Pastoral Musings

mu-sing   /ˈmyo͞o′zĭng/  (noun) : a period of reflection or thought.

On this page are posted random reflections and thoughts about the Catholic Faith and its practice. Nothing written here is meant to be profound, though I hope each piece will be somewhat edifying. Something new is posted weekly, so please check back.  Thank you! Fr. Paul Beutell

July 16, 2019 (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

“Church growth” is a topic on the minds of almost all churches today. Most churches, even the largest church in the world, are concerned about it. It was an underlying topic at our recent Synod.

Church growth used to mean adding members to existing healthy churches or building up newly started churches. Today, Church growth is focused more on stopping the hemorrhaging of members, and adding enough new people to remain effective in ministry. Many churches grow in numbers from people shifting from church to church rather than from conversions to the faith.

For years, programs have been marketed and whole books written on this topic. Those programs and books may have some good ideas in them, but will they do more than increase the number of “butts in the pews”? Will they give people a place to anchor their faith? Will they change people’s lives today and for eternity? Will they make saints? I’m not convinced they will.

There is only one “scheme” that assuredly works: A Living Faith demonstrated in the lives and worship of the faithful!  Without these, all the programs and marketing in the world won’t produce anything. At least not anything of substance.

The purpose of every church is to glorify God in His Son, Jesus Christ. The best way to do that is to open our hearts, our prayers, our time and our parish doors to people; especially to those we see are either seeking Christ or seeking a closer walk with Him.

This is a challenge, yet not impossible. In principle, we need to meet people where they are at in their lives and bring them to where our parish is at in its life.

Outside the doors of our parish we need to “be all things to all men.” We need to demonstrate to them there is a reason to go to church, and that the church to go to is our parish!

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 St. Paul says this is the approach he took: For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”

Following his example, we need to be evangelical amidst Evangelicals, Catholic (in the true, Patrisitc sense) amidst Roman Catholics and Orthodox, Anglican amidst Episcopalians and neo-Anglicans, non-judgmental (St. Luke 6:37, 39-42) amidst the unchurched, and confident and unashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) amidst non-believers.

Inside our parish’s doors we need to be who we are: Biblical, orthodox, Traditional, Anglican Catholics. We need to make the liturgy accessible to those who visit and inquire, but we do not change it or doctrine!  Traditional liturgy in itself does not turn people away. What turns people away is liturgy done without attention and fervency, or that seems inaccessible.

When we invite someone to Sunday mass, or someone walks in through our doors to visit, they need to see something in us! Something real. They need to see our living faith manifested in our liturgical worship.

We need to be submitted to the Holy Spirit so that others see Christ in us, and use His leading to reach people where they are at.  We can only do this if we have a living faith! If our faith is not living, visibly living, how can we attract others to join with us? We need to be engaged and then get engaged.

That is a “Church Growth” scheme with substance. And we can learn all about it from the Scriptures.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


July 2, 2019 (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Icon or Idol?

What am I talking about? The 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Is it an icon or an idol?

An icon is an instrument used to draw us towards God. They are often called “windows into heaven.” An idol is a false god formed by men to take worship away from the true God. They are inanimate, static, inflexible.

The Prayer Book should not be used that way!  It should be used as a living, active and adaptable means for worship. Not in the liberal-progressive sense of those words, but in the orthodox, Catholic and traditional Anglican sense.

There are those in the Continuum that act as if the Prayer Book is an idol. They think we are a “Prayer Book Preservation Society.”  We’re not!  There is such an organization. Here is a link to their website  They do good work. But they are not a church and the Continuum is not a PBS!

I love the Prayer Book. I became an Anglo-Catholic because of it. I consider myself a “Prayer Book Catholic.”  Yet I prefer to use the Anglican Missal when I celebrate mass. It allows me to enter into the worship, not just direct it.

When some hear me say “I prefer to use the Anglican Missal,” they respond “Then you’re not a Prayer Book Catholic!” That’s it…that’s an indication the Prayer Book has become an idol! Once a person begins thinking the 1928 Prayer Book is the (the only) proper rite to be used in the Continuum, then it has become an idol.

For me the right use of the Prayer Book is as an icon; an instrument we use to worship Almighty God in spirit and in truth. It should be used as a window that leads us to “enter” into heaven (Revelation 1:10-12).

The Prayer Book itself allows it to be used this way. Throughout the history of its use there has been a school of users that believe the rubrics are guides for order and not law. They are “rules for the road” not “statutes.” The priest using it at the altar must use the words of the text as they are written, but has flexibility with the rubrics and to add manual acts and ritual as he sees is edifying to his congregation.

In parishes that use the Altar Service Book or the Missal some follow the rubrics closely and some loosely. In example, in some the Prayer of Humble Access and Thanksgiving are prayed with the congregation, and in others the priest prays them alone. Some stand for the Prayer for the Whole State and some kneel. There is no rubric that allows the use of the Agnus Dei, though almost every parish interprets the rubric on pg. 82 of the BCP to allow it.

My point is, even the most staunch “Prayer Book parish” does not follow every rubric, every manual act, every jot and tittle slavishly. The Missal merely puts that flexibility into print.

All Continuing Anglicans agree the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is the standard for worship in our parishes. This is stated in the Affirmation of St. Louis. It has stood the test of time for being a reliable instrument for Anglicans to use to worship God as Scripture and Tradition teach He is to be worshipped. But it is just that, an instrument, a means. It is not the end.

If we believe the same Catholic doctrine in its Patristic and historic Anglo-Catholic understanding, then why is using the Missal an issue? Could it be because the Prayer Book is seen as an idol and not an icon?

It’s not for me to answer that question for others. I have though answered it for myself. For me using the Altar Service Book or the Missal is adiaphora (things indifferent). For me two things matter: doctrine and the edification of the congregation. On any given Sunday, take this coming Sunday, Trinity 3, I could celebrate mass using the Altar Service Book or using the Missal. Whichever book most edifies the congregation I am serving. It would not change what I believe or would preach during either service!

The service book on the altar is an icon. It is a means by which we achieve our desired end, which is worship with “decency and order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). It is an instrument utilized to enter into the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:24 and 10:19-23) to join with the “angels and archangels and all the company of heaven” to worship God and then feed upon the One, Perfect sacrifice of Jesus given to us in the Holy Eucharist. It cannot become an idol.

So, Icon or Idol? Which is it?

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

June 25, 2019 (In the Octave of Corpus Christi)

Scripture indicates the Twelve Apostles were, generally speaking, uneducating men. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fisherman, and likely so was Philip since he was from Bethsaida, the same fishing village the other four came from. Matthew was a tax collector, so he may have had a slightly greater education than the rest. We don’t know the occupations of the other six Apostles (seven including Matthias, the successor to Judas Iscariot).

In any event, because the Twelve were typical laborers in the Jewish society, their religious knowledge was no greater than the average Jewish male who practiced his faith. They knew the things they needed to know for their bar-mitzvah and then whatever they learned at the local synagogue through their adult life, but that would be all.  In no way would they be confused with being rabbis or teachers of the Law.

But that was before Pentecost. After Pentecost their knowledge changed markedly.

In Acts 2:14-40 and Acts 3:12-26, St. Peter preached two bold and poignant sermons to his fellow Jews, which the members of the Sanhedrin were no doubt told about. After the second, they had Peter and John arrested and held overnight in prison. On the following morning they were brought before the Council for trial. Acts 4:7-12 records these events for us.

In verses 8-12, St. Peter gives the first apology (defense) for the Catholic faith, telling the Jewish religious leaders that salvation is found in none other than in Jesus Christ! Having heard the reports of Peter’s other sermons and now hearing him for themselves, those leaders took notice. How were these uneducated fishermen able to articulate the faith so clearly?

Acts 4:13 tells us what they concluded…”Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Those religious leaders realized what made those “unlearned and ignorant men” so capable of articulating the truths of the faith was they had been with Jesus! Being with Jesus was the difference maker!

You (and I) are more likely closer to the Apostles than we are to the members of the Sanhedrin when it comes to religious knowledge. You may be highly educated in other fields or skills, but not likely in theology (of course you may be). That doesn’t matter!  A theological degree isn’t what matters. There are many, many who have theological degrees who preach and teach heresy!

What matters is, have we been with Jesus?

Have we spent time in His Word? Do we spend time in His Word? Will we spend time in His Word today? That is the true way to know and be able to articulate our faith (2 Peter 1:5). We cannot articulate what we have not learned, and we cannot learn who Jesus is apart from Scripture. We must (as the Collect for Advent 2 states) “…read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them.” We must spend time, some every day if possible, with Jesus in His Word.

1 Peter 3:15 states “But sanctify [set apart] the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” That’s it! We need to set time apart to be with Jesus in the study of Scripture, getting to know Him on an intimate basis. Studying Scripture (and prayer) is more than a Christian duty. It is a Christian privilege!  It is more than an obligation, it is a blessing.

When we study Scripture we commune with Jesus. This is especially true with the Psalms and the daily lectionary of the Prayer Book. The Psalms are Messianic in nature. As we pray them it is often hard to relate to them personally, but when we pray them as a means to connect to Christ and the Messianic kingdom, they allow us to enter into a deeper communion with Jesus. The Scripture lessons chosen for the lectionary are not merely a Bible Reading Plan. They have been chosen to allow us to enter into the rhythm of the Church’s kalendar and aid us in entering into a deeper understanding of Jesus.

Like the Apostles, we don’t have to have a formal religious education to know and articulate the Catholic faith. What we have to do, is be with Jesus.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

June 18, 2019 (In the Octave of Trinity Sunday)

The Feast of Corpus Christi is this Thursday, June 20.

This feast was instituted in 1264 by Urban IV, Bishop of Rome and became implemented throughout the Western Church in 1317 by John XXII. Originally celebrated on the Thursday after Whitsunday, it was moved to the Thursday after Trinity Sunday by Pius V (the same Pope who excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I). Corpus Christi was widely celebrated in England until its suppression in 1548. It was never restored to the kalendar of the Church of England, but Anglo-Catholics began to celebrate it again in the 19th century. It is on the G-4 kalendar.

There are some Anglo-Catholics who do not think this feast should be celebrated by our parishes because it is “Roman.” It really isn’t, it’s Western Catholic. But even if it were, even if it had not been instituted until after the Reformation in England, I don’t find that to be a sufficient reason to not celebrate it. For me the reason to, or not to, celebrate a feast is “Is it for truth, or against truth?” If a feast is for truth, if it teaches and / or supports truth, then I don’t care which branch of the Church instituted it. I think we should celebrate it.

The Feast of Corpus Christ connects three great truths together: The truth of the Body of Christ in heaven-The truth of the Body of Christ, Really Present in the Eucharist-The truth of the Body of Christ, the Church (of which Christ is the Head) on earth. This feast teaches that all three are the same Body; that there is no separation between them. While each has a different form and function, they are all the same Body.

At the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity (the Word) was made flesh. In Jesus Christ, the divinity of the Second Person took up a sinless, rational soul and body and became man. Before His sacrificial death for the sins of the world, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of His Presence, His Body and His Blood, in the Holy Eucharist as the means by which His Presence would be with us, and in us, until He returns in His resurrected and ascended human body on the Last Day. This act of giving Himself (His Real Presence) to us in the Holy Eucharist is enacted by the Holy Ghost, the same Spirit of God who was breathed into the Church (the Body of Christ on earth) at Pentecost.

So the resurrected and ascended Body of Christ now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the Real Presence of the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and the Church, the visible Body of Christ on earth, are all one. They are one because Christ is really and substantially in each. He is, of course, still Himself; the Word made flesh still has His flesh (now resurrected and ascended) in heaven. He is Really Present in the Eucharist (in a way that rightly remains a Holy Mystery) where He gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink (St. John 6:55). He is the Head of the Church, which is His Body (Colossians 2:10, 19).

The Body of Christ is one!

What the Feast of Corpus Christ does is make the faithful aware of this great truth through an emphasis on the Presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. As our eyes of faith more deeply grasp Jesus’ Presence in the Eucharist, we more deeply grasp His majesty in heaven and our necessary connection to His Body on earth. We will not be able to see ourselves as lone actors with a mere personal salvation. No, we will see we are saved into a body; “…lively stones…built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

While we are accountable for working out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12) we can only do this rightly by faith in the resurrected and ascended Person of Christ,  fed by the Real Presence of the sacramental Christ, within the confines of the Body of Christ on earth. Each is essential. Salvation is a seamless garment.

Some Anglo-Catholics thinks this feast “overemphasizes” the sacramental presence of Christ. That is not possible. Ecclesiasticus 43:30 states “When ye glorify the Lord, exalt him as much as ye can; for even yet will he far exceed: and when ye exalt him, put forth all your strength, and be not weary; for ye can never go far enough.” We can never “over-worship” the Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  If He had not said “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood,” then it would be idolatry to adore the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But because He appointed and empowered them with His Presence, it cannot be idolatry (see Numbers 21:8, 9).

It is the Body of Christ in the Eucharist that connects us to the Body of Christ in heaven and maintains our connection (forged in Holy Baptism) to the Body of Christ on earth. The more deeply we enter into the mystery of the Eucharistic Presence, the more deeply we enter into the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Church. Our Sacramental theology affects our Christology and our Ecclesiology. They truly are seamless.

If your parish offers mass this Thursday, may I commend you to assist at it. If your parish does not offer mass on that day, or if it does but you truly are not able to assist at it, here is a link to the propers for the feast. You can read them along with the Office as you make a spiritual communion:

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


June 11, 2019 (Tuesday in Whitsuntide)

Do you remember the movie from 2000, The Patriot? It stars Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin, a fictional, South Carolina farmer who became a pacifist after he had fought in the brutal battles of the French and Indian War. When the war for American Independence began, Martin wanted to remain on the sidelines. But when the war was literally brought to his front door, and one of his children was killed by the British Army, he became fully engaged, taking command of a group of militia men fighting alongside the Continental Army.

In this movie I find a parallel with the history of the Continuum.

Beginning in 1976, brave, orthodox, Catholic minded Anglicans fought in a brutal spiritual battle (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5) with first generation-progressives in the Episcopal Church, USA. Those who fought were bruised and battered. They were ostracized and even demonized for being “schismatics.” Many lost friends and some were estranged from family. Properties were lost. Mass had to be held in rented churches, halls and store fronts, often at off-hours for services. Parishes had to be built up from virtually nothing.  I admire those who fought then and am grateful for their sacrifices.

Around 1982, when the guns stopped firing and the dust settled, many were, understandably, tired from the fight.  But instead of merely resting up and returning to the ready, both clergy and laity retired from the fight. Too many lost their stomach for battle.  Forty years later this laxity has become a problem. There is a new war to become engaged in and new battles to fight. Actually, it is a new front to a never ending war.

This war is not being fought against The Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church as a body is no longer Christian. Satan has won them over. The Continuum has been vindicated.

This war is being fought against those who oppose (some who hate) Biblical, orthodox Christianity in all its forms. Sooner than later the battle is going to come to your front door. Religious and secular progressives are not satisfied with existing alongside of Biblical, orthodox Christians. While they claim to merely want equality, what they really want is domination. Ultimately they want to punish and eventually eradicate all who oppose their evil agenda! We are going to have to fight, or give into the enemy and apostatize.

In the mean time our children and grandchildren, as well as young people and young families are being targeted, taken captive and devoured. The world attacks them through the public schools and other government institutions, through media, television and movies, through the internet and social media, and through the corporations they depend on for goods and for employment. They attack by abortion and euthanasia, by the LGBTQ agenda (which denies science and natural law) and by ever growing consumerism. The old “Main Line” churches are in league with the enemies of the Church, and the “mega-churches” act as if there isn’t a war at all.

To our shame, many in the Continuum are not much different. We live in a bubble of “tradition,” so-called. We act like chapels not churches! Chapels are worship-only communities, Churches are parish communities that worship, yes, but they also disciple, evangelize and minister to the needs that surround them. They engage the culture and instruct their parishioners on how to also.

We need to prepare for war by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We need increased prayer, additional masses and regular Bible study. We need to deepen our involvement in each other’s lives and encourage one another to stand for truth in the everyday situations we encounter. We need to seek out the lost and those in need. We need to be mindful of the mission of the Church, which is also the mission of our parishes.

More of our parishes need to get engaged in this war that is waging around us! We must shake off the attitude “If it doesn’t affect me, it isn’t my fight.” It is our fight! Truth is under attack. Souls are being lost today. What will we do? Will we, like Benjamin Martin in The Patriot, wait until we see the guns blasting outside the windows of our nave? Will our own doctor have to tell us to take the pills that end our life, or our children or grandchildren have to have an abortion, “marry” someone of the same sex, or claim a false gender? This is happening every day. It is happening right now.

These are not “political issues.” They are moral issues that are being politicized. The Church is foolish to trust in politicians and judges to defend the faith. Psalm 118:9 states “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.“ We need to pick up and put on the whole armor of God and join the fight today! We need to encourage our fellow parishioners and our priests to do so too. We need to prepare for war. We need to go to the front lines if need be. We cannot continue to ignore the smoke and sound of battle off in the distance! Men and women are losing their eternal lives right now. What more will it take?

Many, maybe some who read this, are saying “My days for fighting are over.” With all due respect, they’re not! They cannot be. A Christian’s battle with the world, the flesh and the devil is never over (2 Timothy 4:7, 8)! 1 Peter 5:8, 9 declares “…Be [in Greek, remain] sober, be [remain] vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith…”  Our roll in the Church militant may change, but we are never discharged from this army!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


June 4, 2019 (In the Octave of the Ascension)

Desire and Discipline. Often they are in conflict with each other.

As Christians we often have the desire to do what God’s Word calls us to do, but we lack or do not exercise discipline and do it.

I desire to pray more, but I’m so tired in the morning or at the end of the day so I don’t. I desire to study Scripture but then that television show I like is on tonight, or I’m rushed in the morning so I don’t. I desire to be at Sunday mass each Sunday, but I’m out late this Saturday and it’s so hard to get up Sunday morning so I don’t. I desire to tell the person I’ve hurt that I’m sorry, but they should know that so I don’t. I desire to reconcile with the person who hurt me, but they should tell me they’re sorry first, so I don’t. I desire to serve those in unfortunate circumstances, but there are so many agencies that do that so I don’t.

You get the drift…? The desire is there, but the discipline isn’t.

We are like that person who goes for their annual physical year after year and the doctor tells them to eat better, lose weight, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, exercise, etc. They leave the doctor’s office desiring to do all the things the doctor told them. They may even buy a pair of walking shoes and healthy food at the grocery store. But they don’t follow through and next year they’re back in the office hearing the same thing from their doctor.

Sunday after Sunday we hear the Word of the Great Physician from Holy Scripture. We hear the sermon of our priest (Jesus’ “physician assistant”). We hear diagnosis and counsel, and we leave the nave desiring to act upon what we have heard. But we do not exercise the discipline to do it and next Sunday, or the same Sunday in the next liturgical year, nothing has changed.

St. James 1:23, 24 sums this situation up well: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” In St. Matthew 26:41 Jesus tells us “…the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Yes, the flesh will always be the weak link to our growing in faith. Romans 7:18-25 states this in the clearest of terms. But it doesn’t have to remain as weak as it is today! The flesh can be overcome. We have been given the grace and more grace is available to us; abundant grace to overcome. We need to avail ourselves to it and act upon it.

We avail ourselves to grace by prayer, study of Scripture and especially receiving the Eucharist at every possible opportunity. If we truly cannot be at Sunday mass, go to weekday mass. Better yet, get into the discipline of assisting at both each week. And then as we avail ourselves to more grace, we need to act upon the grace we are given by exercising our will in the direction that grace leads.

Think of a canoe on a river current. While a canoe will go down stream with the current, it will wander aimlessly. It needs to be steered. A canoe needs to be paddled to get to a desired destination. Grace is the river current.  As our life flows by the current of grace, we need to be paddling, steering the canoe in order to get to a desired faith destination. If we just sit in the canoe, our life will wander aimlessly. It may even capsize.

2 Peter 1:4-8 lays out an excellent route to follow. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In verse 4 we are told of the grace we are given. The precious-promises signed upon us in Holy Baptism infuses within us the grace that makes us partakers of the nature of the Christ. We need to take this gift of grace and use it to do what the Holy Spirit leads us to do so that we add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness and love (agapē) to our faith. God will not just give us those things. He gives us grace so that we can strive by it, exercise faith and obtain them. We are to work out the grace God works in and add to our faith (Philippians 2:12, 13).

We need to strive (by grace, always by grace) to grow to the point where our desire and discipline are in sink. Where we consistently do what our regenerated spirits desire for us to do. To the point where being doers of the Word becomes “second nature.” Where it feels weird to do something other than what the Word that dwells within says. Where the new nature overtakes and then laps the old, and desire and discipline become one.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


May 28, 2019 (Rogation Tuesday)

What is the Continuing Church continuing?

I can say with certainty it’s not “Episcopalianism!” The Continuing Church was not formed to be the continuation of what the Episcopal Church USA was prior to 1976, or at any time prior.

The Continuing Church is the continuation of the Anglican branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. That branch was planted by apostolic missionaries in the first century. It flourished as a sovereign body until 1066 AD when it was brought under the authority of Rome. It regained its sovereignty in 1534 with its reformation. While the Catholic Church in England became overly influenced by Continental Protestantism (as we can say the contemporary Roman Church has been influenced by liberal Protestantism and social progressivism), it always maintained its catholicity. In the 17th and then again in the 19th century she regained and ultimately restored her catholic identity, though due to secular-state influences, not throughout the whole of the church.

The early history of Anglicanism in America is one of survival. After America gained her independence, there was much stacked against those whose ecclesiastical roots were tied to England. Because of this the Anglo-Catholics in the northern and eastern states and the Anglo-Protestants in the southern and western states had to band together in a confederation. That confederation (called the Protestant Episcopal Church) collapsed in 1976. What came out as the Continuum was not a Protestant Episcopal Church reformed of its errors (recent or historic). No! What came out was a restored Anglican branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church freed from the fetters of Protestantism that had bound her for 190 years.

This assessment is not speculative. The Fundamental Principles of The Affirmation of St. Louis state it plainly (they can be read at ). The clergy and laity that wrote those principles knew Anglicanism’s true foundation is Catholic. Only by firmly and thoroughly setting the Continuing Church on that foundation could it be truly restored.

As I look across the landscape of the Continuum within the G-4 churches (and the Province of Christ the King which should be with us as a G-5), I see that the parishes that are thoroughly embracing an Anglo-Catholic identity continue to grow, while those trying to hold onto the “ghost of Episcopalianism past” are not. Growth is not always about numbers! The truest growth is growth in faith and faithfulness. The difference between parishes that embrace an Anglo-Catholic identity and those who don’t is as simple as this: Those who embrace it are seeking something. Those who do not are still trying to escape something. In St. Luke 11:9 Jesus says “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” He says nothing to those escaping something.

Being Anglo-Catholic is not about vestments, missals, incense or ritual. Being Anglo-Catholic is about teaching the Catholic Faith as it has been understood and taught for over 2000 years. There can be a Missal or Altar Service Book on the altar. The priest can where a chasuble or cassock, surplice and stole. There can many crossings, genuflections and bowings or few. But the faith taught must be absolutely and thoroughly Catholic! And it needs to be Evangelical too! “Liturgical Preservation Society” parishes, whether to preserve “smells and bells” or “The Prayer Book” are not truly Anglo-Catholic. A survey of the teachings of the Caroline and Tractarian divines (our forefathers in faith) makes this most plain. They were seeking to grow the Church’s Catholic faith, not merely to preserve some sort of structural heritage.

I have been an Anglo-Catholic for over 20 years now. I have served in five parishes in two states; three in the more Catholic-minded north, and two here in the more Evangelical-minded south. I am convinced the future of the Continuum will only be as strong as her commitment to a thorough Anglo-Catholicism as it is outlined in the Affirmation of St. Louis. If we seek and instill those principles, that faith, in our parishes and parishioners we will thrive as much as any church that is committed to Biblical orthodoxy and morals can in these difficult days. If we do not, if we are merely trying to escape something, we will pine away and die.

But I have great hope! I believe the Continuum is getting past being a “movement” and is becoming a church! An Anglo-Catholic movement was necessary to break the fetters and shake off the past of the ECUSA. But a church; more so an Anglican Branch of the Catholic Church, is what is needed to grow into the future. All of the components needed are in place. May we submit ourselves wholly to the Holy Ghost, bring the G-4 (and one day the PCK) together in one Anglo-Catholic Church, seeking to grow as one body into the future, to the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

May 21, 2019 (Easter Feria)

The purpose of life for us as Christians is clear, we are to seek the Kingdom of God.

But what does this mean?

Seeking the Kingdom of God is seeking the Person of the crucified, resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ above everything else. Christ is King, and where He is, the Kingdom is. This is what Jesus is saying in St. Luke 17:20, 21 “…The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” The Kingdom of God has no jurisdictional limits. It is non-geographical. The Christian walking free in America and the Christian in prison for the Gospel in China are both equally in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is there because Christ dwells in each, and where Christ dwells, the Kingdom reigns.

Because Christ and His Kingdom dwell in us, Jesus teaches what He does in St. Matthew 6:19-34. The key verse in that passage is verse 33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He is telling us, ‘If you will seek me, you will have all you need.’

The argument often given against an absolute seeking of Christ is “But I need to live, make a good living, have clothes and a house and a car and nice schools and retirement and, etc.” Jesus answers this argument in St. Matthew 6:31, 32 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?…for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”  God knows what we need and moreover He knows what He wants from us; how and where He wants us to serve Him. Do we trust Him?

