Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ordo: Advent to Lent

27 - FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 268, Grad 1010
28 – Advent Feria – BAS p. 452, Grad 1012
29 – Advent Feria – BAS p. 452, Grad 1013
30 – St Andrew the Apostle (red), BAS p. 430, FAS p. 359, Grad 2002

1 – Advent Feria BAS p. 452 Grad 1015
2 – Advent Feria - BAS p. 452,Grad 1016
3 – St Francis Xavier (white) - BAS p. 452, FAS p. 361, Grad 3121
4 – ADVENT II (violet or dark blue) comm. Nicholas Ferrar BAS p. 269, Grad 1020 FAS p. 363
5 – St Clement of Alexandria (white), BAS p. 452, FAS p. 365, Grad 2010
6 – St Nicholas (white) BAS p. 453, FAS p. 367, Grad 2012 Year’s Mind of the Montreal Massacre
7 – St Ambrose (white) BAS p. 453, FAS p. 369, Grad 2014
8 – Conception BVM (white and blue) – FAS p. 371, Grad 2016
9 – Prophets of the Old Covenant (white) BAS p. 453, FAS p. 373, Grad 2565
10 – Of the Octave (white and blue) BAS p. 453, Grad 2016
11 – ADVENT III “Gaudete” (rose-pink) Independence Day in the Dominion of Canada BAS p. 270, Grad 1030.
2nd celebration: BAS p. 412, Grad 5220
12 - Advent Feria (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 453, Grad 1031
13 – Advent Feria (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 453, Grad 1032
14 – Simon Gibbons (Ember Wed) (white) BAS p. 453, FAS p. 375, Grad 1041
15 – Octave Day of the Conception (white and blue) BAS p. 454, collects FAS p. 371, Grad 2016
16 – Ember Friday (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 454 Grad 1042 Sapientiatide begins
17 – Ember Saturday (violet or dark blue) Grad 1043
18 – ADVENT IV “Rorate” (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 271, Grad 1040
19 – Advent Feria (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 454, Grad 1046
20 – Advent Feria (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 454, Grad 1047
21 – St Thomas the Apostle, BAS p. 413, FAS p. 213, Grad 2022
22 – Advent Feria (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 454, Grad 1051
23 – Advent Feria (violet or dark blue) BAS p. 454, Grad 1052
24 – Vigil of the Nativity (violet) Grad 1053

Midnight: BAS p. 273, Grad 1103
Dawn: BAS p. 274, Grad 1104
Day: BAS p. 275, Grad 1105

26 – St Stephen the Protomartyr (red), BAS p. 417, Grad 1106
27 – St John the Evangelist (white), BAS p. 406, Grad 1107
28 – Holy Innocents (Childermas) (red), BAS p. 398, Grad 1108
29 – St Thomas Becket (red) FAS p. 383, FAS , Grad 2028
30 – Christmas Feria (white) BAS p. 455, Grad 1111
31 – John West (white), BAS p. 455, FAS p. 385, Grad 3121

BAS p. 277, Grad 1112/1113
2 – St Basil the Great & St Gregory of Nazianzus (white), BAS p. 456, FAS p. 41, Grad 2259/2366
3 – Weekday in Christmas (white), BAS p. 456, Grad 1114
4 – Weekday in Christmas (white), BAS p. 456, Grad 1115
5 – Weekday in Christmas (white), BAS p. 457, Grad 1117
6 – Epiphany (gold or white) BAS p. 279, Grad 1202
7 – Weekday in the Octave (white), BAS p. 457, Grad 1203
9 – In the Octave (white), BAS p. 468, Grad 1302
10 – William Laud (red), BAS p. 468, FAS p. 45, Grad 2032
11 – In the Octave (white), BAS p. 468, Grad 1302
12 – Marguerite Bourgeoys (white), BAS p. 468, FAS p. 49, Grad 3412
13 – St Hilary of Poitiers (white), BAS p. 468, FAS p. 53, Grad 2036
14 – John Horden (white), BAS p. 469, FAS p. 51, Grad 3111
15 – SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (Proper 2: green) BAS p. 349, Grad 1303
16 – Richard Benson (from Sunday) (white) BAS p. 469, FAS p. 55, Grad 3411
17 – St Antony of Egypt, BAS p. 469, FAS p. 57, Grad 2042
18 – Confession of St Peter the Apostle (white) Octave of Christian Unity begins BAS p. 399, Grad 2044
19 – Requiem (black) BAS p. 469, Grad 4730
20 – Requiem (black) BAS p. 469, Grad 4730
21 – St Agnes of Rome (red), BAS p. 469, FAS p. 61, Grad 2050
22 – THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (proper 3: green) BAS p. 350, Grad 1304
23 – St Vincent the Deacon (from Sunday) BAS p. 470, FAS p. 63, Grad 2052
24 – St Francis de Sales (white), BAS p. 470, FAS p. 65, Grad 3211
25 – Conversion of St Paul the Apostle (white) BAS p. 400, Grad 2056
26 – SS Timothy & Titus (white), BAS p. 470, FAS p. 69, Grad 2060
27 – St John Chrysostom (white), BAS p. 470, FAS p. 71, Grad 2062
28 – St Thomas Aquinas (white), BAS p. 470, FAS p. 73, Grad 2064
29 – FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (proper 4: green) BAS p. 352, Grad 1305
30 – St Charles Stuart (red) BAS p. 470, FAS p. 75, Grad 2066
31 – Requiem (black) BAS p. 470, Grad 4730

