Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TRM Ordo Winter 2011

1- The Octave Day of Christmas, being the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus (white, BAS p. 277, Gradual 1113)

2- SECOND SUNDAY OF CHRISTMAS (white, BAS p. 278, Gradual 1116)
3- St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzus (white or yellow, BAS p. 456, FAtS p. 40, Gradual 2366 or 2259)

4- Requiem (black, BAS p. 456, Gradual 4730)
5- Requiem (black, BAS p. 457)
6- Epiphany of the Lord (white, BAS p. 279, Gradual 1202)
7- In the Octave of the Epiphany (white, BAS p. 457)
8- In the Octave of the Epiphany (white, BAS p. 457); Vigil of the Baptism of the Lord (Gradual 1204)

9- BAPTISM OF THE LORD (white, BAS p. 348, Gradual 1205)
10- in the Octave comm. William Laud (white, BAS p. 468, FAtS p. 44, Gradual 2032)
11- Holy Innocents , comm. Octave (purple or red, BAS p. 398, Gradual 1108)
12- in the Octave, comm. Marguerite Bourgeoys (white, BAS p. 468, FAtS p. 48, Gradual 3412)

13- Octave Day of the Epiphany, comm. St Hilary of Poitiers (white, BAS p. 468, FAtS p. 52, Gradual 2036)

14- John Horden (white, BAS p. 469, FAtS p. 50, Gradual 3121)
15- Richard Meux Benson, (white, BAS p. 469, FAtS p. 54, Gradual 3411)
16- SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (white, BAS p. 349, Gradual 1303)
17- St Antony of Egypt (white, BAS p. 469, FAtS p.56, Gradual 2042)
18- Confession of St Peter the Apostle (red, BAS p. 399, Gradual 2044), comm. Holy Innocents Octave of Christian Unity begins

19- Requiem (black, BAS p. 469)
20- Requiem (black, BAS p. 469)
21- St Agnes of Rome(red, BAS . 469, FAtS p. 60, Gradual 2050)
22- St Vincent of Saragossa (red, BAS p. 469, FAtS p. 462, Gradual 2052)
23- THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY, (white, BAS p. 350, Gradual 1304)
24- St Francis de Sales (white or yellow, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 64, Gradual 3211)
25- Conversion of St Paul (red, BAS p. 400, Gradual 2056)
26- Ss. Timothy and Titus (red, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 68, Gradual 2060)
27- St John Chrysostom (white, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 70, Gradual 2062)
28- St Thomas Aquinas (white, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 72, Gradual 2064)
29- Our Lady on Saturday (white and blue, BAS p. 470, Gradual 5574)
30- FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (white, BAS p. 352, Gradual 1305)
31- St Charles Stuart (red, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 74, Gradual 2066)

1- Requiem (BAS p. 470)
2- The Presentation of the Lord and Purification of the Blessed Virgin, commonly called Candlemas (white, BAS p. 401, Gradual 2070)

3- St Anskar, Apostle of the North (red, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 78, Gradual 2072)
4- Requiem (BAS p. 470)
5- Holy Martyrs of Japan (red, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 80, Gradual 2076)
6- FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (green, BAS p.353, Gradual 1306); at the office Accession Day (BCP p. xlviii)

7- Requiem (BAS p.4 70)
8- Requiem
9- Hannah Grier Coome (white, BAS p. 470, FAtS p. 82, Gradual 3412)
10- Requiem (BAS p. 471)
11- Requiem
12- Our Lady on Saturday (BAS p. 471)
13- SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (green, BAS p. 354, Gradual 1307)
14- Sts Cyril & Methodius, Apotles to the Slavs (red, BAS p. 472, FAtS p. 84, Gradual 2084)

15- Thomas Bray (white, BAS p. 472, FAtS p. 86, Gradual 2086)
16-18 Requiem (BAS p. 472)
19- Our Lady on Saturday (BAS p. 472)
20- SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (green, BAS p.356, Gradual 1308)
21- Requiem (BAS p.473)
22- Requiem
23- St Polycarp of Smyrna (red, BAS p. 473, FAtS p. 88, Gradual 2088)
24- Philip Lindel Tsen (red, BAS p. 473, FAtS p. 90, Gradual 3011)
25- Paul Sasaki (red, BAS p. 474, FAtS p. 92, Gradual 3012)
26- Our Lady on Saturday (BAS p. 474)
27- EIGTHTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (green, BAS p. 357, Gradual 1309)
28- George Herbert (white, BAS p. 475, FAtS p. 94, Gradual 2092)

1-St David of Wales (white or yellow, BAS p. 475, FAtS p. 96, Gradual 2093)
2-St Chad of Lichfield (white or yellow, BAS p. 475, FAtS p. 98, Gradual 2094)
3-John and Charles Wesley (white, BAS p. 475, FAtS p. 100, Gradual 2095)
4- Requiem (BAS p. 475)
5- Our Lady on Saturday
6- LAST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (white, BAS p. 357 & 418, Gradual 1310)
7 – St Perpetua of Carthage & Companions (red, BAS p. 458, FAtS p 102, Gradual 2097)
8 – Edward King, (white or yellow, BAS p. 458, FAtS p. 104, Gradual 3211)
9 – Ash Wednesday (purple, BAS p. 281, Gradual 1403)

Monday, December 20, 2010


(Photo: Anglican Ex Fide)

Blessed are you, O Divine Light, herald of the dawn and the doom. In the beginning, God said, Be! and you were chosen to be the first to obey the source of all. In these last days, you return to us to search out all hearts in your inescapable splendour. Come and inflame our hearts with longing for your reappearing. Let all the creatures of the Thrice-Holy say Amen!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Further glimpses of Toronto of old, courtesy of The Star

An early outpost of the Reformed Episcopal Church advertises services "for Low Churchmen" on Easter Day, 1921
Liberal Catholic Easter notice for Procession, Solemn Eucharist, and Benediction from 1936. (The lot in question is now "Trainers Fitness" just south of Honest Ed's).
Advertisement from St Bart's for the Feast of Dedication the year of Fr Pashler's death, 1959, with notice of the Induction of Fr Belway.

An early Old Catholic mission in Toronto under Abp Grosvold. The dedication suggests a gay-oriented congregation but no direct connection with the present-day Eucharistic Catholic Church in Cabbagetown.

This notice from 1975 (left) shows that St Mary Magdalene had shed its earlier reticent terminology of "Solemn Eucharist", "Devotions," etc and nailed its "Old Western Rite" colours to the mast. By the Garnsworthy years (right), the Papalism of the parish is in full bloom (note "Vespers").
SSPX advertisement for Corpus Christi from the late 1990s.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The English Missal in Pictures

Solemn Mass with the Society of Catholic Priests at Trinity College Chapel, Monday 22 November, in the week of the Reign of Christ.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some responses to Citizens for a Canadian Republic

Unpublished remarks I wrote on Citizens for a Canadian republic as expressed in its statements.


Inherited rights in government, symbolic or otherwise, is a concept incompatible with Canadian values of egalitarianism.

A Canadianized head of state should be the embodiment of Canadian sovereignty, diversity and pride - a position to which all Canadians could aspire.

This seems to be the crux of most opposition to monarchy and it rests on a misunderstanding of what a head of state is and does. The Queen has not inherited a position of privilege or any “special” rights. Under our constitution she fulfils certain roles as head of state - roles that would have to be filled by someone anyway. Historical providence has provided us with a means of selecting a politically-neutral “referee” who can uphold the constitution without having to bend to political pressure. Being head of state should not be the end of a political career ladder, nor is the nature of the office such that it is something that in principle must be open to all applicants. It is more important that the function be done than who does it.