When Jesus says “take no thought” He is not saying we should live on the streets, totally dependent on God. The person who does that is a fool! In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 St. Paul says “…this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” There is no such thing as God-approved sloth! What Jesus is saying is we must not be anxious for any of the material things we need to live. “…your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”  Oswald Chambers calls this being “carefully careless” about everything but the Kingdom. He wrote “Get rightly related to God first, maintain that as the great care of your life, and never put the concern of your care on other things…Jesus taught that a disciple has to make his relationship to God the dominating concentration of his life, and be carefully careless about everything else in comparison to that.”

St. James 4:13-15 tells us “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” Philippians 4:11-13 states “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” These two passages provide practical instruction on what seeking Christ and His Kingdom first means.

Adopting a “Kingdom first” life means putting Christ first. It means submitting ourselves wholly to Him in thought, word, deed and desire. We need to make following Christ and serving His Body, the Church our primary concern. In St. Matthew 7:21 Jesus says “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Seeking Christ and His Kingdom first is the will of the Father.  With our relationship with God solid and secure (St. Matthew 7:24-27), we can use our “free time” on the things we need in this world. So often this gets reversed. It’s our free time that gets used for God. Jesus tells us “For where your treasure (what we value) is, there will your heart be also.” (St. Matthew 6:21). What we value is seen in how we use our time and energy.

St. Mary Magdalene exemplifies the “Kingdom first” life for us in St. Luke 10:38-42. Here, Jesus came to visit Mary and her sister St. Martha. While Martha “…was cumbered about much serving…”, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Him teach. To be “cumbered about” is to be “over-occupied” or “too busy.” When Martha complained, Jesus said to her “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part…”  There was nothing wrong with Martha wanting to be a good hostess, just not at the expense of hearing and heading Jesus’ teaching! We too must keep this balance.

Seeking Christ and His Kingdom is really not has hard to do as we may think. It may not cause  much of a change to the things we have in life. It will certainly though change why we do what we do, our motive for living. It will certainly loosen our grip on what we possess and open our heart to whatever or wherever God may lead us. It will strengthen our faith and build our trust. Along with this change, loosening, opening, strengthening and building will come peace. And who among us doesn’t want that?

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


May 13, 2019 (Easter Feria).   

I often times wonder if we realize the opportunity we have today as Anglican Catholics (all within the Continuum)? We are so blessed to be in this church at this time.

Look at what we have been given…

We have the fullness of Sacred Scripture. As I heard a bishop in the Continuum say recently “Rome adds to the Scriptures and Protestants take away from them.” We have the Patristic-Catholic faith; the dogmas of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the doctrines of the Fathers of the Undivided Church. We have the Apostolic Succession of bishops and the three-fold order of the ministry. We have all Seven Sacraments; the pillars of which are the regenerating power of Holy Baptism and the true Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. We have the Evangel, we preach the Gospel! We have a beautiful liturgy, the language of which expresses the majesty of Almighty God better than any other in the English Language.

Structurally we are “lean and mean.” Our properties can be easily maintained. We are not tied down by a large bureaucracy.  Our priests and bishops are personally accessible with a phone call or e-mail (see 1 Thessalonians 5:12). We tend to be congregational, but given what many endured when leaving The Episcopal Church, this is somewhat understandable. We must though not drift into an “every parish for itself” mentality. We must remember “No bishop, no church.” (St. Cyprian).

All of these uniquely position us within contemporary Christendom. We have much to offer. But are we aware of what it is we have been given? And being aware, are we doing what Jesus expects us to do with it…?

When I think of what we have been blessed with as Anglican Catholics, I can’t but also think of what Jesus said in St. Luke 12:48For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

Why are many of our parishes “Best kept secrets” in our communities? How can a church that was founded over 40 years ago be so little known in their own neighborhoods? In part the internal schisms of the past clouded our witness, but with those coming to an end that should no longer be a factor. We must take advantage of this recovered unity and present a unified witness. We recently saw the Presiding Bishop’s of the G-4 do this with their joint statement denouncing late term abortions. This type of unity needs to be reflected at the diocesan and parish levels. Parishes currently in different jurisdictions need to work together.  We are sisters, not rivals.

I think we have three weaknesses to shore up. First, we need to fully see what God has blessed us with. Second, we need to seize upon the opportunity we are being blessed with. And third, we must not ignore the dangerous days we are entering into. Ephesians 5:14 exhorts “…Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” And Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

In St. Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus teaches His parable of The Servants with the Talents. You’ll recall that one servant is given five talents, a second servant is given two talents and a third is given one talent. The servants given five and three talents put them to use. They risked losing them even. In doing so, they doubled what they had been entrusted with by their master. The servant given one talent took it and buried it. When the master returned, the servants with the five (which became ten) and two (which became four) were rewarded greatly. The servant that buried his one talent had it taken away and he was cast into outer darkness!

Anglican Catholics (in all the Continuing churches), we, are the servant with the five talents!  We have the fullness of what Christ has given to His Church. Don’t let our small size intimidate. God is pleased with substance not size. He can do more with three hundred discreet lappers than ten thousand gulpers (Judges 7:3-7). He turned the world upside down with only twelve Apostles (Acts 17:6). As David said to the defiant Goliath “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 14:47). We have nothing to fear. God is fully in control. We though have to take the risk, do the work and forge ahead. Burying what we have been given out of fear is far worse than taking the risk and losing all, striving to glorify God.

We have a tremendous opportunity here!  Christendom is starving for what God has given us! Do we see this? Do we believe it? Will we “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that [God’s] house may be filled.” (St. Luke 14:23)?

We live in increasingly dangerous days. The social tide is rapidly turning against Christ and His Church. Did you see where an elected official in Pennsylvania recorded himself and posted online, his own verbal assault of three teenage girls and then (on a separate day) an elderly women peacefully praying outside a Planned Parenthood? Had a Christian been recorded accosting pro-abortion protestors they would be charged with a hate crime. This pro-death politician has all but been given immunity. The message being communicated is clear…Christians are fair game. I think this type of persecution will only increase.

The wheat and the chaff of Western Christianity is beginning to be separated (St. Luke 3:17). The judgment of this portion of the house of God has begun (1 Peter 4:17). The more these increase, the more faithful Christians are going to need a place; a parish, a pastor, a family of believers to be strengthened by Word and Sacrament. A church that will not whither in the heat of the day.

We can be that church! We must be that church! It is what Christ is calling us, and has prepared us, to be.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


May 7, 2019 (St. Stanislas Bishop and Martyr)

In 2 Corinthians 13:5, St. Paul gives very poignant counsel. He says “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

One thing we can examine is why it is we are an Anglican Catholic. What do I mean? Simply this…Are we an Anglican Catholic because we are merely escaping something, or because we are urgently seeking something? Are you an Anglican Catholic because you desperately want to hold onto what The Episcopal Church was up to 1976 (or whenever you left) , or because you saw that the changes that were forced into The Episcopal Church in the 1970’s were going to impede your ability to grow spiritually into the future?

I submit that if the reason one is an Anglican Catholic is to preserve the past and not to grow into the future, then they have severely missed the mark! They are impeding the potential the Continuing Catholic Movement can have in their life and the impact their parish can have on their community and Christendom.

I’ve been in the ACC for 15 years now. I was never in The Episcopal Church, but I was in the Reformed Episcopal Church; a church that, as part of the ACNA, does seek to hold onto what The Episcopal Church once was. I left because their continued desire to “hold on” was going to impede my future spiritual growth. I wanted to press forward to all of the fullness Christ has given to His Church!

Too often I hear from people and see in parishes the desire to hold onto the past. In part I understand this. We all have a comfort zone. But if all we want is to preserve the past we, individually and corporately, will die spiritually.

In Philippians 3 St. Paul recounts his life of zeal as a Jew. Without disparaging it (for he knows it laid a foundation for him), he makes a startling statement in verses 14 and 15 “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Anglican Catholics need to heed this counsel. We are not Episcopalians holding onto what once was!  We cannot be. Why would we want to be? The Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA was a confederation of spiritualities, inherited from the Church of England when it colonized America.  From 1785 into the 1960’s it was able to hold those factions together. In the 1970’s the cohesion crumbled. The clergy and laity that organized and met in St. Louis in 1977 and again in Denver in 1978 rightly recognized the weaknesses and grounded the Continuing Church on the more sure foundation of the Patristic-Catholic Faith.

We (the clergy, people and parishes of the Continuum) are Anglican Catholics! Or, as I heard a Continuing bishop say recently, we are the Western Orthodox Church. Our doctrine (soteriology, ecclesiology, sacramentology and eschatology) is that of the undivided Church; her Ecumenical Councils and Fathers. We continue to use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as the foundation for our worship because it declares the Catholic Faith in its Anglican expression and the form of language it uses was written at the height of English grammar and prose.  In using it we heed St. Paul’s counsel in 1Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Individually and corporately we must continue (or need to start) to “press toward the mark” the Catholic Faith sets. It is a Faith deep in doctrine, in mystery and in piety.  Think of it as a gold mine within a large mountain. The deeper we dig the more veins of gold we find; sometimes little nuggets and other times whole rocks! We can never exhaust the Catholic Faith. The gold will never run out. It is as deep and rich as the Person of Jesus Christ because it is a branch of the Church He founded with His own shed blood and resurrected life.

As Anglican Catholics we need to be seeking all that Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Sacraments and the Anglican ethos provides. As we examine ourselves, our lives; the notes we right in the margins of our Bibles, the calendars we keep that show what we do with our time, our bank statements that show what we do with the blessings God provides, even the websites we bookmark on our computers, they should reflect a growth in the Catholic Faith.

If we are merely marking time, doing only that which is necessary to keep the doors of our parish open so we can have a 1928 Prayer Book Burial Office service when we die, then we are falling short of the mark!

We need to constantly check ourselves and compare ability against priority. As we age, our ability to be part of the life of our parish will change. Maybe you can no longer drive at night. One day you may not be able to drive at all (if this happens, notify your priest who must then minister to you in your home). In that case, not participating in the corporate life of the Church and your parish is completely understandable. Ability has been lost. But, if the ability is still there and we are not participating; moreover not encouraging our priests and vestries to make more available to us, then it’s a matter of priority.

Unless we become like Simeon or Anna who were day and night in the Temple, we will never spend more time doing “church things” than we do “world things.”  But we need to close that gap and make it as narrow as we can. Doing this takes examination, willingness and effort. Doing this takes grace; the grace that is given by Catholic Faith and worship. May we ever press on towards the mark it sets!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

May 2, 2019 (St. Athanasius Bishop, Confessor, Doctor)

I lost a friend on Monday. My Airedale Titus. While he was getting up in age, he was generally healthy. But unbeknownst to us, he had a tumor growing on his spleen that started to seethe. His illness and passing blindsided me and my family. I know I will get by this, but still today it stings. He was a special dog, much more than a “pet”. He was my “little buddy.” He was my wife’s “sweet boy.”

The great gift God gives us in our pets, especially dogs I think, is their example of unconditional love. Titus demonstrated that kind of love to me. Even when I was too busy (or lazy) to walk or play with him, he still showed me love. He didn’t remind me of the times I didn’t have time for him, he was just glad I had time for him “this time.” He could be in the middle of a deep nap and if I called him, he’d come and let me pet him or walk him or just talk to him. He was always there for me, always happy to see me come home or come up the steps. He knew all my secrets and never told anyone!

In part this may be because Titus was a rescue. Someone left him on the streets of Suffolk, VA in the winter of 2010. When we got him he was riddled with anxiety. He had to be crated at night and when we left him alone at home. The first few nights he barked into the night. Looking back, he probably gave his previous owner the same unconditional love he gave me and my family only to be dumped out on the streets. What must’ve been going through his gentle, loving little mind about that? But it only took a few months for the trust to build and he could be left outside the crate at night and then alone in the house.

Even as he aged, Ti (as I called him) kept his puppy-like spirit. I used to call him “the world’s oldest puppy.” His last day was hard to watch. That spirit was quickly drained away. It was very sad. As I sat with him in his last moments, I pet and kissed his head and thanked him for all the love he gave me. I cried too. While I wasn’t losing a part of myself like I would if I lost my wife or one of my sons, I was losing a friend…maybe my closest friend?

Today we tend to over-humanize animals. Cartoons have done this for years; giving human emotions and voices to them, but it’s gone beyond that. Some put the life of animals, especially long time family pets, on the same level as human life. That’s a mistake. People are made in the image and likeness of God. Animals are not. God created them of the same earthly substance He created man, but they do not possess a rational, human soul. That’s an important difference which should not be lost. While I do not accept any sort of cruelty to an animal, to be equally or more supportive of animal rights than the rights of humans is imbalanced if not sinful.

But that said, animals are  a gift from God. They consistently show us a type of love few humans show us. While they do this based on breeding and instinct, and not free will, they still do it. It’s genuine love. In this sense we can learn something from them. We can choose to love others even when they do not consistently love us. We can choose to have short memories and not hold what others do, or not do, for us (to us) against them. We can choose to be glad for the time we do have to spend with others.  We can choose to be glad to see others. We can choose to be good listeners. We can choose to be discreet and to keep secrets.

I would not say dogmatically that our pets will be in heaven with us. But, I would not rule it out either. I’m cautious because, as I’ve heard it said, “Sentiment is the enemy of truth.” Scripture though states that in the new heaven and earth, that which is to come after Jesus’ Second Coming, the lion will lay down with the lamb and a child will play with a scorpion. This being so, maybe God will give us our pets back too? If He does, I think I will see Titus again.  Rest peacefully little buddy. I won’t forget you.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


April 18, 2019 (Maundy Thursday)

The crucifixion and death of Jesus turned the order of the world upside down.

Think about it…the Jews and the Romans believed Jesus’ crucifixion meant death. Instead, it meant life eternal! They thought Jesus was defeated on Calvary. Instead, He was the great Victor! They thought it was the end. Instead, it was only the beginning! Those who viewed it saw it as a tragedy. Instead, it was the greatest of triumphs! Life defeated death.

Not much has changed since those days. The world still believes the crucifixion and death of Jesus is stupid or meaningless, the great “So what?” But those of us who are in Christ know better. We know the truth.

The crucifixion and death of Jesus is the event of all events in history. By it the fall of Adam is reversed. By it sin is taken away and forgiven. By it the curse is cancelled. By it man can choose heaven over hell. We say to the world “who cares” what you think. We know the truth.

1 John 2:15-17 states “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” This is the truth. We know the truth.

Today we begin the Triduum, the three most solemn and holy days of the year. The world around us will just go about their business. A few schools will be closed and a smatter of businesses too, but for the most part the world will continue to say “So what.”

Let us not join them! Let us recognize what these three days mean. On these days, Jesus instituted the New Covenant Passover; the Holy Eucharist. He gave us the new commandment to love one another, laying down our lives for each other, as He has done for us. He willingly, sacrificially, gave Himself up for us to suffer and die on the cross for our sins. He lay in a tomb for three days. He arose again from the dead.

These three days are the most important three days in all of the world’s history. They have meaning. They are not just like “any other day.” We can’t just yawn our way through them. Our actions cannot openly or tacitly say “So what?”

At least on these three days, may we turn our own world upside down! May we put the things of God first and the things of the world second. What really “has to be done” that cannot be done next week?

As He entered Gethsemane, Jesus told the Apostles “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” (St. Mark 14:38). Instead, they slept. What was the result? They all fled when the guards came to arrest Jesus. St. Peter denied Him three times. They all hid in fear.

Over these next three days Jesus says to us “Watch and pray!” The world will ignore Him. A good number of Christians will too. I trust we will not.

May we keep a holy Triduum.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.



April 16, 2019 (Tuesday Before Easter)

In St. Luke 22:41-44, Scripture tells us that on the night of His Passion, Jesus sweat droplets of blood as He prayed in Gethsemane. Somewhere along the way I read that some death row inmates sweat drops of blood before they are executed; that the stress of imminent death causes the capillaries just under the skin to swell and break bringing drops of blood through the pours. I always assumed this is the type of blood-sweating Jesus’ endured. I thought it was His sinless humanity tasting the fear of death on our behalf, while overcoming it without sin.

I no longer think that. Yes, Jesus did experience fear in His sinless humanity and He sanctified it by remaining faithful to His Father’s will. But I don’t think this is why He sweat drops of blood.

He sweat drops of blood because He was being crushed by sin. He was enduring the sorrow for all the sins that had been, were being, and would be committed. To SS. Peter, James and John He said “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death…” He was being crushed by sin.

Jesus felt both the quantity and the intensity of every sin ever committed; every sinful act, every idle word, every unclean thought or desire. He suffered what we should suffer. Of Jesus, Isaiah 53:4, 5 states “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him…” Jesus lived the fulfillment of that prophecy in the Garden. The Father crushed Him, for our sins.

Have we ever been crushed by sin? Have we ever felt a knot of emptiness in our stomach when we know we’ve hurt someone? Have we felt anger towards our self, within our self? Have we felt deep disappointment within our self, disappointment which eats at us and haunts us? Have we felt sorrow that cannot be calmed? That’s what it means to be crushed by sin.

I think St. Peter was crushed by the sin of his denial of Jesus. When Jesus looked at him after the cock crowed the second time, he was crushed by his denial and “wept bitterly” (St. Luke 22:54-62). I think this is why St. Peter ran with all his might to the tomb on Easter morning. He wanted to talk to Jesus, plead forgiveness and set things right. And they were set right, on the shore of the Sea of Tiberius (St. John 21:15-19).  Theologically this is called perfect contrition; sorrow solely for the sake we have offended and wounded God’s holiness.

In Gethsemane, Jesus felt the sorrow for our sins as if they were His own (Of course they were not in any part His own, He was sinless). He took our sins upon Himself as if they were His own and was crushed for them. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states this best “For [the Father] hath made [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

In His book The Promise Fr. Jonathan Morris wrote this about Jesus in the Garden “It helps me to picture Jesus going to the Father and saying, he, Jesus was the guilty one: ‘Father, Father, I am sorry. I did this and this and this. I also did that…and yes, that too.’ There were no excuses. The finger he should have pointed at us he pointed at himself. The sinless one became sin itself. Imagine the weight.”

In the Garden, Jesus did not care about beatings, thorns, nails or death. He knew they were coming (St. John 10:17, 18).  In the Garden, He felt the full weight of the cross; the burden of all of humanity’s rejection of God’s love. Isaiah 53:6 states “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Though none of us truly loves God as we should, He so loves us that He gave His only begotten Son for us. Jesus sweat those drops of blood for us, in our place. He was being crushed by our sins.

As we continue through this Holy Week may we contemplate Jesus being crushed by our sins. Let us see Jesus so identified with us that He became sin for us; taking our sins upon His sinless self, to suffer and died for us sinful ones. And then let us contemplate whether we will so identify with Him, that we will be crushed by our sins, and then  suffer and live for Him.

May we keep a holy, Holy Week.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


April 11, 2019 (St. Leo I, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor)

The Cross of Christ is the crossroads of life.  At the cross, the horizontal of humanity meets the vertical of Divinity.  The sinfulness of man’s sin, which runs across time and history, is intersected and interrupted by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The cross was no accident!  Jesus did not die upon it as a martyr! Many Christians, St. Peter among them, did, but not Jesus. No. He was the willing sacrifice for sin and the cross was the Father’s chosen altar. Why the cross? Because “…for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13). Upon the cross, Jesus was cursed to redeem man (to redeem you and me) from the curse of sin.

Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity was Incarnate and made man for this very purpose. In His earthly ministry He said the cross would be the instrument of redemption. To Nicodemus He said “…as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (St. John 3:14, 15). In St. John 8:28 He said “…When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he…” In St. John 12:27 He added “…for this cause came I unto this hour.” More emphatically in 12:32, 33 states “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

On the cross, Jesus humbly and willingly offered up Himself, by Himself, for the sins of the world. On that altar He was both High Priest and Victim (Hebrews 10:10-14). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Every man and woman who hears the Gospel must consider the truth of the cross and decide whether or not they believe its testimony. It is unavoidable. There is no going around it. There is no other way to obtain eternal salvation. On the narrow way that leads to eternal life, the cross is the “…stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word…” (1 Peter 2:8). In St. Matthew 21:44 Jesus says “…whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” We must stumble over the cross, we must be offended by it, or it will grind us to powder in eternity. The cross is a serious instrument.

Why must we stumble? Why must we be offended? Because we are no better than Adam was! We too believe we can “be as God.” We think, “I’m really a good person.” We think “I really don’t sin. I make mistakes. I fall short. But I don’t sin!” A, yes, we do! St. Paul reminds us “There is none righteous, no, not one…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:10 and 23). This is our moral state. There is only one remedy: The Cross! There is no salvation outside of it.

As we enter Holy Week, let us take time to contemplate the Cross of Christ. Let us consider our sinfulness. Let us consider the remedy Jesus has provided for our sinfulness in the cross. And then us go to, grasp and cling to the cross as never before. Let us indentify ourselves with the cross. As St. Paul wrote to the Galatians “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

May we keep a Holy Lent.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

April 4, 2019 (St. Isidore of Seville, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor)

Jesus says “…he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (St. Matthew 10: 38). St. Paul says “I am crucified with Christ… (Galatians 2:20)

Why is this important? I’m not being rhetorical. We are to take up our own cross and be crucified with Christ for a reason. It is twofold.

First, it is the only way to gain eternal life. In St. Matthew 10:39 Jesus says “…he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” The only way by which we can find eternal life is by faith in Jesus Christ. “Faith” is more than a mental assent to certain facts. Faith is putting full trust in the object of that faith. Faith is walking out on the “tight rope of Christ” without a net underneath us. For eternal life, this means putting full trust in and following Jesus. To follow Jesus is to love Jesus by keeping His commandments (St. John 15:10).

For most of us, the “end of our faith,” eternal salvation (see 2 Peter 1:4-10), is years away. This (hopefully) being so, we are to take up our own cross and be crucified with Christ now, today, to use the life we have here to prepare for eternal life.

St. Paul describes the heart of this process in Philippians 4:12 “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Being crucified with Christ is having our saving faith exercised in everyday life. It is learning to see God working in every circumstance of life; blessings and deprivations.

In St. John 6:26 Jesus rebuked the multitudes for seeking Him only because He had fed them in the wilderness. He said “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” They sought Jesus only for the blessings He could give them. When Jesus says we must take up our cross and follow Him, He is challenging us to seek Him even if everything is taken away from us.

We fall into the trap of thinking Jesus’ hand is in the blessings we receive but not the trials. We see Him in the light but not the darkness. Do we see Jesus in both the “third heaven” as well as in “the thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)? Psalm 139 says He is with us in both. He leads us by His Spirit to trials of faith to teach us something about our relationship with Him.

In this life we need to learn how to be separated from the evident, outward blessings of God and keep our faith. As Job said “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10)  Jesus uses times of abasement to show us we too often seek Him for the blessings instead of seeking Him, only for Him.

This is the daily process involved in carrying our own cross each day. It is the daily march of dying to self and living in Christ. As St. Paul states it in Galatians 2:20 “…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…”

A great example of this is seen in the life of Lazarus (St. John 11:1-44). Lazarus was Jesus’ friend. Jesus loved Lazarus. He loved Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary. And yet Jesus allowed Lazarus to get sick and to die. He allowed Martha and Mary to suffer anxiety and then grief. When Jesus was informed of Lazarus’ illness, He could have gone and healed him. In fact, He could’ve just said a word from where He was at and Lazarus would have been healed. But He didn’t. He stayed where He was at (chapter 10 says He was beyond Jordan) for two additional days before saying “Let us go into Judea again.” By the time He got to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days!

So for at least a week Jesus allowed Lazarus to be sick and then to die, and for Martha and Mary to be worried and then grieve. Why? In verse 4 Jesus told the twelve “This sickness is…for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” In verse 40 Jesus told Mary Magdalene “…if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” And then before those who gathered at the grave He prayed “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Yes. Jesus allowed Lazarus to be sick and to die, and for Martha and Mary to worry and then grieve so the Father would be glorified, and so those who saw this miracle that day and we who read about this miracle today, would come to believe in Jesus!

I’m asking myself…Am I willing to allow Jesus to use me in this way? Am I willing to be tested with sickness and even death in order for the Father to be glorified and men might be saved? Am I willing to abased for Christ as well as abound? Am I willing to take up my cross and follow Jesus and be crucified with Christ…?

May we keep a holy Lent.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

March 27, 2019 (St. John of Damascus, Confessor and Doctor)

Many people in the world today aspire to be victims.

It used to be victims were to be pitied. Today victims are honored, glorified even. Cable news programs parade them out like Macy’s on Thanksgiving. Politicians fight for greater status of victimhood so they can garner more sympathy and attention to their campaign.

So, seeing that victims are being given great honor in our society, I’ve decided I want to be a victim too! But I want to be a victim like Jesus Christ!

A victim is “A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.” No one personifies this definition as Jesus did. He was harmed, injured and killed as the result of a crime, other event or action. In Jesus’ case, it was no accident!

He was wrongfully arrested on false charges and unjustly tried three times. He was punched, slapped and spat upon. He was beaten with whips and rods, and crowned with thorns. He had to carry a cross and then was nailed to it. He was mocked and cursed. All this occurred to an innocent man!  Even as the world defines victims, Jesus is the Victim of all victims!

The great difference between most of today’s victims and Jesus is Jesus willingly offered Himself.  As both High Priest and Victim, He willingly gave Himself as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. Man, through Adam, had sinned and only a Second Adam, a sinless Adam, could atone for it. In 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22 St. Paul states “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Jesus, the Second Adam, the sinless Son of God, willingly offered Himself for your sins and mine. He offered Himself in meekness. He offered Himself in humility. But He also offered Himself in power! In St. John 10:17, 18 He told the Jews “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again…”

This is the kind of victims we want to be! Men and women victimized in Jesus.