1- Requiem (black) BAS p. 470, Grad 4730
2- Presentation of Christ & Purification BVM (Candlemas) BAS p. 401, Grad 2070
3 – St Anskar (white) Blessing of Throats BAS p. 471, FAS p. 79, Grad 2072
4 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 471, Grad 4730
5 – FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (proper 5: green) BAS p. 353, Grad 1306
BAS p. 412, Grad 1306
7 – Martyrs of Japan (from Sunday) (red), BAS p. 471, FAS p. 81, Grad 2076
8 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 471, Grad 4730
9 – Hannah Grier Coome, BAS p. 471, FAS p. 83, Grad 3412
10 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 471, Grad 4730
11 – BVM (white and blue), BAS p. 471, Grad 5574
12 –SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (proper 6: green) BAS p. 354, Grad 1307
13 – Requiem (black) BAS p. 472, Grad 4730
14 – SS Cyril & Methodius (white), BAS p. 472, FAS p. 85, Grad 2084
15 – Thomas Bray (white), BAS p. 472, FAS p. 87, Grad 2086
16 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 472, Grad 4730
17 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 472, Grad 4730
18 – BVM (white and blue), BAS p. 472, Grad 5574
19 – SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (proper 7: green) BAS p. 356, Grad 1308
20 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 473, Grad 4730
21 – Requiem (black), BAS p. 473, Grad 4730
22 – Ash Wednesday (violet) BAS p. 281, Grad 1403

Preface to the Ordo

Editorial principles

The choices made in the ordo are designed to expose the faithful to the broadest possible range of liturgical material in our repertoire. Every effort is made both to accommodate the widest possible selection of sanctoral commemorations and to maintain Archbishop Cranmer’s ideal of an orderly course of Scripture reading. This has sometimes entailed the choice of options at variance with what is envisioned by McCausland’s or the BAS itself. I have not, for example, followed the modern bias against clutter in the liturgy, as seen in the disparaging of octaves and commemorations. The latter I have suggested when a saint’s day falls on a Sunday and has no proximate candidate for transference, as an alternative to omission. The former I have retained in a modified way while preserving the integrity of the daily lectionary. For some occasions occurring on a Sunday (for example, diocesan services or civic occasions), a secondary afternoon or evening celebration may be appropriate in addition to the Parish Communion of the weekly proper.

References are given to the BAS Daily Office Lectionary. The Weekday Eucharistic lectionary may be used instead if the Office lectionary is in use at the Office, but the BCP’s lectionary is more suitable for the latter purpose. On Sundays, the single BAS page reference yields the lections and major propers printed together. On saints’ days, the major propers are taken from For All the Saints. I have, however, preferred to interrupt lectio continua as conservatively as possible, and so I do not recommend the readings of the day on saints’ days save those given in the BAS, as on feasts of Scripture. (An exception is feasts of Our Lady, which are all treated as holy days, notwithstanding the inexplicable distinction of the Conception and Nativity in the BAS). Minor propers are taken from the Anglican Gradual and Sacramentary. The same minor propers may be repeated during traditional octaves, while the lectionary continues in course.

I have been somewhat flexible in colour: while my normative baseline is the Use of Christminster Abbey, I have also taken account of Full Homely Divinity’s advice on local adaptation of the traditional ‘Western’ scheme. I have not made the distinction suggested by the BAS between “memorials” (which use the colour and readings of the saint) and “commemorations” (which use the ferial colour and readings, with a nod to the saint in the major propers). Rather, I have split the difference, recommending throughout the sanctoral colour (as on memorials) and the readings of the day (as an commemorations). This adjustment avoids the strange sight of saints’ days in green and endless repetitions of the Great Commission on the feasts of each and every missionary.

