An interview with Bishop Lopes

Pray Tell Blog has an interview with Bishop Steven Lopes.  An excerpt:

PTB: Is the U.S. Ordinariate continuing to grow, or has it seemed to have reached a plateau? How does this compare with hopes and expectations at the time the U.S. Ordinariate was formed?
SJL: We continue to experience good growth, for which we give thanks to God.  Initially, there was perhaps a presumption – warranted or not – that there would be a continuous stream of whole parishes entering into the Ordinariate.  This is actually very difficult for a number of reasons.  There are complicated questions of property and ownership, and many people are very attached to their parish churches.  There are other issues of pastoral life when only a percentage (even when it’s a large percentage) of a parish decides to seek full communion with the Catholic Church.  Parish groups continue to enter – we have had 2 since I became bishop – but this is less common.  More common is for our existing parishes to found a mission community starting with a group of Ordinariate parishioners that have to drive a long distance for Sunday Mass, a mission which begins to grow and develop on its own.  We have started four of those in the last two years.  Additionally, we sometimes receive a request from current or former Anglicans to begin a community in a certain area.  When we are able to send a priest or deacon to assess the situation and begin ministering to their needs, a group grows up very quickly.  Many former Anglicans who have become Catholic over the years welcome the opportunity to reconnect with the heritage, liturgy, culture, and “style” of parish life they knew before becoming Catholic.

PTB: What do you see as the most important gifts and charisms the Ordinariate has to offer to the Catholic Church?
SJL: The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus speaks of the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral patrimony of Anglicanism as a “treasure to be shared” with the whole Catholic Church.  There are tangible expressions of this patrimony, such as our liturgical rites for Mass and the Sacraments.  This is a beautiful expression of how the Roman Rite was taken up and developed in an Anglican context and is not reintegrated into Catholic worship.  Other elements of the patrimony are less tangible, but nevertheless important.  The “way” we do parish is qualitatively different, and not just because our communities are often so much smaller than diocesan parishes.  We structure fellowship, meetings, catechesis, and devotions precisely to encourage a sense of intimacy, even within the context of our larger parishes.  There is also a great seriousness given to adult faith formation, resulting in a well-formed and participatory laity.  I am certainly not suggesting that these things do not happen in other Catholic parishes, as they certainly do.  But I do find that, consistently and intentionally, Ordinariate parish life is experienced as a larger reality than Sunday Mass attendance.

I remain extremely busy

DSC02518I am back from covering the annual plenary gathering of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and am happy to see a couple of my stories were picked up internationally.


This one on Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s first of two talks on Amoris Laetitia (the second talk was given after the public portion of the plenary was over, so I don’t know if it will be made available) and . .


This one, on the Consecration of Canada Sept. 26 to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


After the consecration, Canada’s bishops and eparchs, including three cardinals, pose for a group photo outside Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica on the Feast of the Canadian Martyrs.

I remain extremely busy with a number of new stories to write, so blogging may continue to be light.

Thank you to all the new members of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society who have signed up over the last week.  It is great to have you aboard! When I get a moment I will email each of you individually.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for something interesting to read, may I suggest this interview with Cardinal Muller by Edward Pentin.



More people attracted to Anglican Patrimony

Our Anglicanorum Coetibus Society webmaster Shane Schaetzel’s has a post over at his Catholic in the Ozark’s blog that’s well-worth reading, and even got picked up by Big Pulpit, a Catholic news and blog aggregator.

He writes:

Something big is happening, and it really is the way of the future. It has to do with restoration, and by that I mean the restoration of something very big and very old. About 500 years ago, while Martin Luther was just beginning to start his Protestant Revolution in Germany, England was still a staunchly Catholic country. At that time it was known as “Mary’s Dowry” and had King Henry VIII not embarked on a lust-filled schism to legitimatise his adultery and illegitimate offspring, England might still be Catholic today. Imagine that, if you will. What would it look like?

