Friday, July 31, 2009

FATHERS: Iraneus & Holy Tradition

Fr. Stephen writes:

What is clear in Irenaeus’ teaching is that there was what he called the “Apostolic Hypothesis,” a framework of basic doctrine by which Scripture (first the Old Testament, later the New) should be interpreted. This consensus fidelium, or rule of faith, guided the Church century after century into its life, continually enlivened by the Holy Spirit. Though expressed in different ways at different times, the central goal was always the same: that the Church would teach the same Christ as it had received, and proclaim the same salvation it had always known.

The rest of the article is found here- read it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OFFSPRING: The 3rd Party


The third party of the English Church is called High-Church. They form, so to say, the Conservative body of the Church, whereas the Low-Churchmen may be termed to a certain extent the Radicals, and the Broad-Churchmen the Liberals.

These High-Churchmen lay a stress upon the Church, connect the Bible with the Church, respect the old Church-observances, e. g. the vigils, the feast and fast days, which have fallen into utter desuetude with the other parties of the Church. They see their clergymen as "Priests," and themselves to be considered a branch of the Catholic Church. The Church is their aristocratic pride, and they contribute large sums for building, beautifying, restoring, endowing churches. Hooker's Church Polity is their standard work. You will find on the shelves of those among them who profess theological learning, the works of their Bishops Andrewes, Laud, Beveridge, Bramhall, Overall, Nicholson, Wilson, Cosin, Bull, &c.

The Dissenters and their Chapels they disdain, and feel sorely grieved at the Low Church dissent creeping into the Church. Of the Broad Church they are ashamed, and feel deeply the defect of the English Church in not being able to excommunicate them. They love both the Prayer Book and the Thirty-nine Articles, either not perceiving the deep gulf between both, or bridging it by interpreting the Articles by the Prayer Book, as the Evangelicals interpret the Prayer Book by the Articles. No wonder that both parties, although building on the same substruction, come to a very different result. (Catholic Orthodoxy, J. J. Overbeck, 1866)


Nearly 150 years ago, Overbeck identified the three parties that harbor in the sea which is Anglicanism. The first party is the Low-Church or radical party; this group would throw any part of Holy tradition that does not match their reformation mindset, and in its place conform the church to the contemporary, and individually minded evangelicalism of our day. The second, is the broad church party that is made up of the liberals; this group sees themselves as free to give preference to their own philosophies above the perfect truth handed down to the church in scripture and Holy tradition.

The 3rd Party, which he identifies as the high-churchmen, is the group he connects with the Orthodox Catholicity, and those who possess the historic faith of the British Isles. This group connects the Bible with the Church, and give ecclesiology the proper role that is required alongside scripture. They love both the Prayer Book and the Thirty-nine Articles, & do not perceive a gulf between them, because they bridge any apparent disagreement by interpreting the Articles by the Prayer Book. In other words, they practice lex orandi, lex credendi. Furthermore, he contends that this is the very faith articulated by the Fathers of post reformation Anglicanism Bishops Andrewes, Laud, Beveridge, Bramhall, Overall, Nicholson, Wilson, Cosin, Bull, &c.

Time has not stood still, the 3 parties have continued to move forward, and today the majority of Anglicans worldwide would now fall into that party which Overbeck called the High-churchmen: Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, S.E. Asia, &c... make up over 74% of all Anglicans and each is High Church. It is conceivable that Anglicanism is closer today than it has ever been to attaining the Western Orthodoxy of the first millennium that is its heritage. Kyrie eleison.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

FATHERS: The Liturgy Instructs


Then the Priest prays, bowing:

O compassionate and merciful, long-suffering, and very gracious and true God, look from Your prepared dwelling-place, and hear us Your suppliants, and deliver us from every temptation of the devil and of man; withhold not Your aid from us, nor bring on us chastisements too heavy for our strength: for we are unable to overcome what is opposed to us; but You are able, Lord, to save us from everything that is against us. Save us, O God, from the difficulties of this world, according to Your goodness, in order that, having come to Your holy altar with a pure conscience, we may send up to You without condemnation the blessed Trisagion hymn, together with the heavenly powers, and that, having performed the service, well pleasing to You and divine, we may be counted worthy of eternal life.

Because You holy, Lord our God, and dwell and abide in holy places, we send up the praise and the Trisagion hymn to You, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to all eternity.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal one, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal one, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal one, have mercy on us.