And we can!  We can follow Christ in willfully offering ourselves up to God. Our offering will not propitiate sin, but it will further the work of redemption in the world. To the Philippians, St. Paul wrote “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12). What “happened unto” St. Paul was his suffering and imprisonment for the Gospel. Eventually what happened unto him was his martyrdom in Rome. He willingly offered himself, accepting all he was laid victim to, for Christ and the furthering of the Gospel.

To the Galatians he wrote “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

And again to the Philippians he wrote “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (Philippians 2:17)

In his final written words he says “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day…” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

This is the type of victimhood we are to aspire to! The victimhood St. Paul willingly accepted, following the example of Jesus.

Of course, the world does not see this as victimhood. They scoff at those who offer themselves for others, for the Gospel and the glory of God in Christ. But who cares what the world thinks?! St. James 4:4 states “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” If need be we must become enemies of the world in order to be the friends of God. In St. Luke 12:4, 5 Jesus says “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”

So line up! Let us meekly and humbly present ourselves as living sacrifices, ready to be offered for the sake of the Gospel. Let us aspire to be victims! Victims for Christ and the Gospel.

May we keep a holy Lent.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.



March 20, 2019 (St. Cuthbert, Bishop and Confessor)

Have you been to Confession yet?

No? Why not? We’re already two weeks into Lent!

I’ve heard all (well, many) of the reasons why Anglican Catholics do not receive the Sacrament of Penance. Here are the top six:

  1. Anglican Catholics don’t believe in Confession, that’s Roman.
  2. I confess my sins every day when I pray Morning and Evening Prayer.
  3. I say the General Confession and receive absolution every Sunday at mass.
  4. I don’t trust priests to keep the seal of the confessional.
  5. I feel funny telling my priest my sins. I’m afraid he will think badly about me.
  6. I don’t think it’s necessary to confess my sins to a man, I confess them directly to God.

My dear reader, none of these reasons are legitimate. They are excuses!

Let me address each individually.

Anglican Catholics believe and practice all Seven Sacraments. In Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice (pg. 77) Archbishop Haverland states “…a good churchman should receive this sacrament at least once a year before making his Easter communion.” The Sacrament of Penance is practiced by each of the Catholic Churches around the world. How it is practiced differs, but that it is practiced is the same. That there is no office or rite for this sacrament in the Prayer Book is often used as prima facie evidence it’s not Anglican. But the reason it’s not in the Prayer Book is simple, it is not part of common prayer! If, as happened in times past, confessions were made publicly (thankfully they are not), there would be an office or rite for this Sacrament. The Prayer Book does refer to this Sacrament twice, in the third Exhortation on page 88 and in the rubric in the Visitation of the Sick on page 313.

Confessing our sins in Morning and Evening Prayer is something we should do, but there is no absolution!  We cannot absolve ourselves, and unless we have perfect contrition; sorrow solely for the fact our sins offend God, there is no assurance of absolution.  If we attend public Morning and Evening Prayer in our parish, the Office confessions do not allow us to state our sins in kind and number. It is a “general” confession. And, the Office absolution form is precatory (in the form of a prayer), not personal absolution.  A priest must be aware of a sin to absolve it.

What is true about the confession and absolutions in the daily Offices is also true about the Holy Communion service. While the confession at mass is directly connected to the forgiveness of sins provided by the one, perfect sacrifice and oblation of Christ on the Cross, it is still general. It is a not an individual confession. The confession itself says “We acknowledge…which we from time to time have committed…Have mercy upon us…that we may ever hereafter…”  It is a corporate statement of forgiveness with a corporate absolution.

I am very sympathetic towards anyone who has had a priest break the seal of the confessional. It has happened to me indirectly. If it has happened to you, I apologize on the behalf of the priestly fraternity. It should never happen! Archbishop Haverland gives some great examples of the absolute nature of ‘the seal’ on pages 77 and 78 of Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice. He concludes by saying “A priest who violates the seal of confession is subject in the Anglican Catholic Church to automatic excommunication and deposition from office.” This is a serious matter! If it has happened to you, notify your Bishop. But still, feeling myself to be a victim of ‘the seal’ being broken, I have to say, don’t stop receiving the Sacrament! Find another priest and tell him about your bad experience. I trust he will abide by ‘the seal’.

People feel funny going to their priest for confession because he knows them personally. And since in ACC parishes the Sacrament is usually administered in the sanctuary at the Communion rail, the priest will almost certainly know who is making the confession. I can assure you that we, as priests, do not think badly of those who receive the Sacrament! In fact the opposite is true! We think you are courageous and hold you in high spiritual esteem!

The sixth of the reasons is the most dangerous, spiritually. We are presumptuous, if not haughty, to think “I only need to confess my sins to God.” Good luck with that! St. James 5:16 states “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” When Jesus gave the Apostles the authority of binding and loosing, He knew we would have to confess our sins to a priest for them to be loosed (or bound). I empathize with those in churches that do not believe in auricular confession because they don’t understand Scripture properly, and therefore do not have any form of this sacrament. But we have no excuse.

Full disclosure, I receive the Sacrament of Penance three times a year. I receive it because I don’t trust myself! I trust God’s mercy and forgiveness, but I don’t trust my ability to have perfect contrition. I think too little of the sinfulness of my sins and presume too much upon the forgiving nature and mercy of God. Psalm 19:13 states “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” The most presumptuous sin may just be presuming we have the ability to absolve ourselves from our sins.

If you have yet to, please examine your conscience, make an appointment with your priest and receive the Sacrament of Penance this Lent!

May we keep a holy Lent!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.



March 11, 2019 (Lenten Feria)

What is our expectation of prayer?

Do we expect it’s supposed to be easy?

Yes, there are times when prayer can be easy. And, we can hope our prayer time is always easy.  But, that’s not realistic. Prayer is labor. Prayer is warfare!

In Colossians 4:12 St. Paul commends Epaphras for “…always labouring fervently for [the Colossians] in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”  When St. Paul lists the pieces of the full armor of God he includes “…Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:18).

When I contemplate developing a prayer life, I think of Jacob wrestling with the Angel in Genesis 32:24-32. Jacob had sent his family over the brook Jabbok and was alone in Penuel. During the night, he wrestled with “a man.”  This man was a theophany; a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ. Jacob wrestled with Him all night, and would not let go until he was given a blessing. The “man” blessed Jacob, changing his name to Israel which means “may God prevail.” Jacob is the one who names the place of this encounter Penuel, which means “face”, or “vision of God.” When we pray, we see God’s face (1 Corinthians 13:12) and we wrestle with His Word in the expectant hope He will give us a blessing.

When I contemplate a fully developed prayer life, I think of Jesus in Gethsemane (St. Matthew 26:36-46 and St. Luke 22:39-46).  In the garden, Jesus entered into full combat with Satan! The fullness of His humanity was put to the test!  As He pleaded with His Father for the cup to pass, He sweat droplets of blood!  We don’t know every word He said, but I picture Him praying the Psalms. Jesus knew the Father’s will. He knew what He had to do. His prayer was a plea for strength more than for relief; an example to teach us about prayer, more than a prayer for Himself. Three times He asked the Father to be relieved of His burden…three times the Father said No!  In the end, He left it all in the Father’s hands. “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.”

St. Paul imitated Jesus in his own prayer life. In his prayers, God had brought him into the third heaven. What could be more exhilarating in prayer than to be brought into the third heaven? But he also experienced the warfare of prayer!  God had left a thorn in his flesh, “…the messenger of Satan…” to buffet (strike with a fist, treat violently) him.

St. Paul knew of what he wrote in Romans 8:22-27 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body…Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” I think this passage describes his own prayer life; a life of groaning and travail, a life of waiting and expectation, a life filled with hope!

When we pray we should include both listening to and talking with God. Daniel 9:1-10 exemplifies this for us. First he read and understood the prophecies Jeremiah had written before Judah’s exile in Babylon. He then made his prayers and supplications to God based upon what he read. We too should read Scripture to guide the intercessions (prayers for others) and supplications (prayer for our self) we present to God. We don’t want our prayer time to become a “gimme list!”  Our prayer life should be built according to Isaiah 28:9-13 “…precept upon precept, line upon line…here a little, and there a little…”

If we are consistently reading Scripture as part of our prayer time, then when we don’t have a Bible with us and we offer up prayers for various circumstances in various situations, we will find our prayers will still be Scriptural.

When we don’t know what to pray, pray the Psalms! When we pray the Psalms we pray God’s words back to Him. Sometimes we may match our circumstances to the psalmist’s (a line, a passage or a whole Psalm), other times we may not. It does not matter!  Edward Pusey wrote “To pray the psalms perfectly is to pray them to God; they need leave no impression. It is the spirit, not the understanding, which is to do the work.” We can also pray the Lord’s Prayer, or any of the prayers St. Paul prayed in his Epistles (Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-21, Philippians 1:3-11, 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10). We can pray these prayers of St. Paul extant, or we can personalize and adapt them as needed.

What is our expectation of prayer?

Pusey wrote “Nothing makes prayer bad or good but perseverance and longing; all the rest are accidents. Sweetness is God’s gift; a sort of answer he sometimes makes to prayer. To pray in dryness and heartlessness may often be the most acceptable sort of prayer.”

Wise words to remember when we pray.

May we keep a holy Lent.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

March 8, 2019 (St. John of God, Confessor)

The Christian life is totally, completely, absolutely about imitating Jesus.

Ephesians 5:1 states “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;”

We love, because Jesus loves. We pray, because Jesus prayed. We fast, because Jesus fasted. We weep, because Jesus wept. We get angry (over unrighteousness), because it angered Jesus too.

We also suffer, because Jesus suffered. Suffering is part of the journey of salvation. Since Jesus suffered on that journey (for our salvation), we will suffer on our journey (working out our salvation, Philippians 2:12, 13).

One of the more powerful passages of Scripture is Philippians 3:10, 11 (actually the whole of 3:7-15 is amazingly powerful) “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

St. Paul’s one desire was to attain a share in the resurrection from death Jesus had attained. In order to do this, he knew first had to die as Jesus did. Not necessarily physical death (Philippians 1:21), but most certainly death to himself and to the world. Philippians 3:13b, 14 states he pressed on towards, he strove for; “…the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  This high calling is resurrection and eternal life!

In Galatians 2:20 he states he had, in a sense, attained the first part. He had been crucified with Christ. That verse states “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  St. Paul had died to himself and now lived in and by Christ! He lived by the faith of Christ, as he pressed on to attain the result of that life; the resurrection from the dead.

In Philippians 3:12, 13a he states he had yet to attain that ultimate goal of resurrection and eternal life. This is something only Christ Himself can give! And yet he continued to strive towards it in the hope Christ would find him faithful right up to the end.

Every Christian is called to strive as St. Paul strove. Each of us is called to imitate Jesus and take up our cross and follow Him, being crucified with Him. We do so in the hope of attaining the resurrection from dead. We do so in the hope of attaining eternal life in heaven.

Imitating Jesus; in life, in suffering, in crucifixion (death to our self) is the Christian life. If we are faithful in imitating Jesus, then He will give us the grace to attain to the resurrection.

May I suggest this Lent we meditate upon the life of Jesus to gain guidance on imitating Him?

St. Mark’s Gospel is very good for doing this, because it is concise. The Prayer Book assigns us to read portions of it in Evening Prayer in the third and fourth weeks of Lent, but it’s only about two chapters worth.

As side reading, take this Gospel, and read and meditate on a little of it each day. In this mediation focus on what Jesus did. Focus on things like His baptism, those He healed and what He says about them, and His feeding of the 5,000. If you desire to know more about an event St. Mark reports, find its parallel in the other Gospel accounts. Give a lot of focus to chapters 11-15, which records what Jesus did (and said) from Palm Sunday onward.

I think in contemplating these actions of Jesus; seeing what He did to gain our salvation, we will find guidance and strength on how to imitate Him as we work out our own.

May we keep a holy Lent!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


March 5, 2019 (Feria / Shrove Tuesday)

The city I grew up in, in Ohio had a large municipal pool. The pool complex had three separate swimming areas; the shallow area which was 3 to 4 feet deep, the middle area which was 5 ½ feet deep, and the separate, deep, 12 foot diving pool. For three summers in a row, my older brother and I rode our bikes to the pool to take swimming lessons. I was 6-8 years old.

The first year I only swam in the shallow area, and the instructors introduced me to the middle area. I was too scared to go in the deep pool. The second year I swam most of the time in the middle area, and was introduced to the deep pool, but did not dive in. The third year I swam exclusively in middle area, and dove into the deep pool!

I think this is a good way for us to approach Lenten disciplines. If this is the first time we’ve seriously considered doing more than just “give up” something we plan to go right back to after Easter; then consider staying in the “shallow end” this year. Receive the Sacrament of Penance, add an additional time of prayer and give up or stop doing something with the full intention of never taking it up or doing that thing again. It does not have to be something big, but make it something significant.

For those who have been swimming in the shallow end of Lent for awhile now, let us consider staying in the “middle, 5 ½ foot deep area” this year. Receive the Sacrament of Penance, add prayers to your prayer time and an additional time of prayer with the intent of continuing both after Easter, and give up or stop doing something that will be difficult, again with the intent of not going back to it after Easter.

For those who have been swimming in the middle area, let us consider diving into the “deep pool” of Lent this year!  Receive the Sacrament of Penance (of course), and add and remove things from your life to draw you closer to Christ with the intent of continuing them after Easter. But then also begin the practice of some form of a spiritual exercise. I suggest rising early or staying up later each day and using that time for this exercise. Use this time for “one on one” time with God, with no distractions.

There are a number of great books available, both old and new, that can guide us through these exercises.

The deep pool is a great place to pick up praying the Rosary!  The Rosary is the “prayer of the Gospel,” it allows us to meditate on the mysteries of our salvation. We need not limit ourselves to the Sorrowful Mysteries because it is Lent. There are guides available that help bring additional Scripture into our Rosary prayers. Another great meditation is the Stations of the Cross. The St. Augustine Prayer Book has a fine version in it. A third is the Adore te, Domine Jesu Christe (I adore Thee, Lord Jesus Christ). You can find it online, or e-mail me and I can send it to you. It’s beautiful and powerful!

I suggest picking just one exercise and sticking with it. Like any good exercise routine, the only way to know we are getting stronger is to stick with our routine.

Swimming in the deep end of Lent aids us in growing in our love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Such growth is so important to the Christian life!

In his second Epistle, St. Peter exhorts “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8).

If we are to be partakers of Christ (v.4), we must not be unfruitful or barren in our knowledge of Christ (v.8). The way to accomplish both is to add to our faith! This is what the Church calls us to do in Lent; add to our faith!

No matter what part of the Lenten pool you will swim in this year, please do jump in and swim!  Don’t sit along the side, wading your feet in the water. Jump in! Dive in if the water is deep enough! This Easter, may we not look back and think “I wish I would have…” or “I failed again…” or worst of all “Oh well, Lent will be here again next year…”

May we keep a holy Lent!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

February 18, 2019 (Feria)

I pray regularly I don’t become an “Apology-Christian”?

I pray I don’t preface the things I say to others with “Well, I’m a Christian and here’s what I think…” I shouldn’t have to. The moral and social standards of the Christian faith are foundational to the order of human life. Civilized, Western society is based upon them. It’s the ‘agents of change,’ those who want to chip away at or nuke that foundation that need to preface what they say with “Well, I’m a ___________ and here’s what I think…”

Romans 1 is a sound standard for Christian’s to abide by. In verses 16, 17 St. Paul declares “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Everything St. Paul believed, said and lived was premised upon the Gospel. He made no apologies for it.

Why? St. Paul tells us in verses 19, 20 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them (all men); for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Man innately knows he is made in the image and likeness of God. All of his (individual and corporate) attempts at “change” are a rebellion against God.

Verses 21-23 and 25 tell us the results of this rebellion “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

Men and women who want to change Christian moral and social standards first remake God in their own image and likeness, and then (now) toss that idol-god aside too and say “There is no God!” Or maybe more blasphemous “I am my own god!”

St. Paul recognizes the unreasonableness of those hardened in their idolatry. In Verses 31, 32 he says they are “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Let me say here that I am no better than those described above. Even though I desire to uphold Christian moral and social standards, I too am a sinner (Romans 2:1 and 3:10-12). As St. James 2:10 states “For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” And while those who want ‘change’ know there is a God and that He has a standard which they are rebelling against (if nothing else, against Natural Law), many of them do not know Scripture and so they are not culpable for it. I do know Scripture, and yet I still sin, so I am culpable for it.

What I also know is I am being saved by the grace of Jesus Christ!  I am a Christian who believes the Scriptures and am striving by His grace to live by faith and be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.

When I sin (which I do all too often) I try to limit the collateral damage. While there is such a thing as “personal sin,” there is no “private sin.” Every sin offends me as the sinner and at least one other, God!  He is offended by every sin we commit, even the personal ones, so no sin is private (St. Luke 12:1-3). And personal sin can come to affect other people, if it leads us to water down our moral thinking or not speak out against evil because we engage in it repetitively.

If you know you are a sinner being saved by grace, then good!  St. Paul knew this too. Though he had always been a very religious Jew, he opposed Jesus personally when he persecuted His Church!  In Acts 9:4 Jesus said “Saul, Saul why persecutes thou me.” St. Paul knew he too was a sinful man being saved by God’s grace (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Armed with this knowledge about ourselves being in Christ; that our only righteousness comes from being found in Him, we need to make no apologies about our moral and social beliefs! Our Master has given us the right (actually the commission) to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) in the public square, declaring and defending Christian moral and social standards. Like St. Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17) or before Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25 and 26) we should speak with confidence. In defending his ministry for Christ, he said “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:19).

In being obedient to our heavenly commission we may be laughed at the way the philosophers on Mars Hill laughed, called crazy (Acts 26:24), or be shouted down as St. Paul was in Ephesus (Acts 19:34), but we must press on! God will make our face strong against our adversaries, hard as an adamant stone (Ezekiel 3:8, 9) and give us the ability to defeat the arguments of the “agents of change,” leaving them to ad hominem responses, which we must be willing to accept.

I pray I don’t become an Apology Christian. I pray you will not become one either.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


February 12, 2019 (St. Benedict Biscop, Abbot)

The headline of an article I saw last week said something about people being “Sacramentalized but not Evangelized.” I didn’t get to read the article, but the headline alone got me thinking…

The church I was raised in “sacramentalized” me, but it did not “evangelize” me. A lot of attention was given to things like mass attendance and the Sacraments, but I was taught little (I recall nothing, but I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt) about personal faith in Jesus Christ! That was considered “too Protestant.”

In my life, being sacramentalized worked for a season. Of course it would, because the Sacraments are real, objective means of grace. But it wasn’t enough. The soil of my soul was “stony,” and when the turmoil of being a teenager crashed upon me, it wasn’t deep enough and the seed withered away (St. Mark 4:5, 6). It always will. By the time I was 17, I was practically an agnostic. This nearly cost me my soul eternally.

It is important to sacramentalize the faithful. It is. But it cannot be the “be all and end all.” If all a person is given is the sacraments, their faith will either fail or remain superficial. The grace given in the sacraments must be received by faith to have their full intended effect upon the soul (in theology this is the virtus sacramenti). Without faith in Christ, our “Christianity” is built upon sand (St. Matthew 7:24-27).

The duty of the Church in the lives of her children is four-fold. She is to initiate grace into their souls through Holy Baptism. She is to introduce them to Jesus Christ and teach them the Faith He gave the Church; the faith they need to believe to be saved. She is to provide the ongoing means of grace through the other six Sacraments so faith can be strengthened. And she is to provide the means by which their faith can grow and be lived out. When a church does these four things it is a “good and faithful servant” of Jesus Christ (St. Matthew 25:21).

The church I was raised in was faithful in two of those four. It initiated grace and provided the ongoing means of grace. That is good, better than many churches, but it is incomplete!  It is too much Martha and not enough Mary (St. Luke 10:38-42). You’ll recall in this account that Martha was “…cumbered about much serving…” while Mary Magdalene “…sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.”

The right balance is found in taking the following steps. First, initiate and emphasize the grace given in Holy Baptism. Next, the necessity of grasping the grace given, and having personal faith needs to be taught. Proper preparation for Confirmation is essential!  For those who have already been confirmed, emphasis needs to be put upon prayer, the study of Scripture, and weekly (if not more often) reception of the Holy Eucharist. The Sacrament of Penance needs to be highly encouraged too . Armed with these instruments of the Faith, the faithful can have confidence their faith will not fail in times of trial, and that their works have been prepared by God in advance for them to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).

The Church must Sacramentalize and Evangelize!  Sacramentalizing gives the grace. Evangelizing gives the guidance. When a church doesn’t do both, there is little chance her children will remain or continue in the Faith.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


February 7, 2019 (St. Romuald, Abbot)

If you use the daily lectionary of the 1928 Prayer Book, then you are currently reading portions of St. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians in Morning Prayer. On Monday we read Colossians 1:1-17.

In the midst of that section is verse 10, which states… “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” This is part of a prayer St. Paul prayed for the Colossians, which spans from verses 9-13 (at least).

Since reading that verse, here is what I have been musing on…

What does it mean to “…walk worthy of the Lord”?

The word “walk” in Greek means “to make one’s way.” The Hebrew equivalent means “to live.” So here St. Paul is inspired to tell us we are to make our way and live in a manner that is worthy of the Lord.

What does living worthy of the Lord look like? Scripture tells us. Romans 13:13 says we are to live honestly. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we are live by faith. Ephesians 5:2-15 says we are to live in love, as children of light and circumspectly (diligently). Philippians 3:17 says we are to live as examples of faithfulness. This is how we walk worthy of the Lord!

Here is an analogy that came up in our Thursday Bible study, in reference to what it means to be a “double-minded man” (St. James 1:8). There are essentially three types of “walkers.” There are those who walk with both feet on the curb. There are those who walk with one foot on the curb and one in the street. And there are those who walk with both feet fully in the street. Let me explain them in reverse order.

Those who walk with both feet in the street are worldly. Some walk there knowing they might get hit and others do so ignorantly. Both take the chance they won’t get hit, though one day, they will. Either in life or at death they will be hit by Satan’s bus and get run over.

Those who walk with one foot in the street and one on the curb are the “double minded,” or as Jesus describes them to St. John in Revelation 3:16, they are “lukewarm.” They have been baptized and confirmed, but never make any real changes in their life. They do something “religious” for an hour or so a week and may pray occasionally, but they do not live as Christians. They are in great danger here! They fool themselves thinking they are safe because one foot is on the curb, and forget they also have one foot in the street and can be hit by Satan’s bus!

Those who walk with both feet on the curb are those who make their way and live worthy of Christ. They take hold of the grace they are given in Holy Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist and live by faith, faithfully; observing those things Scripture states of those who “walk worthy.” They are totally safe because both feet are securely on the curb where Satan’s bus cannot get them!  Because they aren’t perfect, occasionally they might straddle the curb line at the street a little, but when they recognize it they get both feet firmly back on the sidewalk!

Let us ask ourselves “What type of walker am I?” And if we are not walking with both feet on the curb, then let’s change what we need to change in order to do so.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

February 4, 2019 (St. Gilbert of Sempringham, Abbot)

You have probably read articles or seen television reports that address whether the most recent heinous, pro-abortion legislative actions of some “Catholic” politicians warrants bishops to ex-communicate those involved?

I have read and seen a number of those reports, but have not seen or heard a single bishop reference 1 Corinthians chapter 5 or 2 Corinthians 2:3-11, from which canons of ex-communication derive from Biblically.

In the situation St. Paul addressed in Corinth, he was informed that a member of that church had entered into an incestuous relationship with his natural father’s wife.  The leadership of the Church at Corinth new about the relationship, as did a good number of the laity, yet no “canonical” penalty was placed upon him. In his office as an Apostle (which bishops now hold), with the authority of The Keys (St. John 20:21-23) he stepped in, adjudicated it, and then informed the Corinthian church to ex-communicate that man (see 1 Corinthians 5:3-5).

The purpose of ex-communication is twofold.  First, it is imposed to remove a sinful person from the faithful so as to protect the entire congregation from his sin. 1 Corinthians 5:6 says “Know ye not that a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump?” Allowing someone who is willfully engaging in mortal sin (in the case of these politicians by legislating it) to remain in a church places the spiritual life of all members of that church in jeopardy.  In such cases, the responsibility of the bishop is to remove that person by ex-communication. If the sin is public, the ex-communication should be public (see St. Matthew 18:15-18).

The second purpose of ex-communication is to, hopefully, cause the one it is imposed upon to stop that act of mortal sin, repent and return to being a faithful member of the Church. 2 Corinthians 2:3-11 is the passage that instructs the Church here. In the case of the incestuous man, the Corinthian church accepted St. Paul’s judgment and ex-communicated the man. Scripture indicates their actions were severe, for 1 Corinthians 5:11 states the faithful were not to socialize with him at all! 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15 echoes this same directive. In the Corinthian case the man did repent, he ended the relationship, received absolution (2 Corinthians 2:10) and at St. Paul’s command, was restored.

Even if the man had persisted in his sinfulness, St. Paul and the clergy of the Church in Corinth did the right thing. As much as it is desired for the one ex-communicated to repent, be absolved and restored, that is not the sole purpose of the ban!  The spiritual life of a congregation, a diocese, or in the case of nationally known politicians, the faith of Christian’s nationwide is at stake!