It should also be said that the “Canadian values of egalitarianism” are enshrined in laws which the Queen herself has signed into law. This reflects the nature of the Canadian Crown, which does not act unilaterally but only to give force to the will of the people, and thus enacts the laws that we ourselves have mandated our elected representatives to pass. Likewise, while vested with the authority to appoint the prime minister, the sovereign uses this power to designate the leader of the party that has won the election rather than to parachute in her own preferred candidate.

Our head of state should be a true representative of the People of Canada. Presently, the Queen does not represent Canada when she travels abroad and we think that’s not in our best interest...

The act of attaining full-fledged status as a democratic republic within the Commonwealth would be the completion of a process of independence that began over a century ago.

Canada became fully independent in 1931 except by request with respect to constitutional amendment (until 1982) and the judiciary (1949). Because our Dominion and provincial governments could not agree on a formula for amending the constitution, Canada retained the rubber-stamp of the British Parliament for constitutional amendments. This was resolved in 1982, since which time our independence has been “complete.” Transition to a republic would not make us any more “full-fledged” a member of the Commonwealth - if anything the opposite!

That several other countries, including the United Kingdom and Jamaica, have the same relationship with the Queen that we do is a matter of historical circumstance. It is thus understandable that she cannot always be representing any one country. Each realm’s Governor General acts as her full-time delegate for that country and Canadians are hardly deprived of executive representation abroad.

Canada’s head of state should be a Canadian citizen and not be above our laws. Presently, the Act of Settlement of 1701 constitutionally binds Canada to only heads of state who are not Roman Catholics. They must also be required to hold the position of Supreme Governor of The Church of England, thereby also preventing, Jews, Hindus, Muslims or anyone not a member of that Protestant denomination from becoming Canada’s head of state. Section 15(1) of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms expressly forbids discrimination on the basis of "race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability".

First, the assumption that “Canada’s head of state should be a Canadian citizen” is a confusion. The Queen is not a citizen because she is head of state, but that does not mean she is not Canadian. She does not hold a Canadian (or British) passport; they are issued in her name. She does not share our citizenship because she is the fount from which it flows.

The historical factors that led to the passage of the Act of Settlement are varied and complex, and only incidentally about religion. Ironically and presumably unbeknownst to the republicans who attack it, it was in its day a victory for the forces of parliamentary democracy over absolute monarchy. Requiring the monarch to be a member of the national churches was just one way of ensuring Britain’s independence from foreign interference at a time when the Papacy was much more like a monarchy itself. Although the Act of Settlement is itself a part of our Canadian constitutional law, some would argue that it has outlived its usefulness. In the Church of England itself, there is increasing support for disestablishment and the end of a governmental role in church affairs. In any case, the Act of Settlement can be amended without abolishing our system of constitutional monarchy.

Canadians increasingly want to address the so-called "democratic deficit" that’s prevalent in Canada’s political system. In every good democracy, there’s a solid framework of checks and balances to ensure against the proliferation of abuses. One way to address that would be to have an elected head of state (either by the public, parliament or other such body), not an appointed Governor General who is simply the deputy of a distant monarch, chosen personally by the Prime Minister.

The Crown is one of the best safeguards against abuses of power in our constituonal arsenal, and the checks and balances it provides would, on the contrary, be threatened by a republic. A private citizen who became head of state would bring her own political biases to bear. She might exercise the power of veto to prevent bills with which she disagreed from becoming law. Because the Queen’s powers are to be used only to defend the people’s democratic will, she does not override laws passed by our elected representatives. In Canada, for example, Conservative politicans have campaigned against same-sex marriage. In the United Kingdom, the Queen signed the Civil Partnership Act 2004 into law though she is said to be quite conservative on the subject in private. Would Stephen Harper have done the same thing? Canadians can be confident that no matter what their background or station in life, the Queen is a head of state of all of us, and not just those of her race or economic class.

To take another example from the current government, a great deal of controversy arose over the prime minister’s use of prorogation to avoid a finding of contempt of parliament. While the Governor General’s failure to intervene in this case is regrettable, it is an illustration of what the Crown is there to do for Canadians. An apolitical head of state chosen purely by historical and genetic accident can refuse a request for prorogation if it is deemed to be an attempt to thwart the will of the people.

New Canadians should not be subjected to swearing an oath to a monarch who not only isn’t a Canadian citizen herself, but also, in some cases, represents many aspects of what prospective citizens are trying to leave behind. They’re coming to Canada to embrace a way of life that emphasizes equality and the rights of the individual, not peerage, royalty and classism.

The oath to the Queen is sworn because she is the ceremonial embodiment of Canada. We do not pledge to till her fields as vassals. Republics have to find other “personifications” such as the quasi-idolatrous “Pledge of Allegiance” to the American flag. Despite her relative (and often overstated) affluence, the Queen is not an enemy of the working class or a drain on the wallets of Canadians. The cost of her maintenance is less than that of many other heads of state and pales in comparison to the revenue her estates create for public benefit.

The Canadian way of life to which CCR refers is one that we have managed to establish quite successfully within our current system. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the most important expression of our values of individual rights and equality, is without parallel in the republic south of our border. The burden of proof is on republicans to show how those achievements are detracted by the monarchy or could be improved by an elected president.

... one thing that unites republicans throughout the Commonwealth is the belief that the transition will most easily be done by evolving the present Westminster-style parliamentary monarchies into Westminster-style parliamentary republics. This would retain a largely ceremonial, politically-neutral and symbolic head of state as president (with some reserve powers for special circumstances) and a prime minister as head of government.

... with the exception of being the representative of the People of Canada rather than the Crown, it's possible - perhaps even likely - that the functional change will barely be noticeable to most Canadians.

In other words, CCR doesn’t have a problem with what the Queen does per se; they just think it should be done by someone elected, but don’t really want to change the nature of the office itself By their own admission, the years of constitutional overhaul they propose would not change very much. It is unclear then how our society would be more free or just simply by changing the means of selecting the head of state. If anything, an elected head of state would be less effective as a democratic “referee” since he would be accountable only to that portion of the populace to which he owes his election.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


A brief note to acknowledge that at the Church of St John the Evangelist, Calgary's lone Anglo-Catholic parish, an "overwhelming" majority of parishioners approved a motion to seek entry into Canada's impending personal ordinariate in a special vestry meeting following today's High Mass. I've never had a chance to get out to Calgary but I always hoped to visit St John's when I do. I'm sorry that the diocese will no longer have that kind of Anglo-Catholic witness and that I won't be able to visit as a communicant one day.

I gather that the parish's situation was becoming difficult as a result of the prevailing view on the ordination of women as well as its use of the English Missal. (Interestingly, the honorary assistant, Canon Green SSC, banished the English Missal from the pews when he was our rector in the 80s - I say "our" anachronistically as I was neither yet alive nor an Anglican at the time!) In any case, I commend the people of the parish for having the integrity to follow through on their conviction in the Roman Catholic Church's claims about itself and remember them in prayer as they take this step. Pray too for those remaining in the Anglican Church of Canada to preserve its Catholic tradition from within.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Catholic Apostolic Church on Gould Street

From John Ross Robertson's Sketches in City Churches (1886).