You don’t need to imagine too hard, because you see, that image exists today, albeit in a much smaller form. It’s called the Anglican Patrimony Ordinariates. These are the Personal Ordinariates, created by Pope Benedict XVI, initially as a juridic structure for former Anglicans and Methodists, who have left Protestantism behind and brought their English liturgical heritage into the Catholic Church. The Anglican Patrimony is most clearly seen in Divine Worship, which is the liturgical norm of the Ordinariate, sometimes informally called the Anglican Form of the Roman Rite but the proper name is Divine Worship.

He has some great videos up to show what’s going on.  But wait!  There’s more:

Everyone is familiar with the mass of course, but what is evensong? This is the English form of high vespers. When it is spoken, it is called Evening Prayer. When it is sung, it is called Evensong. These terms are just one of the peculiarities of the Anglican Patrimony. If the Protestant Revolution never happened in England, if England had been allowed to continue on as “Mary’s Dowry,” then Catholic worship in the English-speaking world would probably look something like this — a Form of the Roman Rite heavily influenced by the Sarum Use (a form of the Roman Rite commonly celebrated in England before the Protestant Revolution). Divine Worship follows the older versions of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in some ways, but is more consistent with the ancient Sarum Use, and remains completely faithful to Catholic teaching and orthodoxy. What we have here is the restored Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church, or what English Catholicism would look like today, had King Henry VIII not broke England away from communion with Rome. It is alive today, vibrant, and just oozing with medieval tradition. Watch the videos and see for yourself.

Of course, a great many Catholics are frustrated that there is no such parish anywhere near their location. Some of these Catholics are former Anglicans or Episcopalians. Some of them are even former Methodists. They like what they see, but must resign to what seems like an impossibility, since there is no such parish near them. Well folks, all of that is about to change, because of a little organisation called the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society. Pronounced as “Ang-lick-an-OR-oom CHAY-tee-boos,” the Society is named after the Apostolic Constitution signed by Pope Benedicit XVI in 2009 by the same name. Anglicanorum Coetibus means “Groups of Anglicans” in Latin, and it is the Apostolic Constitution that allows for the creation of Personal Ordinariates within the Catholic Church that follow the Anglican Patrimony as proscribed by Divine Worship. In other words, Anglicanorum Coetibus is the papal document that makes the Personal Ordinariates possible, and revives the Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church again. The Catholic Church hasn’t used the Anglican Patrimony in nearly five centuries, so this is a really big deal.

Now the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is dedicated to the promotion of Anglicanorum Coetibus and it’s propagation throughout the English-speaking world. That means supporting the formation of more Catholic communities based on the Anglican Patrimony and strengthening those that already exist. So how is that done, and can it be done outside of the official structure of the Ordinariates?

It’s simple really. It all begins with a map…

Go on over to Shane’s site to see the rest of his post, or go directly to the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society’s website!

And, while you’re at it, why not take out a membership and support our mission?


Off to the Canadian Bishops’ Plenary

IMG_20160926_102458My busiest time of year as a journalist is upon me, so blogging will be light probably until Thursday.

I’m off to the Canadian Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual plenary gathering in Cornwall, Ontario.  That’s a picture of me from last year’s meeting.

The highlight of the gathering for me will be on Tuesday, on the Feast of the Canadian Martyrs, when the bishops of Canada, led by her three cardinals,  Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, Cardinal Thomas Collins and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, will lead a prayer re-consecrating Canada to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 pm. at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.

IMG_9560 (2)

Many bishops also consecrated their dioceses to the Immaculate Heart on July 1, Canada’s 150th birthday.  Paul Lauzon took the photo above of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast making the consecration that day, before the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of the Cape.

Over the past year, covering all the events that led to this wonderful moment have been the exciting, encouraging and gratifying stories I worked on this past year. How can we falter, or fall prey to discouragement with sign after sign the Holy Spirit and His Spouse, the Blessed Mother, are active in Canada?

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has resources for the consecration here.

They also made up a prayer card for the occasion with the beautiful painting  “Notre-Dame du Canada” by the late Quebec artist Marius Dubois.  The painting will be in Notre Dame Cathedral for the consecration.


