my sister got all the shit-disturbing genes.

Anyway, everyone at Wycliffe bent over backward to be nice. They've obviously got a great thing going and if I become confident that my presence there would not be stumbling block for anyone I'll be happy to apply. (That popping noise is the vein in Fr Aaron's head).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lenten Levity

The irreverent story of how a Québec anthem became a disco hit. Full disclosure: I love both the original and the reworked versions.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Requiem æternam redux

Scott Symons, whose novel Place d'Armes dealt frankly with gay subject matter before the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada, died early this week. Born to a wealthy Rosedale family, he scandalized the Canadian literary scene by leaving his wife and child for Mexico with his underage boyfriend in the pre-Omnibus bill era. A Requiem High Mass was offered at St Thomas's, Huron Street, yesterday for the repose of his soul.

Although a Solemn High Mass, the requiem was a said service. There was no choir, no requiem minor propers, and the prayers were not chanted. The psalm was read by a lector. There were, however, hymns. John Tuttle played the service. The lovely old black High Mass set from the First World War was in use.

The funeral sentences were followed by "O God our help in ages past" (St Anne). The rector quoted extensively in his homily from Mr Symons' accounts of Mass at St Thomas's in his diaries. The offertory hymn was "Immortal, invisible" (to St Basil, which always seems odd to me). The Agnus Dei (in the traditional requiem form) was said as versicles and responses. The Communion hymn was "King of glory, king of peace" (Gwalchmai)

My sister objects to my habit of showing up whenever a requiem is offered at any of the parishes I regularly attend, apparently fearing that I'll end up like Janet Leigh on The Twilight Zone. But "It is ... a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins," as the Apocrypha tells us, and no one seems to mind a friend of the parish coming to join in this prayer. I'd actually like to join the Guild of All Souls, but they're not active in Canada.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Get thee hence!

I would be remiss not to exhort you all to go to William Craig's Magazine for the very finest in lectionary commentary. Let's show Father that his work is appreciated!

-Geoff "Rosie"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

From the Department of Tragic YouTube comments

I'd never heard anything from Cher until now. This is the first Cher song I've heard and it's amazing. Superb! I wish I had know before this singer. I feel I've waste part of my time. However, I'm young. I have time enogh. - posted 21 hours ago on "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A festal day

I don't have a valentine...but today is my baptismal anniversary!

Blessed are you, Lord God, ruler of the universe; we praise you for your love and mercy which you have shown to all your people.

Today we give you thanks and glory as we celebrate the anniversary of the day when you made Geoffrey your son in baptism.

Give him the grace to live in your love, and help [his] family to come closer to you by faith, prayer, and example.

All glory is yours, Father, through Jesus your Son in the communion of your Spirit, now and for ever. Amen

- from the Book of Alternative Services

Friday, February 13, 2009

For Faye Dunaway, thanks be to God

Sometimes, when you have essays coming out of your ears, when the man you love is going on a romantic weekend away with your own fair friend who broke bread with you, when you've been listening to reactionaries bang on about the apostasy of the Episcopal Church in the USA and affiliated just need something to lighten your day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A post for February!

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Yesterday, I went low-church in the morning and Anglo-Catholic in the evening. I took in Morning Prayer at St Olave's, Swansea, which is the site of the winter reunion for the St Michael's Youth Conference. I read the Gospel lesson and got to see all my camp friends. The rector vested in cassock-alb and violet crossed stole for Septuagesima. There was lots of Anglican chant. Afterwards, we all had a lunch of pizza and lasagna. St Olave's is where I like to go for my dose of Prayer Book Evangelicalism. A parishioner described it to me as "a little country church lost in Toronto." Highlight: belting out "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."

Then Solemn Evensong and Benediction at the Church of St Mary Magdalene. Green for ordinary time. All plainsong. Highlight: seeing a woman deacon parata at Evensong and Benediction.

I was sad that that the Accession Service (pdf leaflet) at the Cathedral conflicted with this month's SE&B, which I never miss. I always enjoy singing "God Save the Queen" in French to everyone's annoyance while watching the Lieutenant-Governor scoot up the aisle in his mobility device for his formal seating. Even more strangely, the rector of SMM was the homilist at that service, so we lacked him at his own church. Someone didn't plan this all very well.

Treat of the week: a gallery of photos from last weekend's Solemn High Mass for the Society of King Charles the Martyr in Rhode Island.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Toronto to get same-sex blessings

Rationale for this post as below.

Apparently the College of Bishops in the diocese is trying to circumvent a vote on same-sex blessings that would likely to lead to our becoming the seventh synod to approve them. The pastoral plan is as follows:

* "Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.
* Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized.
* Episcopal permission for blessings will be required.
* Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year.
* No parish or clergy will be required to participate.
* A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review. "

A couple of points:

"Bishop Johnson said the bishops believe the issue of same-sex blessings requires a pastoral response rather than a legislative decision such as a vote at synod."

I'll bet they do.

"He said that 'We are committed to remaining in alignment with the decisions and recommendations of General Synod and Lambeth,' and that 'At the same time, we are trying to act in accordance with the House of Bishops’ statement to develop the most generous pastoral response to our local situation. Given that, we think that a pastoral response and not a legislative one is the correct way to move forward.'"

So the introduction of SSBs by episcopal fiat complies with the "moratorium" but synodical legislation of them wouldn't? Sounds a bit like Tract 90 reasoning to me. Why not just call the fairly feeble moratorium for what it is?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bishop Ferris leaves Canadian church

From the Anglican Journal.

I prefer to focus on liturgical porn over the politics of sexuality here, but since Canadian Anglican bloggers are so thin on the ground occasionally I feel obligated to note a story, lest it go unmentioned.

