On how Christians are depicted . . . in art, on Netflix and in the media

IMG_20171217_114420If a visitor came to one of our Ordinariate communities, what would they see?  Would they see warm, welcoming, joyful people?  Or would they see contentious, negative and cliquish people?  Would they see worship that makes them sense the Presence of a supernatural, Loving God?  Or would they see a bunch of people reciting prayers by rote with hearts far from entering into the meaning of the words and gestures?   Would they find people acquainted with the mercy of God?  Or would they find self-righteous judges who believe others should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps the way they  did?   Would they see people who believe in miracles but also how even more important is desiring God’s will above their own?  Or would they see people whose faith crashes and burns when confronted by serious challenges?

I’m thinking about this because of what I’ve seen over the holidays in how Christians are depicted. Continue reading

The A.C. Society’s role in ‘Healing the rift’

On social media this morning,  I discovered news of an Episcopal minister, Canon Andrew Petiprin, who is entering the Catholic Church in Nashville, Tennessee in the New Year.   This is a reason for great rejoicing and I trust he and  and his family will receive the same warm welcome we did when we became Catholic nearly eight years ago.

I see among his Facebook friends a number of Ordinariate members, but you’ll see in Petiprin’s testimony, there is no mention of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Continue reading

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (AD 1774 – 1821)

[#18 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 5]

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HIS week in English Catholic History, we celebrate St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first erstwhile Episcopalian and culturally English native-born citizen of the United States of America we have covered in this series. She is celebrated in America on January 4, the day of her death.

Elizabeth was born into the cream of high New York City society. Thanks to her parents’ care for her education, she was accomplished in French, an accomplished pianist and was adept in the art of horsemanship. She was a popular socialite and when she was nineteen married a 25-year-old wealthy businessman and trader, William Magee Seton in 1794. Their marriage was witnessed by the Episcopalian Bishop of New York, Samuel Provoost.

The couple was very happy together and had five children. They lived together in a fashionable residence on Wall Street, and attended the famous Trinity Episcopal Church. But eventually William’s business failed after several of his trade ships were sunk or captured. William had always been ill, suffering from the chronic disease tuberculosis, eventually succumbing to the disease in 1803.

Shortly before William’s death, in a last-ditch effort to restore his health, the couple travelled to Italy, staying with William’s business associates the Fillicchis. While there, Elizabeth was exposed to Catholicism, spending hours in the nearby Catholic chapel, and the Catholic family they stayed with answered Elizabeth’s questions and furnished her with reading material defending the Catholic Church from many of the common objections to the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, when she returned to New York, Elizabeth continued to attend her Episcopalian parish. She started an academy for training young ladies to support herself and her young daughters. Two years later, however, after a period of deep struggle, she came into full communion with the Catholic Church, convinced that Jesus was present in the Sacrament of the Catholic Church in a unique way. Her academy also failed afrer parents withdrew their daughters from the new Catholic’s school.

On the verge of moving to Canada, where Catholics were more numerous, Elizabeth met Louis Dubourg, a Sulpician Abbot and president of St. Mary’s College whose order had fled the French Terror. In 1809 she moved to Maryland and founded Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School to educate Catholic girls, funded by the wealthy convert Samuel Cooper. It was the first free school in America. Regarding education, Elizabeth said, “Take great care about the people with whom your children associate.”

Elizabeth established a religious community called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph that adopted the rule of life of the Daughters of Charity in France. She spent the rest of her life developing this community. She died of tuberculosis herself at the age of 46. Her last words were, “Blood of Jesus, wash me.”

Eventually the Sisters of Charity took the necessary steps to merge with the French Daughters of Charity, as Elizabeth had desired, but which had been impossible in her lifetime due to the turbulent state of affairs in France during the early Nineteenth Century.

Pope St. John XXIII beatified Elizabeth in 1963, saying “In a house that was very small, but with ample space for charity, she sowed a seed in America which by Divine Grace grew into a large tree.”

She was canonized in 1974 by Pope St. Paul VI, who said: “Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint… Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.”

Further reading:

Charles Coulomb’s informative vignette from yesteryear here.

Academic Study on St Elizabeth’s spiritual direction practices.

Continue reading

The Queen’s 2018 Christmas Message: An Ordinariate Catholic’s Analysis

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The following represents my own views and not those of the Society as a whole.

As John and I have pointed out in This Week in English Catholic History #2the current royal family are the descendants of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, who died at Elizabeth I’s bidding, on a charge of treason, though she was not a subject of England, and of the Catholic monarchs of England who preceded her.

Yet the royal family remains out of communion with the Catholic Church.

So there may be those who ask whether it is a Patrimonial practice for members of the Ordinariate to listen to the Queen’s Christmas speech.

Nevertheless the Queen and her family represent a Traditional link to the past, and through God’s divine providence, what many see as the appalling conduct of Henry VIII and his successors made possible a certain culture of Anglican spirituality which, though corporately out of communion with Rome until now, has its own unique treasures to share with Catholicism and the World.

And so I make it my own habit, as I think should all members of the Ordinariate, to listen to the Queen’s address to the commonwealth, for indeed, our spiritual heritage is part of the common wealth which the United Kingdom has bestowed upon our World:

Continue reading

A Visitor to the Ordinariate

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the parish

Not a heresy was stirring, neither subtle nor garish;

The media were pushing secular worldviews with care,

In hopes for the young people’s minds to ensnare:

The children to space out on unneeded meds;

With visions of life without God in their heads;

But our parish priest rises to lead us in prayer:

“Most Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care

And delight to prepare us to hear once again

The message of the angels unto Bethlehem…”

And the carols and lessons all too quickly pass,

And we kneel as our celebrant says midnight Mass.

The collection is lighter than ’twas years before,

When yet we were all on the Tiber’s far shore. Continue reading

St. Thomas Becket (AD c. 1119 – 1170)

[#17 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of December 23 – 29]

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HIS week in English Catholic History, we celebrate St. Thomas Becket on December 29, the day of his martyrdom.

He was born in Pettyside, London. Due to his father’s financial setbacks, he had to leave school to support himself, and eventually started working as a clerk for Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury. There, his talent won his master’s favor and Thomas became the Archbishop’s most trusted clerk.

Theobald used Thomas in several delicate negotiations, sent him to study canon law for a year, and eventually ordained him a deacon in 1154 and bestowed upon him the Archdeaconry of Canterbury. Continue reading

In praise of the King James Version

This is my personal opinion and not that of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, but I’ve made no secret of my desire to see the Catholic Church approve the King James Version of the Bible as part of our Anglican patrimony and a treasure to be shared.  Of course, it would need the extra books and some footnotes to correct any errors.

In a recent conversation on Facebook, none other than Tony Esolen, an author, translator of Dante, and professor of English Renaissance and classical literature at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire weighed in. Continue reading