Cardinal Sarah’s address at Herzogenrath

Cardinal Robert Sarah,  unable to attend personally,  submitted a paper to the Colloquium “The Source of the Future” (“Quelle der Zukunft”on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI, March 29 – April 1, 2017 in Herzogenrath, near Aachen (Germany)

Catholic World Report has an English translation of the text.   Here’s an excerpt:

The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice, as identical to the act performed once and for all by Jesus Christ, making present the Sacrifice of the Cross in a non-bloody manner, throughout the Church, through different ages, places, peoples and nations. There is often a sacrilegious tendency to reduce the Holy Mass to a simple convivial meal, the celebration of a profane feast, the community’s celebration of itself, or even worse, a terrible diversion from the anguish of a life that no longer has meaning or from the fear of meeting God face to face, because His glance unveils and obliges us to look truly and unflinchingly at the ugliness of our interior life. But the Holy Mass is not a diversion. It is the living sacrifice of Christ who died on the cross to free us from sin and death, for the purpose of revealing the love and the glory of God the Father. Many Catholics do not know that the final purpose of every liturgical celebration is the glory and adoration of God, the salvation and sanctification of human beings, since in the liturgy “God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7). Most of the faithful—including priests and bishops—do not know this teaching of the Council. Just as they do not know that the true worshippers of God are not those who reform the liturgy according to their own ideas and creativity, to make it something pleasing to the world, but rather those who reform the world in depth with the Gospel so as to allow it access to a liturgy that is the reflection of the liturgy that is celebrated from all eternity in the heavenly Jerusalem. As Benedict XVI often emphasized, at the root of the liturgy is adoration, and therefore God.

St. Gregory’s reports on Fr. Paul Wattson’s cause for Canonisation

The website of the Ordinariate community of St. Gregory the Great, currently worshipping with the Congregation of St. Athanasius in Boston, reports on the progress made in the cause for canonisation of Fr. Paul Wattson, the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement as well as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and a precursor of the Ordinariates. You can read the complete article and find the link to the report of the Catholic News Agency here. This is an excerpt from the post:

Father Paul and Mother Lurana were Episcopalian Anglocatholics who founded Franciscan-charism orders at Garrison NY in the late 19th century on the Holy Mountain of Graymoor: these two founders with their male and female orders of the Society of the Atonement became, in 1909, the first “groups of Anglicans” — or indeed any Protestants — to be corporately received into the Roman Catholic Church since the sixteenth century, exactly a century before Pope Benedict issued Anglicanorum Coetibus. They therefore are very much the spiritual fore-bearers of the Ordinariate. When Saint Gregory the Great made its 2015 retreat at Graymoor, the Divine Worship Mass celebrated by our then-Ordinary, Monsignor Steenson, became the first Ordinariate liturgy Mass to be celebrated on that site, and at the same Altar where Father Paul celebrated Mass: we are blessed and honored to have been associated with these holy people and their Apostolate in this remarkable way.

The National Catholic Register on Atonement

Nicholas Wolfram Smith has a piece over at the National Catholic Register on Our Lady of Atonement’s transfer into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. An excerpt:

Bishop Lopes said that he looked forward to Father Phillips’s counsel on parishes in the Ordinariate that are trying to build up their communities and gain stability.

“Not all of my priests are startup men – you don’t go into the seminary and necessarily come out Mark Zuckerberg. But all of my communities are startup communities.”

Our Lady of the Atonement, established in 1983, had been blessed with stability for 33 years, but with a new bishop, new canonical home, and new pastor in sight, things were bound to change. Father Perkins, the new administrator, gently reminded those gathered that things were not going to simply go back to the way they were before.

“There will of necessity be other changes, most of which I think you’ll like, some of which will make you slightly uncomfortable,” he said. Ordinariate leadership will be examining parish rolls and finances, sacramental preparation, and other aspects of the parish to become acquainted with the parish and address any needs that aren’t being met.


Building bridges with Anglican groups

DSC00540On Sunday evening Mar. 26, Christopher Mahon (who I think is the first paid up “life member” of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society) and I attended the induction ceremony of Canon Brent Stiller, the new pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican Church in Ottawa.  St. Peter and St. Paul is part of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) which broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada more than a decade ago.


Shown here is ANiC Bishop Charlie Masters, Canon Brent Stiller, his wife Karen, and sons Eric and Thomas. Their daughter Holly was unable to be present.

Continue reading

Fr. Tomlinson on modernism and vocations

Fr. Ed Tomlinson reflects on modernism and vocations over at his blog.

He writes:

The Dioceses which have most fully embraced the modernist zeitgeist are struggling to inspire vocations. But dioceses which have embraced a return to orthodoxy  now experience a big resurgence in numbers entering seminary. Why is this?

