Monday, December 28, 2009

A New Year Meditation

In light of our upcoming New Year celebrations, I have posted a portion of an article by Fr Patick Henry Reardon, a Senior Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.


Whereas English has only one word for time, other European languages more carefully distinguish between time as instance ("How many times?") and time as sequence ("How much time?").

The ancient Greeks, who thought a great deal about time (among many subjects), also had two different words that we English-speakers are forced to translate with the single word "time." Since there is a very profound difference between those two words, and because time is an important theological subject in the New Testament (itself written in Greek), it is useful to examine this difference.

The first Greek term is chronos, meaning time on the move, time as before and after, time as the future passing through the present and so becoming the past. From this Greek word chronos we derive such English terms as chronic, chronicle, and chronology. Thus, we call an illness chronic if it lasts a long time. A chronicle is an account of events through a sequence of time. Chronology is the itemized, studied measurement of time.

Indeed, measurement is one of the distinguishing characteristics of chronos, which is a quantitative concept. Time that cannot be measured is not chronos. Time in this sense is dimensional, quantifiable; it can be "accounted for."

In addition to chronos, however, the Greeks also spoke of time as a moment, time as occasion, time as qualitative rather than quantitative, time as significant rather than dimensional. This second word for time is kairos.

Strictly speaking, we don't measure kairos. We don't ask someone, for example, "How much Christmas did you have?" We inquire, rather, "what sort of Christmas did you have?" With kairos we employ the category of qualis, not quantum.

The reason that time in the sense of kairos cannot be measured is because it is always a now. A now is obviously indivisible; an instant is, so to speak, too brief to account for. By the time you stop to measure a now, it is already gone. Now is punctuated by a swift, indecipherable passage from this to that. Furthermore, if now cannot be measured, it can also not be counted. It is futile, for example, and probably a threat to sanity, to ask how many nows there are in an hour. Unlike the past and the future, nonetheless, the now really exists. Indeed, now is the only time that does exist. In the strictest sense, "there's no time like now."

Kairos, because it is present, is an icon of eternal life. To experience the now, after all, one must be alive. The dead know nothing of now. Therefore, the now, the kairos, is an icon of the life of heaven. Indeed, eternal life is an everlasting now, in which there is no sequence, no before and after.

Eternity is not a long time. Strictly speaking, there is simply no length to it. Nothing elapses. The infinite is not measurable. Thus, "when we've been there ten thousand years/ bright shining as the sun/ we've no less days to sing God's praise/ than when we've first begun."

(The Rev. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, 2009; article found at,)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Meditation


The origins of the title the “Mother of God” are obscure. What is clear is that the first completely authenticated instances of the use of the title came from the city of Alexandria. Alexander (the predecessor to Athanasius) referred to Mary as Theotokos in his encyclical of circa 319, in his defense against the heresy of Arius. It seems reasonable to conclude that this title already enjoyed widespread acceptance in the piety of the faithful at Alexandria and beyond. (Mary Through The Centuries, Pelikan, 1996)


In any study of Mary, in and in particular, in the study of her role in the redemption of the world, one of the issues that stands out in bright colors is that of her titles. Her titles illumine certain areas of theology in very important & unique ways. Even a cursory analysis of these titles teach us about the various aspects of union between God and man.

Mary’s primary title is that of Theotokos, it is generally translated “mother of God”, however, a more accurate translation would be “bearer of God.” As is obvious this title highlights just as much, if not more, about God than about Mary. The whole point of the title is the incarnation of God.

However, there is an addition benefit gained form the title Theotokos, the title also connects her faithfulness to our salvation, thus giving great value & importance to Mary for each and every Christian. For the Christian, Mary’s value consists of her unique co-operative work (energy) with the desires and work (energies) of the Trinity. By this faithfulness, she unlike Eve, (the mother of those who die) becomes the mother of the one who lives forever, & those who live forever in him. And this faithfulness consisted of freely choosing to gestate, bear, & raise, our Lord. The title Theotokos therefore connects humanity to God, first by highlighting the role of human faithfulness in the plan or redemption, and second by highlighting the role of the incarnation.

Perhaps, one of the main reasons that many contemporary Christians have such a truncated understanding of the doctrine of the incarnation and human works is due to their elimination of Mary & her titles from Christian doctrine. Properly recovering Mary, will be the task of this century for the post reformation west.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Proceeding and Sending of the Spirit, are They The Same?