By not taking the action Scripture states is to be taken in such cases is to say, tacitly if not directly, the sin is okay. And given our fallen natures, even people who are not being complicit in infanticide as these politicians are, can tend towards excusing sin. The thinking is “If the Church doesn’t act on his / her big sin, then it must be okay with my littler sin.” I just read an article where a second Roman Catholic governor (in Rhode Island), no doubt emboldened by Governor Cuomo in New York and his Bishop’s inaction, is also backing a pro-infanticide law.

I regularly hear certain bishops errantly siding on mercy for perpetrators.  Some say the death penalty is illicit. Some shield sexual predator-priests from prosecution. For years a number of them have given a pass to politicians who take public stands against Scriptural morality. All of these are done in the name of “mercy,” so called.

St. Paul and St. Jude do not agree this is mercy! 1 Timothy 1:20 states St. Paul delivered two men, Hymenaeus and Alexander, over to Satan that “…they may learn not to blaspheme.”  St. Jude v. 23 says there are some people the Church “…must save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”  It is not merciful for bishops to affirm people in their sins! It is merciful to do what the Holy Spirit, in Scripture, instructs them to do in order to save their souls! If they knowingly come to the Holy Eucharist in the state of mortal sin, they eat and drink “unworthily” to their spiritual death (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). How is that merciful?

In truth, by not taking action up to and including the ban of ex-communication on a “…open and notorious evil liver…” (BCP rubrics pgs 84, 85) bishops become complicit in the sin. Ezekiel 3:17-19 states this unequivocally.  Furthermore, Ezekiel 34:1-10 states bishops, as shepherds, must protect their flock by removing the leaven of sin from the lump. If they do not, God will judge them most strongly! They prove themselves to be hirelings (St. John 10:12, 13) and not true shepherds (1 Peter 5:1-4). The belief of these bishops that non-action on their part is an act of “mercy” is a deceptive lie from the father of lies himself.

I’m not a canon lawyer, nor have I studied much canon law. But in this instance I don’t think I need to be. Herein lays one of the great strengths of the Anglican Catholic faith and its practice. Our faith and practice is based upon Prima Scriptura, Scripture first. Where Scripture, rightly divided, speaks plainly no other voice is needed. Where it is not as clear we turn to the consensus fidelium in Sacred Tradition to interpret Scripture and direct action.  When a church places their traditions on a level equal (or greater) to Scripture, they fall into the trap Jesus warned of in St. Mark 7:13.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

January 31, 2019 (St. John Bosco, Confessor)

Congratulations Virginia, we have our first “Infanticide Governor.”

Yes, that’s right, Governor Ralph Northam, who is a pediatric neurologist, supports a bill proposed by Delegate Kathy Tran that would have made abortion legal through birth (40 weeks).

All third trimester abortions are absolutely ghoulish, but in the discussion in the House of Delegates about the proposed bill, Del. Tran acknowledged the child could be aborted even as the head was crowning!  Northam took it a step further. In a radio interview he said (quote) “So in this particular example (a baby that is out of the womb after an attempted abortion), if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” In other words, after making the infant “comfortable” the mother and her doctor could still decide to kill the infant who is outside of the womb!

Northam does not try to cloak his language in “medical speak.” He says “the infant.” As a medical doctor he is not someone who is likely to confuse terms. In acknowledging the first victim of an abortion is the infant (the mother is the second victim), Northam is saying he is pro-infanticide!

Later in the day Northam did not back track. He tweeted “I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.” Yeah Mr. Northam, I remember the campaign commercials you ran about your care for children (“I’m Ralph Northam, and I approve this message.”). But guess what, it doesn’t matter! If you are pro-infanticide, and especially if one day you sign a bill into law that makes infanticide legal in Virginia, any good you may have done for children will be lost. That’s not my opinion. That’s God’s Word!

Ezekiel 33:12-19 is very clear on this. Verse 18 sums it up “When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.” I may have been a “good person” all my life, but if I turn to evil, God will not overlook my evil because of the good I’ve done. All the good Doctor Northam may have done can be wiped away by an evil act Governor Northam might perpetrate.

Thanks be too God, the bill Del. Tran introduced was defeated!  But by introducing it, Governor Northam has put his moral position into the public square for all to see. He is a “canary in the coal mine” for the pro-abortion lobby in Virginia. One day he will face voters again, and the radio interview and any subsequent defense of his sinful position will be fare game to be used by whoever his opponent will be. I hope pro-life Virginians in all political parties will remember his defense of the indefensible.

Moreover, I pray he will repent from this evil, re-embrace his Hippocratic Oath, and as both physician and governor NEVER sign a bill that would make such evil, legal.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


January 30, 2019 (Bl. Charles Stuart, King and Martyr)

I was at the veterinarians last week to buy special food for my Airedale, Titus. When I went to pay, the credit card machine wasn’t accepting the charge. As I stood there I told the secretary if the charge cannot be registered I’ll have to come back because I didn’t have cash on me.   She told me their machine had been acting up and after running it a second time the charge was accepted.

On the way home this got me thinking…

When credit cards first started to be used widely I told myself “I’ll never switch to credit only, I’ll always use cash.” Over the years that has changed. At first I would only use credit for things like gasoline or to make a large purchase. Over time I’ve started using it increasingly for more things, and this past Sunday I used it to purchase a $.88 cup of coffee!

Using credit instead of cash, in itself, is not a moral problem. It can become a financial problem if I don’t pay my balance off each month, but alone it’s not a problem. That being the case, why then am I expressing concern? Because I can see that, in this instance, I have bought into the thinking of “the world.”

I’m not a conspiracy person, but I do believe the world and the flesh are in league with Satan. Scripture teaches us this (1 John 1:15, 17). In this matter, it’s the world’s financial sector that wants consumers to go cashless because then they can cut back on labor costs and the need to have bank buildings people actually go to. Both allow them to save money. Also, with about 43% of Americans not paying off their credit card balance each month, these institutions are making large amounts off the interest, more than enough to offset what they lose due to credit fraud and bankruptcy relief. I think these are forms of “corporate capitalism” which hurts workers and families. I believe in “consumer capitalism” that is fair to workers and families, while still making fair profits for business owners and corporations.

What if one day cash is taken totally out of the system and the only way to make a purchase is by using a credit card? And what if, using the algorithms we see Facebook, Google and Twitter using to determine “hate” web sites and speech, it is determined transactions won’t process to purchase Christian materials or support Christian causes? We’ve already seen this with a couple of banks that will not allow purchases at gun stores. By giving in to “cashlessness” I am contributing to moving the whole system in that direction, which could become sinister.

It may be inevitable that even if I made every purchase using cash, the system will sooner than later be cashless. If that happens, as long as the market remains free to purchase all things the way we currently can, in itself it is not immoral.

But my credit card use has me thinking about whether I am giving into the world and the flesh in other areas?  If so, how far along will I go before either my moral standards change or I have no choice but to do what the world says to do?

Here is one example. A growing number of cable television stations are running advertisements that promote the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle. The images are sometimes subtle, though for some alcoholic beverage ads they are very “in your face.” The shows on those stations at the time the ads run may be okay, but in order to watch it you get the immoral ads too.

What I’ve started to do is DVR almost everything I like to watch so I can fast forward through the commercials. This allows me to watch as much of the show as I’m interested in without watching the commercials. It works, for now, but my concern is if this catches on advertisers will get the networks to work their ads into a format where it is harder or impossible to do.

It is getting harder and harder for Christians to escape the immorality of the world, the flesh and the devil. Those who call themselves “Progressives” are not content with being allowed to believe and display their immorality in public. They demand everyone agree with them and affirm their immorality. They are “winning” in a number of arenas, including some churches that are helping to normalize it.

As Christians we are called to be “in the world, but not of the world.” Jesus’ perpetual prayer for us is that we be preserved from evil in the world, not taken from it (St. John 17:14-19). We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:16-21), living in a foreign land. While we are immersed in a culture that has surrendered large parts to Satan’s control, we must continue to represent the agenda of our King and fulfill the commission (St. Matthew 28:19, 20) He has given us.

I’m not suggesting we cancel our credit cards and cable subscriptions, or throw out our televisions and turn our homes into cloistered monasteries!  But I am suggesting we be very mindful of the subtle changes being pressed upon us. We don’t want to realize one day we’ve gone too far and are trapped.

Last thought…One day I walked into my (high school) sophomore biology class to find the teacher had placed a living frog inside an uncovered Pyrex beaker filled with water which was on a hot plate. Since my last name begins with “B” I was in the front row and the set up was right in front of me. Throughout the 40 minute class the teacher would, without stopping his lecture, casually walk over and slightly increase the temperature of the hot plate. By the end of the class the water in the beaker was at a boil and the frog (who had also boiled) never jumped out!

We don’t want to be that frog.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


January 28, 2019 (Bestowal of the Anglican Catholic Episcopate)

The Founders of the Continuum were wise and brave people. Like the Founding Fathers of the United States they “pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor” for the continuation of Anglican Catholicism in the United States and Canada. The  U.S. Founding Father’s pledge was made for a noble cause, to begin and build a nation. The pledge the Founders of the Continuum made was for an even nobler cause, to preserve and re-build the Anglican branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! As great as the founding of a free republic is, it has only temporal consequences. The founding of a church body to continue Catholic-Anglican orthodoxy has eternal consequences.

In both the founding of this nation and the founding of the Anglican Catholic Church there was great opposition. For America it was England. For the ACC it was the Episcopal Church. The motives of England and the ECUSA were similar; both wanted power and control! England wanted power and control over the Colonies. The ECUSA wanted power and control over Catholic-Anglicans. For both the Colonists and the Anglican Catholics, that was untenable. The reasons are different for both, and that is where this comparison must end.

Anglican Catholics had to separate from the ECUSA because it had fallen into institutional evil. For almost two decades inroads of immorality and hetrodoxy were being cut into the ECUSA. But in 1976 the heterodox struck at the heart of the Church’s life, the sacred ministry. The canons of the ECUSA were changed to permit women to be “ordained” to all three orders; deacon, priest and bishop. This illicit act cut the ECUSA off from Apostolic Succession.

Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition teach that Jesus is the Head of the Church. St. John 20:19-23 states after His resurrection He appeared to the Apostles and gave them power and authority to minister to the Church in His stead (see Ignatius of Antioch’s Epistle to Smyrnaeans). Each Apostle was the vicar of Christ and ministered in the person of Christ. That there was to be a succession to the apostolic office is seen in the election and appointment of St. Matthias to the office Judas vacated when he betrayed Jesus, and the consecrations of St. Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6) and St. Titus (Titus 1:5).

The ECUSA severed themselves from this succession when they purported to ordain women. The act itself was illicit, but the greater issue was the underlying heresy that caused the act. Enough of the clergy and laity of that church no longer believed Catholic dogma on the Person of Jesus and the relationship Christ has with His bride, the Church as St. Paul teaches it in Ephesians 5. In purporting to ordain women, the ECUSA disregarded Sacred Scripture and overthrew almost 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition.

Recognizing this, the first item on the Continuing Church’s agenda was to secure a valid lineage of the Apostolic Succession. That was done on this date in 1978, in Denver, Colorado. The Denver Consecrations of David Dale Doren, James Orin Mote, Robert Sherwood Morse and Peter Francis Watterson secured the Succession for the Continuing Anglican movement.

Schism should only be a final option, but when institutional evil occurs it must be exercised. As St. Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The tares of unbelief sown in the ECUSA in the 1960’s took root in the mid-70’s. Today, they are no longer a Christian church. The actions taken by the Founders of the Anglican Catholic Church have been proven right. On this day, all Catholic-Anglicans should be thankful for their courage.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


January 25, 2019 (The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle and Martyr)

Infanticide is now legal in New York State!

You’ve read that right. This past Tuesday the state legislature of New York voted to allow abortion “…within 24 weeks of the start of the pregnancy, OR at any time when necessary to protect a woman’s life of health.”  [emphasis added].  Those who approve of this evil state this will include babies who are to be aborted, that are still alive after being taken from the womb. In other words, a child who survives the attempt to abort him or her and is alive outside of the womb can be killed, since the original desire of the mother was to abort!  On top of this, any person, not just a doctor or trained medical person, can perform an abortion. On top of that, any person who kills an unborn child is shielded from prosecution.

Biblically and morally all abortion is form of infanticide. From the moment of conception a human life is growing in the womb of the pregnant mother. Science has shown through studies that 20-35% of babies born after 23 weeks survive.  After 24 weeks, 50-75% of babies born survive. At 26-27 weeks, 90% survive. This shows that certainly after 24 weeks, all abortions are infanticide!  Killing a child capable of living outside the womb is infanticide!

In Exodus 1:15-22, the Egyptian Pharaoh ordered the killing of all male Hebrew infants. The Hebrew midwives were to kill them as they exited the womb through the birth canal. When the midwives did not do this, Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to throw all Hebrew baby boys into the Nile River to drown. God did not overlook this sin, and in Exodus 12:12, 13 He exacted judgment upon Egypt by sending “the destroyer” to kill the firstborn sons throughout the land, both human and animal.

Woe unto the state legislators and Governor Cuomo for voting for this evil. Or as Jesus states it in St. Matthew 18:7 “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” By the hands of 38 legislators, men and women, a great offence has come to New York. By the hands of the Supreme Court of the United States this woe has come too. Any number of sessions of the SCOTUS has not defended the right to life of unborn children. Some sessions have kicked it to individual states to decide. The New York legislature approved this ungodly, immoral law out of fear if Roe v. Wade is overturned by a future SCOTUS session, and each state gets to determine how to allow and regulate, or not allow abortion, New York would already have their law on the books.

Besides the accountability God will give to those legislators that voted yes for legalized infanticide, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York must now ex-communicate (so-called) Roman Catholic governor Andrew Cuomo and any Roman Catholic legislator who voted for this law. If he does not, then he is an accomplice to their sin. And if there is any Anglican Catholic or G-4 church communicates in that legislature who voted for this law, they too must be excommunicated.

The passage of a blatantly immoral law such as this and the ongoing inaction by the SCOTUS, continues to raise the question of how long will God allow this Republic to legalize and institutionalize evil?  As Galatians 6:7 states “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If we continue to sow evil, we will one day reap God’s judgment and wrath.

May God have mercy upon us and our land!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

January 23, 2019 (Feria)

Conversion is for everyone…

When we think about conversions we generally think along two lines. First, we think of the person who has never been a Christian, who converts and becomes a Christian. An example of this is St. Paul in Acts 9:1-22. Second, we think of a Christian who has fallen far away from the Faith and comes back. An example of this is Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son in St. Luke 15:11-24.

We also think of all conversions being “crisis conversions.” You know, people who fall into dangerous or sinful lifestyles who cry out to God and turn their lives around; the stuff you hear at evangelical tent meetings. These are often called “Damascus Road conversions” because of what St. Paul experienced on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. In that passage we are told Saul was “…yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord…” On his way to arrest Christians in Damascus he was blinded and knocked to the ground by the light of Christ and heard Jesus speak to him “…Saul, Saul why persecutes thou me?”  Three days later Jesus turned Saul’s heart to Him, gave him back his sight and from that day on used him mightily for the Gospel.

Both the conversions of St. Paul and that of the Prodigal Son are very powerful; and having experienced a bit of both (scroll down to my Musing from March 6, 2018) I know both are valid. And yet we do not need to have fallen away, or fallen into sin, to need conversion!

In St. Matthew 18:3 Jesus says “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” He did not say this to people who were rejecting Him or had fallen away. He said this to His disciples, those who were already following Him. What Jesus is saying is, each of us needs to be converted!

Conversion is more than one moment in our life. If like the Prodigal we have fallen away and need to return, a crisis conversion will be necessary. But after that one day, that moment, conversion needs to become a daily event!  As Hebrews 3:15 states “…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…” Or as Jesus states it St. Luke 9:23 “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Conversion means making the daily decision to starve off our old nature and feed our new nature. As with our bodies, our souls grow over time, not all at once. We may have “growth spurts,” but healthy growth comes over time. Romans 12:2 speaks to the daily conversion we need to be striving for “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 outlines the process “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”  Conversion is diligently adding these things to the faith we’ve been blessed with.

Conversion is Philippians 2:12, 13 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It is working out, what God has worked in. It is daily walking in the good works God has prepared in advance for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).

In the best case scenario we will never need to have a crisis conversion. We will never need to have an epiphany while sitting in a pigsty (St. Luke 15:15-18) or have to be knocked to the ground by Christ’s light (Acts 9:3, 4). The conversion we want to have is daily choosing to believe upon and follow Jesus; the daily decision to take up our cross and follow Him.

If that is the conversion we experience, the result will be what St. Peter says in 2 Peter 1:9 “…ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul is this Friday, January 25. We will celebrate the feast with mass tomorrow.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


January 16, 2019 (Blessed William Laud, Bishop and Martyr)

Recently I read an article that really shocked me. And that’s not easy to do.

The article outlined practices for handling “end of life” arrangements which have crept into contemporary society. What specifically shocked me is what some people are now doing with their bodies after death.

The article stated that in addition to the now long-standing practices of being cremated and having the cremains put into an urn and kept in the home, or scattered at sea or over land, people are now doing the following with their cremains: 1. Placing them into a capsule and shooting them into space. 2. Mixing them with tattoo ink and having their name tattooed onto a living, loved ones body. 3. Mixing them with soil to make compost for planting a tree. 4. Sealing them into pieces of jewelry which are given to family members.

As Anglican Catholics, none of those practices should be chosen. While the Church has accepted cremation as an allowable option; she does so as a concession and not the best practice. Whether driven by the funeral home industry or the economy in general, a traditional burial of embalming, the purchase of a casket and the burial of the casket in a grave or mausoleum has become outrageously expensive. In addition, the cost of a burial plot or mausoleum vault for a cremains urn can often be signficantly less than for a full casket.  Since most people do not preplan, they have to make quick decisions which often increase costs. Because this is so, cremation is allowed. But again, it is so as a concession.

When a person or their family does not have the money to afford a traditional burial, then cremation is permissible. But, when the reason for forgoing a traditional burial is not “We can’t afford it” but instead is “We can afford it, but don’t want to spend the money” cremation is not proper. It is still permissible, but not proper.  When the reason for cremation has to do with unbelief in the resurrection, or some form of Eastern spirituality, then it is not permissible or proper.

As human persons we are a combination of a rational soul and a human body. I am who I am because I have both a rational soul and a physical body. If the body was not necessary to us as human persons, Jesus would not have taken a body to save man! 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 states “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Our bodies are not “ours,” they belong to Christ! He purchased them, and our spirits, on the cross. We cannot take the place the Holy Spirit has dwelled in for our life time, His living temple, and toss it away casually!

Here is what I think…

As we make our funeral arrangements (which I suggest doing early rather than later in order to make reasoned decisions), make the respect we owe to God and the body He has given us the foundation of all our decisions. If cost is an issue, then cremate the body, but do so after the requiem or the Burial Office service (pg. 324 in the Prayer Book) in the church. Many funeral homes allow the rental of a nice casket that has an insert which is removed and placed in the crematory after the service. The cremains should be placed in a sealed urn and properly buried in a grave or placed in a mausoleum vault at a cemetery.  If renting a casket is not possible, then the cremains inside the sealed urn should be brought into the church for the requiem or Burial Office service to show respect for the person who has died, a person who is both body and spirit.

There are other ways to deal with the cost of funeral arrangements other than disrespecting the body! Inexpensive life insurance policies whose sole purpose is to cover those expenses can be purchased. Preplanning can be done to lock in costs at current rates and spread the expense out over years (be sure the arrangements are portable in case you move). Death is a part of life. Instead of “I don’t want to think about it” and putting arrangements off or thrusting them onto family after we’ve died, be courageous and make them while you’re alive.

Most of the new-style funeral arrangements I listed previously have little to do with costs. Often they are equally or more expensive than traditional arrangements. They have more to do with a disbelief in the ownership God has of our bodies in life and after death, and disbelief in the resurrection of the body. Any arrangements we make must keep those two Christian truths at the forefront.

There are no “disembodied persons.” When Jesus, the first fruits of the resurrection, appeared to the Apostles three days after His death, He had a “spiritual body”, but it was a body the Apostles recognized. It was a body which still had the nail prints and spear wound in it. Jesus brought His body; His same body now resurrected, back from the grave. One day He will bring our bodies back from the grave too (Revelation 20:12, 13), and since we know one day our bodies will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:44), we need to treat them with respect after death.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

January 9, 2019 (In the Octave of the Epiphany)

“Onward Christian soldiers, Marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus Going on before…” We all know this hymn. It is #557 in the 1940 Hymnal. In the Liturgical Index it is only used as a closing or recessional hymn, but I think it’s better as a processional hymn!

At the celebration of the Holy Eucharist a war breaks out! The sanctuary becomes a battlefield! The celebrant and servers march in towards the chancel behind the processional cross. The Christian soldiers are present in the pews. The celebrant is their lieutenant. His duty is to lead the soldiers as they execute the liturgical battle plan of the Sacred Liturgy. Every soldier will be actively involved in the fight!  They will be praying, singing, standing, kneeling and sitting. They will profess their Creedal faith, the one faith the Church has always professed. They will loudly proclaim Amen, So be it! after each prayer. They will hear the Word of their King. They will confess their sins and be forgiven by Him.  They will kneel before Him and receive Him in their hands, their mouths and their hearts.

The mass is warfare! Spiritual warfare. We fight against “…principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12). But also, beyond where our human eyes can see, stand the Angels and Archangels and all the company of heaven round about (1 Corinthians 11:10)!  The demons are there to distract us, to take our minds and hearts away from the battle. They do this by getting us thinking “Oh, so and so is here today, I’ve got to avoid her.” Or, “That hymn?” Or, “Why does he preach so long?” Or the ultimate, “When will this be over?” The angels are there to protect us, they guard our hearts and minds so we can remain focused on the battle.

At mass the whole of the Church is present. The Church Militant, represented by the soldiers in the pews. The Church Expectant, those holy souls who are this day with our Lord in Paradise. The Church Triumphant; the twenty-four elders, the woman clothed with the sun with twelve stars above her head, and the holy martyred souls under the altar who cry out “How long?” They join their voices together to sing the song of heaven “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and earth are full of thy Glory: Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High.”

At mass our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Really Present: His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity, on the altar!  And as by the word of Elijah, fire came down and consumed the sacrifice prepared on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-39), so by the word of Jesus, “This is my Body…This is my Blood…” the Holy Ghost comes down upon the bread and wine prepared, and transforms them into the Body and Blood of Jesus! We do not know how this is so, but we do know that it is so!

Jesus is not re-sacrificed! No! He went to the cross one time. And that One Sacrifice, once offered, is the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world! But that One, Perfect Sacrifice is re-presented!  Yes! What Jesus did once in time is made present again for us each time the Holy Eucharist is celebrated. At mass we are brought back to the foot of Calvary to stand with St. John, St. Mary Magdalene and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the anamnesis; the remembrance. We are there (see Deuteronomy 5:2-5).

The next time we are at mass let us remember why we are there. We are there for war!  We are there to fight. We are there to expend our energy doing battle as we worship Almighty God. At the end, if we have fought hard with our prayers and songs. If we have engaged our spirits, minds and bodies as best as we can we may be a little tired, but we will be victors! Our sins will be forgiven. Our souls and bodies will be fed with grace. The Word and Sacrament always accomplish what God intends (Isaiah 55:11).

So, Onward Christian soldiers!  Onward to the Holy War! Onward to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist!  Onward to mass!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.



January 7, 2019 (In the Octave of Epiphany)

Are you looking for a new spiritual program in 2019?  One that will strengthen your prayer life and deepen your spiritual life?

If so, I think I know of one… It is Prayer Book spirituality.

A life of Prayer Book spirituality consists of two parts: Observance of the Prayer Book Feast and Fast Days, and praying Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer each day.

That’s it! That is the substance of Prayer Book Spirituality. While simple, it can be very rich, especially if we do not currently have a structured, disciplined spiritual life.

While Thomas Cranmer certainly could not anticipate the 24 / 7 society we live in today, he did recognize that even in the 16th century average men and women in England were not monastics. They were farmers, sheep herders, black smiths and shop keepers. They worked long hours, often rising long before dawn and going to bed late into the night. They did not have time to observe the Liturgy of the Hours, praying eight times (plus assisting at mass) each day.

How could people with that lifestyle develop a substantial spiritual life? Cranmer found the way and set it forth in the Book of Common Prayer. He simplified the hours into two services of Morning and Evening Prayer. He set useable portions of the Psalter to be prayed and Scripture to be read each day. Over the years Cranmer’s work has been honed into a very useable, yet still substantial means by which we can set and build a spiritual life. All we need to do is utilize it!

Here is an easy way to do so…

First, go to page l (Roman numeral 50) at the front of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. On that page and page li, we find the Table of Feasts and Table of Fasts. Those tables provide the days our Church states all communicants should assist (i.e. attend) at mass and receive the Eucharist if it is offered.  If it is not then use the appointed collect, and the propers for the feast set forth in the lectionary on pages xliv and xlv when praying Morning and Evening Prayer (those propers can be used even if we assist at mass on that day). The Table of Fasts states the days we should practice fasting and / or abstinence. Fasting is refraining from all food, or eating a lesser amount of food (as our health allows). Abstinence is not eating flesh meats or lessening the quality of food eaten.