At the corner of Gould and Victoria streets stands a white brick church, with a well proportioned outline, surmounted with a very graceful spire. Aside from the handsome spire which gives dignity and beauty to the edifice there is nothing architecturally attractive about it. The building was originally owned by the St. James' Square Presbyterian church and was sold to its present owners a few years ago for $10,300. An arched doorway in the front, on Gould street, is reached by a flight of steps, the only entrance now used. Above it is a group of lancet, cathedral class windows, with a small "rose" window above, and still higher a stone on which is inscribed: "Christo, A.D. MDCCCLV." A small gallery above the vestibule accommodates the choir and contains an old-fashioned, yellow painted, ten-stop organ, but one whose appearance gives no evidence of the volume and harmony of sound it is capable of producing. The room will seat about 400 people and is very plain in its furnishing; the walls are stuccoed in stone colour, and the ceiling, supported by light trusses, is frescoed in panels. Three gasaliers hang from it, while in front of the altar a perpetual light is kept burning in honour of the Presence of God as symbolized in the eucharistic elements kept in the gold-lined tabernacle. Above the altar is a panelled space, whose background is blue, sprinkled with gilt stars, the arch of which is maintained by white columns. Above this arch and near the ceiling is a group of three cinque-foil windows.

A large section of the front part of the building, on the south, is set apart for the chancel, on either side of which is a dark wood partition, forming a passageway to the ante-rooms and robing rooms downstairs. Against the eastern wall, and entirely without the limits of the chancel, is a large circular enclosed pulpit; no railing divides the chancel from the main part of the room, but it is considered to be a very sacred place. When the reporter visited the building he was particularly cautioned not to set foot upon the highest of the four platforms because it is "holy;" even the caretaker does not go there for the purpose of cleaning and dusting; this work is only done by an official whose consecration gives him admission to the sacred precincts. On the main floor are small kneeling desks for the deacons present who and are habited with black cassocks and white surplices and whose duty it is to assist the priests during the service. On the first platform, about four inches from the floor are stations for the two elders or priests who assist the angel or bishop; here are also, on either side, reading desks, one the Epistle, and the other the Gospel. On the next platform are eight stalls for the nonofficiating priests and a high-backed oak chair for the bishop and a table for the eucharistic vessels. On the third elevation are simply hassocks and cushions used by the officiating bishop and priests while the fourth elevation contains the altar, a pretty but small piece of furniture made of black walnut with red and yellow ornamentation and the monogram J. H. S. inscribed.

The bishop's and other officials' robing rooms are in the basement, a rather dilapidated looking room with the old Presbyterian pulpit still standing. It seems to be in accordance with the tenets of the people worshipping in this church not to lay so much stress upon the outward building as upon the ritualism of worship and the special ornaments, vessels and robes used in the celebration of their services.
"What time do you have service on Sunday morning?" was asked one of the members.
"At half-past ten, sun time," was the reply; "we do not follow times and seasons that man has made; we go according to the time God has ordained, not according to man's changes. After dark then we go according to city time."

Accordingly, last Sunday morning a Telegram reporter entered the church for the purpose of acquainting himself with the method of worship that obtains here. Just within the door is a small wooden box containing a bowl of water into which every member dips his fingers and touches his forehead with it, sometimes making thereon the sign of the cross. Next to this bowl of water is a long narrow box divided into compartments for the reception of the offerings. No collections are taken in this church, but each member is expected to contribute one-tenth of what he earns during the week; if he earns $10 then he should give $1 to the church; if he earns $50 he should give $5, and so on. This part of his alms-giving goes into the "tithes" apartment, and whatever more he can contribute he may give to either the " poor fund," "evangelistic work" or "building fund." All the offerings are purely voluntary; no pews are rented and no assessment of any kind is levied.

In front of a large stone baptismal font and directly behind the pews are three stations for the black-robed under-deacons, whose business it is to supervise the seating and comfort of the congregation. About 150 people were present last Sunday morning; people of all ages from the old, whitehaired man, whose sun of life is very near its setting, down to the little child for whom life is just budding into beauty and joy. They were what would be termed of the middle-class of our city's population, and had the appearance of sober, earnest and discriminating intelligence. Their distinguishing characteristic was that of sincerity and reverence; although the service was longer than an hour and a half, there was not the slightest token of impatience or of indecorum; even the little children were worshipful, and it seemed as if some other than mere earthly influence kept the congregation so devout and respectful. Service is held Sunday morning at 10 o'clock and in the evening at 5 o'clock, and also every day at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. On every Sunday morning the eucharistic service is held, the central and most significant of all services and one whose solemnity and cultivated ceremony are not surpassed by any other service in this city. After a brief preliminary service the consecrated elements are removed from the tabernacle of the altar by the celebrant, a bishop or angel, assisted by two priests or elders, and attended by five deacons; in slow and orderly procession these withdraw to the rooms below where the bread and wine are consumed. During their absence an organ voluntary was played; in ten minutes the procession returned, the bishop and priests having removed the plainer vestments and substituted very nice robes; there is no genuflection before the altar, but there is frequent bowing, and whenever in the service the name of Jesus is pronounced the officials and people always incline the head.

The ritual, while it is a composition of the most elegant portions of the Latin and Greek formulae, yet very closely follows that of the Church of England. The service is entirely choral and the responses and versicles, which are sung chiefly to Tallis' Church of England setting, are given, not by the choir only, but by the entire congregation and mainly without an organ accompaniment. The confession was said while the bishop faced the altar; it, as well as all the prayers and the absolution, were responded to by the congregation in choral unison; the bishop then turned and faced the people while he pronounced the absolution. The epistle was read by one of the priests, a young man, while the Gospel was read by Rev. Joseph Elwell, formerly a clergyman of the Episcopal church, who also pronounced a brief homily emphasizing the distinguishing features of this church, viz.: The guiding influence of the Holy Spirit and the second advent of Jesus Christ who is to come and set up a material kingdom in this world. The speaker, a whitehaired old man of patriarchal and dignified bearing, used no arts of oratory or diction; he spoke simply, plainly, sincerely and confidently. Indeed the

for a singular combination of this simple reverence and dignity with the most classical and cultured finish. It was so superfine in conception and so cultivated in execution, and had about it, by virtue of its simplicity, such a refining and uplifting and helpful spirit that no other service can possibly exceed it in these respects. And it was fertile of suggestion; the small company of the "sealed," as the members are called, and their positive conviction of the presence ot the Supernatural Comforter reminds one of that "little upper room" in Jerusalem where only the Master and the twelve communed. The table with its rich and chastely wrought silver service, covered with delicate white linen, the embellished robes of the priests, the perpetual fire before the altar, the rising cloud of perfumed incense wreathing a benediction above the Symbols of the Presence, the white-haired ministers, the simple pomp and dignity of it all — who is not reminded thereby of the tabernacle of the wilderness and the later glory of the golden-walled temple?

"Men amuse themselves with empty abstractions," said the homilist, and while all this ceremony, so beautiful and impressive, may be thought an abstraction by some it is a reality to these sincere people, because directly underneath it is the real living Presence of the Holy Spirit and these vestments and sweetly-smelling incense and emblems are simply the outward robes veiling a spiritual reality. Their faith in the sacrament is very strong, and they sometimes associate with its administration healing properties. One of the members assured the reporter that in a certain critical case when the patient was declared hopelessly ill by several physicians the sacrament was administered in extremis and the patient recovered.

After the homily the people rose and recited the Nicene creed. When the words "He was made man" were said all heads were bowed and there was a pause of a few moments as if the wonderful incarnation were too stupendous a fact to be passed glibly and thoughtlessly over. Then two of the deacons brought the offerings in two cloth bags, prettily ornamented, and passed them to the priests and they to the bishop, who deposited them upon the side table with the sacred vessels. The latter were then carried to the altar; two white-robed boys brought the censer and incense to the deacons; they passed them to the priests and they to the bishop who sprinkled incense upon the live coal and the white smoke wreathed a fantastic column up over the altar and spread a canopy of sweet odour above the shrine. While the emblems were being placed upon the altar the choir sang an anthem with excellent taste and expression that materially added to the solemn impressiveness of the service. After a prayer, all the officiating ministers kneeling before the altar, the preface to the consecration was said; the choir and people sang a Sanctus, in English — all the service being in the English language. The consecration was done while all the people knelt; the celebrant took a large wafer of unleavened bread in his hand and raised it with both hands high above the altar and when he repeated the words "broken for you" he broke the bread which, with a loud, crackling sound, then fell in small pieces into the silver salver below. When he said "this is the cup" the chalice was uplifted in the same way; the censer was swung above the altar after the consecration; at all other times it was quietly held by one of the priests. A litany then followed very similar to that of the Church of England; it consisted of a very long series of prayers, with choral responses, among them being special supplications for the Queen and Royal family, for the Governor-General and Parliament of the Dominion, "now in session," and for the Lieutenant-Governor of this Province; there was also a petition in behalf of the Virgin Mary recognizing her virtue and dignity as the Mother of Christ.