We can summarize the chapters 14-16 of John’s gospel by saying that it is the Father who sends the Spirit, but the Spirit’s coming is conditioned by, and is in the most intimate connection with the person of the Jesus, and the completion of his work in his death and resurrection.

We can cite John 14: 16, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (NRSV), or 14: 26 the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name. Or also 15: 26, "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf” (NRSV). Here, it is Jesus Himself who sends the Spirit- which is what the west wanted to underline- but, it is from the Father that He is Sent; it is from the Father that the ultimate source proceeds, and that is what the east wanted to underline.

The New Testament witness, expressed particularly by John but confirmed by the other evangelists, is that the Spirit is sent by & from the Father but through the Son. The manner in which the Father and the Son are involved in the sending is described in a way that enables both sides to make a credible appeal to the texts. (Nicene Christianity, Thomas Smail, 2001)


The battle between East & West regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit has several layers at which the subject must addressed. One is, who gets to create and change the contents of the creeds of the catholic faith? That layer of concern, I will deal with in another post. In this one I will address the canonicity of each side’s claim regarding the procession of the Spirit. As Smail points out, even a cursory overview of the respective passages in scripture reveal that both sides have valid parts to their arguments. However, in order to get to the root of the debate I want to assert that the solution can be found in making a the distinction between the proceeding and sending of the Holy Spirit. What is meant by proceed is that point from which the Spirit finds its origin and its first sending, and what is meant by sending is the continuation of the Spirit to its originally intended destination.

With this distinction made, it seems that the claim of the east while true may be incomplete. Not being exhaustive does not make one's claims wrong, & no one would argue that the original version of the creed meant to be totally exhaustive. Nevertheless, it can also be said that there is incompleteness in the Original creed's dealings with the final destination of the Spirit. the real question is whether or not it is necessary to be more complete in with this creed.

It is here that the west took some risks. One cannot deny that the west's desires were well founded in that they wanted to assert that the procession of the Spirit stops at Jesus unless Jesus sends the Spirit to the church. This assertion of the west is not only correct, but in their opinion a necessary distinction. However it is here that the west errs. Proceeding & sending are not identical. The Spirit initially proceeds from the Father to the Son, and only secondly does the Son send that same Spirit to His Body the church. Therefore to say that there is a double procession is not completely accurate. Yet it is totally true that the sending by the Son completes the destination of the original procession. In short, the procession is through the son. The west seems to have used a term that caused confusion when it added, and the Son (filioque) to the creed, even though the point they tried to make was valid.

Because of the first layer of concerns, which is authority in the church, I personally do not advocate changing the creed from its original form of 381 (without the filioque). However, I am convinced that if instead of the filoque, the west would have would have inserted, “Who proceeds from the Father to the Son,” there would have been no contention raised by the east, & both sides would have gotten their point across. As it stands however, the term proceeding from the Father and the Son is not completely satisfying, and it can even lead to several dangerous misunderstandings regarding the Trinity's nature as primarily a hierarchy. At the same time, I want to affirm that I agree with the west that addressing the sending of the Spirit by our Lord Jesus is relative and important, because without it the work of Christ is belittled, and truncates thus Trinitarian understanding.

The fact is that the east and the west need each other in order to have the fullness of that faith which was delivered to the saints, and this doctrine is just one perfect example of that truth!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Will The Real Trinity Please Stand Up!


The uncontroversial third article of the creed of 381 became highly controversial some centuries later and led to the Great Shcism between east and west. Where the creed had originally affirmed that the Spirit proceeded from the Father, the west, in an excess anti-Arian zeal, began to confess that the Spirit preceded from the Father and the Son (The Council of Toledo 589 AD). This addition however, was violently rejected by the Eastern Orthodox Churches. (Nicene Christianity, Seitz, 2001).


Many western Christians have no idea why it is that the eastern church gets so frazzled about the “Filioque” clause that was added to the Nicene Creed. The fact is however that for most western reformation Christians, the Trinity is not central to daily life. Yes, reformation Christians know that the Father is credited for bringing about the creation, the Son for redemption of that creation, and the Spirit for the giving life, but beyond that the doctrine looses its centrality. Not so for the first millennium churches. Each of the two communions, the Latin and the Greek, developed a different way of looking at the Trinity and therefore at looking at God.