The Ordo is intended to conform to the authorized Canadian Calendar of Holy Persons. On feasts distinctive to this kalendar, since the Gradual is American in origin, an appropriate common has been suggested for the minor propers. Major historic anniversaries and some traditional ecclesiastical dates not listed in the calendar itself are noted as possible votives where appropriate and permitted by pontifical authority. On “free” days in green time, while continuing the course of the lectionary, I have suggested Daily Mass for the Dead instead of a recapitulation of the Sunday Mass. Likewise, traditional Incarnational votive Masses of Our Lady on Saturday have been referenced to the Gradual. Pastoral judgment will dictate the extent to which these options are used and the manner in which they are offered.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Formal theological education hasn't afforded the same kind of luxury of blogging, yet the world continues without me. Expect some restructuring. In the meantime, though, what briefly has been up since last I posted?

The implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus continues. In Canada it appears the erection of the ordinariate is close at hand. Both the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and the Toronto and Calgary groups have gone quiet, though in this last case not before announcing a reception date of Rorate Sunday. The convent of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor outside Baltimore has been formally reorganized in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Correspondents in England were surprised to hear of their submission to the Roman obedience two years ago since the English congregation apparently does not share the reputation of its erstwhile American sister and indeed includes female hieronuns.

Controversy has bubbled over the movement that has begun to grow out of Occupy Wall Street in New York. My thoughts on this deserve their own post, but suffice it to say that I'm wary of what appear to be neoliberal economic opinions couched in the language of Christian misgivings. The notion that the current state of runaway capitalism is within the realm of Christian freedom of political conscience strikes as me as specious. And the anabaptist in me thinks the contrast in Church response between London and Toronto is illustrative of the perils of establishment.

The few remaining Reformed Episcopal Church of Canada have fractured three ways, being absorbed into either the Anglican Church in North America or the Independent Anglican Church Canada Synod. A third congregation in Toronto may or may not exist outwith the internet as a separate entity with some kind of informal relation with the others).The congregation going into the IACCS (under a new "Reformed Diocese of Ontario") is led by the former Reformed Episcopal bishop of Central & Eastern Canada, who cited the cross-partisan nature of the ACNA (tainted by a few Anglo-Catholics in the Missionary Diocese of All Saints and some former Episcopal dioceses), which is odd since the IACCS has itself a Tractarian heritage.

The Prime Ministers of the Dominions of the Commonwealth have agreed to the introduction of lineal primogeniture in the succession to the crowns, in place of the current male-preference system. Such a change would mean that the first child of Prince and Princess William of Wales would become heir to the throne regardless of gender. Also to be discarded is the restriction against marriage to Roman Catholics.

The County Orange Lodge of Toronto held its 191st parade, the longest-running in the city. Hard to believe, right?

Finally, trendwatching in the blogosphere and the Anglican Journal suggests that unbaptized is becoming the new gay. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breaking - all the sacraments for all the baptized

The National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has approved two motions abolishing gender restrictions on marriage and consequently barriers to ordination for candidates in same-gender marriages, effectively granting gay and lesbian Anglicans in Canada access to marriage under the Waterloo Declaration, which recognizes Anglican and Lutheran presbyters as "priests in the church of God" and encouraged them to make use of one another's liturgical rites. The ELCiC's new Social Statement on Human Sexuality, adopted last night, is viewable in pdf.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Waterloo, ten years on: communio in sacris and learning from dissent

Apologies for my relative apophasis this year. I didn't anticipate the extent to which the transition to seminary life would swallow up all non-essential (defined more broadly than I would prefer) matters in its vortex. The Easter Ordo will be up soon: I hope you are all faking it adequately with McCausland's in the meantime! The good news is that summer will allow me to develop en banc some posts that have been brewing and aging over the past few months.

This month the Anglican/Episcopal and Evangelical-Lutheran churches in North America celebrated a decade of full communion. I myself had never set foot in an Anglican church at the time (that landmark would not come until Accession Day the following year, the Golden Jubilee, and any serious interest in Anglicanism considerably later). However, when I was received the accord was still new enough in its reception among the consensus fidelium that I recall mixed feelings about it, both from myself and others, particularly in the prayer-book, Anglo-Catholic circles I travelled in.