The hymnal of the Catholic Apostolic Church is a special collection issued by the authorities in England and embraces selections of the best order. After the litany a hymn was sung, the congregation standing; another prayer said and then the celebrant knelt and partook of the elements, presented the same to the priests and deacons, then to the people who came forward promptly and orderly and knelt before the altar during the administration. After each sup of wine the minister dextrously and neatly wiped the chalice before passing it to the next communicant; each one when he rose bowed towards the altar, returned to the pew and there knelt for a moment's silent prayer. It was not only an interesting observance to an outsider but its conduct was so dignified and reverential and impressive as almost to create a sensation of awe.

The communion is administered in both kinds to men and women and, on Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, to the children; each child as soon as it can kneel alone receives the communion, but at no other time save on the festival days just named or when dying. The conditions of membership are simply baptism and submissal to the pastorship of a certain bishop, and the baptism administered by any other church is considered valid. With the ministry, however, it is different; only those who are recognized to be ministers who believe in and

stand in the order of Apostolic succession ; hence Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Church of England priests only are considered authenticated.

After all the people had communed the three black-vested under-deacons came forward and were served; the vessels were removed to the table and what of the elements remained was put in the tabernacle of the altar until next Sunday, when the same ceremony will be repeated. At this point in the service a woman seated in her pew began an exhortation; with her eyes closed and her hands moving gracefully up and down, she uttered such thoughts as, it' is said, were inspired into her by the Holy Spirit. This supernatural influence is said to immediately possess and inspire the priest when he preaches. In fact the Catholic Apostolic church is founded upon what is called the restoration to the universal church of prophetic gifts by the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And each official occupies the position he does in accordance with the measure of his inspiration. Should any member feel called upon to exercise himself in the way of utterance or service it is his privilege to do so without any formality. After a short prayer of thanksgiving a Te Deum was sung, and effectively sung ; then the bishop, or angel, pronounced the benediction; the people all silently knelt a few moments afterward and then, reverently withdrew, thus ending a service the beauty of which has not been seen by a considerable number of Toronto's citizens, and cannot, therefore, be either understood or appreciated. Other churches are more popular and have all the concomitants of wealth, and yet it may be safely said that no church in the city has a service whose aesthetic value is so great as this; with a rich ritual, classical music and a cultivated ceremonial, those people may well rejoice in the possession of a religious faith that comes to them clothed in such beautiful garments. And not only this, but the character of the people who worship there is of the cleanest kind; some of our prominent men are associated with the organization, and their wellknown probity and gentleness of spirit honour not only themselves but the institution in which they have unqualified faith.

Mention has already been made of the excellent music that may be heard there. It should further be stated that the services of the choir, twenty voices, and of the organist are given gratuitously, and in these days when so few good singers are willing to praise the Lord without being paid for it, this is a remarkable fact. The psalms are sung in unison to Gregorian tones; an Agnus Dei, by Webbe, a Gloria in Excelsis, by W. Holmes, a selection from Farmer's Mass in B flat, and one from the Bridgewater service in F were among the excellent renditions.

The pastor, interchangeably called the minister or bishop, or angel, receives no salary. All the tithes are laid at the feet of the Apostles, the superior officers, and they apportion it, quarterly in advance to the angels as a benefice, which is a totally different thing from a salary: there is no claim upon the fund.

There are about 300 people connected with the Catholic Apostolic church of this city; a Sunday school is held, where the children are assembled and taught the doctrines. In 1834, Mr. Caird, an evangelist, came here from England and remained two weeks, but no practical results followed his visit; two years later he returned and preached during the autumn until an Apostle came, in November, accompanied by a prophet, an evangelist and a pastor. By their efforts a congregation was organized, and in January, 1837, Rev. George Ryerson was ordained as the minister in charge; several were presented and some were called and ordained to the priesthood and others set apart as deacons and the church was active until 1844. Many ministers moved away because the seat of Government was changed, and this compelled the closing of the church until revived by Rev. Mr. Ryerson in the fall of 1848. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Elwell and the present incumbent.

The Catholic Apostolic church originated in 1830 in the west of Scotland. According to its belief the gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit, which had been lost to Christendom, were restored at that time and in the persons of several distinguished men. It is popularly imagined that Edward Irving is the originator of this church and sometimes its people are called Irvingites; but this is an entirely erroneous idea. It is true that Edward Irving was one of those "called" and specifically endowed but only one; no doubt the movement owes very much to the singularly sweet and gentle disposition of that man, but it was by no means originated by him. Twelve of these especially endowed men, called "Apostles," met and agreed upon a visitation to different lands, first forming, July 14th, 1835, what is called the "College of the Apostles." They separated, examined the cultus of Christianity in all its different forms in different lands, and then culled from this universal life the very best of its ritual and organized the present form of services.

The Toronto church is in connection with and subordinate to this Apostolic College, whose headquarters are in Albury, England. These apostles, with prophets attending them, visit all the churches and ordain the priests by the laying on of hands. Every minister must be specially called by the Holy Spirit and every member must recognize this supernatural direction.

It is not a sectarian denomination, but claims membership of the one body to which all baptized persons belong—the one, holy, Cathloic apostolic church. It holds no other faith than that of universal Christendom. It adopts no other confession than the three great Catholic creeds which have been used in the universal church for fourteen or fifteen centuries, viz., the Apostles', the Nicene and the Athanasian creeds; and reaches no doctrine which has not been current in the Church, with the exception of the doctrine concerning the second coming of Christ, which was taught in the earlier centuries, but has fallen into neglect and forgetfulness ; and also that of the permanence of the spiritual endowment of the Church and the gifts of the Holy Ghost as taught in the New Testament.

Friday, September 24, 2010

An unreasonable fiat

(My thanks to John K. for broaching my post passim).

I appreciate the attempt, but I'm afraid there is nothing new here. That there is a difference inherent in the activities themselves is precisely what is at issue - you seem to reiterate this claim without providing any further reason for believing it than has been given so far.

As for Paul on heterosexual marriage, I did state that as a premise without explanation, since as you say I assumed some prior familiarity with (even respect for!) the texts in question, and Paul's toleration of marriage as "better than to burn [with desire]" is a far cry from "an honorable estate."

I'm afraid you've missed the point about gender; it isn't a straw man at all. If the moral status of the behaviour depends on the gender of the parties involved, then clearly something about gender is being assumed. Otherwise, it would be incoherent to claim that God forbids one and blesses the other. As you demonstrate, reasserters are very good at repeating this assumption, but evidence for it is less forthcoming.

You are moreover not "a member of another group likewise limited." You may be constrained from sleeping with other women, but you are not forbidden from sleeping with *any* woman - the Church has an existing approved context for you to do so. Gay people on the other hand have no such option, and so precisely what they are supposed to do in order to gain God's approval is not clear.

As for the burden of proof, again you offer mere contradiction. Gay people are the accused: it is not our responsibility to prove our innocence. That changing the pronouns in the marriage service is a "change" in the first place, much less an "abandonment of the old faith" is precisely the unexamined assumption that I am challenging. Gay Christians who wish to marry wish to do so *because* they believe in the old faith.