(The Liturgy of St James- ca 50 AD)


From its earliest days the church’s liturgy had multiple purposes, First, to worship and adore our Triune God, and second, it was to be a form of pedagogy. The liturgy teaches us dogma or doctrine.

In this short prayer we learn about the character of God: compassionate and merciful, long-suffering, and very gracious.

We learn that God is everywhere present, aware of all things, and able to act upon all things: from Your prepared dwelling-place, and hear us Your suppliants, and deliver us.

We learn about our frailty and need of rescue from the things that wrongfully attract us: deliver us from every temptation of the devil and of man.

We learn that we need to be saved: withhold not Your aid from usfor we are unable to overcome what is opposed to us; but You are able, Lord, to save us from everything that is against us. Save us, O God, from the difficulties of this world.

We learn that in our worship we are enjoined to the whole church on earth and in heaven: having come to Your holy altar with a pure conscience, we may send up to You without condemnation the blessed Trisagion hymn, together with the heavenly powers.

We learn that there is an eternal life with and in the midst of the triune God: having performed the service, well pleasing to You and divine, we may be counted worthy of eternal life.

To formulate a similar prayer would probably take a room full of theologians, and to teach these theological truths would take several catechism classes. However, in this tiny bit of Holy Tradition we get it all in one paragraph, WOW!

Friday, July 24, 2009

OFFSPRING: Temperance


Temperance is, unfortunately, one of those words that has changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism. But in the days when the second Cardinal virtue was christened 'Temperance,' it meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further. It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion. Of course it may be the duty of a particular Christian, or of any Christian, at a particular time, to abstain from strong drink, either because he is the sort of man who cannot drink at all without drinking too much, or because he is with people who are inclined to drunkenness and must not encourage them by drinking himself. But the whole point is that he is abstaining, for a good reason, from something which he does not condemn and which he likes to see other people enjoying. One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons--marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 1943)


Temperance is the lost virtue of our day. We are the intemperate people, with intemperate habits, and who specialize in the elimination of anything that comes close to abstinence from our vocabulary. Lewis however, may just have put his finger on the reason that this is so. It may be that our society has simply knee jerked to a Mohammedanism that has been made to pass for Christianity. Consider this, if you were the devil, how would you do battle with temperance? Probably by taking things that are not evil of themselves: marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema, and call them bad, and to be eliminated by our practice of temperance. Temperance however is not that at all, in fact, temperance is an exercise that makes a person the master over their passions rather than the slave of their passions. This exercise has always been part of the Christian life, and is in fact is the primary reason for fasting.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

OFFSPRING: Chesterton and Tradition


There is one thing I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I have never been able to understand where people get the idea that democracy was in someway opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. Tradition refuses to submit to a small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. I cannot separate the two ideas of tradition and democracy; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. (G. K. Chesterton, ca, 1900)


Few people can get at the heart of a matter as well as Chesterton. Here he demonstrates how underdeveloped and antiquated it is it is to ignore tradition. We in America have built our society on a new model we call democracy, yet, at the same time refuse to be democratic every time we act as revisionists. We suffer from the arrogance of the living. This arrogance is fueled by a little voice that forever tells us that we are smarter, better, and more able than those who went before. In succumbing to this voice, we undermine the protection that comes from democracy’s ability to prevent one small group from leading everyone into disaster. Tradition is a safety net that keeps us from the wiles of the manipulative oligarchs.

Monday, July 20, 2009

OFFSPRING: Cardinal Virtues-Prudence


One of my chief reasons for dividing morality up into three parts was that this seemed the shortest way of covering the ground. Here I want to give some idea of another way in which the subject has been divided by old writers, which was too long to use in my talk, but which is a very good one.

According to this longer scheme there are seven 'virtues'. Four of them are called 'Cardinal' virtues, and the remaining three are called 'Theological' virtues. The 'Cardinal' ones are those which all civilized people recognize: the 'Theological' are those which, as a rule, only Christians know about. I shall deal with the Theological ones later on: at present I am talking about the four Cardinal virtues. (The word 'cardinal' has nothing to do with 'Cardinals' in the Roman Church. It comes from a Latin word meaning 'the hinge of a door'. These were called 'cardinal' virtues because they are, as we should say, 'pivotal'.) They are PRUDENCE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE, and FORTITUDE.