The first consecration of Canada to the Immaculate Heart of Mary took place at the 1947 Marian Congress in Ottawa.  For more about that amazing event 70 years ago, go to


Do you have an oratory?

IMG_0021Over on Facebook at the Anglican Ordinariate Informal Conversation Forum some members have posted pictures of their oratories.  This picture is from Ellen Jones-Carney’s lovely chapel.  She is a former Solitary Religious of The Episcopal Church who has since joined the Ordinariate. For now,  the Tabernacle is empty.


On Facebook she writes:

Since several of my friends enjoyed the post of pictures of my chapel I thought I would give you a more recent one. The Icon on the far right is the Noli me Tangere; the encounter between Our Lord and St Mary Magdalene on the morning of the Resurrection. It was completed this year.

The small shrine on the left contain the relics of St Clare of Assisi and St Benedict Joseph Labore. Our Lady of Walsingham holds pride of place below.

I am having my icons professionally photographed so as to make Holy cards, note cards and prints made. I am hoping to make some money so as to receive more instruction in iconography.

Thanks for your enthusiasm and interest.


I obtained their permission to repost their photos here.

This is Kyle Barr’s.


This is Richard Kettle’s.


News from St. Agatha’s in Portsmouth

I have a deep affection for St. Agatha’s Parish in Portsmouth, because it was there in 2007 that the College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) signed a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the altar.

Then Archbishop John Hepworth, the primate of the TAC, then Bishop Robert Mercer and Bishop Peter Wilkinson (the latter both now Monsignors in the Catholic Church) brought the letter and the signed Catechisms to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Two years later, Pope Benedict XVI published his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in response to that and other requests by “groups of Anglicans” seeking communion with the Bishop of Rome.

Thus, I was delighted to hear from a commentator about this upcoming event at St. Agatha’s Parish on Saturday.   I wish I could be there!   Check out St. Agatha’s lovely website.


-The Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham-

Saturday 30th September


Homilist – Fr John Saward

Mass Setting- Byrd 4 part Mass


All welcome



Fr. Ed Tomlinson responds to Shane Schaetzel’s tips for parish growth

I check our blog stats from time to time, and yesterday, our visitors and page views doubled, which is good news!   And, I noticed a number of referrals from Fr. Ed Tomlinson’s Tunbridgewells-Ordinariate blog in the UK.

Fr. Ed writes:

On the excellent Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog the webmaster, Shane Schaetzel, has shared 8 recommendations for Ordinariate growth. I applaud them and believe we should embrace them in the UK to the extent that each group make them part of the vision moving forwards.

1. Get away from established Catholic Parishes. You can’t build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. Embrace the missionary spirit. Move away from your host parish and set up shop in a populated area where no Catholic parishes are nearby. Even if you have to meet in somebody’s home, or in a storefront, its better than trying to build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. 

Pembury reflection: There is no doubt coming to a small mass centre, ranked low in terms of diocesan importance and presumably heading for closure, helped establish the Ordinariate in Pembury. As did splitting away from Paddock Wood which gave me pastoral control. Where colleagues have been tasked  with running large diocesan parishes, or serving under diocesan priests so that 90% of their time is given to diocesan work, Ordinariate progress has, unsurprisingly, suffered.

Caveat: in Pembury we have no plan to break free from the diocese-holding dual identity is healthy- but the need for ordinariate priests to have control/space to flourish is essential; without autonomy we could never have developed St. Anselm’s to reflect an English patrimony. Our beautification project would have stalled.

2. Get a good website and reliable contact info.Make sure people can easily find you.

Pembury reflection: The blog is widely read and has brought several people to worship in Pembury. This includes locals who joined the congregation and holidaying visitors from as far afield as the USA, Italy and  Australia!

There is a lot more over at Fr. Ed’s excellent site!

Please go on over to have a look and add it to your daily stops, if you haven’t already.

Separating marriage from procreation

Back in 2005, Canada’s Liberal government at the time voted in a law that redefined marriage and got rid of a host of references in other laws that referred to husband and wife, mother and father.   Thus the biological family was replaced by a social construct defined by the state.