I'm a little unclear about your response to the scientific arguments, in which you say "the issue is not orientation." I'm not sure that that makes a difference to that segment: the point is that penalizing people for making what would appear to be, if sinful, the least sinful option feasibly available to them is unfair. Nor do I in fact think that we can draw such a glib line between orientation and behaviour: it puts gay people in the position, as I say, where their orientation precludes them from "behaving" in the approved manner. And since we don't condemn married couples for such behaviour, it would seem that it really is about the gender/orientation. Otherwise, we seem to suggest that there is a morally inherent difference in orifices, which you're free to argue, but smacks a bit of materialism and can hardly just be assumed as a 2000 year consensus - clearly there are many for whom it does not at all go without saying. And as I say (again you don't address this) we seem to have realized this when it comes to women's ordination, so to not extend the same conclusions to SSM seems to be special pleading.

I certainly don't want a religion that changes with the times: indeed, I am attracted to Christianity precisely because of its counter-cultural nature and rejection of the values of the world. But I do want a religion that has the humility to admit when it has been inconsistent, and if it has been teaching different things about these two types of relationships without a moral distinction to support the difference. In the same way, I consider the ordination of women not a "change" but an ironing out of a disparity between our practice of ordination and the Chalcedonian affirmation that Christ's human nature is from his Mother. I do agree that it demonstrates the divide: it's clear that some Christians view the Bible as an omnicompetent text whose stipulations are all equally authoritative irrespective of how absurd some of their possible conclusions can be shown to be. They are entitled to that, but it is unfair to expect the Anglican Church as a whole to affirm their private opinion as a matter of policy. If you believe that same-sex relationships are forbidden by God, good for you: avoid such relationships. But to crusade against those trying to play with integrity the hand they've been dealt is unchristian. (And lest you think I have a dog in this I live a celibate lifestyle myself, but I am acutely aware that this is a vocation from God that must be discerned and cannot be imposed en masse on an entire category of people).

Anyway, thanks for trying, but it still sounds like an evasion of the actual issues I've tried to raise.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A parallel

Groups of Anglicans such as the Traditional Anglican Communion - not to mention other bodies like the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church - are seeking to be in full communion with an ancient see. (In contrast with the Roman Catholic Church's nomenclatural philosophy, I claim no proprietary right to "Anglican" for those of us in what the Continuum - we hope affectionately - call the Canterbury Communion). Taking Newman as their inspiration, they have been able to do so on relatively advantageous and congenial terms(we are talking about the Roman Curia here - though heavy hermeneutics have already begun on the passages relating to future married men in the priesthood). In the coverage of the topic, tribute has been paid to those pioneering co-religionists who "went over" prior to the bull, for whom the decision, which as any of us who has made one like it can attest, is not easy at the best of times, was decidedly less so.

I came to Anglicanism through Old Catholicism. While I continue to appreciate the formation I received in the latter and respect its (now quietly burgeoning) ministry, Utrecht has, rightly or wrongly, given up on North American bodies for the time being, despite close calls in Toronto and New Westminster, which were nail-biters for Ultrajectine-minded Anglicans (a particularly identifiable demographic in the United States). At BCP services, I hum my way through the filioque, I celebrate the Immaculate Conception and Assumption as edifying mysteries rather than mandatory dogmatic definitions, and I believe in the sacramental sufficiency of general absolution (even though I personally find private reconciliation necessary to my spiritual ben esse). But longing for something with, well, a congregation, I joined the Anglican Church of Canada, the only church in Canada in full communion with the Union of Utrecht (apart from an Aglipayan congregation meeting in an Anglican church in Montreal).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

By their fruits ye shall know them: a consequentialist analysis of the negative perspective on same-gender unions

Like a good Kantian, I have tried to focus on the moral reasons for same-sex marriage in my attempts to conduct a reasoned discourse on the public record. Here I will change tracks and look at the reasons why the traditional prohibition of same-gender relationships is not viable irrespective of the witness of Scripture and Tradition on the subject. The following constitutes the bare minimum I expect answered from anyone who wishes to maintain the traditional view, failing which I will take the point to be conceded and expect unanimous assent next General Synod. Apologies for my absence; coverage of Divnity orientation week will follow shortly.

It assumes the distinction it seeks to create.

Ultimately, the fatal flaws of the reasserter argument are its question begging and special pleading. Proponents point to a handful of texts concerning some form(s) or other of ancient near eastern same-sex activity. At the same time, the Church blesses heterosexual marriages, about which St Paul is hardly more enthusiastic. Thus in electing not to do the same for same-gender couples, the Church tacitly assumes that there is something qualitatively different about them from the relationships that it does bless. As this is ultimately the conclusion of the reasserter argument, it cannot also be a premise, much less a "missing" implied one. Leaving aside the biblical texts (horrors!), the problem is the paradox of our own practice. Apart from a nod to procreation - and even that is paired with the Godly raising of children - there is nothing in our marriage service that limits its scope to heterosexuals. (I noted with interest that over at the Anglican Samizdat there was as much outrage over +Montreal's tweaking of the existing blessing of civil marriage rite as +Niagara's publication of a rather twee de novo one, even though the former could hardly be said to change any doctrine since the wording is virtually identical apart from the pronouns).

If a distinction is to be made in the Church's response to heterosexual and homosexual relationships, it must either be rooted in some distinction inherent to the relationships themselves, or else an arbitrary commandment or "chuk." Reasserters, unsurprisingly, have not been able to account for this distinction (hint: it's not there).

It has decidedly questionable implications for our sacramental theology and our theological anthropology of gender.

Since the only distinction from all heterosexual unions common to all same-gender unions is the gender part, the assumed qualitative distinction, if it exists, must subsist therein. This model then has to elevate a biological triviality to the level of dogma. If we are going to accept this position, as reasserters would have us do, we should have to admit that genitalia are or can be a real barrier to receiving a sacrament - leaving the "I've got mine" female Essentials clergy who exhausted their capacity for "innovation" in 1976 on thin ice. Reasserters are asking us to accept a view that Anglicans (including most of themselves) rejected with respect to ordination. To arrive at a contrary and inconsistent view with respect to marriage belies their claim not to be singling gays out. It's all very well to complain about revisionist teaching, but rather more opaque when one wishes to pick and choose the instances in which revision is applicable once it has already been made. (As they say in the US Congress, wasteful spending always seems to be done outside one's own district).

It creates a class of Christians who have no hope of fulfilling the Church's teaching on chastity

While heterosexual Christians have the option of marriage, gay Christians are placed in a position whereby anything they do is automatically categorized as sexual sin. Apart from the relatively few Christians of any sexual orientation with a genuine celibate vocation, it is never quite clear what those who find themselves to be gay are meant to do under the reasserter model. Once they have made their case for why we are SOL, they are alarmingly light on advice.

Its credibility is undermined by its proponents

Apart from the odd kapo à la David Ould, the antigay industry is largely a unidirectional enterprise engaged by heterosexuals against a group in which they can be assured of never finding themselves. It is prima facie suspiciously convenient that the form of relationship uniquely sanctioned by God in their view is their own. As Anne Lamott says, "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Reasserters will take pains to profess Christian charity, yet it is still hard to fathom why even someone sincerely convinced of the traditional position on homosexuality would make a theological career out of seeking to deny a sacrament to other Christians. In the secular world, the slogan is "Don't like gay marriage? Don't have one." It is one thing for groups like Essentials to be averse to the notion of equal marriage, but to insist that one simply cannot inhabit a communion where two blokes might tie the knot in the next parish over is decidedly odd from the standpoint of Anglican polity.