The Trinity can only be approached from two perspectives, either from the oneness of the godhead (the west), or from the three-ness of the godhead (east). Since Augustine, the west saw the oneness as the place to begin, pure essence, thus in the godhead they concluded was a hierarchy. The Father is first, & He begets the Son, the Son is second, and from the two together proceeds the Spirit. The east however, saw no hierarchy in the godhead, only a circle of mutual self- emptying love. Hence, the Father begets the Son, and from the Father proceeds the Spirit. The Spirit proceeds to the Son & back to the Father, through the Spirit the Father begets the Son, who in turn gives himself to the Father. In this view God is a concilliar Godhead living in perfect wholeness and love, rather than a hierarchical godhead that flows from the top down.

These two differing views produce two different Gods, two different kinds of churches, and two different views of salvation. One sees a monarch that needs to be satisfied for the wrongs done to him, the other sees a co-equal God, each person serving the other. One sees salvation as keeping the hierarch happy by satisfying his legal requirements thru payment, the other sees salvation as on entering into the concilliar life of the godhead by the destruction of death. One sees the church as hierarchical, the lower serving the greater (papal), the other sees the church as concilliar, all serving one another with order.

Thus it is easy to see that unilaterally altering the creed was not only destructive to unity, but also injured the church, and salvation itself, and we in the west now bear its injuries.

Monday, November 30, 2009

An English Orthodox Book of Common Prayer


The Administration of the Sacraments and
Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church



Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Daily Office

the general confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the order for daily morning prayer . . . . . . . . . . . .

old testament canticles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the Athanasian creed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

an order for prime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

an order for sext, or midday prayer . . . . . . . . . . . .

the order for daily evening prayer . . . . . . . . . . . .

benediction of the blessed sacrament . . . . . . . . . .

an order for compline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the psalter, or psalms of david . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

prayers and thanksgivings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

a bidding prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

forms of prayer to be used in families . . . . . . . .

a penitential office for ash wednesday . . . . . . .

the litany, or general supplication . . . . . . . . . . .

The Mass, or Divine Liturgy

the proper of the season, part i . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

an outline of the mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the asperges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the order for holy mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the decalogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the proper of the season, part ii . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the proper of the saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Sacraments and Pastoral Offices

holy baptism and confirmation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the sacrament of penance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the reception of converts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the solemnization of matrimony . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the churching of women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

holy communion outside mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the visitation of the sick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the communion of the sick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the anointing of the sick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the litany for the dying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the burial of the dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the burial of a child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


i. the calendar of the christian year . . . . . . . . .

ii. the daily office lectionary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

iii. opening sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

iv. historic eucharistic canons . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

v. guides to the mass and the daily office . . . . .


The Book of Common Prayer has defined the English Church’s theology, ecclesiology, and piety since the 1549. The book has seen various rewrites since its first version. Some have been very Roman in content, others much more protestant, others more Anglo-catholic, and most recently liberal catholic in content. All reflect Anglicanism as understood by differing sectors of the Anglican Church who produce prayer books for their provinces.

Lancelot Andrewes Press has just released a new Book of Common Prayer that makes a very serious attempt to reform the theology, ecclesiology, and piety of the its users to that of the first millennium English church. It is assembled by Anglican rite Orthodox liturgists, and it is in line with that Holy Orthodoxy that would have existed prior to the great schism between east and west. I have only had this Prayer book for less than one week, but am convinced that it excels beyond in content beyond any other version that I have ever seen, read, or used. May this prayer book restore Anglicanism to the Orthodoxy that rightly belongs to it.

Monday, November 23, 2009



For our God Jesus Christ was , according to God’s dispensation, the fruit of Mary’s womb, of the seed of David; He was born and baptized in order that he might make the water holy by His passion. (Letter to the Ephesians, Ignatius of Antioch, ca 100 AD)


Everything about Jesus’ humanity had a purifying affect on the creation. He was as a kind of filter for the removal of all things evil. The teachings of the fathers tell us that everything He came into contact with was mystically transformed for all eternity. According to Ignatius, the power behind this transformative energy is His passion or sufferings. It may be said that the Passion of Christ restored all things to their proper place in creation. But can we really sense that change?

