Fr Derek Cross on St John Henry Newman and the Anglican patrimony

Fr Derek Cross of the Toronto Oratory of St Philip Neri gave the final talk at ATC 2019, our ninth conference on the Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church, and his talk – St John Henry Newman on the Liturgical Act: A Patrimonial Reflection – can now be viewed online on both YouTube and Facebook.

A former Anglican like Cardinal Newman, Fr Cross explored his fellow Oratorian’s treatment of the liturgical act in worship, reverence & ritual, and its bearing on the ordinariate’s Anglican patrimony, now an officially commended aqua vitae in the Catholic Church. Touching on “the Anglican communion’s reputation as a liturgical church & the desire for liturgical continuity expressed by Anglicanorum Coetibus,” Fr Cross references prophetic hopes for “An Anglican church, united with Rome but not absorbed – an Anglican uniate church,” & speaks of the work ahead of us to ever more fully appropriate the Anglican intellectual and liturgical patrimony.


To illustrate his reflections, Fr Cross takes note of various writings by Cardinal Newman, many of which are found in the recent book published by Dr Peter Kwasniewski: Newman on Worship, Reverence, and Ritual. This extensive collection forms the basis of the reflections comprising the talk, and Dr Kwasniewski has done the Anglican Catholic community a favour in placing all of this wealth in one place for our ease of reference. As Fr Cross puts it, “What better accompaniment to this weekend’s celebration can one imagine? This book is a primary witness to the liturgical theology of that great Oratorian priest who was in sundry ways the father of Anglicans who have enacted a recourso back from their alma mater to the grandmother Church…”

Prefacing his reflections on Newman, Fr Cross first cites two important and relevant quotations. He first turns to Fr Henry St John, the nephew of Newman’s close friend Fr Ambrose St John: “Few Catholic priests can have had such concentrated Anglican antecedents and background as mine were. I can truly say that all the best things in Anglicanism are still in me at every human level, intuitive, affective and intellectual, integrated now into my Catholicism. These have been incorporated into my Catholic life and, I am very sure, perfected by it. But the roots of this composite are thoroughly Anglican and I am deeply grateful for the ethos of the Church of England and its doctrine which had penetrated and built up the family, parents and brothers and sisters, in which I was bred… Our vision of the future must be that one day there will still be the Catholic Church, the same in its essential structure and truth. Towards unity with her, the churches now outside the Catholic Church will move. The Church will open wide its arms and accept all that is good and true in customs and in usage; in ways of thinking, worshipping, and government, that these churches have practiced and valued in their separated life. By this, the Church of Christ will be greatly enlarged and enriched. All that the Catholic Church now stands for will still be the substance of the Church’s structure. In less essential things, there will be a far wider variety of custom and usage, as there was in the early days of the Church’s history. As I look back over more than fifty years during which history has been in the making that must be the vision of our ecumenical hope and prayer.”

Next cited is Fr Aidan Nichols in The Panther and the Hind: “An Anglican church united with Rome but not absorbed – an Anglican uniate church – is perfectly feasible but it can only be constructed on the basis of a selection from among the elements I have mentioned. It might be a church with a religious metaphysic drawn from the Cambridge platonists, supplying as this would a doctrine of creation, and an account of the human being in the image and likeness of God, necessary to the theocentric humanism of any truly Catholic tradition; a doctrinal and sacramental ethos, taken from the restoration divines, with their stress on the inseparable inconnection of incarnation, church, and liturgy; and a missionary spirit borrowed from the evangelical movement and centred therefore on the universal significance of the Saviour’s atoning work; the whole to be confirmed and where necessary corrected by acceptance of the framework of the Roman Catholic communion, including the latter’s teaching authority to determine those many questions of faith and morals which historically have kept Anglicans divide. In such a way, numerous elements of the Anglican theological tradition, classics both as texts and persons, could find repatriation in the Western patriarchate, in peace and communion with that See with which the origins of English Christianity are forever connected.”

Thus Fr Cross lays the foundation for his exploration of Newman’s thought on worship, reverence and ritual as it touches on the liturgical act and the patrimony of the Anglican ordinariates. Fr Cross’s talk will be published in full in an upcoming issue of the Society’s journal, but for now it can be watched in full here:

Fr. Hayman preaches series for children

Fr. Doug Hayman, Dean of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, has been doing a series of special talks for children.

We are also blessed to have him as our pastor in Ottawa at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He has one up now for Trinity Sunday in which he describes the Trinity!

You can find his previous talks at his YouTube channel. Subscribe and enjoy!


