Fr. Paul of Graymoor and the Chair of Unity

In October of 1909, a foreshadowing of the Ordinariate occurred: an Episcopalian order of friars and sisters was received as a corporate body in to the Catholic Church. To-day both the Friars and Sisters continue, while their founder, Fr. Paul, is a candidate for beatification. Mother Lurana, co-foundress, waits her turn. Fr. Paul introduced the “Chair of Unity of Octave,” – eight days of prayer for the reunion of all Christians under the Pope, and all other people with the Church that starts on January 18 – the traditional feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, and ends on January 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Each day has a different class of people to be prayed for. After Vatican II the prayers were somewhat “softened;” and the practise itself became rare.  But surely the original Octave, as composed by Fr. Paul himself, is a part of the Patrimony and worthy of at least private use during the eight days in the waning weeks of the Christmas season! Here they are. On a private note, Fr. Paul was responsible for the conversion of a local teenager named Charl Van Horn. Decades later, Mr. Van Horn would be my writing instructor at New Mexico Military Institute, where I learned my trade. In a very real sense, were it not for Fr. Paul, you might not be reading these words!

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Marriage discipline and Christian unity

UPDATED: Edward Peters weighs in here.

Pope Francis’ marrying aboard the papal plane a couple of flight attendants who had been married civilly in Chile in 2010 reminded me of what was perhaps among the biggest obstacles to a decision to become Catholic by many Anglican and Continuing Anglican clergy, as well as many parishioners: the marriage discipline of the Catholic Church and its stance on denial of the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion to those who were divorced and “remarried” without a Decree of Nullity.

Those of us who decided to enter the Catholic Church either had no marriage irregularities, or resolved to get them straightened out at the local diocesan marriage tribunal beforehand.   Some people I know personally found this too high a price to pay.

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As we begin this New Year the Church in Australia will be considering its response to the findings of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse, to the SSM vote, the Euthanasia provisions in Victoria, the reducing number of mass attenders, financial  issues etc. Yet due to immigration the Catholic Church is still the largest Christian group in Australia and one of the biggest employers in the nation. It is the Anglo-Celtic cultural group that has abandoned the Faith and it is the Spiritual Heritage of this cultural group that the Ordinariate present to the Church as a gift. This fact presents us with a significant challenge, but our experience is one that the Church needs at this time. Continue reading

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Charles Gore – the Uncomfortable Bishop of Oxford.

JAnaury 17 is the day Charles Gore, sometime Bishop of Oxford, died in 1932. Although Anglo-Catholic, he could be quite liberal in theology, as well as anti-Papal. He was, however, a co-founder of the Mirfield Fathers – which has given the Church at least one illustrious convert, the late Msgr. Augustine Hoey, whom I had the honour to meet once, many years ago. But he also wrote a pamphlet attacking the 1930 Lambeth Council’s reversal on birth control.  As a defence of the traditional Christian teaching on contraception, it belongs next to “Humanae Vitae” or Halliday Sutherland’s “Birth Control.” For that alone he deserves some gratitude!

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The Anglo-Roman Missal

The English Missal, or Knott Missal, is in different ways an important part of both the Anglican and Roman patrimonies, being the essential way in which Anglicans celebrated the Roman rite in the 20th century, and the principle liturgical vernacular of what we now know as the Extraordinary Form. Fr Hunwicke calls it the “finest vernacular liturgical book ever produced.”

“O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling:
That I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness; and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.
Why art thou so heavy, O my soul? And why art thou so disquieted within me?”

Shawn Tribe writes on this and on sacral hieratic (or prayerbook) English in the new Liturgical Arts Journal:

“One wonders: had the vernacular been introduced in a way that was more sacral and majestic, augmenting rather than displacing Latin, and had the treasury of sacred music not only continued to utilize Latin but also expanded to include vernacular forms of chant and polyphony – in the vein of a Tallis, Byrd or Healey Willan – how very different our experience and reaction might be?”

The use of the vernacular, at least in part, was permitted by the Holy See for the older form of the Roman rite in certain lands and tongues, but never in English. Were it to be done, we should hope that it would be the established sacral English translation that has already been in use for generations, as found in the English Missal, and not a newly-devised translation.

EMIt is worth pointing out that the English Missal illustrates well the distinction in Anglican usage and history between the ‘Anglican rite’ (as found in the BCP, or perhaps the Anglican Missal) and the ‘Western Rite’, as it was often called (i.e. the ‘Roman rite’). While not licitly used by Latin Catholic priests (although it has been done), the English Missal cannot be said to be a different rite than the Roman, as it is merely a translation. But the Anglican liturgy more properly so-called, while closely related to the Roman, was distinct and is descended from its own Sarum antecedent. The Divine Worship Missal used in the ordinariates aims to give expression to this Anglican liturgical patrimony but is influenced by the English Missal as well.

Given that Anglicanorum Coetibus grants to us the use both of our own Anglican liturgical books and also of the Roman rite, it could be argued that ordinariate priests should be able to avail themselves of the latter part of this provision by the use of the English Missal.

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Ordinary’s Homily (OLSC: 14/01/18)

“The crisis for the Church faces in our age is one it has faced many times in its history, namely that many Catholics are no longer Catholic. In our culture they are Catholic Protestants or Catholic secularists, which is a contradiction in terms.”

For the original text and the audio (audio slightly different and highly recommended).

“Dogs and humans of all ages know how to ignore a call. Sometimes it is deliberate while at other times it is that they don’t recognize the voice or the message is unclear or suspicious.

Samuel was unclear about God’s voice. It was unknown so he assumed it was Eli’s voice. At first Eli was confused but after a while he recognized the voice as that of God. Eli wanted to know what God’s message was, and when he did it was not good news. Eli and his sons were to be punished for their wickedness.

Accepting and proclaiming God’s truth is not easy, especially when it is challenging and confronting. This is when we are tempted to reject it, ignore it as too hard, or pretend that it is not relevant in today’s world. We have seen these responses in recent times whenever the Catholic leadership present God’s plan for human relationships and the sanctity of life from conception to the grave.

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The National Catholic Register looks at the growth of the “English-Catholic” Ordinariates

Peter Jesserer Smith has a detailed piece in the National Catholic Register looking at the progress made last year in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The Anglicanorum coetibus Society gets a mention!

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