This Week in English Catholic History: Saints Adrian (AD 635-710) and Theodore (602-690) of Canterbury


N September 19th, we celebrate St. Adrian of Canterbury and St. Theodore of Canterbury.

Sts. Adrian and Theodore are mainly remembered for being highly successful missionaries in largely pagan England and for being best friends.

St. Adrian was originally offered the position of Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope St. Vitalian, but St. Adrian turned it down. On St. Adrian’s recommendation, the pope offered the archbishopric to St. Theodore, who accepted, and made St. Adrian the Abbot of St. Peter’s, a Benedictine monastery in Canterbury. They left for England in AD 668: St. Theodore was 66 and St. Adrian was 33.

Under St. Adrian’s direction, the School of Canterbury became the center of English religious and secular learning. He also started many other schools. These schools taught Latin, Greek, arithmetic, astronomy, poetry, and theology.

In St. Adrian’s schools were educated many of England’s future saints, scholars, and missionaries. These men strengthened not only the English Church, but also helped the fading faith and learning of France and Germany.

Under their leadership, the Church made many converts, laymen were pious, and priests were diligent. Together, St. Adrian and St. Theodore unified the customs and practices of the Anglo-Saxon Church with the Roman Church.

One of St. Theodore’s main accomplishments was writing his book Penitential, which laid out the exact public penances for sinners, according to which sins they had committed and how many. This book was widely used for many years, before private confession became popular and gives us a unique insight into the problems that plagued the Anglosaxon Church at the time.

For example, “Those who labor on the Lord’s day, the Greeks reprove the first time; the second, they take something from them; the third time, [they take] the third part of their possessions, or flog them; or they shall do penance for seven days,” and “If one slays a monk or a cleric, he shall lay aside his arms and serve God…” Kill a monk? Be a monk.

St. Theodore died long before St. Adrian, as he was much older. St. Theodore labored in England for 19 years until he died of old age. St. Adrian labored for 39 years until he also died of old age.

The time of Sts. Theodore and Adrian was later known as a golden age of English learning and piety. King St. Alfred the Great (AD 849-899) still possessed old handwritten manuscripts written during their time, but unfortunately barely anyone could read them because literacy had died out again! St. Alfred lamented that in the golden age of Sts. Theodore and Adrian, men came to England to learn, but in St. Alfred’s day, English men had to go abroad!

Sts. Theodore and Adrian provide a great example of combining religious faith with secular learning. They are also great examples of courage and of diligence: they both labored for decades in God’s vineyard. Sts. Theodore and Adrian, pray for us, and as you reformed the Anglosaxon Church, so aid us in reforming our Universal Church!

Written by Mr. John Burford, IV and Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, (C) 2018.

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John is the founder and owner of Magnolia Prep, an SAT and ACT tutoring business with branches in several major US cities. Foster is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.

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A synod on abuse of minors is not enough

Pope Francis has called an extraordinary synod  on the protection of minors from sexual abuse for next Feb. 21-24.

Yet, many have criticized the move because the Church, at least in North America, has done a good job of protecting minors since the early 2000s, as the recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury report shows.   What’s at issue is the sexual abuse of seminarians, of bishops still covering up, and corruption even at the highest levels of the Church.  And that’s to say nothing of concerns there’s an agenda afoot to bring Church teaching more in line with what’s popular in the world.  We come from the Anglican world.  We have seen this movie.  We know how it ends.  We came into the Catholic Church because we wanted to stand on the Rock of Christ and not the shifting sands of “experience” and “social science,” and the latest gender theory.

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A Comparison of the Roman Missal, Missale Romanum and Divine Worship Forms of the Roman Rite Eucharistic Liturgy

What follows is the work of my dear friend and fellow Incarnation Catholic Church of Orlando, Florida parishioner Steven Rabanal, which he kindly permitted me to repost here. It was originally posted on his blog, The Acolyte’s Toolbox. I think it represents an excellent resource particularly for devoteés of the Missale Romanum (commonly the Extraordinary Form or Traditional Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal) to learn more about the Traditional English Mass (as it has been called), according to Divine Worship: The Missal, published just 3 years ago A.D. 2015. -F.S.L.


N discussions regarding the liturgical details of Divine Worship: The Missal, which is the missal used by the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans, a frequently visited topic is how the missal relates to the Roman Missal and/or the 1962 Missale Romanum.

This is also a frequently debated topic, for a number of reasons that I will not analyze now. However, what I am choosing to do now is present a semi-detailed comparison of Divine Worship with both the Roman Missal and the Missale Romanum.

No bias is intended to make it appear more like either missal. I should also note that this chart does not indicate or imply that it is prohibited to add any practices to the missals not found in them. However, it does not include extra-missal practices, no matter how frequently they occur, for the purpose of examining only the missals themselves. I hope that this is a helpful reference for those that would like to take a closer look between the three missals and even a helpful chart to help others learn more about the missals in general. Continue reading

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Archbishop Ganswein, the Benedict Option and the Ordinariates

In honor of The Most Holy Name of Mary, the photo shows the blessing of a statue of Our Lady that someone left on our lawn last year.  IMG_20171015_105753

I have been meaning to read Rod Dreher’s  The Benedict Option: a Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation but, having read much about the book, pro and con, I would place myself on the “pro” side.

I am in good company.