The fact is that all things are not pure in our reality, all water is not pure, all bread is not pure, and all wine is not pure; that being the case how can this be true? The answer to that is found in the mysteries (sacraments) left to us by Christ. When a physical object is employed in a mystery or sacrament, that object used receives the purity that Jesus procured for it. Whether it is the water used for baptism, the oil used for chrysmation, or the bread and wine used for communion, all of these, once consecrated receive the purity that Jesus procured by his passion and that is to come to all creation in the final resurrection, here and now. Hence, the mysteries are a participation in that purity which Christ will bring to creation in the present. Simultaneously, since the energy that obtained this purity was the passion of Christ, when we partake in these mysteries, we also partake in Christ’s passion. This is the reason why the Apostle can say, Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Rom 6: 3. The mysteries or sacraments are a doorway into the death of this corrupted age, and the purity of the age to come for all who believe now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Has God’s Creation Failed?


In this world Christ was rejected. The fragmentary life of this world was gathered into His life: he was the heartbeat of the world and the world killed him. In that murder the world itself died, and lost its chance to become the paradise that God created it to be. We can go on developing bigger and better things, and even a more humane society that may keep us from annihilating ourselves, but when Christ the true life of the world, was rejected, it was the beginning of the end. That rejection had finality about it. As Pascal said “Christ is in agony until the end of the world.” Christianity often appears however to preach that if men try hard enough to live the Christian lives, the crucifixion can somehow be reversed. This is because Christianity has forgotten itself; it has forgotten that it must first of all stand at the cross. (For the Life of the World, Alexander Schmemann, 1963)


There is a huge misapprehension within the church regarding the roles of Christians in this world. Some believe that the world is not worth our time because to labor in it is to polish brass on a sinking ship. Others believe that the ship has arrived, and that it is now time to set things right for its crew. Both of these popular views miss the main point of our true situation. Fr. Alexander gets at the heart of the matter when he writes, “Jesus was the heartbeat of the world and the world killed him”, and consequently by “that murder the world itself died, and lost its chance to become the paradise that God created it to be”. The significance of this for Christian living is gigantic because it strips the Christian mind of every delusion that we can bring this world back to life. We cannot bring the world back, it is dead! Now there is only the hope of a new world. Therefore, all right belief and right practice for this life must begin at the cross of our Lord Jesus.

Seeing the dead state of this present creation has real consequences upon what we think, say, and do. When St Paul said, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Cor 2: 2.” he affirmed the fact that all right belief and right practice for this life must have as its launching pad a view of the crucifixion of our Lord. Consequently, this means that this it also includes an understanding that this is a failed creation and that real life lies in another creation. It is upon that creation that we place our sights and our hopes here and now in the midst of death. For now we have life amongst the dead. This may seem like a dark way to view the world, and in many ways it is, but how much worse would it be if all there were is death. Our great hope is that death is going away, and true life is on its way.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009




§ 1. Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement In June are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.

§ 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See. (The Apostolic Constitution, November 2009)


There exists a particular family with the Anglican Communion that goes by the name “Anglo-Catholic.” It has been around from the earliest of days in the British Isles, and at times they have been the majority, and at other times the minority. This English Catholicism has always been part of the Catholic Church; however, for the last 450 years it has not been in relationship with the Roman Catholic Church due to the obvious political and theological disagreements. Nevertheless, it seems as though these old divisions may be disappearing, at least for some within the Anglo-Catholic party, or are they?

The new offer to Anglicans by Vatican says the following: In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement In June are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.& 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.

As such, one of the primary distinctions between Anglo-Catholicism and Roman Catholicism must be forfeited by the Anglo-Catholics. This is a huge price to pay, and the sad part is that it is not a change that is supported by either church history, or the scriptures. In fact, the first Pope, St Peter, was married: And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever Mat 8:14. And the first doctor of the church, St Paul, made marriage a requirement for all future clergy: Therefore, a bishop/episcopos must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. 1 Tim 3: 2

The acceptance of married Anglican priest into the Church of Rome is being treated as a nasty exception, rather than a good and wholesome requirement for holy orders. So long as this is the case it will be difficult for many who desire reunification to move towards it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Bishop of Fort Worth Responds to the Vatican

I have read with great interest various reports concerning today's announcement from top officials in the Vatican about some new provisions being made whereby Anglicans may enter into full communion with the Holy See. For some time now I have understood that high-level discussions about this were taking place in Rome and that an announcement along these lines would be made before the end of the year. As today's announcement indicates, a new Apostolic Constitution is soon to be released which will spell out Pope Benedict XVI's response to Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Many Anglo-Catholics will welcome this development as a very generous and welcoming offer that enhances the Pastoral Provision that has been in place for several years for those seeking reunion with Rome. Other Anglicans who desire full communion with the See of Peter would prefer some sort of recognition of the validity of Anglican orders and the provision for inter-communion between Roman Catholics and Anglicans.