Second, pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer each day, utilizing the daily lectionary found on pages x (Roman numeral 10) through xli for the Scripture lessons. For praying the Psalms, use either the 30 day Psalter (pages 345-525) or the psalm(s) appointed for each day in the daily lectionary.  If possible, set a time each day and do not deviate from it unless truly prevented. This may mean waking up a little earlier or staying up a little later. As you pray the Offices, follow the rubrics. This develops structure and discipline. Pray the prayers out loud (quietly if needed) or at least mouth the words. Don’t skip over the Creed. Instead of the Office absolution, use the Collect for Trinity 21 (pg. 218).  Supplement the prayers after the “third collect” (Morning Prayer for Grace, Evening Prayer for Aid against Perils) using the prayers on pages 35-53 and 594-600.

By doing these two simple things we can begin to develop a life of Prayer Book spirituality.

If you are thinking it’s “too late” to begin doing this, this year, since we are six weeks into the liturgical year, it’s not!  Start tomorrow. Here’s how…Open the Prayer Book to page xii. On that page find the lessons for January 8. The lessons for Morning Prayer are from Isaiah 45 and St. Mark 9, and for Evening Prayer are Isaiah 48 and Acts 26. The Morning Prayer Psalm is 65 and Evening Prayer are 93 and 96. If you use the 30 day Psalter, the psalms for Day eight begin on page 387.  We are within the Octave of Epiphany, so the Epiphany collect is used (page 107). There is no need to fast or practice abstinence this Friday (January 11) because it is within the Octave, but do so next Friday. The next Prayer Book Holy Day is the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25 (when a feast day falls on a Friday, observe the feast over the fast or abstinence. See Nehemiah 8:9, 10).

While it takes a little effort and some discipline, I think you will find developing a life of Prayer Book spirituality is very “doable.”  Thomas Cranmer designed it for us “average” Christians to deepen our spiritual lives without having to become monks or nuns!

If you are in need of a spiritual program, I think you have found it!

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

January 2, 2019 (Octave of St. Stephen, Protomartyr)

One of the most difficult things we as Christians are called to do is forgive. But it is something we must learn to do it. Jesus teaches about forgiveness several times, and places a high purpose on it.

In St. Matthew 6:14, 15 Jesus says “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Forgiving others is essential, that is if we want God to forgive us.

Our Lord’s most striking teaching on forgiveness is given in St. Matthew 18:21-35. St. Peter starts the discourse by asking Jesus (v. 21) “…Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Jesus answered “…I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Jesus did not mean we are to keep a tally and after we’ve forgiven someone 490 times (70 x 7) we stop forgiving them!  Jesus means we are to forgive an infinite number of times. We are to forgive every time.

In verses 23-34 Jesus goes on to teach His parable of the Unforgiving Servant. In this parable, the master forgives one of his servants a tremendous amount of debt. But then that same, forgiven servant refuses to forgive a fellow servant a small amount of debt. When the master was told what the forgiven servant had done, he became very angry and “…delivered him to the tormentors.” The teaching ends with Jesus saying (v. 35) “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

God is very, very serious about forgiveness. Think of it, He forgives us a debt we can never, ever repay…our sin debt. We are born in sin and even after being regenerated in Holy Baptism and given a new nature we go and sin our own sins. We sin with our actions. We sin with our words. We sin with our thoughts. Especially with our thoughts we may actually be 24/7/365 sinners! But still God forgives us! EACH TIME we confess our sins, He is “…faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).  And yet too often we won’t forgive others when they sin against us.

In St. Matthew 18:35 Jesus says we must “…from your hearts forgive…”  What does this mean? A Christian counselor (therapist) I know taught me forgiveness has three stages. First, we must say “I forgive you” to that person verbally or in our hearts if they won’t let us say it to them. Along with saying “I forgive you” we must start to pray for the person whom we are forgiving. In St. Matthew 5:44 Jesus says “…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Jesus exemplified this upon the cross “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” (St. Luke 23:34). St. Stephen exemplified it in Acts 7:60. As he was about to die he prayed “…Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”  We must do this too. We must ask God to forgive that person and for the grace for us to forgive them too.

As we pray for the person who has “trespassed against us” (and we may have to do so for a period of time), we will notice it doesn’t sting as much. This is the second stage of forgiveness. At this second stage we will notice when we think about the event that caused the trespass, or we see the person or hear something about them, it no longer stings. Healing is taking place. At the third stage of forgiveness we find that whatever alteration to our life that trespass may have caused; not going to places, not speaking to people associated with it, or anything we stopped doing because of the trespass, we can do again. We can go back to “the scene of the crime” without reliving the pain of the trespass.

When we reach this third stage we know we have forgiven that person “from the heart.” Until then we need to keep praying. When the thought comes up we need to say “Father, forgive them”…and “Father, help me to forgive them…” If we continue to do this, we will reach that third stage.

Chapter 18 of St. Matthew begins with Jesus calling us to humility. In v. 4 He says “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”   Jesus’ sets the stage for His teaching on forgiveness later in this chapter by exhorting us to humility. If we lack humility, we will lack the ability to forgive. When we lack humility we often forget how often we trespass against others. When we lack humility we often forget how often we sin against the holiness of God. The more humble we are, the more forgiven we will be.

When someone trespasses against us by words or actions, we need to immediately start the process of forgiveness. We need to start for the person who has committed the trespass against us (see St. Matthew 18:15-18) as well as for our self. Carrying around unforgiveness is not healthy for our soul and costs us God’s forgiveness for our sins. In the end we hurt our self more than the person whom we refuse to forgive.

As Christians we cannot avoid it. We must forgive! If we do not, then God will not forgive us.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

December 27, 2018 (St. John, Apostle and Evangelist)

When we read the Epistles of St. John, two phrases jump out. The first is “…love one another.” The second is “Little children.”

“…love one another” occurs in 1 John five times and once in 2 John. “Little children” occurs nine times in 1 John.

When we put these two together we see the Holy Ghost, through the writing of St. John, telling us we are to “Love one another as little children love.”

This instruction from St. John was of course taught to him by our Lord Jesus Christ. St. John is the only Gospel writer to record Jesus’ full Upper Room discourse. Chapter’s 13-17 of his Gospel account record what Jesus said to the Apostles on the night in which He gave Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

In Chapter 13 Jesus sets the tone for His teaching by washing their feet. After doing so He said “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (v. 15). Then in verses 34-35 He teaches “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Do we hear what Jesus is saying? The world (“all men”) will know we are His disciples by the way we love one another!  They won’t know we are His disciples by the size of the Bible we carry around, or how many verses we can quote, or how many times we go to mass in a week, or how pious a prayer life we have. There is nothing wrong with those things!  But if we really want the world to know we are Jesus’ disciples, we need to show Christ-like love towards one another. Christ-like love washes one another’s feet (St. John 13:14). Christ-like love lays down his own life for his friends (St. John 15:13, 1 John 3:16).

In 1 John 4:20, 21 the Holy Ghost inspires St. John to up the ante a little. He writes “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” Not only do we show the world we are Jesus’ disciples by the way we love one another, we show the world we love God by the way we love one another. In fact we cannot truthfully say we love God if we don’t love one another.

In loving one another, it does not mean we have to love, or even like, what others do. What we have to do is see Christ in fellow Christians. We have to see the image of God in all others. We have to forgive those who hurt us. We must do unto others as we would want done to us. If we cannot at least show these few acts of love towards one another, then we cannot truthfully say we love God.

The way we learn (or re-learn) to love one another is to become like little children. In St. Matthew 18:3 Jesus says “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” In saying this He does not mean our understanding of the faith is to remain immature. No! Hebrews 5:12-14 exhorts us to move beyond the milk of children onto the meat of adults. What Jesus is saying is our love must remain child-like. Our trust must remain child-like. Our forgiveness must remain child-like.

Lack of forgiveness, the refusal to forgive, is probably the greatest cause for love being lost. Unforgiveness hardens the heart like nothing else. A hardened heart loses its ability to truly love.

Children are quick to forgive. Think of a two child-friends playing in the back yard. One hurts the other in some way. They get angry. One may even leave and go home. But soon, maybe even later in that day, they get back together, they forgive and they go on as friends. They do not let the sun go down upon their wrath (Ephesians 4:26). This is what Jesus means to be “little children.”

In the inspired writings of St. John we learn we are to love one another as little children love. When we do, we fulfill the New Commandment Jesus gave on Maundy Thursday night and we show we are His disciples.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


December 20, 2018 (Eve of St. Thomas, Apostle)

None of us wants our life to be defined by one of its moments. We shouldn’t define our own lives that way either. This is especially true when that moment was a failure, or out of character compared to the rest of our life. Every life is much more than a moment.

Yet this is what we do with St. Thomas the Apostle.

When most think of St. Thomas, what do they think of? Yup, “doubting Thomas.” Thomas is the Apostle who doubted the resurrection of Jesus (St. John 20:24-29). Thomas is the one who said he needed to put his finger in the nail prints of Jesus’ hands and put his hand into Jesus’ side if he was going to believe He rose from the dead. The testimony of the other Apostles wasn’t good enough!

That one moment defined St. Thomas in the minds of many people. Christians even. No matter what else St. Thomas did he will forever be known as “doubting Thomas.” This needs to change. We need to see St. Thomas as more than this.

Scripture tells us of three other times when St. Thomas was something very different than a doubter. These three events give us a fuller sense of his true character.

The first is found in St. John 11:1-16. In Chapter 10 Jesus had a big “dust up” with the Pharisees in the Temple. The encounter was so tense, they wanted to stone Jesus (St. John 10:30-42). In chapter 11 we are told Jesus learned Lazarus was sick in Bethany and told His disciples they needed to go see him. Bethany was very close to Jerusalem, and those who wanted to stone Jesus could easily get to Him. Several of the disciples counseled Jesus not to go, but He persisted. In verse 16 we are told “Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Wait, “doubting Thomas” said this? Yes he did! What we see here is “Thomas the brave.”

The second event is found in St. John 14:1-6. To better understand this event we need some background. Chapters 13-17 of St. John record the events that took place in the upper room of the night of Jesus’ passion. They record His words and actions to the twelve right before He was arrested and led to His sacrificial death. In Chapter 13 Jesus washed their feet and then told them He would soon be leaving them. The Apostles didn’t understand what He meant. In 13:36 St. Peter asks “…Lord, whither goest thou?” The Apostles were heartbroken that Jesus was leaving them. They yearned to understand why and where He was going. It is with backdrop that St. Thomas asks (14:5) “…Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” What we see here is “Thomas with the child-like faith.”

The third event that gives a true picture of St. Thomas’ character is in St. John 21:1-3 “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee…” St. Thomas wasn’t a fisherman, yet there he was with six of the remaining eleven Apostles fishing!  Amongst them were SS. Peter and John, the first Apostles to witness the resurrection. Maybe Thomas figured if Jesus was to appear to them again, He would do so when Peter and John were together? What we see here is “Thomas the believer.”

Tradition teaches that around AD 43 St. Thomas left Judea to bring the Christian faith to India and Pakistan. He labored in that land for about 30 years before being martyred by having a spear thrust through his heart. He was an Apostle for over 40 years. He could say with St. Paul “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Timothy 4:7). What we see here is “Thomas the faithful.”

Who was St. Thomas? Yes, he was the one who doubted. But he wasn’t the only one who did (see St. Matthew 28:17). He was also Thomas with the child-like faith, Thomas the bold, Thomas the believer, Thomas the faithful. No one moment of his life should define St. Thomas! No one moment of anyone’s life should define them, our own included.

In 1 Corinthians 4:5 St. Paul counsels “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” We need to be mindful of this. People falter in their faith. They falter in life. Instead of pigeon-holing them, let us pray for them.

None of us wants our life to be defined by one of its moments. Let us be sure to not judge others by one of theirs. Let us not judge ourselves that way either. Instead, let us remember St. Thomas the Apostle, follow his example and pray for his intercession.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

December 19, 2018 (Ember Wednesday in Advent)

Did you read the first lesson of Morning Prayer today? It was Jeremiah 23:9-15. Wow, does it speak to the situation we live in today.

Verse 9 begins “Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.” I’m no Jeremiah (far, far from it), but I feel what he expresses in this prophecy. My heart is broken because of the current state of the priesthood.

Verses 10 and 11 explain further “For the land is full of adulterers…both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.” The world is full of spiritual adulterers and many priests allow it. Some promote it! Priests and preachers who preach and teach profane doctrines. In 2 Timothy 4:3, 4 St. Paul tells us we would see such times “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” We are in such times again today.

Verse 14 is the strongest indictment “I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.” How many priests and pastors are involved in spiritual adultery? How many preach and teach lies? How many support the evil agenda of the world, the flesh and the devil? How many support the lifestyle judged sinful by God at Sodom and Gomorrah? How many live that lifestyle themselves?

Verse 15 tells us God’s judgment upon all priests and preachers who do such things “Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.” When those men whom God has set apart for the ministry permit and even usher in the sins that profane the Church, God will judge them and the churches that “employ” them. 1 Peter 4:17 states “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:…”

The seasonal Ember Days are commemorated as days for prayer and fasting for the sacred ministry. In these Advent Ember Days; commemorated today, Friday and Saturday please pray for the bishops, priests and deacons of the Continuum. Please pray for all bishops, priests and deacons in the other branches of the Church. Please pray for those men serving non-Catholic churches as pastors. There is a wonderful prayer for the Church on page 37 of the Prayer Book.

Please also pray that more faithful men will answer the call to the sacred ministry. There are wonderful prayer for this intention on pages 260 and 39 in the Prayer Book.

If your parish is having a mass on at least one of the Ember Days, please assist (attend) at mass that day. If it has not been commemorating the Ember Days, then please talk to your priest about doing so. Promise him that if he schedules a mass on one of those days each season you, at least, will be in attendance so he can celebrate it. Encourage others to attend too. Here is why I say this…at the parish I came into the ACC in, the rector (may he rest in peace) celebrated mass on all three of the Ember Days at each season. In his ten years serving there, out of a parish of about 35 souls, two men were ordained to the priesthood and one to the diaconate! One of those men serves as the priest of that parish today. God hears His people when they pray!

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

December 13, 2018  (St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr)

There has been any number of movies made about a person who either dies (clinically) and comes back to life or has a near death experience and recovers, and then goes on to live the rest of their life, their “new life,” differently. Their thinking is “I’ve already died; therefore I can now live freely, without fear of what may happen in life or death.”

As Christians, this should be the way we live. We should live freely; with a controlled abandon, not fearing anything and especially death. Why? Because we have already died! Colossians 3:3 reminds us “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” You and I have already died…in Christ!

Romans 6:3, 4 states “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…” When we were baptized, we died!  Our first nature, the one we inherited from Adam in our natural birth was placed on the cross with Jesus to die. In Christ that old nature is dead! We have been given a new nature, a second birth; the new birth, we have been born again and given new life!

Galatians 2:20 states “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” By baptism we are crucified and given new life. Therefore the life we now live, we actually do live, but we live it in Christ, not in ourselves. I am still me. You are still you. But I am now “me in Christ.” You are now “you in Christ.” We have a new nature. We have a new life!

What does living in Christ look like? Colossians 3:1, 2 tells us “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” In Greek the word “affection” is pathema. Its primary meaning is “afflictions.” What the Holy Spirit is telling us is, in this life we are going to be afflicted. This being so, we are to be afflicted for Christ and not for the world. Our afflictions should be for the glory of God in Christ.  2 Timothy 1:8 states “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God…”

St. Peter exhorts us in a similar manner in 1 Peter 4:13-16 “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

As those who have died and are now living in Christ our pathema, our afflictions, our sufferings and passions are to be set upon the glory of Christ and not the pursuit of our own needs, wants or desires. Moreover we should not fear the suffering or persecution we must endure for the name of Christ, but rejoice, for God is glorified in it.

Romans 8:35-39 is a wonderful litany of the life of abandon we are called to live in Christ “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We shall never be separated from the new life we have been given in Christ! Therefore we can live with abandon, never looking back, never taking our hand from the plow, never counting the cost. May we be so persuaded!

Memento mori. This is Latin for “remember your death.” Not just the fact that one day our bodies will die (i.e. “Remember, O man, that dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.”), but more so remember that we have already died! At baptism, we died! And our life is now hid with Christ in God.

Like the characters in some movies, you and I have been given a “new lease on life.” We have been given a second birth, a second life. How are we living it? In our death, may we live!

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


December 12, 2018 (In the Octave of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Have you ever had a Jehovah-jireh moment?

What is this? It’s a situation in life when God provides something or someone to help you in a way that is totally unanticipated and unexpected.

Jehovah-jireh means “The Lord will provide” or “The Lord who provides.”

The initial Jehovah-jireh moment is written about in Genesis 22:1-14. In that passage, God tells Abraham to take his only son Isaac and bring him to Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice. Given the fact God had promised to form a great nation from Isaac, this command had to mystify Abraham. But he obeyed God and took the three day journey with Isaac (carrying the wood necessary for the sacrifice upon his back) up the mountain.

When they got to the top of the mountain, Isaac asked Abraham “…Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham answered “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:” (Genesis 22:7, 8). Though Abraham did not know how, he trusted God would provide what was necessary to perform the sacrifice. And provide He did!  Just as Abraham was going to plunge the knife into Isaac, God sent an angel to stop him. Abraham stopped, and lifting up his eyes he saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket of bushes. God had provided what was needed for the sacrifice! In thanksgiving for God’s provision, Abraham called that place on the mountain, Jehovah-jireh.

Have you ever had a Jehovah-jireh moment? I have and I believe if you take a time to think about it, you have too. Of course God is the One who provides all that we need for life (St. Matthew 6:25-34) and salvation. But here I’m talking about a specific event, large or small, where only God could have set the right events in motion at the right time to provide something you needed.

The ultimate Jehovah-jireh moment in history is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 4:4, 5 states “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” We can understand this to be saying “At God’s perfect, appointed time He sent forth His Son to be born of the Virgin Mary and save us from our sins.”

It was the time when the political circumstances were just right. Judea was under the rule of the Roman Empire, the empire that had spread itself over almost the entire known world. The Pax Romanus (peace of Rome) was the perfect vehicle for the Gospel to be brought to all nations.

It was the time when the religious circumstances were just right. Judea had grown anxious for the Messiah to come. Their hearts were open. They had grown weary of Rome’s thumb upon them and their own religious leaders selling them out to keep themselves in power. During the reign of King Ahaz of Judah, God promised to redeem Israel but Ahaz was too timid (and faithless) to ask God for a sign. So God, through Isaiah, states He would provide a sign Himself. Isaiah 7:14 states “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” That sign came about 732 years later with the birth of Jesus.

Through Jesus, all that is needed for our salvation has been provided. In His immaculate conception, virgin birth, sinless life, holy passion, perfect death, power-filled resurrection and glorious ascension, Jesus has given the world what it needs to be saved!

Through Jesus, grace and the means of grace necessary for salvation have been provided. Especially by Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist the grace necessary for salvation is provided as St. John 3:3, 5 and 6:53-58 teach. By grace, the faith necessary for salvation is made real. Salvation being by grace through faith, unto good works as Ephesians 2:8-10 teaches.

Now, today you and I must take hold of that grace by faith and work it out! (Philippians 2:12, 13). Hebrews 4:7 exhorts “…To day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 states “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Let us take hold of the salvation provided for us by God through our Lord Jesus Christ today!

At the perfect, appointed time God provided all the world needs to be saved. Jehovah-jireh! And in our lives, God will provide us the Jehovah-jireh moments we need too. We just need to keep our faith, and our hearts and minds open to see and accept them.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


December 4, 2018 (Clement of Alexandria, Confessor and Doctor)

Sin, all sin, is offensive to God. Each sin, whether in thought, in word or in deed (actions) is an affront to God’s holiness. Each sin mars the soul. Each sin further separates us from God.

I think it not wise to “rank” sin. I think it not wise to say one sin is worse than another. As St. James 4:17 states “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” The sin I commit may be not as bad in the eyes of man than the sin another man commits, but based on what I know about sin and the maturity of my relationship to God, my “lesser” sin may be more offensive to God than another’s “greater” sin?

A sin which breaks one of the Ten Commandments is called “mortal sin,” while sins that do not are called “venial sins.” Here is an example of the difference. Saying the curse word G** D*** is a sin against the Third Commandment. It is taking the Name of the Lord in vain. Calling someone an a** h***” is also cursing, but it’s what St. Paul in Ephesians 5:4 calls “inconvenient” talk. It is sinful (as St. James 3:8-10 states), but not a violation of the Ten Commandments.

There are also sins that are compounded by being offensive to nature and natural law. The most obvious and grievous of these is homosexuality. Same-sex attraction is morally disordered. It is a form of concupiscence, which St. Augustine taught is of itself sinful. This sin is compounded when acted upon, as Romans 1:25-28 states. This sin is offensive to nature in that it is biologically unnatural.

A greater moral offense against God is transgenderism. This sin is a new form of the sin Satan deceived Eve with in Genesis 3:5 “… and ye shall be as gods…” It is a direct attack on Genesis 1:26, 27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” God is the creator of man (all men and women). Jeremiah 1:5 states He knows each of us in our mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 states God takes possession of each of us from the moment of conception.

Morally, transgenderism is man standing in front of God, pointing his finger in God’s face and saying, “I am God!” “I decide what gender I am!” “It does not matter what God says; who He has created me to be biologically, I decide if I am a male or a female!”

I am starting to think we are moving towards a “Tower of Babel” time in history. You will recall in that event in Scripture, recorded in Genesis 11:1-9, the whole world became so full of itself that they built a great tower of brick and mortar (“stuff” in Hebrew), saying “…let us make a name…” (v. 4). In verse 6 we are told God saw this and said “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Man was out of control, thinking he (they) were their own creator and ruler, and that nothing could stop them. In verse 7 God put a stop to their sinful actions by scattering the people throughout the world and confusing their languages. In doing so, He stopped them from building the tower.

Mankind is becoming this way again. With abortion men are deciding which children have the right to live or die. With euthanasia men are deciding which older people, or sick people live or die. Scientists seem to be inching closer to human cloning. Some animals are already being cloned. They can clone human body parts and organs for replacements. There was a recent report where a Chinese scientist was able to “edit” human genes. He has since been reported missing.

Transgenderism is another way man tries to defy God.

The world and even a growing number of churches disagree. This is frustrating, but as Christians we must remain faithful to truth as it is taught in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. In those moments when the frustration rises I suggest praying Psalm 19:7-11 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

November 20, 2018 (St. Edmund, King and Martyr)


If I were to erect a billboard for St. Peter’s in the Town of Christiansburg, that’s what it would read. I can picture it…the background would be our Sanctuary with the altar set and ready for mass to begin…Or, the celebrant and servers standing before the altar as mass begins. Or, maybe the celebrant in the pulpit, with the altar in the backdrop, emphasizing the preaching of the “evangel,” the Gospel? (I’d hire a model for the picture, so no one has to see my mug).

Whichever the background, the words BIBLICAL. EVANGELICAL. TRADITIONAL. CATHOLIC. would be spelled out in bold letters for all who pass by to see.

I would use those words because they not only describe who we are; they ARE who we are!  Anglican Catholics are Biblical, Evangelical, Traditional Catholics. The first three are adjectives describing the last, which is the noun. The heart and foundation of who we are as a church, as a continuing movement in the G-4, is Catholic.

Anglican Catholics are Bible Christians. We receive, believe and accept the inspiration and authority of Sacred Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). Our Constitution states we receive “The Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments as the authentic record of God’s revelation of Himself, His saving activity, and moral demands – a revelation valid for all men and all time.” We believe and teach the theological doctrine Prima Scriptura, “Scripture first.” Scripture is the foundation for dogma, doctrine and practice (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Anglican Catholics are Evangelical. We receive, believe and accept Christ’s Great Commission to His Church (St. Matthew 28:18-20). We accept and believe what St. Paul teaches in 2 Timothy 4:2-5. Our Bishops, priests and deacons strive to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Our Lord constructed the Apostolic order of ministry for this very purpose (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Anglican Catholics are Traditional. We receive, believe and accept Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition is that which St. Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2:15; the inspired instructions of the Apostles handed down orally to their succeeding generation. It is the dogmas the whole Church declared true and orthodox in the Seven Ecumenical Councils. It is also the concensus fidelium, the consensus of the Faith as taught and believed by the orthodox Church Fathers; that which St. Vincent of Lerins in his Commonitorium states as “That which was believed always, everywhere and by all.”

Anglican Catholics are Catholics. We receive, believe and accept the “faith once for all delivered unto the saints.” (St. Jude v. 3) Unfortunately, through the centuries Anglican Catholics have allowed the Roman Catholic Church to co-opt the word “catholic.” In truth, Catholic does not mean Roman! Our Lord founded one Church. That Church was structurally one until the eleventh century (the Great Schism occurred in AD 1054) when it divided into two branches: East and West. The Western branch later divided into three branches Roman, Old Catholic and Anglican. It is not the Lord’s will for there to be branches, but the fact is there are! We should work to heal these divisions and in the mean time work with and support the other branches as much as we can. But realistically, until the Roman and Eastern branches drop their “We’re the one, true Church” positions, unity is not possible. We are not interested in being absorbed or losing our distinct ethos, and so we must continue to be a faithful branch and let the Holy Ghost work the rest out.

Don’t you think a large billboard in the center of town with those four words BIBLICAL. EVANGELICAL. TRADITIONAL. CATHOLIC. would look great? Not only that, it would say a lot. It would say what we all too often are either unable to, or unwilling to, say ourselves.

Anglican Catholicism is such a rich form of the Catholic (Christian) Faith. We have the Apostles and Prophets. We have Scripture and Tradition. We have Word and Sacrament. We have Apostolic succession. We have the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in our sanctuaries. We have been blessed with an incredible light; we must not cover it with a bushel basket! (St. Matthew 5:15, 16) We must not bury our talents!  (St. Matthew 25:14-30) “The lines have fallen unto [us] in pleasant places; yea [we] have a goodly heritage.” (Psalm 16:6).