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it… The proper motto is not 'Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,' but 'Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can.' God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. (Mere Christianity, CS Lewis, 1943)


In C. S. Lewis’ most famous book “Mere Christianity” we find one of the clearest and simplest treatments of the Christian faith. One of the characteristics that makes it so, is the ease with which Lewis interacts with the ancient faith of his own British Isles. A faith that had shaped the whole social mindset of the land for approximately 1800 years by the time of his writing. Therefore, when Lewis speaks of human virtue, he choses to refer to the 7 virtues as taught by the ancient church. Moreover, when referring to the conduct that is befitting all humanity he also refers to what the church calls “The Cardinal Virtues".

The first of these Cardinal virtues is Prudence. The point that he labors in this section stresses the requirement that humanity be involved in thinking deeply about all things, but most importantly about the actions that we take and their affect upon our own and others outer & inner persons. And that is precisely Lewis’ warning. I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. This sounds entirely too difficult to us who in this present age are continually pointed at the joys of leisure. Following Jesus is not for wimps!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shameless Plug #2

King of Glory Parish is located in the heart of Miami-Dade county, and holds closely to the fullness of the apostolic faith of the first millenia. We place great emphasis on both word and sacrament.

The sermon page on the King of Glory website has recently been updated, to listen click here . Note: the audio does not play well in I-tunes, another media player must be used. It is my hope they you find them edifying.

If you are in the area we welcome you to join us for worship.

Fr. Carlos

Monday, July 13, 2009

FATHERS: The Absolver


For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood, to be enabled to draw nigh to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor the grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests; since by their agency these rites are celebrated, and others nowise inferior to these both in respect of our dignity and our salvation.

For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

They who rule on earth have indeed authority to bind, but only the body: whereas this binding lays hold of the soul and penetrates the heavens; and what priests do here below God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the sentence of his servants. For indeed what is it but all manner of heavenly authority which He has given them when He says, “Whose sins ye remit they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain they are retained?” What authority could be greater than this? (On The Priesthood, St John Chrysostom, ca 375 AD)


St. John the Golden mouth- Chrysostom, is considered a hero to almost about every branch of Christianity in existence today. All hold his preaching abilities in high esteem, all see his dedication to the power and clarity of the word of God, and all are impressed by his vast knowledge of the scriptures along with his ability to convey that knowledge. It would seem logical then to most readers for St John to believe that the preaching office as that place where the sacred vocation of the priesthood finds its zenith. However, what we read in his first major treatise does not support that view. In fact, what we find is that St John considers the highest privilege and responsibility of the priestly office to be the forgiveness of sins in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He begins to extol the privilege by saying: “For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority.” One need only consider his assertion for a moment in order to agree with him. After all, what good is scripture reading and preaching in the world, if the forgiveness of sins is never pronounced and applied to the wounded and dying sinner? It is within this absolution that the grace of God is made most visible to the blind soul. It is in the act of absolution that life rises out of death, and that death is trampled upon by our Lord Jesus. It is in absolution that all of the sacraments find their fulfillment. However, most astonishing to St John is the fact that God would actually place this grace of His into the hands of sinners, priests. “What authority could be greater than this?”

Friday, July 10, 2009

THE FATHERS: 5th Sunday after Trinity


The Collect

GRANT, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Offertory

I will thank the Lord for giving me warning; I have set God always before me; for He is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall. Ps 16

The Secret

Most merciful Lord, we beseech thee, to have respect unto these our oblations; that whereas we have rebelled and done evil against thee unto thy will, we may by thy grace be conformed to thy will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Communion.

One thing have I de sired of the Lord, which I will require, even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Ps. 27

The Postcommunion.

WE beseech thee, O Lord, that the mysteries which we have received may cleanse us from all our sins, and defend us by thy gifts bestowed therein from all adversities. through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


The prayers found above come from the historic missal of the English Orthodox and Catholic Church. They find their earliest origin in the “Sacramentary of Leo,” which dates back to ca. 450 AD. However, more important than their antiquity is the faith that is reveled within them. Their content reveals to us that they belong to a people who live moment by moment in the acknowledged presence the Holy Trinity. Here we find the apostolic faith, not in theory only, but in the flesh.