Dan Cere and Douglas Farrow, both professors at McGill University in Montreal, edited a book called Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the dangers in Canada’s new social experiment .   Farrow, who is a former Anglican, now Catholic, followed up that effort with a book of essays entitled Nation of Bastards: Essays on the end of marriage.

In the latter book, he talked about how redefining marriage from the traditional view of one woman and one man to two people who could be of the same sex replaced a biological reality of the natural family, an institution that preceded the state, with an abstraction, a social construct based on the number two, with no underlying justification for why it should be two people.

In Divorcing Marriage, the authors warned against divorcing marriage from procreation

This debate took place soon after I started writing for Catholic papers, and about four or five years after I started attending Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then a Traditional Anglican Communion parish.

I was past child-bearing age at the time, and I hadn’t given the whole idea of contraception much thought, until I attended a prayer meeting on Parliament Hill that included Catholics and evangelicals.  I am not someone who always thinks before I say something—sometimes it is only through musing out loud (or writing a blog post) that I discover what I think about something.   So on this occasion, during the height of the marriage debate, I mused that learning how dangerous it is to divorce procreation from marriage from the standpoint of civil society, I was beginning to understand the Catholic teaching of the danger of divorcing sex from procreation.   Somehow, this led to an discussion of what is “permitted” on the marriage bed, including, ahem, certain sexual activities that could not possibly be open to life.

A charismatic pastor got strangely vehement, saying,  “Anything goes on the marriage bed,” as it to say, being heterosexually married meant you got a free pass for sterile sex, and for other activities.

It was kind of weird.  But a light bulb when on in my brain.  I realized the Catholic Church had the only morally consistent and principled arguments regarding the reservation of sexual activity to a man and a woman in a lifelong covenant and that sexual activity should be both open to life and for uniting more closely the couple in their bond.  I suddenly became a believer in Humanae Vitae.

I also realized the Catholic Church’s teachings on chastity are hard, not only for those with same sex attraction but for heterosexuals, even within the context of marriage.  In fact, chastity is so hard for all of us, we need divine help to live up to God’s standards, but those graces are there if we desire God with our whole heart.

Also, around that time, the Anglican Church of Canada, was undergoing a massively awful debate about whether to have same-sex blessings and one of the arguments that was cited among those on the progressive end was that Scripture, Tradition and Reason, the three-legged stool of Anglicanism, also needed Experience.   And the experience of feminism, the explosion of the social sciences, and the experience of gay and lesbian Anglicans had to become a lens for interpreting the rest.

I remember thinking, gee, I’m so glad I’m in the Traditional Anglican Communion where we have none of these discussions, praise be to God.

Now, there’s talk the 50-year old encyclical Humanae Vitae is now under review.   Yesterday, Pope Francis replaced the John Paul II Institute founded by the recently deceased Cardinal Caffarra, one of the four Dubia cardinals, with a new John Paul II Institute of Marriage and Family Studies.

Here’s what Edward Pentin wrote about this in the National Catholic Register:

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who died Sept. 6, was the founding president of that Institute. As a signatory to the dubia given to Pope Francis exactly a year ago today, he had serious concerns about Amoris Laetitia, interpretations of which he found incompatible with John Paul II’s teachings and the magisterium of the Church.

But Pope Francis, who signed Summa Familiae Cura in Colombia just two days after Cardinal Caffarra’s passing, writes that the family synods of 2014 and 2015 have brought a renewed awareness of “the new pastoral challenges to which the Christian community is called to respond.”

Contemporary anthropological and cultural changes, the Pope continues, require “a diversified and analytical approach” which cannot be “limited to pastoral and missionary practices” of the past.

Instead, he says, we must be able to interpret our faith in a context in which individuals are less supported than before as they deal with the complex realities of family life. Faithful to the teachings of Christ, the Pope continues, it is important to explore these “lights and shadows of family life” with realism, wisdom and love.