102471866_10105672746907010_5781421860436574208_nTo-day, June 2, 2020, is the 67th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey with the Crown Jewelsin the Coronation Chair as Sovereign of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. What a very different world it was then! The British Empire still spanned the globe, with Churchill as Prime Minister; Eisenhower had just become president of the United States. Anglo-Catholicism was at its apparent peak in many ways. At any rate, in honour of the day, I present a collection of prayers: some by (or to!) various of Her Majesty’s predecessors, others praying for the conversion of various of her realms, and ending with prayers for herself.

Continue reading

Toronto Conference Liturgies

All of the liturgies and three of the four talks from the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Tradition Conference last November 15-16 in Toronto are available online at our Anglicanorum Coetibus Society YouTube channel. Please go on over and subscribe!

You can find out more information about the conference at our website. And while you’re over there, why not considering joining us and becoming a supporter of our mission to promote Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church to help form disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.

Here is the Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for Anglicanorum Coetibus:

Choral Mattins in the Anglican Tradition

Choral Evensong and Benediction

Three of the four talks are also available at our YouTube channel:

Bishop Steven Lopes

David Warren

Fr. Jack Barker

and soon to come, Fr. Derek Cross

More on The Cloud of Unknowing

Lisa Nicholas looks at Chapter Three of The Cloud of Unknowing, a classic work of English Catholic Mysticism at her Learning God: Readings in the Contemplative English Tradition blog:

She writes:

The subtitle of this chapter promises that it will explain two things: how to put in practice what the book will teach, and why the reason doing so is the most worthy thing one can do.

So first the how: Lift your heart to God, our author says, thinking only of Him, but not of His benefits (“goods”) or any part of His Creation. Think on Him as He is, but not of what He does. This will be difficult, but we must persist in the effort, no matter how difficult it seems, until it is no longer difficult. At first, and for a long time, we will face a great “cloud of unknowing,” but if we persist eventually the cloud will disperse and we will see/know Him as He is, to the extent that this is possible in this mortal life.

Why persist in something so difficult and frustrating? Our teacher encourages his pupil to make the effort, not only for one’s own sake (the benefit of experiencing God as He is), but also because doing so will frustrate the fiends of Hell and benefit the souls in purgatory.


The method of prayer introduced in this chapter (to be explained in detail later) sounds a little like that old gag, “Don’t think about elephants.” As soon as someone says that, you find yourself thinking about elephants. So, how do we fix our minds and hearts on God without thinking of all the good things He does for us or all the wonderful things He has created that bear witness to Him? How can we make it our naked intent simply to adore Him as He is, when it is impossible for us to know Him except through the created order, His interventions in the created order, including His becoming Man for our sake?

It sounds impossible, rather like trying to know what we don’t know. Our teacher acknowledges this difficulty — we must not try to think of God with our intellect (we’re not engaging in theology) nor to feel Him with our affections (we can’t conjure Him up with our emotions). But, if not thinking or feeling, what? Our “naked intent” — our will. Our desire itself to know Him.

This, he says, is what the Angels and Saints do: they desire God with a pure and unflagging desire, and their reward is to know Him as He is. This is the encouragement that will help us persevere in what will seem, at first and for a long time thereafter, a most impossible and frustrating task.

Part one of this series is here. Part two is here. Please not only read all three but also read The Cloud of Unknowing for yourself.

Please listen to the two-part podcast with David Torkington on Christian mystical prayer and the role he believes the Ordinariates can play in reviving it. You can find the podcasts at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website here.

Diaconal Ordinations on Ascension will be live-streamed from Houston

From the website of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter:

May 18, 2020
by Ordinariate Communications
With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God
the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
joyfully announces and invites you to attend
the Ordination of

David H. Delaney
Stephen A. Hilgendorf
Samuel N. Keyes
Scott R. Wooten

to the Sacred Order of Deacon
through the Imposition of Hands
and the Invocation of the Holy Spirit by

Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes, S.T.D.

Thursday, the Twenty-first of May
Two Thousand and Twenty
at Six Thirty in the Evening

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham
7809 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, Texas 77055

I will embed the link to the live-stream when I have it.  Meanwhile, keep an eye on the PCSP website and the website of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham at 6:30 pm CDT or 7:30 pm EDT.


David Torkington podcasts now available

David Torkington Width 597 pixelsThe two part interview I did with David Torkington, an author and expert on Christian mystical prayer, is now available on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website at  

I am so blessed to have been able to have this conversation with him!  I hope it whets your appetite to read his works.   He asked me to give you the link to an entire course on prayer online that will soon be published as a book.  You can find it at Dan Burke’s website at this link.

