Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Collect for the First Sunday in Advent

The BCP Collect for the First Sunday in Advent is considered to be one of the finest in the Prayer Book. It isn't a translation of the Sarum Use Missal's prayer but a new composition by Abp Thomas Cranmer. Here Cranmer's mastery of using the English language to express prayer remains unmatched to this day.

"Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen."

Cranmer's collect exhorts us to cast away the works of darkness and put upon the armour of light. These passages are taken from St Paul's Epistle to the Romans Chapter 13 (which is also the Epistle for the first Sunday in Advent in the Old Mass and the Mass of Pope Paul VI). Advent is really a  time for penitence and preparation, not just for Christmas but the Parousia.

The BCP prayers and the readings  shows a bit of continuity from the Ancient Liturgies of the Catholic Church, received in the Anglican Church which still is being prayed today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Saint Andrew's Day

Saint Andrew's feast day is on November 30. Andrew is the brother of Simon Peter and like Simon Peter he was a fisherman. He is the first Apostle called by Christ. The Greeks call him as the Protokletos which means "first to be called".  He is the patron saint of fishermen, fish sellers, mariners, deck officers, captains, naval forces, marine scientists, marine aquarists, oceanariums, name anything that has to do with sea water, Andrew is the patron!  Andrew was martyred and crucified in a cross that looks like an "X". This figures in Scotland's national flag as the Saltire of St Andrew.

I think it was National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin who wrote that Andrew is one of the Patrons of the City of Manila. I have been looking for a Church source that documents this but can't find any. Nonetheless Manila is a port city with a lot of mariners and fishermen who ply their trade in the bay. So Joaquin's statement makes sense.

Manila's hero is Andres Bonifacio, who was named for Andrew and born on his day. Thus the Feast has become a secular holiday as Bonifacio Day. St Andrew's day therefore will be forever linked with the birth of the Filipino nation.

St Andrew is famous as the patron of the following nations 1) Scotland, 2) Russia, 3) Greece, 4) Ukraine and 5) Romania. Nov 30 is Scotland's National Day. Manila has a St Andrews Society celebrating things Scottish in the Philippines and of course honouring Andres Bonifacio. Russia's naval jack shows its links with Andrew. The Diocese of Paranaque Metro Manila has Andrew as its patron. The cathedral is in his honour. Again Paranaque is a town of fishermen. Marine scientists like me have Andrew as the patron together with St Brendan. We all go to sea and catch fish for research and for the eating later! Andrew is also the first bishop of Constantinople. Thus he is the patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. The See is called the See of Andrew.

Andres Bonifacio, Secular Patron of the Nationalist Revolution

And that is St Andrews for most of us. In the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, St Andrew is the patron of the Church's theological seminary. 

The Old Roman Missal celebrates Andrew in the Mass collect which goes

"We humbly entreat Thy Majesty, O Lord that as the Blessed Apostle Andrew was one a teacher and ruler of Thy Church, so he may be our constant intercessor before Thee. Through Jesus Christ our  Lord, Amen"

The 1928 American BCP has it as

"Almighty God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we being called by they holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"

My personal motto is Christ's words "Duc in Altum" which Andrew and Simon Peter heard. To "put out into deep water" is the vocation of marine scientists who give that order to marine biology students.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Pope and the condom

I suppose the Anglican Use Philippines blog has to say its opinion on this condom conundrum!

Much fuss has been made about the Pope's latest published statement on whether the use of condoms are morally allowable or not. The fact is that  Pope Benedict XVI never said it was "allowed" but he made it clear that condom use is not the real or moral solution to the problem of HIV infections.

However I cannot but notice that the Pope cites a hypothetical example where in order to reduce risk of infection, the use of a condom may be considered.

These are the juiciest parts of the Papal interview that has had many choking  on and indigestion from misinterpretation!

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”


"She [Catholic Church] of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."

In order to appreciate the Pope's statement, we have to recall what is plainly written in the CCC. The Pope's example is about prostitution which in paragraph 2355 of the CCC is considered as a grave "injury to the dignity of the person". In no way does the Church nor the Pope considers prostitution acceptable. But the Church out of pastoral concern says that while the sex worker is in a sinful state of life, the graveness and imputability of the offence can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail or social pressure. In short the Church doesn't put sinful people in the same category. Sinners are loved and capable of love and there is always a way out!

Thus even an object such as a condom may be the start of the way out. But even then this is premised on repentance even if one is in such a hell as prostitution. The sex worker has to be raised from being considered as an object to that of being considered as a human being. Repentance is the first step. The Gospels tell of people in sinful lives immediately seeing their way out upon encountering the Christ.  The Christ pulled them out of their hells!

Thus the Pope's statement must be taken in the context of the Gospel teaching and not just moral theological interpretations. As for some traditionalists who keep on emphasizing that Benedict XVI's statement is "non-magisterial" there is a danger in doing this. We cannot in good measure nit pick on every papal statement as magisterial or not, unless the Pope declares so. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ. He has the grace of teaching from the Apostles. We have to seriously consider his teachings on morals without undue doubt.

As for people who misinterpreted the Pope's statements on condoms. My only take is perhaps they have forgotten how to love the sinners. The Pope's statements must be taken in the light of a serious pastoral concern.

