Cardinal Sarah’s warning to the West

If you don’t read anything else today, please read this interview with Cardinal Robert Sarah over at The Catholic Herald.  

A society permeated by the Faith, the Gospel, and natural law is something desirable. It is the job of the lay faithful to construct it. That is in fact their proper vocation. They work for the good of all when they build a city in conformity with human nature and open to Revelation. But the more profound goal of the Church is not to construct a particular model society. The Church has received the mandate to proclaim salvation, which is a supernatural reality. A just society disposes souls to receive the gift of God, but it cannot give salvation. On the other hand, can there be a society that is just and in conformity with the natural law without the gift of grace working in souls? There is great need to proclaim the heart of our Faith: only Jesus saves us from sin. It must be emphasized, however, that evangelization is not complete when it takes hold of social structures. A society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against the consequences of sin. Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil. That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere. A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state.  A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice. A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.

That’s just a taste of the profound wisdom of this man.    Your thoughts?

The Pope and the Professor

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In our preparation to enter the Catholic Church, some of our members struggled with accepting some of the later Marian dogmas and that of papal infallibility.  So, I found myself reliving some of the internal debates we had had back then while reading The Pope and the Professor: Pius IX, Ignas von Dollinger, and the Quandary of the Modern Age by Thomas Albert Howard. Continue reading

When you are not having a Holy Lent . . .

I always have high hopes for a holy Lent.  I make plans for getting my prayer life on track and for adding some other disciplines.

But usually, I find after a certain point my efforts are futile.  Or, I can make an effort successfully for a day, and then see everything fall apart the next.

For example, I know my prayers in the morning will go a lot better if I do not look at my phone first thing.   If I check my email, or worse, check Twitter or Facebook, then there’s a good chance my prayers will be perfunctory and superficial or worse: they are not prayed at all.  Sometimes, though, even if I don’t check my phone, I can feel like I’m going through the motions as I pray the office, pray the Rosary, and so on, as if these are duties I have to check off every morning.   Certainly, I feel a lot better if I do these things, but is checking off a list what it’s all about?   It seems to take a lot of time to press in to the Lord among crowded thoughts, pressing work, and even when I take the time, it can feel dry some of the time.

Saturday, I woke up, checked my phone, made breakfast and never bothered to do my morning prayers.  I spent the morning on the internet.  In the afternoon, I went to a baby shower where there were all kinds of goodies and I ate everything in sight.  Even though I was doing what I wanted to do in the moment, I had this sense of blowing it, of feeling  “Meh!” and,worst of all, apart from God.  At the same time, I was also asking why I had to work so hard to find Him.  I really had been trying previous days.  Okay, some of them!

I guess God heard my complaint, because before going to bed that night, I had that wonderful sense of being drawn into prayer, instead of having to force myself. My spiritual director  encourages me to sit quietly and ask the Lord for a word, which I often don’t do.   But I did in that lovely peace Saturday night.

What came to me were the words “Ravish me” —-because I vaguely remembered a poem by John Donne, which I rediscovered lately when I googled those words.    Donne was born to a recusant family, but turned against the Catholic Church after his brother died in prison of bubonic plague.  The brother had been imprisoned for harboring a priest.  Donne eventually became an Anglican.   I guess we could call him patrimonial.

This poem became my prayer:

 Batter my heart, three-person’d God

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Fr. Bob Bedard, the late founder of the Companions of the Cross, used to advise people to give God permission.   So, this poem I coupled with giving God permission to ravish me, enthrall me, break through my lukewarm comfort zone, set me on fire.
I am tired of laboring to admit Him—I can’t even do it well, or consistently.   I always think this is the point of Lent, to show us how futile are any efforts we make to improve ourselves.
So, I gave him permission to batter my heart, to lay hold of me, to pierce me with His divine love.
Wow.

Anniversary Symposium Oct. 15 in Rome

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To mark the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus,  the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is holding a symposium on Oct. 15 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome to examine the ecclesial and ecumenical implications of the document ten years later.

Speakers include Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P. the Adjunct Secretary of CDF on the historical perspective and other academics who will address the canonical perspective;  the ecumenical perspective; and the liturgical perspective.
 The Symposium will also include a panel of the  Ordinaries:  Monsignor Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom; Bishop Steven Lopes of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in North America; Ordinary-emeritus Msgr. Harry Entwistle; and Msgr. Carl Reid of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.
The CDF aims to  make the reality of the Personal Ordinariates better known within the intellectual life of the city of Rome.  However, Ordinariate members are welcome to attend this academic conference.  The symposium is free of charge.  Details on how to register will come soon.

Continue reading

Happy Mothering Sunday!

DSC07123Happy Mothering Sunday!  On this fourth Sunday in Lent, Laetare Sunday, many of us in the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican tradition bless a simnel cake and flowers on the altar.  It is one of two Sundays in the Church year where our priest wears rose vestments.  We like to show support for the priest wearing pink rose by wearing it ourselves.

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Sadly, because March did not go out like a lamb in Ottawa, our congregation was much thinner than usual because many could not make it because of snow and freezing rain.

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At Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa, Fr. Doug Hayman bakes the simnel cake.  Every year, our “Mother of the Year” serves tea and coffee and cuts the simnel cake.  This year, Rebecca Trolly did the honors.

Celebrations are an important aspect of our common identity.  Not all of us would celebrate Laetare Sunday in the same way, but I bet many of you did.  I would love to hear from you and post some pictures from your community.

Every Ordinariate community I know of ensures the fellowship time after Mass is well supplied.    Several times a year, we do something extra.   At Annunciation, we have an annual Thanksgiving dinner in October (Canadian Thanksgiving falls on what used to be called Columbus Day in the United States, a Monday in early October.  We have turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed and scalloped potatoes, squash, peas, cranberry sauce, the works.

We also have an Epiphany Dinner that is more of a potluck affair with lots of crock pots full of chilis and stews, salads, platters of ham and other meats.

In the summer, we have a parish picnic outdoors.  Last year we went to the Eastern Catholic camp in Quebec.

What does your community do for celebrations?