I think the fields are ripe. In some places we can begin to sow and in others we can begin to reap. There are Roman Catholics looking for a church that is thoroughly Catholic but not institutionally corrupt. There are Evangelicals looking for stability in doctrine and worship. There are unbelievers and those who have fallen away, looking for something (Someone) real. We have a place for each of them!

We must be ready to receive them; meeting each where they are at and prayerfully, gently, lovingly, consistently but uncompromisingly lead them to where the Lord has placed us. Ours is a place of stability of doctrine, worship and practice.

So let’s get going! Let’s put up the billboards, or however we can get the word out. Let’s stop being a “Best kept secret.”

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


November 14, 2018 (Bestowal of the American Episcopate, 1784)

Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise…

Don’t let anyone convince you; actually deceive you, that “Anglicanism began at the Reformation.” It’s just not true!

History teaches that the Christian Faith (and therefore the Catholic Church) was brought to England at least by AD 50. There is evidence it was brought as early as AD 36. It is possible the first part of Europe to receive the Faith was England. At least two Western Church councils (aka Roman Catholic) confirmed this in the 15th and 16th century.

In the 5th century St. John Chrysostom wrote “The British Isles, situated beyond our sea and lying in the very ocean, have felt the power of the Word, for three churches are built and altars erected.” Later in that century, that church had to go underground to survive when the pagan Saxons invaded. But survive it did, and it came out of the shadows after St. Augustine of Canterbury was sent by Pope Leo I to begin missionary work in England in AD 537.

Augustine himself found “…seven bishops and a large number of learned men.” The existing church had its own distinct ethos. It used the liturgy of St. Chrysostom and followed the Eastern kalendar. Those practices did not change until forced upon them in the 7th century.

After the 7th century, the Catholic Church in England gradually westernized and had to succumb to papal oversight. That lasted until the 16th century, when in 1533 she removed herself from under the papal yoke. There were two reasons for doing this; one political, the other ecclesiastical.

Henry VIII’s sinful behavior cannot be justified. He was a lust-filled, greedy and brutal monarch who only sought to strengthen his rule. But he was not too much different than many of the other rulers of the “Holy Roman Empire” that were his predecessors and contemporaries. While his actions cannot be justified, the annulment he requested was denied for political as much as moral reasons.

Before Henry’s troubles began, a number of bishops in England already desired to reclaim the ecclesiastical sovereignty that church had from the 1st thru the 7th century.  Had Pope Clement VII acted more prudently, full schism may have been avoided? But instead, like Rehoboam after Solomon’s death (see 1 Kings 12:1-24), Clement pushed his political foot harder upon Henry’s neck. The English Bishops were all too willing to use that turmoil to their advantage and negotiated their way through Henry’s personal and political volatility to bring about the needed reforms.

Unlike the Reformation in Continental Europe, the Anglican Reformation was conservative, at least initially. From April 1534 when the Act of Supremacy was signed, until 1553 the English Church only reformed that which was most needed (though the changes to the Book of Common Prayer in 1552 were quite unfortunate). In 1553 Mary Tudor (“Bloody Mary”) ascended to the English throne and turned the church backwards toward papal rule. In 1558 that ended and Elizabeth I took the throne.

Elizabeth was the first “latitudinarian” English churchman. Her concerns were more political than religious. Her “Settlement” allowed for the practice of just about any form of the Christian faith; Reformed Catholic, Continental Protestant, Roman Catholic, as long as it did not threaten the Crown.

After Elizabeth became queen, theologians and others who had fled to the Continent during Mary’s reign returned. Unfortunately they were heavily influenced by the French and Swiss Calvinists and thrusted those doctrines upon the Church of England. When the Articles of Religion were finally settled upon in 1571, they were ambiguous (particularly Articles 19-39) and too tolerant of Calvinism’s errors. This came to bite the Church of England in the future.

In the late 16th century until the mid 17th century, the Church set out to restore her Catholicism.  Beginning with Richard Hooker and ending with King Charles II’s martyrdom in 1649, the Church of England strove to return to her Catholic foundation. This was a golden era for the doctrine of the English Church. It produced men like Lancelot Andrewes, William Laud, Jeremy Taylor and the other “Caroline” theologians. These men set the doctrine, worship and thinking of the English Church back on a Patristic foundation. Had it not been for the evils of Oliver Cromwell, the Church of England may have reclaimed her Catholic glory. Instead, while a more Catholic liturgy was restored (1662 Prayer Book), and some Catholic practices too, she limped along into the future as a mix of Catholic, Protestant and Latitudinarian beliefs and practices.

Another Catholic revival occurred in the 19th century with the Oxford Movement. That era gave us great theologians such as Keble, Pusey and Newman (who later lost heart and went to Rome). Despite their unmatched scholarship, the “Tractarians” were unable to bring full reform to the English Church. She had become too secularized. But they did birth many sons and daughters who carry their legacy on through this day.

In his book Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice, Archbishop Mark Haverland wrote the following “The ACC has jettisoned the theological ambiguity that long afflicted Anglicanism for a clear Anglo-Catholic faith and Church order…Classical Anglicanism is now preserved only in its Anglo-Catholic form and within the Anglican Catholic Church and the movement it leads” (i.e. the churches of the Continuum). How true this is!

Every Anglo-Protestant church has succumb to apostasy or heresy. Whether it’s Calvinism, low Sacramental theology, women’s “ordination”, or modernism they have all strayed from the Catholic Faith taught in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. They have taken “Anglicanism” off her true, Catholic foundation. In doing this they show they too believe the lie Anglicanism started at the Reformation.

But we know the truth! Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.



November 8, 2018 (All Anglican Martyrs and Saints)

After I was converted in 1984, the only books of the Old Testament I read were Psalms and Proverbs. At that time, as juvenile as my understanding of the Faith was, reading the other books of the Old Testament were like a toddler trying to eat tough meat. At that stage I needed milk (1 Peter 2:2). Since I didn’t have a proper hermeneutic and was interpreting Scripture for myself (always dangerous, See 1 Peter 1:20, 21), it was better that way.

At that time I was also living in the “Evangelical Church Jungle.” One of the churches I attended interpreted the entire Old Testament (if not all of Scripture) based on pre-millennial eschatology, which made it even less accessible.

It wasn’t until 2004 while being prepared to come into the ACC that I was taught the Psalms are to be prayed, not read! Learning this not only changed my understanding of Scripture, it changed my life!

The Book of Psalms is actually five books containing a collection of song-prayers written primarily by David, but also by at least seven others. They were written over a period that spans from Moses (Psalm 90) through Judah’s return from Babylon (Psalm 126).

The Psalms are unique in Scripture. While there are prayers recorded throughout Scripture, the Psalms are prayers. They are not to be read, they are to be prayed!

“But wait (you may be thinking) I cannot relate to a lot of what is written in the Psalms. I’m not a king like David or Solomon. I’ve never been taken captive in a foreign land like Judah. I don’t have enemies nipping at my heals.”

First off, I disagree with that. Revelation 5:10 states God has made us kings and priests. We are regularly taken captive and carried away by sin, only for God to release us again. Sin is always trying to kill our souls. We have real enemies! They are principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). The enemies and the death our souls face are more dangerous than any David faced in the flesh.

But even if we cannot directly relate to any of the situations the Psalmists wrote of, we should still pray the Psalms, They are the purist of prayers in Scripture. The great 19th century Anglican divine Edward Pusey wrote “To pray the Psalms perfectly is to pray them to God; they need leave no impression. It is the spirit, not the understanding, which is to do the work.”

When we pray the Psalms we pray God’s prayers back to Him. The Holy Ghost is the true author of each of them. He inspired David, Solomon, Moses, Asaph and the other writers to write those prayers. When we pray them, we pray God’s words back to Him.

As we do this faithfully, consistently and attentively the Spirit will lead us to pray them for ourselves and others fervently; for the deadly situations, spiritual and maybe temporal, we face from day to day. We may never make a connection with some of them. That’s okay. As Pusey wrote, it is our spirit, not our conscious, processing minds, which do the work.

The best way to pray the Psalms is by using the 30 day Psalter in the Prayer Book, which begins on page 345. The Psalms provided for Morning and Evening Prayer in the daily lectionary are fine (I use it whenever there is a 31st day in a month), but do not have the same meditative rhythm the 30 day Psalter has.

If you are not praying the Psalms, or are struggling to do so, here is my suggestion. Go to your prayer closet (St. Matthew 6:6) and take a moment to get quiet. Once you’re quiet, begin the Office with the Lord’s Prayer (and I add the Ave Maria) and then go right into the Psalms.  At Morning Prayer, begin with the Venite. Pray them out loud, quietly if you are in a place where you might disturb others. If need be, mouth the words in a whisper. Pray them with focus, not too fast or too slow. Let the words flow over your thoughts like a beautiful waterfall. Let them soak into your spirit like a warm balm. As you do this, I believe you will soon long to pray the Psalms every morning and evening. They will become the anchor of your prayer life.

The Psalms are the “groanings of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 8:26).  They were written to glorify Him during times when men were facing great tribulation, celebrating great triumphs or reflecting on the majesty of God. As we enter into them meditatively we will find our prayer life will strengthen greatly. We will learn how to pray the prayers our own spirit and mind “write” better.

Prayer is one of the three great conduits we have with God, the Sacraments and Scripture are the other two. We should strive to gain greater understanding of all three. We need to move from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:12, 13). Praying the Psalms with attentive meditation will greatly aid us in doing so, with our prayer life if not our entire life.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

November 1, 2018 (All Saints)

It all started with marriage…

What am I talking about? The moral decline in Anglicanism started when the Episcopal Church began to allow “serial monogamy.”

The Episcopal Church did not have its own marriage canons until 1869. Until then it followed the Canon Law of the Church of England which did not grant a divorced person a second marriage in the church, period. This is what St. Matthew 19:3-9 teaches.

After 1869, four prevalent views existed in the Episcopal Church 1.) the Canons of the C of E. 2.) the view of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1648) which allows the “innocent party” to enter into a second marriage after divorce if the cause of the divorce is adultery. 3.) The Western Catholic view that a second marriage is lawful if an impediment was found in the first marriage, which made it null and void sacramentally, and 4.) the liberal Protestant view there are reasons other than adultery for allowing a second marriage after divorce, the circumstances of which are at the pastoral discretion of the Bishop (this became the defacto practice of the Episcopal Church by the 1960’s).

In 1973, the Episcopal Church officially changed their canons to reflect what was already going on. While it did not officially allow for multiple divorces and marriages within the church, it officially allowed the diocesan bishop pastoral latitude to determine if a person could enter into a second marriage. Very quickly both laity and clergy took advantage of the change, and by 1980 a good number of Episcopalians had entered into multiple marriages. Often the bishops left the decision to the local priests, so if one priest turned a person down they would find another priest who would allow the second (or even a third) marriage.

The destruction of marriage within the Episcopal Church ushered in the homosexual agenda in that church. An example of this is reported by the late Rev. Dr. Peter Toon in a booklet he wrote in 2006 titled Episcopal Innovations 1960-2004.

Dr. Toon wrote “By the 1990’s advocates for the ‘Gay’ cause were using this laxity [of marriage] as a justification for the acceptance of their demands for recognition in the Church. ‘If the Church has set aside the laws of Christ and canonical law tradition in order to be pastorally sensitive to the divorced,’ they said, ‘Why can’t it have the same attitude to those who are ‘homosexual persons’ and also have needs?” This argument was presented at the canonical trial of Walter Righter, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Newark who had ordained a man who was openly living with his male partner. Righter himself had been married three times!

This history is relevant to our church today because our Canons imply the practice of the 1960’s Episcopal Church.

Let me explain.

Canon 15.03.01 thru 09 govern marriage. Canon 15.03.01 declares our belief in the indissolubility of marriage. It begins “The Church affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and life-long, for better for worse, till death them do part…”

Canon 15.03.03 lists the Impediments to Marriage. Impediments are conditions which prevent the church from officiating a marriage. They include items such as consanguinity (marriage to a near relation), mental issues, duress (“shot-gun” weddings), lack of consent (contracted marriage), improper intentions, etc.

Where our canons imply the practice of the 1960’s Episcopal Church is in Canon 15.03.03 (xii) which states one other impediment is “Prior marriage of either parties, the original partner remaining still alive, unless the Church has determined by due canonical procedure that the former union was null and void ab initio (when initiated) and not a true and valid marriage.”  What this subsection of the Canon speaks to is the annulment process.

This subsection is ambiguous. It does not define what the “…due and canonical procedure…” is. 15.03.01 makes a reference to “…the Discipline of the Church and the Laws Ecclesiastical…”, but does not explain or footnote what they comprise. Are they documents? Are they standards like “Common Law”? This should be clarified. The Canons of our Diocese do not define the procedure either. In our diocese the procedural arm is the Marriage Tribunal, but the canons do not state this or what criteria it is to use.

For a marriage to be “null and void ab initio” it has to be proven the impediment was present when that marriage was contracted. For example, if adultery is the cause of a civil divorce it has to be shown the offending person had been engaged in adultery, or knowingly planned to commit adultery, at the time that marriage was contracted. If say a husband committed adultery 10 years into a marriage but had been faithful until then, there is still cause for civil divorce, but not (necessarily) for annulling that marriage. The canons (Diocesan if not Provincial) should state how an impediment is determined.

Our church needs to define “due and canonical procedure.” As currently structured, allowance can be given for undefined “pastoral care and consideration.” This was the Episcopal Church’s error in the 1960’s.

I realize part of the problem here is persons who have divorced previously most often get engaged first, set a date for their wedding and then thrust their decision on their priest to “work it out” so he / she can enter a second marriage within the Church. But if we are to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage, we must place ourselves firmly upon Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. “Pastoral concern” should be given, but it cannot mean “overlooking sin.” We cannot be “The Catholic Church for the divorced” (a term I’ve heard used against us).

Catholics are crying out for a church that will defend and practice the moral teachings of Christ and His Church. The cornerstone of that defense is marriage. It all starts there.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

October 30, 2018 (Feria)

We are no different than they were! I am convinced of it.

What am I babbling about?

We, the Church, Christians, the New Covenant people are no different than Israel, the Jews, the Old Covenant people. We sin as they sinned.

This thought struck my spirit very deeply these past couple of days as I’ve read the passages from 2 Kings in Morning Prayer.  Chapter 17 chronicles the destruction of Samaria, the capital of the ten northern Tribes of Israel, and the carrying away of its people to exile in Assyria. They never returned! Chapter 18 describes the sins of Manasseh, king of Judah, which later wrought the exile of Judah (the two southern tribes) to Babylon.

2 Kings 17:7, 8 tell us why Israel was destroyed.: “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.”

2 Kings 21:11-15 tells us why Judah was exiled. Verse 15 says “Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.”

God had selected Israel out of all the peoples of the world to be His chosen, covenant people. In Genesis 15 He promised Abraham a land (Canaan) and a seed (Isaac). After 400 years of bondage in Egypt He delivered them by the hand of Moses and they took the land of Canaan by the hand of Joshua. For more than 800 years the Promised Land was occupied (and often ruled) by God’s people. After Judah’s exile, they lost that rule.

But we, God’s New Covenant people are just as sinful. We have wasted our inheritance as much as they did. We may be wasting ours worse than they did?

The Old Covenant people were given a promise. The New Covenant people have been given the fulfillment. The Spirit of God was with Israel. He surrounded them and guided them. He dwelt within some of them. The Holy Spirit dwells in the Church. He dwells in each of us by Holy Baptism and faith (Titus 3:5-7).

Israel was given a land and the Law. The Church has been given the Kingdom and the New Testament Scriptures. The Law was given to teach Israel they could not please God except by faith in the promised seed. The New Testament is given to the Church to teach us how to please God by faith in Jesus Christ, the One who is that Seed!

Israel and Judah turned their back on God and lost everything. God had sent prophet after prophet to warn them, and yet they continued in their rebellion (St. Matthew 23:34-36) until all was lost. Aren’t we doing the same thing?

The Revelation of St. John was written to “…the seven churches which are in Asia…” (Revelation 1:11). These were seven actual churches, but they are also a representation of the whole of the Church from Christ’s ascension until His return; seven being the symbolic number of wholeness.

Look at the warnings Jesus gave to those churches:

The Church in Ephesus had left their first love (Revelation 2:4) and therefore God was going to remove His presence from them if they did not repent and begin again to do their first works. The Church in Pergamos committed fornication with idols (2:14). If they refused to repent He was going to use His Word to fight against them (2:16)!  The Church in Thyatira returned to the sins of Jezebel, the evil queen of the ten northern tribes during Ahab’s evil reign. They too committed fornication with idols (2:20, 21). If they did not repent, Jesus was going to cast them into a bed of tribulation with pagan idolaters. The Church in Sardis was dead (3:1, 2). If they did not awaken, Jesus was going to take their names from the Book of Life. The Church in Laodicea thought they were rich, needing nothing. They were full of themselves. But Jesus saw them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. They were lukewarm (3:15-17). If they did not repent, Jesus was going to spew them out of His mouth! In 3:19 He says “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.”

Revelation chapters 2 and 3 describes the Church, describes us, today!  Yes, pockets of faithfulness, but mixed in is lost love for Christ, idolatry, spiritual (and physical) fornication, and failure to do good works.  Jesus, the Prophet of prophets, is using this book (all of Scripture, 1 Corinthians 10:6-11) to warn the Church, to warn you and me, that we must be faithful. Whatever we love first, whatever our idolatry, whatever our spiritual fornication, whatever is causing us to fall asleep, whatever our lukewarmness we must hear and heed Jesus’ warning and repent.

Hebrews 3:13, 14 says “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;”

If we do not hear this, then truly we are no different than they were.

This is what I’m babbling about.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


October 24, 2018 (St. Raphael, Archangel)

I never would’ve believed I would agree with anything Fr. James Martin says.

If you have not heard of Martin, he is a Roman Catholic priest (a Jesuit, of course) who is pushing for full acceptance of same-sex relationships in the Church. He is not just pushing his evil agenda within the RCC, he’s on social media and writes pieces for secular publications too.

Last week Martin gave a talk at an RC parish in Georgia. The following is taken from a story about that talk on a website called The Church Militant:

“Martin then veered off and said that straight people aren’t held to their accounts for their sins the way that ‘gay people’ are. He said, when is the last time a couple living in sin, was held to account by their pastor? When is the last time a couple was called to account for using birth control?”

I hate to say this, but Martin is right!

How can the Church (all orthodox, Christian churches) oppose same-sex couples for engaging in immoral relationships and sexual activity outside marriage, while overlooking heterosexual couples doing the same things? We should oppose the former and not excuse the latter.

While it’s true that in parishes and churches that seek to maintain Biblical orthodoxy, sermons are preached and studies are taught which “say” heterosexual fornication is sinful, in practice “exceptions” are made for “the next” couple that is living together or has had a child together outside of marriage and remains unmarried.

I’ve heard the reasons, and in the past (to my shame) have looked for “gray areas” and accepted some exceptions. I ask God to forgive me for doing so. A priest does no favors by allowing couples to continue in sin.

The reason most often given for unmarried, Christian couples living together is financial. They “can’t afford” two rent payments, food, etc. The second reason most often given is one person has moved away to take a job and the couple doesn’t want to be separated until their wedding.

God does not accept either reason.

As Christians we believe that God is the One who supplies all of our needs (St. Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:19). Therefore, if a couple needs money to make two rent payments, etc. in order to be obedient to what His Word teaches, they can trust God will supply it. The Church needs to emphasize this in its teaching to young people. Couples need to trust what God’s Word says.

The second reason shows a lack of trust with the couple. If, while they are in the height of their emotional love towards each other, they cannot trust each other to be apart, what is going to happen when the emotions fade (and they will) and the real issues of married life set in? A married couple can be sleeping in the same bed night after night, and be further away from each other in their love than a non-married couple living hundreds of miles apart using the phone and occasional weekend visits to maintain their love until their wedding day.

I believe what often drives couples to live together is sex. Unmarried couples want to take marital privileges from each other. The overwhelming acceptance of the use of birth control and easy access to abortion (the ultimate form of birth control) allow couples to engage in premarital sexual activity without (in their minds) consequences.

Here again many churches are silent, especially on the use of birth control. Every Protestant denomination accepts its use. Traditionally (small “t” tradition), Catholic Anglicans accept what the Lambeth Conference of 1930 resolved, that limited use of contraception by married couples is licit. Eighty-eight years later, couples simply ignore the “married” part of that resolution.

I continue to deepen my conviction we are in error for accepting this and should correct our teaching in line with the Roman encyclical Humane Vitae (Paul VI, 1968), which has a stronger moral position than the Lambeth resolution and has proven to be prophetic over the past 50 years.

Many Christian couples do not draw the Biblical distinction between the privileges God gives to married people with those who are not. They think “love” is what matters. Compounding all of this is the overwhelming societal view that sexual activity is foremost a means of “play” and only incidentally the means for procreation. Christians are following the lead the world.

The Church, our church (the G-4), needs to address these matters head on! We can no longer shirk our responsibility. Often they are shirked out of fear “We will lose our young couples!” Guess what? We are losing them anyway. Approving sinful relationships won’t change that. We cannot  sanction premarital sin (fornication). We have to stop doing so, even if it means offending them or “mom and dad parishioner” who may leave the parish because “Father is just too strict…blah, blah, blah.”

James Martin’s own answer to his accusation is to accept same-sex sinfulness the way the Church accepts heterosexual sinfulness. That is NOT the answer!  The true answer is for the Church to stop accepting heterosexual, sexual sins while continuing to oppose same-sex sexual sins.

In Biblical history God judged the nation of Israel for promulgated immoral relationships and sexual activity outside of marriage. Jesus is very plain about this (St. Matthew 7:27, 28 and 19:3-9). St. Paul is very clear about it in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:19-21. If the Church continues to accept it, even tacitly, why will He spare us?

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


October 22, 2018 (Martyrs of New Guinea)

More musing from the glass house…

You’ve likely heard that the Department of Justice is investigating all eight Roman Catholic Dioceses and the two Eastern Catholic Dioceses (Byzantine and Ukraine) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York. Some speculate this is just the beginning of the Feds looking into that church’s handling of sexual abuse incidents.

This is unprecedented, but has become warranted (no pun intended) since Rome will not properly investigate herself.

Reports indicate that for decades the Roman Catholic Church, likely in every diocese in the United States (and possibly around the world) has been covering up criminal sexual behavior by its priests, bishops and cardinals. If you’ve read any of the victim accounts that have been published, they are horrific.

The Feds are primarily getting involved due to evidence showing that some RC clergy have been involved in what is essentially a nationwide criminal sexual enterprise. Reports state that enterprise has several facets. Some exchanged child pornography across the internet. Some drove victims across state lines to molest them. Bishops transferred known predators from one diocese to another, sometimes to dioceses in other states. Dioceses made payments to victims to prevent them from pursuing criminal prosecution.

If there is evidence that some type of enterprise exists, those found to be involved could be charged under RICO statutes, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. These laws were enacted in the 1970’s as a way for the Federal Government to prosecute organized crime rings. Such an enterprise may also be shown to violate President Trump’s December 2017 Executive Order regarding human trafficking.

The saddest part of this situation is I’m not really surprised by it. This is what happens when the leadership of a church believes it is not accountable to anyone and becomes too worldly.

Here is an example of this lack of accountability. In the letter Pope Francis issued accepting Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s (who is at the center of the Feds’ Pennsylvania investigation) resignation he wrote in part “You [Wuerl] have sufficient elements to ‘justify’ your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes.” Really? Cardinal Wuerl is the arbiter for determining ‘problems’ from ‘crimes’, and a ‘cover up’ from ‘mistakes’?

Has Francis not read 1 Peter 2:13-16? “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”

Francis often uses the word “liberty” in his addresses. His letter accepting Wuerl’s resignation sounds like he believes the RC hierarchy can use Christian liberty as a cloak of maliciousness.

An example of The Vatican’s disregard for civil authority is seen in the situation occurring in Lyon, France where a predator-priest is being tried for sexual crimes committed over a period of decades. The French court has summoned the cardinal who is the Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith (the RC body that has oversight for disciplining priests) to answer questions on how the predator-priest was allowed to continue in ministry after knowingly abusing post-pubescent males. The Vatican has refused the summons, invoking “sovereign immunity”! How can they justify this?  What don’t they want to make known?

Under Francis, the RC hierarchy is showing they believe they are not accountable to anyone! They are not accountable to victims and their families. They are not accountable to faithful clergy who are being eyed with suspicion. They are not accountable to the laity, who only wants to know the truth. They are not accountable to the secular criminal laws. Do they believe they are accountable to God?

It must be remembered it is not only Francis who has covered for these crimes. His public ambivalence has brought them into the public eye, but both John Paul II and Benedict XVI (whom I personally admire as a theologian) had knowledge of crimes too, and did little about it.

No accountability leads to such inaction.

I take no joy in what is happening with the RCC. None at all.  I was in that church for 30 years. It is where the foundation of my Catholic faith was laid. I left because, through study, I learned the fallacies of papal ecclesiology and found Anglican Catholicism to be a more Biblical and patristic form of the Catholic faith.

Why then am I “so hung up” on what goes on with the RCC? Because the Church, in the days when she was visibly and structurally one, declared Rome to be the primary see of the Catholic Church in the West. The Bishop of Rome is the primate of the Church in the West as the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) is of the Church in the East. When the Roman Church fails, it affects the whole of the Western Catholic Church.