The virtues of the proposal as I understand it have to do with maintaining certain aspects of the Anglican way of worship, spirituality, and ethos while entering into full communion with the Pope. But of course, not all Anglo-Catholics can accept certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, nor do they believe that they must first convert to Rome in order to be truly catholic Christians.

This option to choose different paths comes at a difficult time for us as together we face the challenges of the litigation brought against us by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Rather than making hasty decisions or quick resolutions, we will continue to work and pray together for the unity of Christ's holy catholic church throughout the world.

----The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker is Bishop of Fort Worth---

Monday, November 2, 2009

Image & Likeness


According to most of the Greek Fathers, the terms image and likeness do not mean exactly the same thing. ‘The expression according to the image,’ wrote John of Damascus, ‘indicates rationality and freedom, while the expression according to the likeness indicates assimilation to God through virtue.’ the image, to use the Greek term icon, of God our free human use of our will, our reason, our sense of responsibility - everything in short which marks us out from animal creation and makes each of us a person.

The image denotes the powers with which each of us is endowed by God from the first moment of our existence; the likeness is not an endowment which we possess from the start, but the goal at which we must aim, something we can only acquire by degrees. However sinful we may be, we never loose the image; but the likeness depends on our moral choices, upon our ‘virtue’, and so it is destroyed by sin.(The Orthodox Chruch, Timothy Ware, 1963 AD)


Patristic anthropology (the way that the church Father’s understood humanity) is very different from the common anthropology of today’s western church. The basis for the Father’s perspective is first and foremost Trinitarian, they understood that mankind was created in image of God, and that the image was not something that could be destroyed by sin, hence certain traits of a human being could never be altered by the fall into sin and death. The Father’s believed that even after the fall and its corruption of humanity, man’s Trinitarian like capacity to ‘freely use of our will, our reason, and our sense of responsibility’ was not reversed.

It is precisely the failure to distinguish between Trinitarian image that cannot be undone and the Trinitarian likeness which must be attained, which has resulted in the endless and irresolvable battle between the Calvinists and the Non-Calvinists regarding the human will. Only after the patristic doctrine regarding man as the image or icon becomes clear in our understandings can we begin to dig into the concept of the will and its role in the story of redemption. It is here that the comments of Bishop Ware become priceless to the western mind. When Bishop writes, ‘the image denotes the powers with which each of us is endowed by God from the first moment of our existence,’ he uncovers the basis for all teaching and debate regarding the human will.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Facing East


It is important to clearly distinguish the place for the liturgy of the Word from the place of properly Eucharistic liturgy. For, the liturgy of the Word is about speaking and responding, and so a face-to-face exchange does make sense. On the other hand, a common turning to the east during the Eucharistic prayer remains essential. Looking at the priest here has no importance. What maters in the Eucharistic liturgy is looking together at the Lord. It is now not a question of dialogue but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come. What corresponds to this reality of what is happening is not the closed circle of dialogue, but a common movement forward, expressed in a common direction of prayer. (The Spirit of the Liturgy, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 2000 AD)


One of the casualties in the worship as you please mindset of the reformation has been the most basic understanding of worship has disappeared. In a world where the Pastor/leader gets to make up the worship as he goes, corporate worship has for the most part been reduced to the format of a late night talk show focused on the bible. However, a deep understanding of proper worship according to the traditions of the apostles and the church Fathers can still be found. In the above quote we find a Roman Catholic scholar, and now Pope, distinguishing between orientations, that is, the direction towards which worship is offered. He acknowledges the two classical parts of liturgy: the liturgy of the Word, and the liturgy of the Eucharist. He makes the point that there is closed circle of dialogue during the liturgy of the Word, but a common worship of thanksgiving that goes outside the circle during the liturgy of the Eucharist. He states that the major difference between the two is that there is to be a common movement forward, expressed in a common direction of prayer during the Eucharistic prayer. This understanding reshapes the whole concept of orientation during worship. In fact, it ensures that we who worship are transported to the doorway of eternity in the Eucharistic mystery rather than just remaining in a circle of intellectual dialogue. In other words, facing east together enhances the mystery of the sacrament rather than truncating it to a mere teaching. Facing East during the Eucharistic prayer is like setting a diamond on an appropriate mounting, the two bring out the beauty of the one main point. In short, facing east during the Eucharistic liturgy places our thanksgiving in its proper setting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Global South Responds to the Vatican

A Pastoral Exhortation to the Faithful in the Anglican Communion

1. We, under-shepherds of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ, bring greetings to the faithful in the Anglican Communion. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. For in his great love for us, we are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2: 19-22).