I've been reminded of this now that the story has been covered by the Anglican Journal, attended by the usual snarky comments from presumably former members of the ACoC who still harbour a bit of a crush after their breakup and feel the need to traverse the web disparaging their former church home. What I'm interested in here is the degree to which mistrust of the agreement was shared on both sides. Anglican and Lutheran reservations about full communion have significant differences as well as significant overlap.

Since the vagaries of either tradition's internal politics are likely arcane each to the other, they bear some comment, particularly since as I say they converge in many respects. In the first place, while the language of "churchmanship" is not indigeneous to Lutheranism, both traditions have schools of thought emphasising Catholic (Anglo-Catholic or Evangelical-Catholic), latitudinaran, and Protestant (Evangelical or Pietist) strands of thought. In Lutheranism, the Evangelical-Catholic and Pietist edges of the spectrum are both often found in congregations of German descent, since the Prussian Union forcibly yoked Lutheran churches to Calvinist influence, while galvanizing opposition to the union (many of whom settled in the US as what would become the Missouri Synod - and Australia). Thus Zion Detroit, the "S. Clement's of Lutheranism" is an LCMS parish. St Luke's Chicago, perhaps the highest ELCA parish, comes from the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the youngest of the ELCA predecessor bodies, formed by theological moderates purged from the LCMS during its "right turn" in the 70s.

The LCMS itself bears some further comment. Anglican pewfolk may be dimly aware that there are Lutherans other than "ours" but the alphabet soup can be a bit daunting. Further confusion comes from the differing use of "synod": the Missouri Synod is not simply the ELCA's Missouri diocese but a distinct denomination. It has been said that Anglicans will endure any amount of heresy to avoid schism while Lutherans will put up with endless schism for the avoidance of heresy. While flippant, this remark points to a significant difference in the ecclesiology underlying the discourse on full communion in both traditions. (It's worth noting as well the geographical difference. In Canada, the ELCiC is considerably smaller the Anglican Church, which is dwarfed only by the Roman Catholic and United churches. The Lutheran synod in which the Diocese of Toronto lies covers virtually everything east of Manitoba. Both the ELCA and the LCMS on the other hand are larger than the Episcopal Church. The LCMS' Canadian districts formed the autonomous "Lutheran Church - Canada" in the 80s).

The reason this observation about the two traditions' respective priorities is interesting is that it illustrates two hot potatoes in the communion negotiations, namely the Eucharist and the episcopate. Traditionalists in both camps viewed the other as being weak on one of these. As the aphorism suggests, Lutherans have a tradition of considering the organization of church polity a secondary matter. Indeed, everything is really secondary to the proclamation of the Gospel: the correct polity is the one which best lends itself to that goal. Thus, faced with a lack of episcopal support for Lutheran congregations, Luther had no qualms about turning to the prince to provide episcopal succession. This is not in keeping with a strict RC or Anglo-Catholic understanding of apostolic succession, but as the article on the Coronation Mass in "Liturgy and Worship" reminds us, the attribution of quasi-pontifical status to the sovereign is not a new idea and has traces even in our own tradition.

Conversely, the Book of Concord is unambiguously emphatic about the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. While philosophical explanations are avoided, there is no wiggle room from Christ's promise that the bread and wine are his body and blood. Anglicans, on the other hand, have traditionally "comprehended" a wide variety of interpretations about the Eucharist, while keeping the episcopate as our defining feature, and indeed in many countries our namesake.

Hence the stereotype of the ragtag Anglican popular front with its hangups about polity and vague doctrine (the Queen, as the cunning deputy minister Sir Humphrey Appleby reminds us in Yes, Prime Minister, is essential to the Church of England; God, an optional extra). Likewise the proliferation of Lutheran conventicles, each in search of a purer form of confessional subscription. (Thus the Wisconsin synod in turn looks rather askance at Missouri's female congregational suffrage and openness to praying with outsiders).

The Anglo-Catholic and the "confessional" Lutheran dissident thus actually have a robust eucharistic theology in common: the Anglo-Catholic is sceptical of the concordats because he imagines Lutherans to be "Protestants" (a term which Lutherans freely own but which can scare the horses in certain Anglican quarters) while the conservative Lutheran sceptic also does not trust the eucharistic theology of the mainline bodies - but sees this not as a result of Lutheranism but of deviation from Lutheranism. But then it is unfathomable to him why the Anglo-Catholic would remain in fellowship with Christians (i.e., other Anglicans) whose theology is likewise suspect to begin with.