It places the burden of proof on the accused, and holds them guilty until proven innocent.

Reasserters avoid defending their position in detail by maintaining that the onus is on those who seek change to prove their view beyond a reasonable doubt. This is backwards, as gays are the ones in the dock and in any case reasserters typically accept Anglican "innovations" on contraception, and yet wish to revert to a strictly procreative model when confronted with a different behaviour they happen to find less palatable. The onus is on reasserters to account for the disparity in their positions if it is to be taken as anything beyond a subjective and rather irrational statement of personal preference.

Certain aspects of it contradict known empirical data

Reasserters typically point out that questions about the aetiology of homosexuality are not settled. A biological or genetic basis has not been proven, they say. The first problem with this, as above, is that it assumes the distinction and is really a question mal posée. Most would be bemused if questioned about the inception of their own sexual orientation, but gay people are assumed to be different. Insofar as we do not ask what "causes" heterosexuality, a corollary question about homosexuality is unintelligible. Whatever the cause of sexual orientation should prove to be, there is no reason to believe that it is different for different sexual orientations. Many however harbour a lingering assumption that heterosexuality is the default or natural human state of origin, from which a few simply fall away. This is easily verifiable: ask a gay person if they previously experienced predominate attraction to the opposite sex. In most cases the reply will be negative, and the fact that sexual orientation sometimes shifts of its own accord over the lifespan doesn't mean that it can be planned on.

The second problem with the above is that it misses what is relevant in the moral debate. Whether homo- and heterosexuality is fixed in the womb, the nursery school, or immediately prior to puberty is something scientists will continue to consider throughout this century - no doubt the answer(s) will be multifaceted. At this stage, however, we do know that it is fixed early on, usually immutable, and almost always involuntary, and that there is no difference between sexual orientations in this respect. Thus while reasserters may claim that the opposite-gender marriage definition is not like anti-miscegenation laws because "being gay is not like being black" the fact is that we do not eschew racial discrimination because race is a genetic trait (insofar as it is a real trait at all) but because of its involuntary and immutable nature. Now I'm not a lawyer but you don't need to take my word for it. In explaining what constitutes an unlawful ground of discrimination, the Supreme Court of Canada speaks of traits that are "immutable or changeable only at unacceptable cost to personal identity." Thus a trait like sexual orientation is held to be "analogous" to race or religion in the sense relevant to us. That some such traits are genetic and others are not does not affect our position.

Moreover, the anthropological assumptions of the argument fall here as well. The Bible indeed says "male and female he created them" and yet we now know of individuals who do not fit neatly into this binary - even (leaving aside questions like transsexuality) in its narrowest understanding, since there are cases of patients whose chromosomal configuration is neither XX nor XY. (If we do not accept such a reductionist view - which as presumably incarnational-dualist Christians we ought not - we have even less grounds for holding the traditional position).

It appears entirely unconcerned with these questions.

Reasserters can be quite casual in assuming that their position is correct and uniquely "orthodox", and it's easy to be complacent when yours is the only position for several centuries. Yet they are remarkably silent when it comes to overcoming these hurdles to accepting their position. As the "reappraiser" argument is distilled and refined, reasserter discourse adds nothing new, preferring to repeat its stump speech about Creation, Paul, and dubious Thomistic metaphysics. Conversations like this show the reasserter tendency to fall back on an ipse dixit when confronted with the hard questions about their position's less attractive implications. They can't answer the objections, and yet do not concede them, an untenable position in debate which more or less boils down to believing gays are sinners because one wants to. This is not surprising to those of us who recognize it as the only grounds, however specious, on which the position can be held, but reasserters continue to demand deference to their view disproportional to the evidence they have for it. It's natural to instinctively dislike something different from us, but if we wish the Church to take us seriously as an "orthodox" voice and repent its ways, we must have stronger reasons than "because I say so." The heterosexual male revulsion at same-gender sex (as they imagine it to be) is understandable psychologically but it is not an argument and until it is backed up by one the Anglican Church of Canada should not be expected to dignify it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Traditional Anglican Church of Canada

A new Anglican body is on the horizon in Canada. Special vestries in a few parishes of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada have opted out of the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus. To meet the needs of those who wish to continue as Traditional Anglicans (but not too traditional) a new community of churches is in formation. The Traditional Anglican Church of Canada, newly shed of the "Catholic" moniker, is receiving temporary episcopal oversight from the Anglican Catholic Church (Original Province) and the Anglican Province of Christ the King. Dissension centred at the diocesan cathedral in Victoria, British Columbia, where members who do not intend to submit have formed the parish of St Mark the Evangelist. Also remaining are the Thunder Bay, Parry Sound, and suburban Vancouver parishes. The house church in Windsor, Ontario, has already joined the Original Province and one parish in Nova Scotia went over early in TAC's Romeward orientation to the Anglican Orthodox Church, of all things, founded a decade ahead of the first Continuum bodies as an expression of Southern discontent at racial integration and high-churchery. A vote at the Vancouver parish was inconclusive and will be repeated.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The minor orders

The "Admission of Lay Ministers and Officers" is on page 98 of the Canadian Book of Occasional Offices. Presbyteral celebration is assumed. Forms are provided for servers, and an open-ended form could be used for greeters and subdeacons, the ministry of deliverance being strictly pontifically controlled. The admission of Readers is on page 85. (It is followed by, of all things, that of deaconesses; the distinction from deacons was abolished in 1968).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Reconciliation of a Penitent

As a fresher away from home, I found myself in the position of having to reorient my ecclesiastical itinerary. I chose the local Lutheran parish, which was modern Catholic in the Haugen-and-holy water sense, for Sunday mornings and their midweek Communion. A retired couple from the parish volunteered to drive me and two other students who joined us irregularly, one young man and one young woman. Although she did not know the specifics of her church background, a little probing made it evident she attended a Lutheran Church - Canada congregation at home. The pastor's stance was the same as an Anglican priest confronted with a Roman Catholic at the altar rail: fine by us, how you square it with your people is your business.

For absolution I sought out the campus chaplain. While she could be described as having been in the theological mainstream of the Diocese of Niagara, I respected that she was well-versed in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of her upbringing and that our disagreements were mutually well thought out. And so once a month she gamely donned her purple Guatemalan stole to shrive me, as she would say with tongue in cheek, according to a truncated form of the Ministry to the Sick in the Book of Common Prayer. (My pastor himself firmly held the Lutheran line on numbering Penance as the third Sacrament).

At the time, I felt quite strongly about the older book's retention of the "I absolve thee" considered essential by Rome. The relevant prefatory material in the BAS notes only that this form is a "later development." Like the explanation offered for the gutting of the Daily Office Lectionary, I thought it a bit weak. But there are, I think, good Catholic grounds for the reversion to "Our Lord Jesus Christ ... absolve you through my ministry."

Obviously, the basic substance of the BAS revision is more satisfactory. Instead of being buried in the Ministry to the Sick, the rite is printed in a section with Baptism to emphasise the intimate relationship between the original washing at baptism and the ongoing repentance to the baptismal convenant. Orders in the psalm-heavy Byzantine and quick-and-dirty Western style are offered.

The transition from I to God reflects the corporate nature of sin and reconciliation, even when administered in private. In the same way the celebrant's vestments de-emphasize his individual identity or the humeral veil makes apparent our Lord's place as font of blessing, so the new formula points to God as the source of absolution, who "hath given power and commandment to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins." The priest is not offering forgiveness as an individual on his own behalf, but corporately, as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, in the Reformed idiom which is helpful to recall.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with the old form, and some are too eager to consign the Book of Common Prayer to retirement, but there are insights to be gained from reading the material in the Book of Alternative Services. Because our Anglican doctrine is found in our liturgy, I have been making a point of re-reading the services of baptism and of the ordination of deacons in the BAS to make sure I remember where I have come from and where I hope to be going. Anomalous as it may be, we are oddly blessed with our two-book system, which provides us with two very different expressions of our one common faith.