As if the lesson needs underlining, the truth also applies to the religious life. The communities which ditched habits and went trendy in the 70’s and 80’s are now decaying but the orders which retained or returned to orthodoxy flourish. We might consider the Franciscans of the Renewal. (Could jealousy at their success explain why have been treated poorly by the very prelates most in favour of a modernist trajectory within the church today?)

It isn’t only a truth that rings out across the Catholic world. In the Protestant world studies have shown that the more biblically faithful a parish is, the more likely it is to flourish. Consider the Church of England which, despite a modernist bench of bishops, would collapse without the finances provided by thriving evangelicals. It is the Evangelical churches which grow whilst liberal parishes are lucky to number 50.  Across the denominations then we find a liberal leadership totally out of synch with the reality of what is working on the ground.

There’s a lot more.  Go on over and read it all.  By the way, I think the difference lies in whether we believe in a supernatural God and trust Him or not. Do we rely on supernatural tools like prayer to not only transform our personal lives but also to evangelize and foster vocations? Or do we hire lay ministers or adopt corporate models to manage decline?

Deborah Gyapong

St. George’s Catholic Cathedral, Southwark – Commemoration of the Reformation

A joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation was held on Sunday at St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, hosted by the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend Peter Smith.

The Archbishop of Birmingham and Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Dialogue and Unity, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, and Bishop Martin Lind, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, preached at the commemoration.

In his homily, Archbishop Longley said that we have all too often allowed ourselves to ‘be identified and characterised by those features of our Christian traditions that distinguish us from one another.’ He reflected on how, in our time ‘the Scriptures and our common calling to evangelize bid us trust one another enough to follow the Lord side by side.’

The Archbishop shared how fifty years ago, it would have been impossible to conceive of Catholics and Lutherans meeting together in St George’s Cathedral and to ‘be able to face the challenging story of the Reformation with equanimity, as well as gratitude for this moment.’

He also highlighted how ‘even twenty years ago nobody could have foreseen that Pope Francis would travel to Lund Cathedral to commemorate the Reformation with the President of the Lutheran World Federation and sign the Joint Statement with its five imperatives.’

(See: – Five ecumenical imperatives)

To read the complete article, especially the full texts of Archbishop Longley’s and Bishop Lind’s sermons, click here.

I must admit that when Pope Benedict XVI visited Erfurt in 2011, and he and the Catholic Church were invited to join the Protestants in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, I felt more than sceptical. However true it may be that many of Luther’s criticisms of the Church of his age were more than justified and that we have ourselves now heeded those criticisms and rectified many problem situations, “celebrating” the tearing apart of the Church and all the subsequent misery this caused seems even more perverse than holding a “divorce party”. I much prefer a Church that evolves to a Church that is rent asunder, although this is a game of patience and the evolution may take longer than our own lifetime. Vatican II is often called “Newman’s Council”, yet Blessed John Henry had been dead seventy-two years when it began.

This “commemoration of the Reformation” at St. George’s Cathedral makes me similarly uncomfortable. By all means commemorate, yes even celebrate, the progress that has been made in recents decades to heal the wounds of the Reformation, whilst remembering the additional wounds that have recently been inflicted on the Body of Christ!!

Will we also be called on to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Act of Supremacy on 3rd November 2034? I personally would much prefer to wait just one day and send my “Alleluia” heavenwards on the Silver Jubilee of Anglicanorum coetibus on 4th November 2034.

And please God the recent rift in the Church caused by Marcel Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X will be able to be healed, so that we will be spared the “celebration” of the 50th anniversary of the Archbishop’s excommunication in 2038.

David Murphy

St. John the Evangelist in Calgary prepares for Laetare Sunday

Fr. Lee Kenyon, pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, and Dean of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter had some lovely photos posted on Facebook of their preparations for Laetare Sunday.

Fr. Kenyon wrote:  “A blessed Mothering Sunday! All is prepared. And there’s daffs for the ladies of the parish and simnel cake galore to follow. Laetare, Jerusalem…”


Anglican chant–beautiful compilation

Here is a compilation on YouTube of the Psalms sung in Anglican Chant by English choirs. I am hoping our web elf will put a link to this on the side bar.

How many parishes or communities keep Anglican Chant alive?

We do it for the canticles of Evensong a couple of times a month.  We usually do the Psalms in plainsong.  This is patrimony and may we preserve it, and pass it on.

Use it or lose it.

In search of “orthodox” Anglicanism

I ran into someone last week that I used to work with 17 years ago, around the time I first started attending Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then a Traditional Anglican Communion parish in Ottawa. It is now a Catholic parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Since we last met, my friend has become active in the Anglican Network in Canada, the Canadian diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA),  groups that broke away from the official Anglican and Episcopal Churches in Canada and the United States but still affiliated through GAFCON with the Canterbury Communion.