On the other hand, to take on board the necessity of episcopal ordination and the discontinuation of lay presidency under special circumstances is, to a certain variety of Lutheran observer, to elevate a matter of form to the status reserved for the Gospel. The works suspicion of Lutheranism lends itself to an aversion to trying to micromanage the sacraments: they are more concerned with the reverent execution of the sacraments than they are about who does it.

Like Anglicans, Lutherans are a polyphonic bunch, though not perhaps quite so diverse. (Apart from the ordinariate-bound Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church, which uses the Roman Rite and disavows all Reformation teaching at variance with Rome and is hard to pin down as Lutheran in any meaningful sense, there is no equivalent to Anglo-Papalism). So their Pietist outliers should not alarm the Anglo-Catholic anymore than our own. Concerns about the episcopate are likewise time-limited: in the near future, cross-consecration will render the issue of pedigree moot as in India.

Lutherans meanwhile can take comfort that the understanding of lifetime episcopal ordination does not entail a monarchical understanding of pontifical authority: retired bishops remain bishops and can licitly function as such with the permission of the ordinary, but they do not themselves exercise ordinary jurisdiction. The convergence of the traditions provide us with the opportunity to reconcile Anglican praxis around the catholic threefold ministry with Lutheran democratic polity. The impending extension of full communion to the Moravians bodes especially well for this project, as bishops in the Unitas Fratrum serve as pastors-to-the-pastors and are the ministers of ordination but lack a juridical role. These new frontiers in intercommunion are not an assault on the "faith once delivered" but an exciting expansion of the same.

Monday, March 14, 2011

TRM Lent 2011


10 - Robert Machray (white, BAS p. 458, FAtS p.109, Gradual 3241)
11 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 458, Gradual 1405)
12 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 458, Gradual 1406)
13 - FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT (Quadragesima) Litany in Procession (violet, BAS p. 286 [2nd collect 281], Gradual 1407 [Evening 1408]))
14 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 458, Gradual 1409)
15 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 459, Gradual 1410)
16 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 459, Gradual 1411)
17 - St Patrick (red or white, BAS p. 459, FAtS p. 111, Gradual 2135)
18 - St Cyril of Jerusalem (white, BAS p. 459, FAtS p. 113, Gradual 2138)
19 - St Joseph, Foster Father of the Lord and Patron of the Universal Church (white, BAS p. 459, FAS p. 115, Gradual 2141)
20 - THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT (violet, BAS p. 288, Gradual 1415)
21 - Thomas Cranmer (red, BAS p. 459, FAtS p. 119, Gradual 2141)
22 - Thomas Ken (white, BAS p. 459, FAS p. 121, FAS p. 121, Gradual 2147)
23 - St Gregory the Illuminator (white, BAS p. 459, FAS p. 123 Gradual 2156)
24 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 459, Gradual 1419); I Evensong of the Annunciation
25 - The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary (white, BAS p. 403, Gradual 2159)
26 - of the Annunciation (readings of the feria BAS p. 460)
27 - THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT (violet, BAS p. 289, Gradual 1422)
28 - Charles Henry Brent (white, BAS p. 460, FAS p. 127, Gradual 3251)
29 - John Keble (white, BAS p. 460, FAS p. 129, Gradual 2165)
30 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 460, Gradual 1425)
31 - John Donne (white, BAS p. 460, FAS p. 131, Gradual 2168)


1 - Frederick Denison Maurice (white, BAS p. 460, FAS p. 133, Gradual 2175)
2 - Henry Budd (white, BAS p. 460, FAS p. 135, Gradual 3551)
3- THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT (Laetare) (rose, BAS p. 291, Gradual 1429)
4- Reginald Heber (white, BAS p. 461, FAS p. 139, Gradual 3241)
5 - Emily Ayckbowm (white, BAS p. 461, FAS p. 787, Gradual 3452)
6 - St Richard of Chichester (from Sunday: white, BAS p. 461, FAS p. 137, Gradual 2181)
7 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 461, Gradual 1433)
8 - Feria (violet, BAS p. 461, Gradual 1434)
9 - William Law (white, BAS p. 461, FAS p. 141, Gradual 2190)
10 - THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT (Passion Sunday) (crimson, BAS p. 293, Grad 1436)
11 - George Augustus Selwyn (white, BAS p. 461, FAS p. 143, Gradual 2193)
12 - Feria (crimson, BAS p. 461, Gradual 1438)
13 - Feria (crimson, BAS p. 461, Gradual 1439)
14 - Feria (crimson, BAS p. 462, Gradual 1440)
15 - Feria (crimson, BAS p. 462, Gradual 1441); Compassion of the BVM Grad 1442
16 - Mollie Brant (white, BAS p. 462, FAS p. 145, Gradual 3552)
17 - THE SECOND SUNDAY IN PASSIONTIDE (Palm Sunday) (crimson, BAS p. 297, Grad 1502 [Evening 1503])
18 - Monday in Holy Week (crimson, BAS p. 301, Grad 1404)
19 - Tuesday in Holy Week (crimson, BAS p. 302, Grad 1405)
20 - Wednesday in Holy Week (crimson, BAS p. 303, Grad 1406)
21 - Maundy Thursday (violet and white, BAS p. 304, Grad 1510)
22 - Good Friday Mass of the Presanctified (black, BAS p. 308, Grad 1512)
23 - Easter Even (violet and gold or white, BAS p. 321, Grad 1602)
24 - THE EASTER DAY, OR PASCH: the Resurrection of Our Saviour Jesus Christ according to the flesh (gold or white, BAS p. 335) Gradual:

1604 - Mass of the Dawn
1605 - Mass of the Day
1606 - Mass of the Evening
1607 - Great Paschal Vespers (0451 Benediction)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good news from the Sisterhood of St John the Divine

From the Epiphany 2011 Eagle comes the announcement of an ordained postulant's admission to the community. Since the ordination of the Revd Canon Sr Constance Joanna "C.J." Gefvert SSJD, St John's Convent has had one religious priest in residence. Now there is to be another: on 4 January, the Revd Debra Johnston, a Lutheran presbyter and thus a "priest in the Church of God" under the terms of the Waterloo Declaration, was admitted as a postulant. She will provide an ecumenical and sacerdotal witness to the community. Please remember Pastor Debra and the Sisters of St John in prayer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The First Book of Common Prayer of Edward VI

Litany & High Mass of the Purification of St Mary the Virgin: second in a series at St Thomas's, Huron Street, Toronto. See archives under February 2010 for posts of last year's Sarum Candlemass.

Friday, January 14, 2011

On the ordinariates

Every once in a while a story emanates from the church that attracts major attention from the secular press, which is vexing for those of us who are familiar with the general level of ecclesiastical savvy among non-specialist journalists. The Cunning Man famously opens with the narrator's attempts to recount in an interview the death of the celebrant of the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified at a church broadly sketched on St Mary Mag as Davies knew it while at UCC. (Curiously, in Robertson Davies: A Portrait in Mosaic, Canon Nahabedian accuses Davies of a technical bluff for depicting a "celebration of the Eucharist" on Good Friday, [Ross 2008:345] though he can hardly be unaware of the distinction obtaining having presided as rector of SMM for more than 25 years).

But in these last days it has been the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus that has caught so much attention. And a great deal of discussion and even rancour has been generated, much of which I think is, frankly, overblown.

First, let's talk about why people become Roman Catholics. There's really only one reason to do so: because you believe the claims the Roman Catholic Church makes for itself. The reaching of that conclusion entails certain implications if one is to proceed with integrity. And a certain ecclesiologically schizophrenic element of this genre has existed in Anglo-Catholicism since the days of Caldey Island. I think that some of the mudslinging then has been unfair: this really is the traditional Anglo-Papalist objective in execution.

At the same time, those who continue to hold the Saepius Officio line deserve respect for their position as well. The general scholarly consensus is that the arguments advanced by Apostolicae Curae tend equally to undermine's Rome's own position. So those who are not accepting the offer because they are not Roman Catholics conviction are doing the right thing too. You'll read suggestions that those Anglo-Catholics who don't take up the ordinariates might as well give up the game, but I think that rather the two schools of thought, the Newman and the Moss if you will, have coexisted for more or less the history of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England.

The Traditional Anglican Communion gets razzed on account of its size, but the boutique character of Anglicanism is common to the tradition as a whole. Anglicans incredulously tell stories of Roman Catholic Masses with attendances equal to the total Sunday haul in many Anglican places being taken off the timetable due to "not enough numbers." So it seems unfair to be too snarky on this point.

At the same time, there is an unfortunate tendency in some quarters to intemperate language about the ordinariates: some authors appear to suggest that their memers will be "Catholics but not Roman Catholics" but this is probably a bolder extrapolation from the principle of "unity without absorption" than is warranted, as the ordinariates are not sui juris churches, but particular churches of the Roman Rite with an authorized use.