In the collect the church prays for God’s peaceable governance in this world, in order to serve Him here and now. In the offertory, the church thanks the Lord that it is not up to humanity to muster up the ability to serve Him, but that it is by a God given faith in the believes God’s warning that we place Him before us, even at our right hand. In the secret we pray that God will receive our priestly offering of our lives represented by the bread and wine, in spite of our sins, and that He do so on account of Jesus Christ. In the communion prayer we rejoice of our future in the life in the fullness of the Trinity. Finally, in the Post communion, we plead for cleansing and defense in the time to come in this life.

Lex orandi- lex credendi- the law of worship is the law of faith. In other words, as you worship, so you will believe.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

OFFSPRING: Guardian Angels


100. What are the angels?

Incorporeal spirits, having intelligence, will, and power.

101. What means the name angel?

It means a messenger.

102. Why are they so called?

Because God sends them to announce his will. Thus, for instance, Gabriel was sent to announce to the Most Holy Virgin Mary the conception of the Saviour.

103. Which was created first, the visible world or the invisible?

The invisible was created before the visible, and the angels before men.

104. Can we find any testimony to this in holy Scripture?

In the book of Job God himself speaks of the earth thus: Who laid the corner-stone thereof? When the stars were CREATED, all my angels praised me with a loud voice. Job xxxviii. 6, 7.

105. Whence is taken the name of guardian angels?

From the following words of holy Scripture: He shall give his angels charge over thee, to guard thee in, all thy ways. Psalm xci. 11.

106. Has each one of us his guardian angels?

Without doubt. Of this we may be assured from the following words of Jesus Christ: Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father, which is in heaven. Matt. xviii. 10.

107. Are all angels good and beneficent?

No. There are also evil angels, otherwise called devils.

(A Harmony of Anglican Doctrine with the Doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East, CA 1844 AD.)


This Longer Russian Catechism was employed in the 19th century by Anglican and Orthodox in order to further the unity between the two theological expressions. Few treatments deal with the subject of angelology in a more concise and biblical manner than this section; in it, we see that the two dimensions of creation, the physical and the spiritual, intersect at the realm of Angels. this is most clearly seen in Q. # 106. To see the Anglican view on this topic, we will consider C. S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters," in the blogs to follow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

FATHERS: Liturgy of St. James


Prayer of the incense at the beginning

Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, O Word of God, who didst freely offer Thyself a blameless sacrifice upon the cross to God even the Father, the coal of double nature, that didst touch the lips of the prophet with the tongs, and didst take away his sins, touch also the hearts of us sinners, and purify us from every stain, and present us holy beside Thy holy altar, that we may offer Thee a sacrifice of praise: and accept from us, Thy unprofitable servants, this incense as an odor of a sweet smell, and make fragrant the evil odor of our soul and body, and purify us with the sanctifying power of Thy all-holy Spirit: for Thou alone art holy, who sanctifies, and are communicated to the faithful; and glory becomes Thee, with Thy eternal Father, and Thy all-holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and to all eternity. Amen. (The Liturgy of Saint James, Brother of our Lord- CA. 60 AD.)


The earliest surviving liturgy is the Liturgy of St James, and it not only dates back to CA 60 AD, but is still currently used by the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Indian Orthodox church. In this liturgy we find the apostolic tradition and truth embodied in worship rather than in gospel, history, or epistle form. It is conceivable that all of the apostles said this prayer as they began their worship of the Lord.

The prayer begins by addressing the Lord Jesus as the eternal God, the word, and by calling him a particular kind of self offering. A cleansing sacrifice and a sanctifying sacrifice. It is clear here that sanctifying goes beyond cleansing; unlike cleansing, it does not leave us neutral and without evil, instead it makes us worthy to approach God. The reason for this worthiness is to enable us to offer an acceptable sacrifice as opposed to a foul sacrifice. In other words, it was Jesus' sacrifice that makes our sacrifice good and even desireable to the Lord.

So then, in the opening act of the apostle's worship, we have the foundational basis for the nature and purpose of the sacrifice of Christ in general. Unlike the emphasis given by the west after St. Anslem to the sacrafice of Christ as being a payment to the Father for sin, what we find is a self offering of love that cleasnses, enables, and escorts others into the glory of God. Jesus' sacrifice allows man to taste divinity.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1