In conversation, I was taken back to the days when, as part of the Anglican diaspora, I would often come across the phrase  “orthodox Anglicanism” yet notice there were still big differences on what that meant in terms of sacramental theology, the Prayer Book, liturgy and interpretation of Sacred Scripture.  We at Annunciation were considered “nose bleed” Anglo-Catholics, because we were so high church with our smells and bells, cassocks, male priests and liturgy. We had broken with the Anglican Church of Canada over the ordination of women in the late 1970s.   ANiC formed when the authority of Scripture was challenged over same-sex blessings. They include Anglo-Catholics but are generally more low church, and evangelical in character.

Just now, I was just prompted to visit David Virtue’s Virtueonline, and sure enough, the tagline for it is “The Voice of Global Orthodox Anglicanism.”

I remember in the run-up to our coming into the Catholic Church, a retired priest and academic who decided he could not continue with us waved the red Canadian 1962 Book of Common Prayer open to the 39 Articles during our coffee hour and thundered these Articles represented the orthodox Anglicanism we were abandoning.

A few years ago, I attended the ANiC Synod that was held here in Ottawa and even wrote a story about it for Catholic papers.  I loved being there.  What a joyful group of people with a palpable love of Jesus Christ!  Here’s a little excerpt of the story I wrote:

Now a province of the Anglican Church in North America (ANCA), ANiC’s roots are in the Anglican “Essentials” movement that began in the 1990s. ANiC formed officially in 2005 and began offering episcopal leadership in 2007 under Bishop Donald Harvey, who sought Primatial jurisdiction under Anglican Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables, who is now Bishop of Argentina.

On Nov. 6, the new primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach, installed Bishop Charlie Masters as Diocesan bishop. Masters succeeds Bishop Harvey as the founding moderator of the ecclesial body. Venables was present for the installation as were 13 other bishops from ANCA and ANiC.

One of Canada’s foremost Christian apologists, J.I. Packer, 88, a member of ANiC, spoke on the importance of ongoing catechesis for all ages “to maintain orthodoxy in our midst.” ANiC has produced a catechism that was five years in the making.

Catechesis must be regular, i.e. “we keep doing it,” he said. “Things will not be too good if this is neglected.”

Without ongoing catechesis, which has been overlooked in the past 100 years, the denomination has been “invaded by liberal theologians who encourage as many different theologies as there are persons to think them,” Packer said. It also kept clergy from evangelistic and Biblical ministry because they “were not able to offer cogent catechizing through a tried and tested method of spreading God’s Gospel message in Christ.”

The result has been that so many Anglican brothers and sisters are confused about their faith, thinking that “what you believe is not important,” it’s only important how you behave, he said.

“They do not love the Lord,” he said. “They really are not Christian. What can we do about it?”

“I’m an evangelist for catechism,” Packer said, noting everyone needs catechesis for “strength, stability, clarity and punch!”

“I believe in a Christianity that has punch!” he said. “The milk and water prospect of gentle Christianity is not what’s necessary.”

The other day, I arrived at a lecture I planned on attending just as people were leaving and who should I run into but the new pastor of one of Ottawa’s ANiC parishes St. Peter and St. George and his wife, Fr. Brent and Karen Stiller.  We had a great conversation and I expressed my hope we could build bridges with them.  Some of our young people already socialize with their young people and our priest Fr. Doug Hayman once served at St. George’s, the name of St. Peter and St. Paul’s when it was still in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Well, the other day my old friend sent me an invitation to Fr. Stiller’s induction service on Sunday night, so I think I will go and celebrate with them.

I believe there can be great fruit in the pursuit of orthodox Anglicanism—even if people mean different things when they use those words.  And for us in the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, there is relevance   for the Catholics among us, because what is it about our Anglican/ English Catholic patrimony that remains a “treasure to be shared” with the wider Church.

Back in the days when I was a member of a seeker-friendly Baptist Church, I began searching for  an Apostolic faith.  I was initially drawn to this church because I was not required to sign on the dotted line as believing any creed.  My personal relationship with Jesus and believer’s baptism was enough for membership. I’m grateful for their ministry because their approach—very Pope Francis-ish before there was a Pope Francis—gently met me where I was and accompanied to a deeper, more orthodox Christian faith. As I discovered how important believing sound doctrine is in living a victorious Christian life, the more my desire for finding that Apostolic faith grew.

Desiring an Apostolic faith—one like that which was passed on by the eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ—led me first into the Traditional Anglican Communion and ultimately into the Catholic Church.

So, desiring orthodox Anglicanism—may that longing, too, can become a vehicle for ever deeper conversion to Jesus Christ and towards Christian unity, the kind only the Holy Spirit can bring.