A few thoughts on Anglican patrimony

Much ink has been spilled over the concept of Anglican patrimony, but some of the candidates are more dubious than others. Is the reintroduction of traditional Latinate ceremonial (and I of all people mean that in no wise pejoratively) really a gift of Anglicanism to the church catholic? The Use of Sarum has been mentioned by some: others may dismiss it at as antiquarianism, but its recovery seems to have been relatively unproblematic in the Orthodox Church. (I continue to regard the Orthodox Western Rite as a more attractive options for Anglicans with swimming fever, though for various reasons I am not on the market myself. Nevertheless, TAC and its co-petitioners have won the goal of several generations of Anglo-Papalists and their integrity and readiness in "answering the call can only be commended).

Having said that, there are, I think, differences we can observe in the piety of Anglican Catholics and their counterparts in communion with Rome. Although I at first swam the Thames with Henrician intentions of remaining unchanged doctrinally and in practice, diligently praying the rosary and making periodic trips to the confession rail (boxes being nowhere to be found), there are certain things one does not generally find either in Anglican or in Roman Catholic churches.

Any kind of public Office is scarce as hen's teeth in the Roman Catholicism, although the Toronto Oratory offers the archdiocese's only Sunday Vespers (solemn, in the ordinary form, mostly in Latin, and with Benediction). There I notice that worshippers wandered in and out relatively casually - not irreverently, but clearly feeling no obligation to remain in a pew from ten minutes prior the service to the postlude or extinguishing of candles. Indeed, I have childhood memories of trips to the bathroom during the homily - you couldn't get there without passing the tabernacle and so you learned to genuflect with minimum pressure on the bladder.

Although there is the odd rosary group and Mass of the Sacred Heart, and Benediction remains a crowd-pleaser, the plethora of devotional options simply does not exist to the same extent in Anglicanism. It occurs to me that I don't know off hand where my brown scapular and Miraculous Medal are which I once doffed only to shower. Certainly the menu of Divine Mercy chaplets, perpetual Adoration, and Novenas to the Infant of Prague is not a feature of Anglican churches.

Roman Catholic churches often lack a cogent sense of community outside of worship. While many Anglicans cannot conceive of a Mass not followed by the eighth sacrament, coffee, in the church of my childhood "Coffee Sunday" was a once a month affair, and only if you happened to attend the 11am Mass after catechism instead of the 9am prior to, as most families with young children preferred. (As a teenager, I came to be partial to the Mass of anticipation and sleeping in on Sunday mornings). I certainly did not speak to other parishioners outside of the nave on regular basis. They can have a certain warehouse feel: friends tell of Masses being discontinued for attracting "only" 150 or so week by week - for Anglicans, an impressive figure for all Sunday services combined. Even outside of Anglo-Catholicism, Anglican congregations offer a "boutique" niche.

And so while communities of Anglicans received into full communion with the Holy See will be subject to the same doctrinal standards as other Roman Catholics, it seems fair to say that there are noticeable differences in the piety of Anglo-Catholicism that can be hoped to enrich the wider Roman communion in a real way.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Both the MadPriest and The Anglo-Catholic are carrying the story of a playwright who feels marginalized at Toronto's Church of St Mary Magdalene over his "traditional" views on same-sex relationships. Following on the heels of the "dog bites God" story making the rounds, this one plays into a favourite conservative trope: the "illiberal liberal."

This tactic allows reasserters to shift attention from their own pet intolerance (marriages that fall short of the sacred penis-in-vagina ideal) by turning the principles of theological liberalism on their head. See, "liberals" aren't tolerant of intolerance, so we must be intolerant ourselves, get it? Of course, it's only a semantic trick, but it sounds like a good talking point and is second perhaps only to the "bums on pews" trope in terms of dangerous equivocation. (Churches that welcome gays, we are told, are hemorrhaging members - the paradoxical implication being that the way to fill churches is to restrict eligibility for membership).

As usual, the comparison is one of apples and oranges. Mr McKillop wrote a play, on the public record, that is openly disparaging of the plight of gays in the church who seek its blessing. Whether he agrees with them or not, that he then expects to be able to waltz into a community to which a fair number of such people have given their lives and be "welcomed" is the height of hubris. Now, a rational person would say, of course a gay couple in the choir is going to be unnerved by your presence. But in reasserter Bizarro World, it is the gay couple who are the bigots with their ungracious reception of him. Mr McKillop protests that he said nothing to the men "while singing" and so he cannot understand their rudeness and assumes the snub is attributable to "something they had heard about me or what I had written" (gee, ya think?) Funny that - gays can read? If I insult someone else in writing, it still counts? Go figure. I mean, if I had written negatively about black Canadians, I could hardly then show up at the local British Methodist Episcopal church and expect a warm welcome so long as I don't mention verbally what I've already made clear in print.

The headline of the piece is 'An Anglican who no longer feels safe.' This is particularly sneaky prose, since of course it is clearly the gay couple who would be made to feel less than safe by the arrival of a wag like Mr McKillop. This couple has presumably been singing without incident for some time before someone with an agenda showed up to make trouble. I'm sure I would have been similarly concerned in their shoes. My parish family is very important to me and if someone arrived who openly believed that my belonging there was an abomination I would of course consider that a threat. But because they cannot win the battle on theological grounds, "reassserters" have simply inverted the terminology. Now, the Anglican Church of Canada's tepid efforts to afford its gay and lesbian members a modicum of respect are portrayed as a campaign to hound out others. Since they can't argue with trying to make a few people feel a bit more safe, they spin it around and accuse the liberals of what they themselves have hitherto been doing. So now the slow move of the Anglican Church into the 20th century (only ten years late and counting!) is depicted not as a measure of greater safety (for gays) but less. The same phenomenon can be seen at synod where Essentials show up with their Zacchaeus Fellowship, whose mind-bending premise is that by allowing gays and lesbians who wish to enter committed relationships to do so, the church is somehow not respecting the rights of those who do not so wish (!)

Heterosexual Anglicans like Mr McKillop are eminently safe. For most of the church's history, they were the only ones who were. Now efforts are being made to extend that safety to others. But doing so does not diminish the safety of heterosexuals - instead, for once, it simply isn't about them. If Mr McKillop feels unsafe it is because of statements he has chosen to make publicly. That those whom he has attacked take umbrage at his presence is not some conspiracy - it is the consequence of his own actions.

So like much of the reasserter literature on homosexuality, Mr McKillop's tantrum in the Putz is high on scary sounding rhetoric and low on theology (see for example this post, whose author when challenged on his talking points tacitly confessed his inability to defend his matching-bits fetish on theological grounds). If Mr McKillop wishes to inhabit a church where he can write whatever venom he likes about gays on Saturday and they will docilely shake his hand at the Pax on Sunday, he is welcome to the Roman Catholic Church. Anglican gay folk reserve the right to be uppity.

Like Republicans in the United States, conservatives have a tendency to confuse losing with oppression. Finding themselves on the wrong side of history their only chance is to make as much noise as possible on the way out, in hopes of momentarily stunning us. But to anyone who has taken a first-year "reading critically" course, Mr McKillop's column is transparently hollow. While their argument has been indulged until now - and for too long - on the strength of its age, it is becoming clear that the Emperor has no clothes. While reasserters hate the comparison of the gay civil rights movement to its African American antecedent, they do not give people under 30 a reason to resist the analogy. Most of us believe that segregation was wrong not because blacks are some sacredly protected class but because it is unjust to treat a class of persons differently because of an involuntary personal characteristic. To hold this in the case of one group but not another is special pleading. In fact it is simply that the self-styled "orthodox" (who fought desegregation just as hard as gender-neutral marriage) have given up one prejudice but not yet another.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sea Sunday

The Mission to Seafarers in the Port of Toronto celebrated an outdoor Solemn Votive Mass of Michaelmas yesterday afternoon, just managing to avoid the rain. A couple of us turned up from St Bart's, where the mission's chaplain assists informally and had invited us that morning to binate.