Another facet also frequently missed by the press is the very different character of continuing Anglicanism in various countries. American Episcopalians sometimes deride the Anglican Church in America as one of a number of jurisdictions emerging from the fracturing of the original ACNA that came out of the St Louis Conference, whereas the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada has pretty consistently carried the torch up here, which is why those not swimming have had to scramble to make provision for their continued existance with the aid of sympathetic American prelates. The Christian Episcopal Church of Canada (derived from the Episcopal Synod of America - later FiFNA - via the Episcopal Missionary Church) at least claims online a small presence and a cathedral in Richmond, BC. Unanimity has not been approached as closely in the United States as in our dominion, but ordinariate bound ACAers are preceded by their forebears in the Pastoral Provision and will be accompanied by newly-departing Episcopalians. In Canada only St John the Evangelist, Calgary (for whom I weep and refuse to be comforted) has taken up the offer. I have not heard of anything else from any other of the few possible candidates, such as St Mary's, Fredericton, NB. Apart from whole parishes, Anglicans in the Toronto area are organizing with the assistance of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Anglican Catholic parish in nearby Oshawa.

The TTAC presence in Britain is marginal compared to Forward in Faith, an inverse relationship from across the pond. The Church of Ireland (Traditional Rite) is of an entirely different character and Not Interested, Thank You. Australia, the primatial see, has been enthusiastic and has managed to get a faster response than Canada. Responses have emerged more slowly from the "Global South", such as the Anglican Church in India, in whose case there is the added confusion of having at least two or three jurisdictions going by that name.

Finally, the terms of the Apostolic Constitution itself are modest. Most significantly, there is no expansion of the exemption for married clergy than there already is: future ordinariate priests will be subject to Latin Rite discipline - the married priesthood is not part of the patrimony. Speculation has abounded over the forms of liturgy to be authorized, with the Sarum Missal in Latin and the "Knott" English Missal put forth as suggestions. It's worth noting that the Book of Divine Worship used by Anglican Use congregations in the US is basically 1979 plus Novus Ordo - hard to imagine the folks at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Ottawa using it. In any case ordinariate clergy will be permitted to celebrate the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite in addition to permissive use of the ordinariate liturgy, and the Missal of Blessed John XXIII is certainly closer to what you find in die-hard traditional AC parishes than the BDW. Indeed, I would have thought that most Anglo-Catholics regard the prayer book as a constraint - witness the energy traditionally invested by "Western Rite" clergy into wrapping the Missal around it - and having swum and been freed of this constraint would leap to the "real thing". So I think that most Anglo-Catholics who have not swum are not holding out for lack of provision for Anglican-style worship. The Western Rite Orthodox provisions allow for a liturgy closer in chronology to that used in pre-Pian Anglo-Catholic shacks, a normative married secular clergy, and the self-satisfaction of having renounced not only the Church of England's deformation from the bosom of Rome, but Rome's own sundering from the Universal Church! (Why go back to 1054/1066 when you can go back to AD33?)

So while the bull is an important development for those who will avail themselves of it, and undoubtedly will reflect well in the annals of the "pontificate of Christian Unity" along with overtures to the SSPX and Orthodox, I think it's significant enough on its own merits without having to make it into something its not - the end of the Anglo-Catholic movement, a borstal slap-up between Rome and Canterbury, or a major infiltration of traditionalists into the RCC (though in the last respect it is one part of a larger pendulum swing toward softening some of the liturgical iconoclasm of the 1970s, or as it is decried by panicky floppy-albed bloggers, "rolling back Vatican II"). It is no more and no less than the logical end of the aspirations consistently held by a considerable segment of the Anglo-Catholic movement, though not its entirety, and what it certainly is not is an occasion to be used as a bone of partisan or inter-tendency contention.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Calling bollocks