2. The Vatican announcement on Apostolic Constitution (Note of The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church) gives us an occasion in making the following pastoral exhortation.

3. We welcome Pope Benedict XVI’s stance on the common biblical teaching on human sexuality, and the commitment to continuing ecumenical dialogue.

4. At the same time we believe that the proposed Anglican Covenant sets the necessary parameters in safeguarding the catholic and apostolic faith and order of the Communion. It gives Anglican churches worldwide a clear and principled way forward in pursuing God’s divine purposes together in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ. We urge churches in the Communion to actively work together towards a speedy adoption of the Covenant.

5. In God’s gracious purposes the Anglican Communion has moved beyond the historical beginnings and expressions of English Christianity into a worldwide Communion, of which the Church of England is a constitutive part. In view of the global nature of the Communion, matters of faith and order would inevitably have serious ramifications for the continuing well-being and coherence of the Communion as a whole, and not only for Provinces of the British Isles and The Episcopal Church in the USA. We urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to work in close collegial consultation with fellow Primates in the Communion, act decisively on already agreed measures in the Primates’ Meetings, and exercise effective leadership in nourishing the flock under our charge, so that none would be left wandering and bereft of spiritual oversight.

6. As Primates of the Communion and guardians of the catholic and apostolic faith and order, we stand in communion with our fellow bishops, clergy and laity who are steadfast in the biblical teaching against the ordination of openly homosexual clergy, the consecration of such to the episcopate, and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. We also urge them, as fellow Anglicans, to continue to stand firm with us in cherishing the Anglican heritage, in pursuing a common vocation, in expressing our unity and common life, and in maintaining our covenanted life together.

7. In the closing words of the Anglican Covenant: With joy and with firm resolve, we offer ourselves for fruitful service and binding ourselves more closely in the truth and love of Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory for ever. Amen.

“Now may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13.20, 21)

25th October 2009

Global South Primates Steering Committee:

Chairman: The Most Revd Peter J. Akinola, Nigeria

Vice-Chairman: The Most Revd Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda

General Secretary: The Most Revd John Chew, Southeast Asia

Treasurer: The Most Revd Mouneer Anis, Jerusalem and the Middle East.


The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, Myanmar

Bishop Albert Chama, Dean of Central Africa

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shall We Go To Rome?

QUOTE: The Anglo-Papalist Ordinariate

This news is indeed fascinating and compelling, and will undoubtedly be equally fascinating to watch unfold in the days and weeks ahead. But it must be said that we should very much doubt that many in the orthodox Continuing Anglican movement will avail themselves of this new constitutional structure in the Roman Communion, as our priests and people are generally not inclined or disposed to accept the Papal Claims and Dogmas and have no affinity with Papalism. We should confidently assert that most of our Continuing Churchmen repudiate the I Vatican Council of 1870 and so find no overwhelming attraction to this new offer. Papal Infallibility and Papal Universal Jurisdiction, combined with Rome's rejection of the validity of Anglican Orders and its assertion of the de fide and salvific character of the Marian Dogmas, is altogether a situation most Traditional Anglicans will find simply too difficult to accept. Assuredly, for most Continuing Churchmen, the observance of the creation of the new body will be intriguing, but academic, detached and remote, and likely nothing more. We shall be 'observers and by-standers' during the process to come.

In the meantime, we await with hopeful expectation what yet may come from dialogue with the Orthodox Church in America and what relationship may yet emerge between Eastern Orthodox Christians and us, the original Catholics of the Anglican Rite. (The Reverend Canon Chandler Holder Jones, SSC, October 21, 2009)


Canon Jones’ writings can be found at the blog “Philorthodox,” and his comments above represent the Anglo-Catholic sentiments of a significant number of us. While we are surely pleased to see this move on behalf of the Vatican, at the same time we fail to see how this invitation resolves some of the core issues that have divided us all along. Classical Anglo Catholics came into resurgence with the Oxford movement. Within that movement some were very inclined to Rome’s perspective, while others were much more attuned to England’s faith before the great Schism between east and west. Blazing the path for the Roman leaning Anglicans was Fr. John Newman, and leading the way for first millennium (Orthodox) leaning Anglicans was Keble and Pusey. Since then, Anglo Catholics have come in two flavors Roman and Orthodox.