Lisa Nicholas [Please see podcast with Lisa Nicholas on the podcasts page!] had introduced me to David Torkinton late last year.  I found reading his book  Wisdom from the Christian Mystics: How to pray the Christian way and other writings on the web revitalized my prayer life.   His writings prompted me to muse whether a key to evangelization in the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican tradition was to make our parishes Schools of Prayer.

Over Lent, a group of us from our parish held a Lenten School of Prayer during which we read Wisdom from the Christian Mystics together.  The school migrated online once the pandemic shutdown began.

Thank you to Tim Motte for the beautiful production of this video.  The music is the Sanctus by Herbert Howells in the Collegium Regale that was sung at the Mass of Thanksgiving that opened the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Churchconference in Toronto Nov. 15-16.

You can find the Mass here:



Evensong & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

Our worship at the 2019 Anglican Tradition Conference culminated with Choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which can now be viewed online on Facebook and YouTube in full, and what an Anglican Catholic celebration it was!

sm-DSC_6208This particular service really shows in a most potent and beautiful way how the Anglican tradition and the wider Western Catholic tradition are in perfect harmony.

Our famous Anglican service of Evensong is of course a favourite of many, a popular manifestation of liturgical worship that draws worshippers and tourists to Anglican cathedrals across the English-speaking world. Now it can draw them to Catholic cathedrals as well, thanks to Pope Benedict’s ordinariates!

sm-DSC_4717Combining the Latin services of Vespers and Compline from the Daily Office, Evensong is formed principally of psalms, preces & responses, canticles, an anthem, and a hymn. On this occasion, we sang a number of Anglican choral classics. The Mag & Nunc canticles were from the Gloucester Service by Herbert Howells. The anthem was Bring Us O Lord, a setting by William Harris of a prayer by John Donne. The versicles and responses were by Bernard Rose, former Choirmaster at Magdalen College, Oxford. The music of each composer is widely sung in Anglican cathedral and collegiate churches.

In more Anglo-Catholic churches, the liturgical form of adoration found in Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament has long been appended as the conclusion of Evensong either regularly or on special occasions. For this service, we sang Healey Willan’s solid hymn Lord Enthroned with Heavenly Splendour (St Osmund), along with a climactic descant by Matthew Larkin, our organist at all three conference liturgies. The choir, directed by Peter Mahon, also sang Willan’s beautiful motet Ave Verum, which more than gives William Byrd’s version a run for its money! It was nice to do music by Dr Willan at each service for a conference held in Toronto, his adopted hometown.

While the particular form of Benediction has taken shape over the past 800 years, in the Anglican community its adoption was an expression of Anglicanism’s recovery of its own Latin Christian identity. Including most centrally a time of adoration and a blessing of the congregation by the priest with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, the ancient hymns O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo, both by St Thomas Aquinas, were sung in a patrimonial chant setting, as was the Laudate Dominum (psalm 117) with the Adoremus in Aeternum antiphon. These plainsong chants are derived of course from the Latin originals and deserve to be much better known. They can be incredibly stirring, as can be heard in the video, and effectively raise one’s heart and mind to the solemn act of worship being conducted.

To celebrate this very Anglican and very Catholic service at the end of our conference marking ten years of Anglicanorum Coetibus was both fitting and deeply moving. It was a beautiful way to end our time of thanksgiving and was duly followed by a patrimonial drinks reception!

Watch the video here:

The Brown Scapular and the Ordinariates

simonstockThe Personal Ordinariates love Mary, the Mother of God. A much beloved part of the Patrimony of the Personal Ordinariates is Our Lady of Walsingham: one of the earliest Marian apparitions that took place in England (1061).

Better known to the wider Catholic Church is the second Marian apparition in England (Cambridge, 1251) to St Simon Stock: an Englishman and Superior General of the Carmelite Order. Traditionally Mary gave St Simon Stock the Brown Scapular, which has gone on to become the second biggest
devotion in the Catholic Church. But what role might the Brown Scapular play in the Personal Ordinariates? Continue reading

Archbishop Di Noia on the pandemic in light of the Paschal mystery


Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, has an important piece in First Things Magazine about the pandemic in light of both Lent and Eastertide entitled In God’s Time.

What is the properly Christian meaning of the providential concurrence of the pandemic with Lent and Eastertide? What light can our faith shed on the darkness that otherwise prevails during these days? The paschal experience of our crucified and risen Lord shows us the path of grace that turns our own experience of suffering into an opportunity for conversion and transformation, a passage from death to life with our Redeemer who suffered and died for our sake.