Controversy is brewing over a ban on gay-straight alliances in the Halton Catholic District School Board. Along with Nazi groups and others in conflict with Catholic doctrine, GSAs are out because school authorities do not want to encourage kids to identify based on their sexual orientation. "I've never been to a GSA," one trustee told Xtra, "...They force people to be labelled as gay." If she had ever been to a GSA meeting, or you know, read its name in print, she would know that their mandate is to provide a safe space where students can congregate without being called upon to identify which part of the initialism they fall on, but we must assume in charity that the good Catholic woman was simply too flustered once "Gay" was on the brain to read the "straight alliance" bit for comprehension. Her characterization of GSAs as "sex clubs" further confirms the hunch that the bogey man the trustee imagines herself to be arguing against bears little resemblance the hapless group of kids back in reality who her policies are victimizing. Personally, I recall large numbers of Tim Horton's cookies consumed over fairly benign after-school conversation some of us might never have otherwise had the ability to do, and the occasional field trip into the city to hear a speaker. "Why can't heterosexual students have a club?" Xtra's source asks. But as every child learns on Mothers' and Fathers' Day and every white person come February, the answer to that question is inevitable: those would be every club in the student handbook.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church takes pains to preface and qualify its opposition to gay families with the proviso that "Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." The trick, of course, is "unjust" - for subsequent actions make it clear that the Church's definition of "unjust" is sufficiently restrictive as to be meaningless. Apart from GSAs, developments the Church has fought as unacceptable waterings down of family teaching are:

*laws that guarantee the same rights to housing and employment as enjoyed by heterosexuals, so that a gay tenant could not be denied a lease on the basis of their sexual orientation - even if he is fully compliant with the Church's teaching on the expression of the same! Here the bishop argued that such laws could give credence to morality of homosexual relationships. Like the Halton boards, this case belied the Catechism's claim to be content with upholding the Church's understanding of marriage - rather, it is necessary to avoid any action that the faithful might misinterpret as in any way attributing humanity to gay people. Only life as single, homeless, unemployed drifters befits our wretched estate. It's hardly as if anyone is going to be under any illusions about the RC doctrine, so literally pulling the front doormat out from under our feet is above and beyond the call of "apostolic authority" and skirting petty-vindictive territory.

*the placement of children with adoptive parents of the same gender, so that a child unable to find a home can be bounced from one foster home to another throughout adolescence until they graduate to juvenile detention, but will at least be spared the affront to their dignity of being given to loving parents whose junk didn't match.

*the burial by Catholic families of their gay members. In this case, the bishop interfered with the parish priest's duty to minister to the family in its time of - hardly within the ambit of a bishop's power of "Godly admonition" - because the man in question owned a gay dance club. This case too is purely vindictive and groundless even assuming the RC model of moral theology. The funeral was denied because the man's business contradicted Catholic teaching, which apparently His Excellency has extended (by what authority?) to cover dancing, and allowing it to proceed would run the risk of the sin of "scandal." Treating the creation of scandal itself as a sin is a dangerous game. One confessional manual I read advised against allowing non-communicants to approach the altar for a blessing lest the good but clearly rather dim faithful wonder whether he received.

Now, our grandmothers and anyone whose common sense hasn't been eliminated by years of canon law training would know that the obvious answer to that is "Eyes on your own page!" If the laic is indeed so dimwitted as to be unable to imagine a non-nefarious explanation for what he witnesses, it is nevertheless none of his beeswax and the sin of scandal is commissioned by his making it so. Indeed, in some circumstances non-Catholics, even "open" (!) ones, are permitted not only to approach but to receive (e.g. in France). Does recourse to this legitimate canonical provision become sinful because a backseat canonist may second-guess whether the priest availed himself of it correctly? Likewise, the pastoral propriety of a given Christian burial cannot be subjected to a vote of clucking tongues in the CWL. Besides all of which, you would think such a grievous sinner would need the Church's navigational assistance more than ever at such a critical soteriological moment as death. And when you consider the importance of funerals not just to the departed soul but to the family, the whole enterprise becomes even sillier. To bury someone is not to endorse his "lifestyle" but to offer the prayers which are due for all the departed, and bereavement is not a time to be hijacked by the curia to make a polemical point which Martians would have to be deaf not to have gotten by this point.

So the Roman Catholic position on homosexuality is in no way an attack on the dignity of the gay person himself, unless your idea of dignity includes things like a roof over your head. And this is not purely an academic point, for it goes straight to the credibility of the Church's claim that it is "catholic" - open to all people. If the gay person who assiduously observes the RCC's marital discipline is still not worthy of food or shelter, then it's clear that the Church does not merely subject gay relationships to the same disciplinary considerations as other irregular relationships, but in fact does precisely what it claims not to: demonize homosexuals as such, regardless of their moral valour. And then, when gay teens started dropping like flies those few awful weeks last fall, numerous Christians insisted to me that Christianity was not to blame as it had always limited its condemnation to the sin and not the sinner. I assume these people, however, consider eating and sleeping in a bed to be basic rights rather than sins, so unless they imagine that gays have some special perverted way of eating, it is clear that their desire to limit the rhetoric on the record takes considerable liberties with the history.