I am praying Pope Francis will hear and heed St. Paul’s exhortation in Romans 13:11-14 and restore moral integrity to the Roman Church. I am praying that when the dust settles from this international scandal, true reform (meaning a return to Apostolic and Patristic era ecclesiology) will come to the papacy, and that the result will be the restoration and rebuilding of the Catholic Church in the West.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


October 18, 2018 (St. Luke, Evangelist and Martyr)

America is known as the great “melting pot.” Our country is made up of different races and colors, nationalities and political classes, religions, churches, sects and cults all ‘melted’ together within her 50 states and several territories.

But recently, and in increasing measure, “death” has been put into the pot. The death of morality. The death of civility. The death of true liberty (now mistaken for license). The death of orthodox faith.

Death was first mixed into the pot in the 1960’s. The drug and “free love” cultures, and the social and political turmoil of the Vietnam War opened the lid. The unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision and the first openly pro-abortion presidential candidate (George McGovern) mixed the death in deeply in the 1970’s. From there the death has continued to soak the contents (people) of the melting pot through today where 1960’s Socialism has mixed with the pro-abortion culture of death proponents and the use of Saul Alinsky’s anarchistic tactics (I had to laugh, Wikipedia calls Alinsky a “community organizer”) to the point where every institution and civil right is under attack!

What is the solution? As always we can turn to Scripture.

In 2 Kings 4:38-41 we are told of a time when the prophet Elisha faced a similar situation. But for him the pot was real, not sociological, and there was actually “death”, in the form of poisonous wild gourds, that were accidently mixed in with good herbs being boiled for the “son’s of the prophets” dinner.

What did Elisha do? He put “meal” (flour) into the pot. The addition of that bread into the pot cancelled the death in it, allowing the sons of the prophets to eat.

Here is another solution from Scripture.

In 2 Kings 2:19-22, Elisha was in Jericho along the Jordan River. The sons of the prophets in the city found it “pleasant”, but the water was unhealthy and the ground was barren. What did Elisha do? He put a cruze of salt into the water, healing it and bringing life back to the land.

What does any of this have to do with us, in America, today? This…

Jesus is the Bread of Life (St. John 6:35). The Church is the salt of the earth (St. Matthew 13:5). Only Christ and the Church will cancel the death in the melting pot and heal the waters and land. Political candidates, lobbyists, PACs, money…none of them are sufficient!  God may choose to work through them, but they cannot be looked at as the solution, the answer.

Christ, working through His Church is the answer. Christians, on their knees and walking worthy of their calling (Ephesians chapter 4) is the answer.

In sowing Christ and in being salt we will be opposed. We will be persecuted; socially for sure and maybe physically. The death in the pot, in the waters and in the land will not yield easily. They are demonic (see St. Mark 9:14-29).

But 1 Peter 4:12-19 told us aforetime this would be the case. In v. 17 St. Peter states “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” He is not speaking of one eschatological moment; whether in the days of Nero when he wrote or our day either.

He is talking about all the days that follow the ascension of Christ; all the days from the ascension until Christ returns. Whenever and wherever Christ is sown and the Church asserts her saltiness (by prayer, the sacraments and Godly living), what St. Peter states in those passages will occur (i.e. Hebrews 3:7-13).

There is death in the melting pot! The land and the waters are gravely ill! Christ the bread and the Church the salt are the means the Father has provided to cancel the death and bring healing.

Let us pray and do our part in what God is calling us to do.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


October 11, 2018 (Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Bible-believing, orthodox Christians believe the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.

No matter the branch of the Church, denomination or sect, you cannot be a Bible-believing, orthodox Christian without believing in the Motherhood of Mary!

Let me explain…

Jesus Christ is the God-Man. Scripture teaches and the Church has affirmed and defined in her Ecumenical Councils (which Protestant denominations tacitly accept) that Jesus has two complete natures, the Divine and human, in His one Person. Prior to the incarnation the Second Person of the Trinity had one nature, the Divine nature. But from the moment of His incarnation (which occurred at the moment of His conception by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary) He has two natures; His eternal Divinity, begotten of the Father before all worlds, and His human nature, taken from the Virgin Mary in her womb.

To say that Mary is merely “the mother of Jesus” or the “mother of Christ” is to say Jesus is not fully God and fully man from the moment of the Incarnation. That is wrong. It is heresy. And yet many Christians, some in ignorance and some with knowledge, refuse to acknowledge Mary as the Mother of God.

What’s at stake here is not some over-exaltation of Mary. What is at stake is the ability of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to be the perfect propitiation for sin!

You see, only God can forgive sin and only a man, a sinless man, can be the perfect sacrifice for sin. Jesus is that man!  Romans 5:12-21 teaches this great truth. Verse 18 states “Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Since sin came into the world by a man, Adam, justification must come by a man, Jesus. Jesus had to live every part of the human experience. He had to be exposed to every danger of sin, from the moment of conception until the moment He dismissed His spirit from the cross. And He was.

Hebrews 4:15 sums this truth up best. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus our High Priest (who performed His sacrificial action on the altar of the Cross), in His thirty-three years on this earth felt every type of vulnerability, weakness and temptation all of us face; yet He did so without succumbing to sin. From the moment of His conception as a child in the womb of Mary through His final breath, He was exposed to the vulnerability all men face.

When Mary and Joseph were on the way to Bethlehem, Jesus was exposed to all the dangers a child in the womb would have faced. No doubt such a trip caused many a mother to miscarry. After His birth He was hungry, thirsty, happy, sad, angry and hurt. In His passion He bled. On the cross He died. For all of this to occur He had to be fully man. And that humanity, by God’s eternal choice (Ephesians 1:4 and Galatians 4:4), began in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. God chose Mary to be the Mother of the Son of God.

I understand, to a point, why some reject this important dogma. Some Catholics, mostly Roman Catholics, overstate the role of Mary in redemption. Some have even used the term “co-redemptrix” for her. That is an error!  While the Blessed Virgin has an important role in the life of Jesus, that role does not include the act of redemption directly. And while Mary (as the genealogies in St. Matthew and St. Luke show) was God’s choice to be the mother of His Son, God could have chosen another woman to be His mother. He didn’t, but He could have. He could not have chosen anyone other than the Second Person of the Trinity, made man, to be the sacrifice for sin.

We must understand how important this dogma is to the Faith and not shy away from it because some, wrongly, misstate the Blessed Virgin’s role in the process of redemption. The Blessed Virgin Mary is rightly called the Mother of God because the Child she conceived in her womb was the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity. As the Council of Ephesus (AD 431) defined, in the Mystery of God the divine nature was united (without confusion or loss) with the human nature of Mary. She is Theotokis.

This is what Scripture declares and what the Church has affirmed and defined. Therefore, this is what Bible-believing, orthodox Christians believe.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.



October 9, 2018 (SS. Denys, Rusticus and Eleutherius, Martyrs)

The evil spirit of Jezebel has been unleashed.

Those of you using the 1928 BCP lectionary for Morning Prayer will understand what I mean.

As I read 1 Kings chapter 21 Saturday and Monday, the parallels between the evil spirit that possessed Jezebel, queen of Israel when Ahab was king, and the spirit we see in the social,  political and religious arenas at this current time jumped out at me.

You’ll recall the account Scripture records in that chapter. Ahab wanted to take possession of a vineyard located right next to his property. The vineyard was owned by a man named Naboth, who had inherited it from his father. It was his entire inheritance, his family’s legacy. Ahab was willing to trade land for land or buy it with money, but Naboth would not sell. As I said, it was his family’s legacy. If he sold or traded it, he would be disrespecting his family name.

When Naboth would not give up his vineyard, Ahab pouted. When Jezebel learned why, she said an astonishing thing (v. 7) “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel?… let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” This is the evil spirit of raw power. What Jezebel was saying is “You’re the king, you have the power, so you should have whatever you want, just because you want it.”

So what did Jezebel do? She arranged a farce of a fast to honor Naboth, and then bribed two men, “sons of Belial,” to come in and speak false accusations that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king. Both were punishable by death. Jezebel used what should have been a solemn occasion to destroy Naboth’s reputation with lies so he could be taken out and stoned.

What was Jezebel’s motive? Raw power! Jezebel cared nothing about Naboth, his inherited vineyard, his family’s honorable legacy, the fact she forged letters in Ahab’s name, that she abused a solemn occasion like a fast to reach her ends, that she set Naboth up with men bribed to lie, or that all of this would lead to the further destruction of Israel and the righteousness of God’s judgment upon them.

All she cared about was gaining power at any cost.

We are witnessing this same evil spirit, this same lust for power in these days. It has been building just below the surface for about two years now, but the gloves are off and the motives are being voiced openly. There are a growing number of people who have been infected with a “Jezebelian spirit.” Their endgame is to gain unlimited social, political and religious power over others. They want to be able to say “We’re in charge, we have the power, and we will take what we want!”  They will break down all God-given unalienable rights, the inheritance and legacy of any institution, and every bit of common decency necessary to fulfill their lust for power.

What should we as Christians (not as politicos) do in such circumstances? Stand for truth! Do not fear it and be willing to articulate it. Simple truths like “love thy neighbor as thyself” and judge others with the same measure you want to be judged (St. Matthew 7:2). Don’t “fight fire with fire”, don’t try to outshout those who oppose. Instead, as calmly as possible, speak the truth and let it do the work.

2 Corinthians 13:7, 8 provides wise counsel “Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved [to other people], but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be [viewed] as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” Our example in this is Jesus as He stood before the Sanhedrin and then Pilate. In both instances, when railed against by false accusations He calmly spoke the truth.

I don’t see this Jezebelian spirit going away anytime soon. In fact now that those who are infected by it are willing to, unashamedly, speak and show it openly I think we will see it displayed daily throughout the social, political and religious spectrum in an increased measure.

This being so we must arm ourselves with truth!  We must “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). This past Sunday’s Epistle Lesson nails it (Ephesians 4:17-21) “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:”

By the grace of the Holy Ghost we know, have learned and are being taught by Christ! We cannot therefore fall into the trap of the vain, lusting, power seekers. There is only One, True Power, Jesus Christ! He is the only One we seek.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.

October 2, 2018 (Holy Guardian Angels)

Thoughts from the glass house…

I wasn’t raised an Anglican Catholic so what I know of the fall of the Protestant Episcopal Church, I only know from studying its history. I am generally not sympathetic to it. When a church chooses the zeitgeist over Scripture, Tradition and Reason (1 Corinthians 2) it will err; and likely err greatly. My only sympathy is it was unprecedented.

Something happened in our country and the west after World War II. Many people were deeply affected. Many were scarred by the horrors of that war. Victory was won, but much was lost in it too. As the world recovered something went a rye in the thinking of many. Communism spread from its ashes. Secularism with its anti-God philosophy moved into the mainstream.

This skewed thinking came to fruition in the 1960’s. Almost all the mainline churches drank it in deeply. The PEC was first in line at the fountain. The first sign was the acceptance of serial monogamy. Next was the unbiblical and non-canonical “ordination” of female deacons in 1965. Third, was liturgical experimentation (the “Trojan Horse” for doctrinal change). Fourth, was the acceptance of abortion on demand. Finally there was the unbiblical and non-canonical “ordination” of female priests in 1974.

In retrospect, Satan’s strategy can be seen. It was a three front war. Attack the moral, liturgical / doctrinal, and sacred ministry of the Church. In the PEC, Satan won that war. He destroyed that church. Yes it remains a 501c3 organization, but that’s all it is, an organization. Thank God there was a remnant that remained faithful. The Anglican Continuum is that remnant.

Knowing the strategy Satan employed to kill the PEC, you would think other churches would easily identify it and stop it before it ruined them too. As the saying goes “Those who ignore history are prone to repeat it.” But this doesn’t seem to be the case…

The headlines are filled with stories, most written by Roman Catholics, which show the Roman Catholic Church is far long the same path as the PEC.

In the RCC, Satan has taken a bit of a different tact. He made his first front liturgical. Starting with Vatican II, the RCC was thrown into liturgical chaos. As you know, chaos only looks random. Those causing it know the end to their means. Had Pope John Paul I lived, the “New Springtime” in that church would likely have accelerated quickly. In God’s providence, his pontificate only lasted 33 days. His successor, John Paul II was more conservative and his long pontificate slowed the process down.

But he could do little about the bishops and cardinals who rose to power in the curia. He was selecting from deep drinkers of the zeitgeist. This was especially true at the end of his pontificate when corrupt bishops took advantage of his illness. Benedict XVI tried to bring reform but was resisted so strongly it seriously affected his health and he resigned. Even if he had stayed in office it is not sure how much change he could have made? He was a theologian, not an administrator. It takes a man like Elisha to heal such impure waters (see 2 Kings 2:19-22).

Benedict’s successor Francis embraces the philosophies birthed in the 1960’s. In his now five year pontificate, Benedict’s attempted reforms are being reversed. He has created turmoil with his ambiguous teachings. He is no theologian. He is an uncertain writer and orator. His refusal to seriously address the homosexual culture that pervades the ministry of the RCC, much of which is predatory and criminal, is indefensible! His unbiblical attack on capital punishment has put a spotlight on the error that is papal ecclesiology. Traditionalist apologist say “nothing has changed” because a pope cannot change doctrine. Well guess what, Francis just did! Other Popes have done so too, but only in the ultramontane direction traditional RC’s defend.

Let’s review… Satan has the RCC hierarchy effecting liturgical chaos which affects doctrine (lex orandi, lex credendi), covering up for homosexual predators, and altering Biblical dogma. Then today I read three separate news stories about RCC bishops introducing the idea of “women deacons.” Some are saying these women would be “set apart” and others are saying they would be “ordained” but would not function as male deacons. Still others say the issues of ordination and function are “an open question.”

It is obvious. While Satan has ordered his attack differently, he is using the same three fronts in his war on the RCC! He is attacking the moral, liturgical / doctrinal, and sacred ministry of that church. Some of the clergy and lay faithful see it, but cannot do anything to stop it.

Ultimately it will very hard to stop. Papal ecclesiology is the reason!  It is not Biblical or Catholic (“believed always, everywhere and by all”). Over the centuries it has morphed into an ultra-heavy handed bureaucracy with no checks and balances (compare to Galatians 2:11-14). Their bishops who offer “fraternal corrections” are ignored. Faithful priests are often punished for speaking up. The lay faithful has no canonical say (Francis just proved that to the delegation of US bishops that went to see him). All they can do is complain publicly, stop contributing financially or leave.

My hope is the orthodox faithful in the RCC will take an honest look at the errors perpetrated by papal ecclesiology in history. Both of the major schisms in the Church occurred based on it; the Great Schism of AD 1054 and the Western Church schism (the Reformation) of AD 1517 (1534 in England). In both of them the papacy dug in its heals to retain power over the faithful; even to the splitting of the Church. It appears to be doing it again. What will their remnant do?

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


September 25, 2018 (Blessed Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop and Confessor)

I try not to give a lot of thought to politics, and do my best to avoid musing upon them here. But given what is playing out with the SCOTUS nominee, I can’t avoid it. The noise is just too loud.

Providing full disclosure, I am not registered with any political party. I identify myself as a Christian conservative. I am a Christian first. I believe in the morality and ethics of the Christian faith, the Constitution as originally understood, and the rule of law.

The reason for the opposition to Judge Kavanough has little to do about him. Any nomination by a Republican president to a Republican controlled Senate would be opposed. The opponent’s (Democrat, liberal, leftist, progressive, Socialist, radical feminist) opposition has to do with their fear it could mean the end of unfettered-abortion.  They have sold their souls on the altar of abortion on demand, and believe if a case comes up to the SCOTUS, Kavanaugh would provide the vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Make no mistake. This is the reason. While the drama of this battle is playing itself out in the political arena, the true battle is a moral one. It is a battle for the moral soul of the nation.

So what should a Christian do?

First, take a step back, breath, and remember God is in control here. Psalm 2:2-4 states “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed (Jesus, not any president), saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” God is not impressed or intimidated by cable news networks, Planned Parenthood, or #Metoo.

Psalm 75:5-7 states “Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” If Judge Kavanaugh is not confirmed to the SCOTUS it is not an indictment on him. It is an indictment on the ruling class of the country, on both sides of the aisle.

Second, we must pray. Always pray. Personally I don’t pray for specific outcomes of elections or political battles such as these. I pray for the nation as a whole, along the lines of the prayer For Our County found on page 36 of the BCP. I trust God’s sovereignty and oversight / control of everything for outcomes.

Third, unless you are a politician or working in politics, avoid arguments. Certainly don’t join the shouting down and shaming!  1 Thessalonians 4:11 provides sound counsel “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” Also, Psalm 37:1-3 “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land (i.e. go about your business), and verily thou shalt be fed.”  Verses 7-9 adds “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” This last passage is very wise, given those who call for taking things into our own hands.

True, the drama is being played out in the political arena, but the real battle is a spiritual one; to be fought in the spiritual realm with spiritual weapons. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 states “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

The weapons we are to employ in this battle are “…the whole armour of God…” (Ephesians 6:10-18): the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit (Scripture) and prayer.

Yes, we need to vote. Some may also be inclined to write or call their Congressman and Senators, or get involved in other ways. If so, then do so. But remember where the battle is really being fought. Remember where all victory, righteousness, actually comes from (see Deuteronomy 20).

If, as happens to me at times, the noise starts to lead to frustration or anxiety, then Psalm 73 is a wonderful Psalm to pray. Verses 16, 17 state “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” True solace is found in the nave of your parish. There, in front of the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the tabernacle, we will find peace. Not necessarily answers or the outcome we want. But peace in the midst of the turmoil. This is what Jesus promised to us in St. John 16:33.

Remember, “…the battle is the Lord’s…” (1 Samuel 17:47)

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


September 21, 2018 (St. Matthew, Apostle, Evangelist, Martyr)

If we were to take a poll of the most disliked occupations in our country, ranking at the top with used car salesmen and members of Congress would be tax collectors.They are very unpopular.

Take the way many in our day feel about tax collectors and magnify it by 100 and we can understand the way most Jews felt about tax collectors in the days of Jesus. They were hated even more than Samaritans were!

Tax collectors were Jews who worked for the Roman government collecting taxes for Caesar. What made their profession most nefarious was tax collectors could place as much profit on top of the taxes they collected as they could get away with charging. In example (using U.S. currency), let’s say the Roman tax rate was $50.00 for every 50 lbs of goods brought into a shipping port. The tax collector could charge an additional $10, $20 or even $50.00 on top of the tax. The Roman government didn’t care how much extra was charged so long as they got their $50.00. Often the tax collectors got away with charging exorbitant amounts by bribing the captain of the Roman guard at the point of custom they collected at. In the above example, the tax collector might pay the captain $20.00 of the $50.00 he collected above the tax in order to assure he could collect as much as he wanted.

Tax collectors were greedy for stealing from their own people and seen as traitors for working for Rome. The Jews’ hatred of Samaritans was racism (He’s one of them). The Jews’ hatred for tax collectors was deeper (He’s one of us).

Jesus knew this, and yet He still called St. Matthew (Levi) to be one of His apostles. Can you imagine the scandal?!  We get some sense of it when we read the reaction the Pharisees had (see St. Matthew 9:11). But then the Pharisees hated everything Jesus did. Still, the average Jew was also greatly scandalized!  Imagine being a Jew who brought his goods through St. Matthew’s seat of custom every day. One day he is listening to Jesus preach, when out of the corner of his eye he sees…who?…not Matthew?!  And not only is Matthew with Jesus, he is one of Jesus’ inner twelve? He’s an Apostle? What? How could it be?

In St. Matthew 9:12, 13 Jesus tells us why “…They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

St. Matthew was a sinner who answered Jesus’ call to repent and follow Him. He left his tax collection booth behind, never to return. Jesus had forgiven him.

This account brings the following to mind…

Is there anyone in our life whom we dislike so much, maybe hate even, the way the Jews hated tax collectors? Do we dislike that person so much that we believe they are beyond being able to receive God’s forgiveness? Are we unwilling to forgive them? Do we think “They are not worthy of Christ’s love!” Or, “It’s not worth me showing Christ’s love to them.”

God forbid!

The calling of St. Matthew shows us no one is beyond Jesus’ call, His forgiveness, His love. NO ONE! Whatever a person may have done (or is doing) he or she is not beyond Jesus’ reach. We cannot act like Jonah, who refused to go to Nineveh to preach God’s call to repentance because we think someone isn’t worthy. That is not for us to determine.

If St. Matthew; a greedy traitorous Jew was not beyond Jesus’ call, forgiveness and love, chances are no one we know is. Therefore let us bring His call, forgiveness and love to anyone the Holy Spirit leads us to. Who knows, the one who responds may be the next “Matthew” in the making?

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


September 19, 2018 (Ember Wednesday)

When I was in formation for the priesthood in the ACC, my Father-instructor said to me “A monkey can be taught to be a liturgist.” Of course he was exaggerating! He knew it was important to “pray the liturgy” well, have smooth movements at the altar and be a competent preacher.

He was actually using his over exaggeration to make his second point: “The priest does his most important work Monday thru Saturday.”  How true this is!

While the priest’s most public duty is accomplished at the altar each Sunday, for that is the place where the majority of parishioners are together at one time, his most important duty is accomplished on the other six days of the week. The latter has greater impact upon the spiritual lives of the people.

Monday through Saturday a priest must be given to two things primarily: prayer and study. He must make these his life’s work. No matter how busy his life might become, he must not let these two be neglected. Doing so will be at his own, and his parish’s spiritual peril.

Upholding that standard is becoming harder to do. Many parishes want a priest who is “dynamic.” They want a priest who will “grow the parish.” But that is not his calling.

When a man is ordained a priest, his Bishop reads a detailed charge to him before the whole of the congregation (BCP pgs. 539-543). There is not one word in it about church growth. It does though charge him to “…continually pray to God the Father, by the mediation of our only Saviour Jesus Christ, for the heavenly assistance of the Holy Ghost…” and that “…by daily reading and weighing the Scriptures, ye may wax riper and stronger in your Ministry;” This is a priest’s calling!

“A holy priest makes a fervent people; a fervent priest makes a pious people; a pious priest; a decent people; a decent priest; a godless people.” –Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard

No truer words have been written. Look at the Church at large today. Where bishops and priests have maintained a standard of holiness, the people remain pious, faithful Christians. Where they do not, the people fall into all sorts of apostasy, heterodoxy and even heresy. Only the strongest among the faithful can remain true to Christ and the Faith when their priest is a practical atheist.

This past Sunday one of the Scripture selections in the Evening Prayer Lectionary was from Ezekiel 33:1-9. Here is that passage:

“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

The watchman is the parish priest. The faithful have called him to their parish and the Bishop has set him over them to be their watchman. The priest watches over them by prayer and study, and when his prayers and studies warn him there is danger approaching, he must warn the people in his preaching and teaching!  If he doesn’t, and the parish is devoured by sin, then the priest is to blame and will face God’s judgment. But if he warns them, and the people refuse to heed the warning and defeat the approaching enemy and they are devoured, God will exonerate the priest.

People of God, pray for your priest(s)!  Assist him as Aaron and Hur assisted Moses in Israel’s battle against the Amalekites in Exodus 17:9-16. You’ll recall that in that battle as long as Moses’ arms were up Israel prevailed. When his arms dropped, Amalek prevailed. As the battle raged on, Moses’ arms became tired, and Aaron and Hur had to hold them up for him. In the end, Israel won! The people can best assist their priest by holding him up in prayer.

During these fall Ember Days (today, Friday and Saturday) please pray for the priesthood. Pray that more men will accept the call to this ministry, and that all priests in orders today will be faithful to their calling to prayer and study.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


September 12, 208 (Holy Name of Mary)

What does it mean to be holy?  In Hebrew it means sacred, set apart for God’s use.

Who is called to holiness? We all are. 1 Peter 2:9 states “But ye [all Christians] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” Through Holy Baptism, God calls us out of the darkness of original sin into the marvelous light of Christ.

Being holy does not mean being perfect. In Scripture there are many examples of men who were holy, yet faltered. Some greatly so. Abraham faltered when he thought the promised seed would be fulfilled in Ishmael (Genesis 21:12). Moses faltered when he struck the rock (Deuteronomy 32:51). David faltered when he conducted the census of the people (2 Samuel 24) and of course with Bathsheba!  Elijah faltered on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:4). St. John Baptist faltered while in prison (St. Luke 7:18-23). St. Peter faltered in the court of the high priest (St. Matthew 26:69-75).

Possibly the most stark example of imperfect holiness is St. Paul. In Galatians 1:15, 16 he states God had separated him while he was in his mother’s womb, and yet in 1 Corinthians 15:9 he states he is the “least of the apostles” because he had persecuted the Church. God had set him apart, and yet he resisted that call until he met Jesus face to face on the Damascus road.

These are examples of holiness in Scripture. Each of them is far from perfect. And yet after faltering each repented and fulfilled their calling.

There is one person though who exemplifies perfect holiness. As perfect that is for one born of human parents. That person is the Blessed Virgin Mary. From before the foundation of the world God set her apart to be the sacred tabernacle for His only-begotten Son.

God did not randomly choose “just any woman” for this penultimate blessing! In Isaiah 7:10-14 God told Ahaz, king of Judah what He was going to do…a virgin would conceive. Galatians 4:4 states this was fulfilled “…when the fullness of time had come.” What fullness is he speaking of? The genealogies of St. Matthew 1:1-17 and St. Luke 3:23-38 tell us. We often think “Why do we need to read that stuff?” Here is why. In the eternal council of the Godhead it was determined that in the 14th generation after the Babylonian captivity the Messiah would be born. God had determined that was the ‘fullness of time.’ Mary had been chosen. God had known her before He formed her in the womb of St. Anne and appointed her to be the mother of His Son (i.e. Jeremiah 1:5).