What chagrins me most about this story is that Archbishop Venables is still involved with the Anglican Network in Canada. I had been under the impression that the SoCo arrangement was a temporary, pastoral emergency, and that the point of the creation of the Anglican Church in North America was to provide the breakaway groups with self-sufficiency and unity under a domestic primate. That ++Venables is still providing oversight to congregations in Canadian soil is, to my mind, a far more serious breach of catholic order than the blessing of same-sex marriages. And I take it that Bishop Ferris intends to exercise episcopal ministry in this Dominion rather than relocating to Buenos Aires.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas Eve at Christminster

First Mass of Christmas celebrated at Christ the Saviour Monastery in Hamilton on 6 January 2008. Sung by the schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada. I was planning to attend, but ending up getting scheduled to work (even though I'm not available Tuesdays). Since I get a good deal of religious accomodation, I didn't fight it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second

Well, I did finish the novel before I went to sleep on Tuesday. (I'm now working on the latest Bishop Blackie Ryan mystery). I have to recommend it strongly. By turns touching, funny, and titillating, The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second was the best $20 I ever spent. The protagonist reminds me of me in high school.

Charlie is an openly gay Lutheran high school senior in Illinois. The novel, written in the form of a diary, traces the development of his first relationship, and the concurrent dramas in both boys' families.

The novel was perfect for someone like me because it combined the relaxed tone and language of a young-adult novel with enough material to keep full-blown adults happy (the cultural references Charlie casually drops would never be made by anyone else that age but me and the sex is rather explicit). What I thought particularly brilliant was the way in which the sexual orientation of the (anti-)hero and his boyfriend was handled. This is not a coming-out story: that watershed has already happened before the narrative begins and has ceased to be an issue. As someone who went to high school in affluent, liberal, mainly white suburb at the turn of this century, I found this a remarkably accurate reflection of my (pretty uneventful) experience as a gay adolescent.

It's really a charming novel and I can't recommend it enough, though I won't dissemble that one review I read called it "pretty much erotica with plot, and I do mean that in the best way possible..."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seeing Doubt

This evening I went to see Doubt with a friend. I have to recommend it; I nearly cried at the climactic closing scene. Here is a fascinating - and plausible - analysis of what may have happened in the film's subtext. A few notes:

*Fr Flynn wears a cassock-alb - over his cassock. If cassock-albs were in fact around in 1964, priests weren't wearing them over cassocks.

*He also wears his stole over his chasuble.

*And an anachronistic looking floppy-collared ("monastic") violet chasuble.

*I didn't notice any maniples, and these were not made optional until the following year.

*The congregation sings the Taizé chant "Ubi caritas et amor." Was it written yet?

*They also sing "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" to Old 100th. In a Roman Catholic church in 1964?

I note that the film was shot at the Church of St Luke in the Fields, a liberal Catholic Episcopal church in New York.

I sometimes wonder how much these filmmakers paid their technical advisors, because they could have just bought me lunch and I'd have caught several errors that their consultants let slip through.

I also today bought The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second, and depending on when I fall asleep tonight may finish before I do. I'll be reviewing it here.

When the cat's away...

My mother has gone to Florida for ten days in order to be with her own mother, who is a snowbird. I would have liked to have gone with and written a Mystery Worshipper report on this establishment, but that was not possible. Since my mother is also my roommate, this entails that I have the flat to myself for the week. This is exciting (freedom!) but also daunting (double the housework!).

So on Sunday I went to Mass by myself, then Solemn Evensong & Benediction, before having dinner at my father's and sister's.

Yesterday, then, after fulfilling my duties on the home front, I went to a routine doctor's appointment, and then took the opportunity to have a late lunch with a friend who lives near my doctor's office (which is in the neighbourhood where our last apartment was). He was rather dismayed to find that the small independent grocer he frequents is closed for a holiday until Candlemas and as he won't shop at Metro (did I mention he's a Communist?) we then had to hop on the subway and go down to Kensington Market (which is sort of like London's Camden Town only not, IMO, quite as cool). My sister rang me ordering me to buy her some chocolate and bring it to her place (she lives downtown) and I managed to pick up a pair of chocolate flip-flops at a specialty chocolate store, whereupon my friend pronounced me "whipped." I was delighted, until I got to her and my father's flat and discovered they were dark chocolate, which she doesn't eat.

The other thing I accomplished, while we were uptown, was to purchase the DVD I intend to screen at my impending birthday party. That will take place on Thursday, the Octave Day of my Nativity, as last Thursday my mother was still home. It turned out the video store didn't have the movie for sale, but the clerk sold me the rental copy - at the rental price. I was confused ("So, do I have to fill something out to rent it?") and he got surly ("No, take it and don't bring it back. It's called a favour"). So now I have a DVD for $5.07 . The movie, by the way, is Strangers with Candy, not seeing which is a fond thing vainly invented, and plainly repugnant to the word of God.

Today I am going to the LCBO (the provincial liquor monopoly) in preparation for Thursday. Then I'm going to the Art Gallery of Ontario with another friend, who has never been. We're then going to have an early supper before going to see Doubt. Wednesday I am going to try to go to Evensong at Trinity College. And Thursday is the party. My sister is coming (she has warned me that she will be predrinking) with a couple of her cohorts, as well as both of the above-mentioned friends and a few of my old group-home girlfriends. One of these guests is the current object of my affection. ("Never get drunk with someone for whom you have feelings," my mother once told me). Then I'm working all weekend, and I suppose I'll have to come up with new plans next week.

So all in all, it's a busy week for me. Wish me luck! And my apologies to the liturgy nerds for this personal digression.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Here beginneth the posting for 2009

Well, I am 21 as of today. Go me! An account of my Epiphany observance can be read here for all you fellow liturgy nerds.