The point made by canon Jones is that for many Anglo-Catholics, Byzantium is much closer to us in doctrine and conviction than the Vatican, hence, that is the only place where true unity can be found, and going to the Vatican would be a compromise. First millennium minded Anglo-Catholics find serious problems with the Roman doctrines of supererogation, purgatory, and the required celibacy of priests, not to mention the dogmas of Vatican 1 regarding the blessed virgin Mary, Papal infallibility, and the like. These dogmatic disagreements do not exist between Anglicanism and Orthodoxy. Surely many will flock to Rome, and since they believe as Rome does they should go, but as for the rest of us, we will wait on Byzantium.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sacrificing Together


Because Christ is perfect love, His love on earth can never become a life of the past. He remains present to all eternity. Then He was alone and bore the sins of men as one whole, alone. But in death, He took us all into His work. Therefore, the gospel is now present with us, and by it we may now enter inside His own sacrifice. (Mtr. Maria of Normandy, 1930 AD)


Understanding the priesthood of Christ does not come easy to us in our day. As whole, we do not know what it is to see a bloody sacrifice with our own eyes; we know almost nothing about making atonement, and even less about bringing a gift of offering to a priest. In short, for most of us the whole offering concept is something out of a historic tale. This lack of connection with a priesthood places many who name Christ at a disconnect with our Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry in time and in eternity.

In the face of this disconnect, Mother Maria reminds us that Christ’s love on earth can never become a life of the past. We can never think of His priestly work as merely something that happened once, like all of the other religious sacrifices that have occurred in time. Jesus priesthood was not merely a priesthood in time and space, it was that, but it was also much more than that. His priesthood, and more particularly, His sacrifice and offering was an everlasting, ongoing, and eternal sacrifice; once offered it never stops operating. It is this once and for all sacrifice that we enter into in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, mother Maria states, the gospel is now present with us, and by it we may now enter inside His own sacrifice. The greatest difference between this sacrifice and all others is that we are not mere donors or watchers, but rather we are participants in that sacrifice with our high priest in order that his sacrifice might be made manifest though us to ourselves and to the world.

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Pet 2: 5

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Real Body and Real Blood


Even of itself the teaching of the Blessed Paul is sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, of which having been deemed worthy, ye are become of the same body and blood with Christ. For you have just heard him say distinctly, That our Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He brake it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, Take, drink, this is My Blood.. Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood? (Catechism, Cyril of Jerusalem, CA 340 AD)


It is an unfortunate reality that many in the Christian world have lost touch with the sacramental nature of our redemption. This alienation began with the protestant reformation’s overreaction to the real presence of Christ in the sacraments. With exception of Luther, all the most influential reformers stammered on this issue. It was Luther alone who bravely stood at the colloquy of Marburg and stated that those who rejected the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist were of another spirit. Zwingli, Bucer, Calvin, and even Cramner in his 1552 book of common prayer’s black rubric sided with the protestant anti-historical position. Nevertheless, this issue would not be let go by the Anglicans, it continued to be a point of disagreement, and today the non presence view has finally lost its sway. Today it is almost unanimous amongst all Anglicans that there is a real presence in the Eucharist.

Why have some, and why do some persons still resist this clear teaching of scripture? What good is there to loose by embracing the real presence? I propose that there are three reasons folks resist this doctrine.

First, if one were to embrace the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, this then would mean that it is partaking in the Eucharist would be good and desirable for salvation, just as the knowledge of Christ from the word is good and necessary. This would imply that one would no more gather for worship without a sermon than without the Eucharist. In short, it would mean a complete cultural transformation of worship.

Second, if one were to embrace the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, this then would mean that the reformation over reacted and the ancient church was right. Humble pie is never tasty.

However, I believe the third is the most powerful reason. If one were to embrace the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, this then would mean that our whole view of reality would be challenged. The realm of God would be among us in a way that is tangible; God would be in us as we are in Him. All of this would mean that theology would have to be completely rethought and reassessed, and no one wants to do that. Nevertheless if this is not embraced then those who most affirm the literal meaning of scripture are forced to deny it clear and unambiguous meaning.