Mary accepted her calling when she gave her fiat (St. Luke 1:38) and then pondered Jesus in her heart daily throughout her life (St. Luke 2:51). She was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died, and remained with the apostles afterwards (Acts 1:14) before humbly fading from the pages of Scripture; her work too being finished.  Her love for her Son and Savior was undying.

Because of her most excellent example of holiness, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. She of all the saints; of all those who have been set apart for God’s exclusive use, can be honored in this way. Of course her holiness is different from that of Jesus’! Mary’s holiness is derivative. She derives her holiness from her Holy Son. Jesus’ holiness is self-given. He is holy because He is Eternal God and the Son of God. This distinction is extremely important, but it does not diminish Mary’s holiness.

When I meditate upon the holiness of Mary I think of Psalm 45:13-15 “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.”

The image here is striking. The psalmist is describing the throne room of the great King. His daughter is brought in garbed with the most beautiful handmade, gold garments. She is a pure virgin, as are all the women who accompany her. She enters with gladness and brings great joy to the palace. This is the Blessed Virgin Mary! Though in the fullness of time she is Jesus’ mother, in eternal time she is a daughter of the King. Her spiritual beauty is glorious. She is holy. And so is her name.

Each of us is called to be holy. Even if to this point we have faltered, we can still fulfill our calling today. God has set us apart through Baptism. He feeds us with the Holy Eucharist. Like the Blessed Virgin Mary we must daily give our fiat and then follow the way laid out for us. We can be holy, as He is holy.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


September 7, 2018 (Saint Evaritus, Bishop and Confessor)

I love baseball. I played it through high school (I wasn’t very good, but I loved it!). Of all the sports it is the only one I still watch consistently.

I’ve recently noticed that players have become much more argumentative with umpires over balls and strikes. Of course players and managers have always argued over this, but with the advent of “strike zone technology” players expect perfection from umpires. There have even been calls, from credible baseball people, to replace human, home plate umpires with electronic umpires. I think that would be a bad idea on several levels, the most important being there is no perfection in any other place in sports.

What the players forget is they too make mistakes. A lot of them. Pitcher’s don’t execute the right pitch when needed. Cather’s don’t block balls in the dirt all the time. Infielder’s misplay easy ground balls and outfielder’s fly balls. Both make bad throws.

I think one way to curb, if not stop all the complaining about balls and strikes is this…

Every time a player makes a mistake; not just errors recorded by the official scorer, any mistake, three fans get to come out of the stands, run up to that player and berate him for his poor play for one minute. The fans can’t go over the top with their criticism, just single the player out and let him know that as a professional ball player, being paid hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, he is expected to be make every play with perfection. Nothing less than that is permitted!

Of course this will never happen. Like the world in general, professional baseball players love to point out the errors of umpires, but overlook (if not excuse) their own.

The current players do not realize how much better umpires have become with calling balls and strikes.  I can recall the 1995 World Series. “My” Indians were playing the Atlanta Braves (what a politically incorrect Series that was!). The Brave’s pitchers, and especially Greg Maddox, were given the widest strike zone I’ve ever seen!  Look at the video on You Tube. It’s unbelievable!  It may have cost the Indians the Series that year?

Since the introduction of strike zone technology, all umpires (in the Major Leagues at least) are graded on their ability to call balls and strikes. The umpires themselves review their games and see if they are calling them according to the rule book. Since this has started, rarely do you see an umpire with a ridiculous strike zone. Yes, a few like “Cowboy” Joe West still think they are above the game (or that people came to watch him umpire) and call what they want, but for the most part umpires that cannot consistently call balls and strikes are weeded out. Most “missed” calls (and the technology still isn’t perfect, so how do we know for sure) are mere inches off the plate. I think umpiring is far better today than ever.

The use of technology as a training tool is great. It has really helped the game overall. But going to an electronic home plate umpire would be like giving pitchers goggles that would allow them to zero in on the exact place to throw his next pitch or batters goggles to show them exactly how to swing at each pitch. Such technology would make the game more “prefect”, but then it would no longer be the game I love.

So what does this have to do with Christianity? Maybe not much, but I touched on what I’m thinking about earlier.

So many in this world are expecting perfection from others, but excuse their own imperfections. They’ll berate the minimum wage fast food worker for slow service while excusing their own poor service in their $50k per year job. Many try to remove the sliver from their brother’s eye when they have a two by four in their own.

That teaching of Jesus’ (St. Matthew 7:1-4 and St. Luke 6:37-42) is often (mis) used to say we should never judge. That’s incorrect exegesis. Jesus is teaching we must be prudent with our judgments. We cannot judge others by a standard we do not judge ourselves with. We cannot look to the small faults of others when we have large faults of our own. St. Paul said he was the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Did he mean he sinned more than anyone else? No. He realized that for him, given his knowledge of and relationship with Christ, he sinned greatly. I think of this in terms of St. James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” St. Paul knew God was calling him to a high standard of holiness, and in failing that standard he was the chief of sinners.

We need to judge what is right and wrong, moral and immoral, sinful and not sinful. But we must do so with wise discretion, realizing we too do wrong, immoral and sinful things. We cannot judging others while excusing ourselves. And when we do have to judge others, we need to be cautious, and if the sin affects us, be forgiving.

We all sin. We all make mistakes. We need to remember this when we point out the faults of others. Baseball players need to remember this too.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


August 28, 2018 (St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor)

I walked into a convenience store yesterday and saw the front page headline of the Roanoke Times reporting Pope Francis was not going to respond to the written testimony of a retired Archbishop on the cover up of the homosexual abuse incidents involving a Roman cardinal in the US.

I’ve tried to avoid giving attention to this issue since it broke a few weeks ago because, after all, we all know Anglicans live in a glass house. Throwing stones is not a good idea. But when a paper in Southwest Virginia, where the population is less than 2% Catholic, puts an article about the Pope on the front page, it’s a big issue and should be considered.

I’m not going to get into the details of the scandal. It’s horrible. No need to pile on. Plus, I think the situation overall is actually a symptom of a greater problem.

I think the core problem here is papal ecclesiology itself. The papal office has too much centralized authority with too little accountability. As the saying goes “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We’ve seen this at other times in the Church’s history, but in today’s 24 / 7, world-wide news cycle we have the chance to see it in great detail

In Scripture, St. Peter is the undoubted leader of the apostolic band. His name is first in each list of the Apostles and after the Ascension he is out front of the twelve leading, preaching and evangelizing.

But when the Apostles met to choose the successor to Judas (Acts 1:15-26), St. Peter did not choose him on his own. The 120 lay persons were involved in choosing the two candidates. Once they were chosen, Peter did not select which of them would fill Judas’ office; the twelve, together, cast lots and let the Holy Ghost decide.

In St. Paul’s instructions to SS. Timothy and Titus on consecrating bishops, nowhere does it say “And be sure to send the names of the men chosen to St. Peter so he can approve them beforehand…”  St. Peter, nor the Church at Rome, were involved.

In the earliest years of the Church the local clergy and laity were involved in the selection and election of bishops. Whether actual ballots were cast, or voting was by known reputation or voice acclamation is not clear, but the laity were surely involved. If the other bishops did not agree with the choice they could refuse to enact or participate in the consecration. This provided checks and balances to the process.

Pope Leo I (AD 440-461) emphatically affirmed the right of the local clergy and laity being involved when he wrote: “The one who is to preside over all should be elected by all…When the election of the chief priest is being considered, the one whom the unanimous consent of the clergy and people demands should be preferred. … No one who is unwanted and unasked for should be ordained, lest the city despise or hate a bishop whom they did not choose.”

In the current papal system, the pope has the sole say in all consecrations. Candidates are typically selected by other bishops or papal legates and their names forwarded to the Pope. The Pope rarely if ever knows anything about the men, except what is written in their dossier. Some may go to Rome to meet with him briefly.  The result of this system has been the formation of a “good ‘ol boys network.”

Those standing outside of the Anglican glass house with stones in their hands are now saying “Yeah, but the Anglican system of electing bishops hasn’t gone so well.” True, in the Canterbury Communion and The Episcopal Church it did not. In part this is due to its own form of  “the network.” But inherent in the Anglican system is the right, given in Scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), to separate from a hierarchy that perverts the Faith and practice of the Church, which the Continuing Churches did in 1978. The Roman Church (defying Scripture) has no such right in place. In the RCC, to separate from the papal office is to separate from the source of grace. It’s quite a conundrum for faithful RC’s.

My point here is, the root problem of this scandal is papal ecclesiology; the way the RCC selects, elects and consecrates bishops, and then promotes them within their church. There are no real checks and balances. Accountability only seems to occur when bishops get caught in crimes or sin.

There is a solution though. The Roman Church should totally reform their system. They need to reform to a system that more closely models Scripture and Tradition. The Pope can still be involved, as part of the checks and balances, but not as the sole authority. (It should be noted that I’ve read articles written by RC sources from as early as 2015 proposing the same).

It must be said there are many godly, orthodox and faithful bishops and cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church. But as this current scandal unfolds, it can be seen that many of those who have the most power are either corrupt themselves, or are willing to cover up for those who are corrupt.

I’m not happy to see what is going on here. Not at all. When one branch of the Church hurts, the whole of the Church hurts. We must pray for all involved; and especially for lay persons whose souls are being tortured, not wanting to support such evil, but fearing being cut off from grace.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


August 16, 2018 (St. Joachim, Father for the Blessed Virgin Mary)

There are four reasons why Catholics should have a burial mass…

  1. To worship Jesus Christ. The mass is the ultimate form of worship. It is the only form Jesus gave to His Church. It is the only form taught in the New Testament. It is the form that was used throughout the whole Church until the Reformation, when various sects began to opt for preaching-centered services. The mass should be the way we worship and thank God for each of the important events of life: Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, and even death. For a Christian, death is truly a passing on to the new and everlasting life; much more a beginning than an end. We should give worship to God for this, even in our grief. As Job said when he had lost all his children “…the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21).
  2. To offer the Sacrifice of Christ for the repose of the departed person’s soul. This ideal is so lost today. Even we as Anglican Catholics have become so “protestantized” here! We take for granted that every person who is baptized goes directly to heaven. That’s not the case. The faithful departed go to Paradise, where they continue to grow in grace and in their love and knowledge of Christ. At the moment of death, few are ready to see Christ face to face. Paradise is the place the soul is prepared for the Beatific Vision. The faithful departed need our prayers during their time of preparation there, just as we need their prayers during our time of probation here on earth. While it is true those prayers can be offered using the Prayer Book’s Burial Office, there is nothing more powerful than offering those prayers through the one, perfect sacrifice of Christ re-presented in the holy sacrifice of the mass. We all live imperfect lives. Many live them with marginal faith and faithfulness. Our prayers cannot “give heaven” to anyone, but they can aid them in whatever preparation they must go through in order to face Christ on that Day. 2 Maccabees 12:39-45 is a powerful teaching on this. Also read 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
  3. To remind us of our own mortality, our need to prepare spiritually for death and to renew our faith in the resurrection. This is so overlooked today! A burial mass with its solemn tone, its black vestments, its Scripture lessons on death and resurrection and, at least for me, the singing or recitation of the haunting sequence Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), reminds us, the living, that we need to prepare ourselves for the day when we will be the one laying in the casket. Yes, we have the hope; the real hope, of resurrection! But that hope must be based on a life of faith and faithfulness (obedience) to Christ and His Word. The burial mass (any requiem) reminds us of this fact.
  4. To thank God for the life of the departed person. The sole intention of a burial mass is the person being buried. We thank God for giving him or her life. We thank God that He chose them for baptism (Ephesians 1:4,5). We thank God they were raised in the Church and received the other Sacraments. Hopefully we can thank God they kept the Faith. This is the “celebratory” nature of a burial mass. In the panegyric, the address given by the priest between the completion of the mass and the dismissal of the body, statements about the faithfulness of the deceased can be included, but it is not a eulogy! There should not be a eulogy in a mass! Eulogies can be given at the wake in the funeral home before the mass or at the burial site after the mass.

In the contemporary Western Church most, if not all four of these reasons have been lost. Protestant churches have turned burial services into ridiculous “celebrations of life” complete with slide shows and favorite contemporary Christian or secular songs and storytelling. Some traditional Baptists turn it into an opportunity to get people saved. Rome now vests the priest and veils the casket in white. All the solemnity has not been removed, but as with just about every Roman mass today, even burial masses are about getting as many people “participating” as possible. It’s “family and friends on parade” to read the Scripture lessons, to sing this piece or play that piece of music, to give a eulogy (or worst) a “spiritual address.” These participants are not vetted by the priest to see if they practice the Catholic, or even the Christian faith!  Even if they are vetted, such things should not be part of the Church’s most sacred act of worship!

While our ACC churches have not yet gone the way of all flesh here, as a priest I’ve seen and received increasingly more requests to interject such things. Most often now people are not having burial masses, and are opting for the Prayer Book’s Burial Office. This is unfortunate. Typically the reason is, they don’t want to offend non-Catholic friends, or because few will receive (or many should not receive) the Eucharist. I understand both of these to a point, but both overlook the four reasons for the burial mass. The burial mass is for the departed person; for the repose of their soul! The wake, the gathering after the mass or the burial, those are for the living. We should not underestimate the teaching ability of the mass.

But, if a person decides to have a Prayer Book Burial Office service, or (please God no) just a memorial service (which should not be done in the church, have it in the funeral home chapel), encourage them to have a private requiem mass said too. This way the departed person is given the best gift for their journey into new and everlasting life; the perfect Sacrifice of Jesus, offered just for them, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.


August 9, 2018 (St. John Marie Baptist Vianney, Confessor)

Is the use of capital punishment licit? Is it morally permissible by God?

Yes it is.

The foundation for this doctrine is given in the covenant God made with Noah after the flood. Genesis 9:6 states “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

The allowance for capital punishment legitimately develops throughout Scripture.

The Old Testament allows for its use in the case of murder, rape, adultery, sorcery and false prophecy. These were not absolute commands, for often God spared the lives of people who committed them. But there was an absolute allowance for it.

In the New Testament the use of capital punishment develops in the direction of the state (legitimate governing authorities) and away from individuals or mobs. Jesus deterred the mob from stoning the women caught in adultery (St. John 8:1-11), yet He acknowledges Pilate’s authority to put Him to death (St. John 19:9-11) and does not dispute it when the “good thief” on the cross acknowledges the same thing in St. Luke 23:39-43. In Acts 25:7-12 St. Paul acknowledges the authority of the Roman Government to execute him if he is found guilty of a capital crime.

Romans 13:1-7 is the most direct passage giving the state the authority to use capital punishment. Verse 3-5 states “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” St. Peter teaches the same thing in 1 Peter 2:13-17.

The right of the state to use capital punishment is taught in Sacred Tradition. St. Augustine (and later St. Thomas Aquinas) wrote clear teachings on its use. Whether or not the use of this right is prudent, and if so under what conditions it should and should not be used, is discussed and disputed by the Fathers, but the right of the state to utilize capital punishment is not disputed.

There is no doubt then that the use of capital punishment, by legitimate governmental authorities, is licit. The Bishops of the branches of the Church, along with knowledgeable lay men and women, should continue to discuss its prudency, and for what crimes and under what conditions associated with those crimes, it should be used, but whether it is admissible cannot legitimately be disputed. The Church as a whole, nor any one branch of it, cannot legitimately say the use of capital punishment is inadmissible.

A primary argument posited by those who say the use of capital punishment is illicit is that its use destroys the human dignity of the person executed. It is a poor argument, based on humanism and not theology. Genesis 9:6 states the very reason God says capital punishment is licit is because man is made in His image! Since God is the sole author of life, He should be the sole determiner of when life should end. When a man or woman usurps God’s authority and takes an innocent life (this is what murder is, the taking of innocent life), he or she gravely, and permanently, offends the dignity of the victim. The price the murderer is to pay for such a grave offense is the loss of his own life.

There is a difference between the ontological dignity of man and the moral dignity of man. Man’s ontological dignity can never be lost. All human persons are created in the image and likeness of God and that dignity cannot be lost. But man can mar, and even lose, his moral dignity. When we sin we mar our moral dignity but not our ontological dignity. This is what God judges (see Genesis 4:10-15). When a person who commits murder is sentenced to capital punishment his moral dignity is judged by the state, his ontological dignity is not.

The purpose of capital punishment is three fold: to proclaim God’s supremacy over evil, reparation for the offense (“a life for a life”) and the protection of societal order (deterrence), and to allow the offender the opportunity to repent so he or she may still inherit eternal life by receiving God’s forgiveness. None of them should be set aside when discussing this matter.

When capital punishment should be implemented will always be a matter worthy of dispute, but its legitimacy should not be. Some governments use it very broadly; often for offenses that we in the United States (most of the west) believe are not right. I’m very uncomfortable seeing it used in our country based upon circumstantial evidence alone. There have been a number of cases when persons on death row were later released when DNA or other, and better, direct evidence proved their innocence.

What the Church and Christians cannot say, and remain faithful to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, is the use of capital punishment is in itself morally wrong, and is therefore inadmissible. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition plainly teach it is admissible; it is morally right. Some people may not understand why, but then God’s ways are infinitely higher than ours.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.


August 1, 2018 (St. Peter’s Chains)

There are a lot of really cool stories in Scripture. Jacob wrestling with an angel. Sampson killing the Philistines with the jaw bone of an ass. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego being preserved in the fiery furnace. These are just a few.

But one of my favorites is St. Peter being released from prison by an Angel; a story found in Acts 12:1-19.  There are several cool things about this incident, but the part I like best is how the angel led Peter past all the guards with the doors and gates opening before them. There are several good theological lessons in this incident.

Scripture tells us St. Peter was cast into prison four times in his life. The first time was with St. John (Acts 4:1-22). The second with all the Apostles (Acts 5:17-42). The third time alone. The fourth time in Rome, where he wrote his second epistle.

The first three times Peter was imprisoned God miraculously released him. The final time He did not.  What does that mean? Does it mean God no longer loved Peter? Does it mean God was punishing him? Does it mean God had abandoned him? No! God still loved Peter. He was not punishing him or abandoning him by not having him released that fourth time. God was showing Peter, and us, that He uses every circumstance; the “good” and the “bad” to draw us closer to Him, not to hurt us! Everything He does in our life, He does because He loves us.

We must always remember that God’s “end game” is to save us, in Christ, for eternity. He will allow, or do, whatever is necessary for us to respond by faith to Him. And He knows what we need in every situation.

Romans 8:35-39 reminds us “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God does not stop loving us even when we are “imprisoned” by the circumstances of life.

We need to remember this! Maybe we have an illness, say cancer. It has gone into remission once or maybe more than once. But this time it’s not. The same procedures and medicines, and newer, stronger ones are not working. The disease has us imprisoned. We are facing death. This does not mean God has abandoned us!  It does not mean God is punishing us! He is preparing us to be with Him. He is using the circumstances to sharpen our focus on Him. He could be using us to minister to others in the midst of our illness?

We see this when we read 2 Peter (his fourth imprisonment). There he was in the Mamertine prison; the worst of all the prisons in Rome. It was death row. Many died in the prison itself. Though he knows he is about to die (see 1:13-15), there is not one word about his condition in this epistle. Not that it would’ve been wrong had he mentioned it, but he did not. He had reached the point in his life where Jesus words to him in St. John 21 “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?…Feed my sheep” had fully resonated. Throughout the entire epistle St. Peter is feeding his sheep; knowing they will be the last words he will share with the flock.

What Jesus said to him in St. John 21:18, 19 was being fulfilled “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not…Follow me.”

Peter was following Jesus…unto death. We need to follow Him too.

You or someone close to you may be facing a circumstance that has you imprisoned. Illness or injury, disease, addiction, loss. God has not abandoned you in it!  He has not!  His love for us is so real that He gave His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus, to die for us. That is an extreme measure of love. If He so loves us, and He does, He will never abandon us.

I pray that if you are imprisoned by such a circumstance that you do as St. Peter did. Keep feeding the sheep, even if that lamb is yourself. If you know someone who is imprisoned by one of them, please do not leave them alone in it. Do not let them feel abandoned as St. Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:6-12 (written when he was in the Mamertine). If you have been abandoned by others, know you are not alone. You are not!  2 Timothy 4:16-18 states “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me…Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me… and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

When everyone else forsook St. Paul, God did not! He will not forsake us either.

This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.

July 25, 2018 (St. James, Apostle and Martyr)

Fifty years ago today Paul VI, Bishop of Rome released his papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). While I’m no fan of the papacy, in this case I must give Paul VI credit for being courageous, if not prophetic, in this document.

Consider what was going on in the world at the time. In the East, Communism was in full strength with its false ideology of socialism (which to them meant controlling all aspects of human population and behavior). The Soviet Union controlled all of Eastern Europe and East Germany. Its ideologies were spreading like wild fire in Latin and South American countries. In Western Europe Christianity was dying. In the U.S. the Vietnam War was at its height. Marxism and Freudian psychology were infecting college campuses. Increased drug abuse and “free love” were being practiced as ways to expand the mind and free the body. The sexual revolution was in full swing.

Into this turmoil stepped Paul VI. He undoubtedly knew he would be criticized. Many of his own counselors told him not to release the document. The story is he was on the cusp of not releasing it, but after spending time alone, in prayer, he did. And thank God he did!  While few listened to him, even in the Roman Church, what he wrote needed to be written. Fifty years later Humanae Vitae has proven itself to be prophetic.

I hope you have read the document, but if not, please do. It is only 16 pages long and is readily found online. While Paul VI’s purpose was to warn the world about the affects of the growing use of artificial contraception, it was not his purpose to merely wag his finger at the world. He also exalted the gift God has given to man in human sexuality and moreover the gift of grace given in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am not theologically adept enough to explain the document’s teaching in this space, and really there is no need. Many fine articles have already done that.

I would though like to give a few of my own thoughts…

Human sexuality is a gift God has given exclusively to one man and one woman who have entered into marriage (the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony). Within that relationship the couple is free to engage in sexuality in all “lawful” means. Those lawful means are to unite the couple as one, to procreate and to fulfill their God-given sexuality (Proverbs 5:19). This does not mean the couple should use each other to indulge all their fantasies.  Hebrews 13:4 is a sound guide “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Sexual acts within marriage are not sinful. But when a couple replicates the practices of the sexually promiscuous and perverse, indulging sexual lusts, then God will judge it.

I was five years old when Humanae Vitae was published. In my twelve years of Roman Catholic School I was never taught anything about it. My eighth grade teacher (a nun) tried to teach us a little about proper sexuality, but we giggled at her so much she left the room in tears. Whatever she tried to teach us was wiped away by the priest who taught my tenth grade morality class!

My point is, I came into my marriage totally ignorant of proper, marital sexuality. I was married in the Roman Church, and we were introduced to their Natural Family Planning, but it was presented as a suggested choice. I recall several couples angrily scoffing at it.

I knew what any Christian should; that once I was married I was not to commit adultery. As one who knew some Scripture, I knew this meant both physical and mental adultery. But other than that, my information came from the world and the counsel of Protestant Christian friends, each of whom were ‘all in’ on artificial contraception.

My wife did not conceive our first child until after I was ordained a deacon in the REC in 1995. Eighteen months later we had our second son. Three years later we had our third (just after I was ordained priest). After the third child, the bishop I had at the time made it a point to talk to me about permanent forms of contraception. He felt it would be “irresponsible” on my part to burden a congregation I might have cure over in the future to have to provide a salary for a priest with a large family. To my shame I accepted his counsel. But as St. Paul writes “…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” (Romans 5:20).

Sadly, it was the Lambeth Conference in 1930 that first endorsed the use of contraception by married couples as responsible family planning. Though opposed by eminent Anglican Divines like Charles Gore, Bishop of Oxford, it still passed overwhelmingly. Maybe this is why the Episcopal Church, USA was the first to approve of abortion on demand in 1967, the seeds being planted 37 years earlier? The ACC accepts the 1930 Lambeth position on contraception. I pray that will change one day.

The biggest problems with artificial contraception are how it fosters a lack of trust in grace and how it affects our faith. Do we believe that God’s grace is sufficient to help us control our sexual desires? Or put another way; is sexuality outside of the reach of grace? Is it insufficient? Do Christian, married couples have sufficient faith to go before God in prayer and ask Him to guide them in building their families?  To trust that God’s plan for their marriage includes children, in His time? So many godly married couples trust every other area of life to God accept their sexuality. Contraception, and moreover the “contraceptive mentality” greatly aid this lack of faithfulness.

In 1968 Paul VI made four “predictions” about the effect contraception would have on society. Fifty years later they have proven to be prophetic. Here they are:

  1. an increase in marital infidelity.
  2. a “general lowering of morality.”
  3. men increasingly using women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners (today, many women have joined them in their use of men).                                                                                                                             4. an imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments.

Undoubtedly all four of these have rung true, and are increasing!  Moreover, abortion has increased as an ultimate means of “contraception.” The driving force behind abortion on demand is not that most men and women want to kill their babies!  No, they want the “freedom” to have sex without the responsibility of marriage and / or parenthood.

On this fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae I pray that at least all the Catholic Churches would see the evidence, and teach human sexuality in light of Paul VI’s teaching. It is not some “Medieval” document with “prudish views” of sexuality!  It was written on the cusp of the sexual revolution in the west. It has proven itself to be true (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

May we understand that the aberrant sexual behavior we see today has its roots in the sexual freedom fostered by the contraception mentality so many churches have accepted and teach; either verbally or by their silence against it.  If we want to see the sinful fruit of the contemporary aberrant sexual movement whither and die, then we must first kill its roots.

This is my musing for today. Thank you for reading it.