The chaplain celebrated with the mission's other priest and a local priest of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd as assistants. Archbishop Terry Finlay turned up in the congregation in his role as Episcopal Visitor and gave the final blessing.

We sang hymns and modern settings of the Mass ordinary, including the "Land of Rest Sanctus" from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, with synthesizer organ and tambourine accompaniment provided by the diocese's Filipino congregation. The Gloria was a hymn paraphrase to the tune of Angels we have heard on high, and was followed by the Kyrie (in Greek) to Rule, Britannia, which we tried to fake, but it didn't really take off. A collect of St Nicholas, patron of seafarers, was commemorated.

An amply appointed barbecue followed, by which time the oppressive humidity had broken. (Other parts of the city, as I learned when I returned home, had been shaken by thunderstorms).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Max's service schedule challenge

Source here.

8.30am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.45am Morning Prayer
11am Sung Eucharist (BAS or alternating)

5pm (Sat) Corporate Confession & Absolution with Anointing (ELW)
8.30am Holy Communion (BAS Rite I)
10.45am Morning Prayer
11am Sung Eucharist
(Morning Prayer and Holy Communion, first Sundays)

Inner city
4pm (Sat) Corporate Confession & Absolution with Anointing (ELW)
5pm La Messe-Basse
9.30am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.15am Sung Mattins & Litany
11am Solemn High Mass (BAS Rite I)
4.30pm Festal Evensong & Benediction

Monday, June 28, 2010

Undergraduate options I decided against

*Midwifery at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver
*Psychiatric nursing at Brandon University in Manitoba
*Basque Studies at the University of Nevada at Reno
*A double major in sexual diversity studies and the (now sadly defunct) psychoanalytic thought at the University of Toronto (the former through University College, the latter at Trinity) or alternatively in Christianity & Culture and Celtic Studies (at St Mike's)
*Jewish music at Yeshiva University in New York
*Canadian Literature at the University of Victoria, British Columbia
*Cultural Studies and Critical Theory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
*Culinary Arts at the Dublin Institute of Technology
*Civil law at the University of Ottawa
*Journalism at the University of King's College, Halifax
*Orthodox Theology at the Greek Orthodox Theological Academy of Toronto through the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A truant Mattins

We fled the city for the duration of the G20 summit, and visited the Church of St John the Evangelist in Elora, Ontario, near Kitchener-Waterloo. The Choral Mattins advertised for second and fourth Sundays was, alas, mysteriously dispensed. Instead we had a Choral Eucharist of Trinity IV.

The service was surprisingly faithful to the BCP. The (Merbecke) Gloria, however, was moved to the beginning, which led to some calisthenics as the entrance rite was otherwise done kneeling. The vesture had the air of pre-Ritualist Tractarianism: the celebrant wore a surplice and stole and faced east on an altar covered in a superfrontal (though he lost his nerve and spun round at the Words of Institution, posts passim). A burse and veil were used, as well as one of those twee little stoles for the lectern. The only spiky touch was the use of apparelled amices on the servers. All the ministers in the sanctuary knelt round the altar for most of the service.

The prayer book lectionary was used, a rarity these days outside of places like St Bart's in Toronto. The gradual psalm, however, was neither that appointed in the prayer book nor the RCL psalm. The last verse was sung as an Alleluia (also the custom at St Bart's) but after springing to my feet reflexively I found myself alone. All rose when the Gospeller (a laywoman from the nave) reached the lectern.

The Nicene Creed was said and the celebrant ascended the pulpit. The rest of the service was prayer book to the letter, complete with manual actions - "He brake it (crack!)" - and post-communion Lord's Prayer. The people joined in the second half of the Thanksgiving ("And here, we offer...") which is common, just as many places also have the Collect for Purity said by all. This phenomenon is likely a part of "organic development" - in earlier editions of the BCP, even the Prayer of Humble Access was said in the congregation's name.

The music of the Mass, incidentally, was Hassler's Missa Secunda. Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus was sung by the excellent choir of St John's. (The music director is also artistic director of the famed Elora Festival, whose choir sings at the church when the festival is underway). It was a rare treat finding such authentic old-fashioned high-and-dry Anglicanism in the country - and I shall return for Mattins!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Nativity of St John the Baptist

Montréal is an incredible place. Just walking down the street is a novel experience for those formed in the mores of Orange Ontario. Beer and wine appear in convenience stoor windows, the pedestrian traffic signals are guidelines, and somewhere a spliff is burning. My worldlier friends describe it as "the only place you can touch the strippers" which sounds a little like one of those legal urban myths that you'd get in a bubble gum wrapper. (It is said, for example, that the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth must provide a bag of oats for your horse). In middle school, the grade 8s boasted about the tattoos they would get as we stopped at Tim Horton's franchises in Kingston. After the fact, none owned up to having done such a thing, though a few went home sporting short-lived piercings.

Today was the patronal festival of Québec and the Anglican Church of Canada. A Solemn High Mass (sans procession or Te Deum) was celebrated in English and French (well, Latin and Greek if you count the choral parts) according to the rite of the prayer book of 1959 and the traditional Western Rite at the Church of St John the Evangelist. A lovely blue and gold High Mass set was used, complete with maniples and a humeral veil for the subdeacon. The birettas which I saw for the first time at St John's were not in evidence. Hymns were from the English Hymnal, and the Epistle read but the Gospel monotoned rather hurriedly. A satisfying lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs followed. Home tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From the Anglican Journal comments

"The document and speakers referenced a paradox in our life as a church. Unfortunately the paradox only exists for those unaffected by continued inaction. For those who don't actually enjoy the 'full inclusion' the document would suggest, there is only injustice. Someone has to pay the price for unity, I'm just sad it has to be me."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Old Catholic schizophrenia

Bishop David Hamid, suffragan to the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, blogs about a particularly bizarre effect of the Archbishop of Canterbury's purge: the removal of the rector of Frankfurt in the Convocation of American Churches in Europe from the Anglican dialogue with the Old Catholic churches. It seems that ++Rowan fears the Episcopal Church's voice cannot be trusted not to contaminate our representation to even the Old Catholics - who are ahead of us in permitting the blessing of same-gender unions and the ordination of gay clergy! It is hard to see how, unlike perhaps with Rome or the Orthodox, the dialogue would be upset by an American representative. Of course, the Archbishop is not about to withdraw his own participation from Communion affairs: as a bishop in the CoE he's free to bless as many such unions as he likes in his province so long as they remain "informal."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pastoral generosity

On the order paper today is resolution C009, moved by an openly gay youth member from the Diocese of Toronto. The text is as follows.

Affirm that the most generous pastoral response possible be provided to people in committed same sex relationships; and that in dioceses, with the approval of the diocesan bishop, the most generous pastoral response in each individual context be determined.

This motion is very clever. By granting a local option (the bishop is empowered to determine what constitutes appropriate pastoral care) without saying so outright (the "b" word does not appear) it avoids the Archbishop of Canterbury's jesuitical definition of "formal." It is not the blessing of same-gender unions itself that is problematic for ++Rowan, for such is the common practice of his own province, so long as we do not use the word in a formally enacted resolution.

UPDATE The motion, which was the only way we were going to salvage anything out of this mess, has been withdrawn.