This fundamental pattern of the liturgical year, with its specific grace in this season, seems all the more significant for us during this crisis. It may seem that the pandemic has taken Lent and Easter captive, but in liturgical time—in God’s time, that is—the reverse is true. The invitatory antiphon at the start of the Liturgy of the Hours every day in Lent was “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” During Easter it becomes “The Lord is risen, alleluia.” The divine judgment we experience during Lent as a call to repentance yields during Eastertide to the hope and promise of a share in the victory of our Risen Lord over sin and death. This deeply distressing crisis has sharpened our sense of the paschal mystery.

Please read the whole thing.  Here’s my summary: God is calling us to repentance.  He is also reminding us that outside of Him there is no true safety, real peace or lasting security.

It has been difficult to think of blog posts to write because much of my focus during the pandemic—aside from a rather monastic level of prayer in my quasi-hermitage— is on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its role not only in hiding the origins of the  novel coronavirus but also in allowing it to spread throughout the world.  Now as I learn that we no longer manufacture the ingredients to make our antibiotics, our insulin and other essential pharmaceuticals, I see how wholly unprepared we were for this pandemic.  In the interests of globalization and making money,  we hollowed out our manufacturing sector to slave labor in China so we could have cheaper phones, drugs, computers and so on.

It is becoming more and more clear to me that China under this evil regime is an existential threat to the West. It concerns me people remain so asleep to this threat.  However, I have not found a way to get at this in a way that’s on topic for this blog.  But maybe Archbishop Di Noia helps bring its relevance into focus.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, we will confront the worst economic crisis in history—with millions of people unemployed and massive government spending needed to bail out industries and banks and keep families afloat. The number of people in the world facing food shortages could double to 265 million. If millions of people either cannot get food because the supply chains have broken down, or cannot pay for it because they have run out of money, then there is the danger of massive social disorder. The U.N. estimates that $2.5 trillion will be needed to respond to the pandemic in the developing world. The fragility of institutions that only a few months ago appeared almost indestructible is now exposed for all the world to see. We have seen it, and it terrifies us.

Archbishop Di Noia doesn’t mention China, but this looming economic crisis is brought to you by the CCP.   That’s not all: some suspect the pandemic may have originated in experimentation with coronaviruses as part of a biological weapons program,  and the CCP’s People’s Liberation Army has been doing research partially funded by the West(!)    Whether the virus was manipulated in the lab, or merely studied there and leaked out because of careless safety measures,the CCP covered up the human to human transmission of the virus for weeks, allowing it to spread throughout the world.

Everyday I listen to War Room Pandemic that has been covering the pandemic since late January, when almost everyone else in the United States was distracted by the impeachment of President Trump.  The hosts of the program have brought in experts on China, on the economic and financial crisis, on the outsourcing of our drugs to China, and how China is engaging in an information and economic war with the United States.

But at the basis it’s a war over a vision of human dignity, of men and women being made in the image of God vs. men and women as meaningless products of evolution.  In the latter vision, anything goes, from CCP harvesting of organs from live political prisoners to feed their lucrative transplant industry to the placing of a million Uighurs in concentration camps, to widespread surveillance and control of every aspect of a person’s life.  Is it about human flourishing or is it about power and control.

Our problem here in North America is that we had hoped to make China more like us through opening trade with her, but instead we have become more like China.   It’s our high tech industry that helped China build its surveillance network and the great electronic fire wall that keeps citizens of China from finding out any information contrary to the CCP Party line.

Look at us though with our abortion, our pornography, our addiction rates, our obesity, our lack of serious Christian faith and observance.   We are getting swallowed up in darkness.

My prayer is that it is not too late for repentance and conversion to sweep the land so that we may be delivered from the looming tyranny that awaits us and our grandchildren if we do not wake up.

Archbishop Di Noia again:

Christians cannot be silent. If we do not declare what our faith tells us, the scroll will remain sealed, with its divine meanings locked within. Only if the scroll is opened and read to us will we know in faith that precisely because God loves us so much, we are experiencing his wrath—the wrath of the Lamb himself (Rev. 6:16–17). As  [Anglican theologian Joseph] Mangina explains, “[T]he divine wrath is the form that God’s love assumes when it encounters resistance on the part of the creature, it is the divine ‘no’ to the plight of humanity in this ‘present evil age’; and so Christ appears on the same side as the Father, equally the agent of God’s love and his judgment.” Christ enacts God’s decisive turning toward the world in grace, mercy, and peace. But some turn away, “misunderstanding God’s righteous judgment as an expression of his hatred.” It is providential that the pandemic of 2020 has coincided with Lent and Easter. There is still time to turn to him and live, for barely concealed in God’s judgment are his upwelling grace and mercy in the Lamb slain for our sake and risen now in glory.