Yesterday, in Rome,  Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein endorsed the book in a speech that has astonished the world.  +Ganswein still closely serves the Pope-emeritus, but also Pope Francis as the head of the papal household.   So everyone is paying attention to the speech because it may give insight into what Pope Benedict is also thinking about the current crisis in the Church.  And I would like us to contemplate how our Ordinariate communities can become little beacons of light in building a Benedict Option as our culture becomes more and more hostile to the Christian faith.

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This Week in English Catholic History: Mary Queen of Scots (AD 1542-1587)


HIS week in English Catholic History, Mary Queen of Scots was crowned Queen of Scotland on September 9, 1543. She was only 9 months old.

Mary Queen of Scots is mainly remembered for being the Catholic rival for England’s throne right after England had broken with Rome and become Protestant.

Since Queen Elizabeth of England, Mary’s cousin, was the illegitimate child of Ann Boleyn, for whom King Henry VIII divorced his true wife Catherine, Mary had a legal claim to Elizabeth’s throne.

Many years later, after 18 years of imprisonment, Mary was beheaded by Elizabeth, based on accusations that Mary had conspired to murder her. It seems clear, however, that these charges were trumped up to eliminate Mary’s Catholic Scottish claim on the Protestant English throne.


At her trial, following the guilty verdict, Mary said to an attendant, “Well, did I not tell you this would happen? I knew they would never allow me to live; I was too great an obstacle to their religion.”


Queen Elizabeth asked Sir Amias Paulet, Mary’s caretaker, to secretly “shorten the life” of Mary to avoid the double scandal of publicly executing a queen and her own cousin. Paulet refused, saying he would not “make a shipwreck of his conscience, or leave so great a blot on his poor posterity.”

Mary spent the night before her execution in prayer. She wore red, the color of martyrs, to her execution. She said to her executioner, “I forgive you with all my heart, for now, I hope, you shall make an end of all my troubles.” Her last words were, “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

After the executioner chopped off her head, he held up Mary’s severed head by the hair and said, “God save the Queen.” At this point, the head fell, and he was left holding only her wig.

After Mary’s beheading, her clothes, the chopping block, and everything touched by her blood was burned to discourage relic-hunters.

So if Mary died for the Faith, why isn’t she considered a martyr?

First, Mary’s second husband Lord Darnley was violently jealous, and murdered one of Mary’s counsellors. Lord Darnley later died under suspicious circumstances, when the house he was staying in was blown up by gunpowder and he was found smothered in the garden.

Second, Mary was kidnapped by the infamous Earl of Bothwell, rumored to be behind her second husband’s death, and brought to Dunbar Castle. Bothwell also may have raped her. She invalidly (see Canon 1089) married him under coercion two weeks later in a Protestant ceremony.

These two scandalous events permanently ruined Mary’s reputation.

However, because of her pious end, and because the blessed souls, even of Purgatory, can aid those on Earth, let us conclude with a prayer to her: Mary, Queen of Scots, pray for us, and glorified may you reign upon a better and imperishable throne!


Written by Mr. John Burford, IV and Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, (C) 2018.

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John is the founder and owner of Magnolia Prep, an SAT and ACT tutoring business with branches in several major US cities. Foster is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.

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Not reaching for the phone first thing . . .

One big temptation I face every morning concerns whether I reach for my phone first thing to check email, then Twitter, then Facebook  . . . especially when there is so much going on in the Church, much of it horrifying and fascinating at the same time.

I have found it is much much better for me to spend time with God first thing in the morning and not the world via social media, especially in these trying times for the Church. Continue reading

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Are you called to be an Ancient Observance Ordinariate Carmelite?

After expressions of interest regarding a foundation of traditional Ancient Observance Carmelites to the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OLSC), those wishing to test such a vocation are invited to apply. At this stage the proposed foundation would be located in Perth, Australia.

The proposed foundation would celebrate the liturgy of the Personal Ordinariates Divine Worship which is around 90+% the same as the English translation of the Carmelite Rite itself, as both liturgies are closely related. The first general assembly of Carmelites outside of the Holy Land, and many of its first European monasteries, were in England. The monastic movement of this period, including the Carmelite Charism, helped to shape English Catholicism which is lived by the Ordinariates. The proposed foundation would be under the patronage of the great English Carmelite St. Simon Stock, who received the Brown Scapular from the Blessed Virgin Mary at Cambridge- the second biggest devotion in the Catholic Church after the Rosary. Although the foundation would have a Carmelite Charism, it would still also be in the spiritual tradition of the Ordinariates.

The cause of this appeal is based on a number of factors including several OLSC members expressing interest in Ancient Observance Carmelite vocations, with one testing a vocation through private vows, and the existence of a large and well established Ancient Observance Carmelite Confraternity in Perth, which also has one of the largest OLSC parishes. If enough serious applicants are found, then the Ordinary of OLSC will contact the Ancient Observance Carmelites for a formator towards the foundation.

The appeal is mainly aimed for those seeking to be Friars and Monks. As ordination counts as a sacrament of initiation into the Ordinariates those who are not members can apply to be Friars. If at least 3-5 serious applicants can be found, then a foundation can start to be discerned: and there is already one application.

At the current moment an Ordinariate Ancient Observance Carmelite foundation is a proposal, with this appeal being apart of the discernment process for the Ordinariate as much as those who expressed interest in such a vocation: so the call has been issued, we are just waiting to see who will respond.

St Simon Stock, Pray for the Ordinariates

For those interested in applying, you can send expressions of interest to:


(The text of this article was first published in the September 2018 edition of the free Ordinariate Portal Magazine under the title “Ordinariate Carmelites?”)

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