And One Peter Five has this analysis:

As we have seen, over the course of a very short time, progressive forces within the Church have moved rapidly to take over trusted institutions or appropriate the reputations or work of those who have held the line on Catholic teaching to advance the cause of undermining the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and marriage.

The question is: where does the re-imagining of the John Paul II Institute fit in?

Like many, I was struck by the sudden and unexpected nature of today’s motu proprio. The sudden changing of the name, structure, and focus of the Institute, especially so soon after its founding president’s death, seemed very odd.

Also odd, to my ears at least, was the wording of the new title. The “Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences“. Sciences? Which sciences? The question of science, as it most commonly intersects with Church teaching at present, relates to the perceived supremacy of the empirical over the theological, as well as the “evolution” of doctrine based on a notion that modern man knows so much more than those who came before him that he has the wisdom to change what cannot be changed.

It seems more and more this idea of “Experience” trumping Revelation and Tradition, because we’re so much smarter now has gained ascendency in the Catholic Church, the place we hoped to finally find doctrinal peace.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks.  But I tell you, this idea of Experience trumping Scripture and Tradition is an Anglican idea I was happy to toss overboard and plays no part in the Anglican patrimony we in the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society hope to cultivate both inside and outside the Catholic Church.

Outreach to university students in Ottawa

DSC02403On Holy Cross Day, our Ordinariate Parish of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary participated in an outreach to University of Ottawa students with a special Divine Worship Mass celebrated at St. Theresa’s Parish, the Roman Catholic Parish downtown that is fairly close to the campus.


Christopher Mahon, who is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Toronto, but works in Ottawa, organized the event, including a  putting together a small choir of young Catholics.


Christopher comes from a well-known Anglo-Catholic family of musicians that for generations has been steeped in Anglican musical patrimony.  His grandfather, Albert Mahon, was Healey Willan’s cantor at St. Mary Magdalene, an Anglo-Catholic parish in Toronto.  Willan was the foremost Canadian Anglo-Catholic composer.  His father, Peter Mahon, is a gifted counter-tenor and conductor, and is currently Director of Music at Cardinal Collins’s St Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto; his mother, Katharine Pimenoff Mahon, is also a singer and choir director; his sister Rachel is an organist at Chester Cathedral and was the first ever woman musician hired by St Paul’s Cathedral; his brother Andrew sings at Westminster Abbey & Westminster Cathedral, and all of his other siblings are singers too.

“The singers were fellow Catholics from nearby Tridentine and Novus Ordo parishes who wanted to sing Anglican repertoire for a traditional English Mass, which neither group really gets in their own parishes,” Christopher told me.

“They all did it on a volunteer basis for the joy of it and the glory of God,” he said. “And also to show folks, young people & students especially from U of O, how beautiful the worship of God can be.”

The music was glorious!  And the Mass attracted a number of new people who had not been exposed to our Anglican tradition liturgy before.   Fr. Doug Hayman gave one of his wonderful homilies, beautifully weaving together and interpreting in great depth the readings.
Though we have sung Masses at Annunciation on Sundays, Solemnities and Feast Days, and a gifted organist and cantor, we rely on congregational singing.  Thus to hear Anglican plainsong done a capella by trained singers; to hear a Mass setting by Healey Willan (Missa Brevis XIII for Holy Cross) and a Byrd motet (Ave Verum) was heavenly for us.
Also, St. Theresa’s is a beautiful church building with great acoustics.
Fr. Vincent Pereira, pastor of St. Theresa’s was among the half dozen or so priests from the Ottawa archdiocese (including Ottawa Archbishop Terrrence Prendergast) and members of the Companions of the Cross who celebrated our Anglican Use Mass for us during the time when we waited for our clergy to be ordained.
Sorry, the pictures are a little muddy as it was a little dark.   I wish I had thought to get some pictures downstairs of the ample “lunch” we provided after Mass.   We saw a number of new faces; many young people and lots of children!   I wish I had thought to go up to the choir loft, but I wanted to enter into worship for most of the Mass.
I was too busy, however, with others from Annunciation, getting the food laid out to think of taking photographs.