PS: I'm no moral theologian. The Jesuits taught me a bit of moral theology something our good friend Mr Pinoy Catholic may find hard to digest!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Cherry Tree Carol

How I loved this carol which is a song sung for the Feast of Corpus Christi, Advent and Christmas. We studied the carol in high school lit class when we tackled Chaucer that semester.

The carol is very old probably dating back to 13th-14th century England. In this video clip, folk singer Joan Baez does a worthy interpretation of this beautiful song. The most recent interpretation is by Sting in 2009 and that is cool too!  You can find that in YouTube.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stir-up Sunday ,Christ the King, and Pudding a.k.a. Pinoy Fruit Cake

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer has the Collect for the last Sunday before Advent as

Stir up we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thus Anglicans have called the last Sunday before Advent as "Stir-up Sunday" The Stir-up is a translation from the Roman Missal's

"Excita, quaesumus Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni, et magna nobis virtute succurre; ut per auxilium gratiae tuae, quod nostra peccata praepediunt, indulgentia tuae propitiationibus acceleret: qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen."

In England, it was traditional to make Christmas pudding (in Philippine English "Fruit Cake") on this Sunday.  This is another English (Anglican) tradition that has become part of the Filipino Christmas celebration, through the cultural influence of the Americans. Since making pudding requires lots of stirring up the batter, the Latin lent its meaning to puddings made in time for Advent.  Advent then was marked more of penance than celebration and the Pudding will be eaten on Christmas Day. In England, a good friend of mine still follows the old Anglican tradition of making puddings on the feast of Christ the King.

However when Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in the encyclical Quas Primas, many Anglican provinces followed suit and adopted the Catholic celebration. The Stirring up and the Pudding were relegated into the background.

From the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ghana we have the collect for Christ the King

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who in thy beloved Son, the King of all, hast willed to make all things new: Mercifully grant, that all the kindreds of the nations. now divided by the wounds of sin. may be made subject to his most gracious governance, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

In a commercialized world such as we have in the Philippines, people forget that Advent is really a time of penance. The Eastern Church calls the season "little Lent". In fact the Eastern Church goes into the same Lenten fast during Advent so to emphasize the anticipation of the hope of salvation. Filipinos have the longest Christmas season so they all say, but this makes us fall into the danger of taking the birth of Jesus for granted, something that is the subject of innumerable homilies at every Christmas Mass. We eat the pudding or fruit cake and dispense with the waiting.

At Christ the King we should be stirred up to stick with the King of the Universe or the Pantocrator as the Greek Church would have it, Jesus Christ at all costs. As for the pudding a.k.a. "fruit cake", every Pinoy knows that if one waits, one will be rewarded by experiencing the "proof of the pudding" when it is eaten on Christmas Eve's Noche Buena.

The Anglican Ordinariate for England and Wales finally gets going

The Anglicans are finally here! The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have made the formal announcement that the Anglican Ordinariate will be established in January 2011 after the first Anglican bishops have been received to the Catholic Church and the decree establishing the Ordinariate has been issued by the Pope. The Anglo Catholic has all the links and details of the announcement.

The Ordinariate scheme (which never has been tried anywhere at anytime) is expected to have teething problems. However the Vatican and the CDF it seems is trying to minimize this by admitting first the Anglican bishops who will be quickly reordained as Catholic clergy at an unusual speed (within a month or so after reception).  Anglican clergy wishing to minister as Catholic priests on the average have to undergo "refresher" theological and seminary training for at least 2 years before they are ordained. However given the uniqueness of the Ordianriate scheme,  the other Anglican priests will be reordained before Pentecost 2011, and this gives only 2-3 months for their theological and seminary "refresher" courses!

It is expected that the first Ordinary will come from the ranks of the five Anglican bishops who will be received first. The Vatican has the pastoral aspects in mind since the whole idea of the Ordinariate was to bring worshiping Anglican communities as a whole and this includes their ministers.

The Pope in allowing this departure from usual practice has put full faith and trust on the five Anglican bishops who even if they cannot be raised to the Catholic episcopate in deference to ancient tradition, will continue to perform most of a bishop's functions. The Ordinariate has to be led by a member of the Anglican community that was received.

Despite speculation to the contrary, it was England that will have its first ordinariate. The scheme will probably pave the way for the reception of other non-Catholic churches in the Catholic Church and in the end, fulfilling an ecumenical promise.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vatican Radio airs an interview with Dr Rowan Williams,

The Vatican Radio recently aired an interview with Dr Rowan Williams,Archbishop of Canterbury who is on a visit to Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, established by Pope John XXIII in 1960.

Among the highlights of the interview are these remarks by Dr Williams

Asked to comment on Pope Benedict XVI's offer to Anglicans with Anglicanorum Coetibus as prophetic, Dr Williams said

"But prophetic? Maybe yes, in the sense that here is the Roman Catholic Church saying there are ways of being Christian in the Western church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity - that’s something we can talk about."

and about Anglican patrimony in the Ordinariate and the Ordinariate vis a vis the Church of England

"Well I think if the Ordinariate helps people evaluate Anglican legacy or patrimony, well and good, I’m happy to praise God for it. I don’t see it as an aggressive act, meant to destabilise the relations of the Churches and it remains to be seen just how large a movement we’re talking about."

Dr Williams remarks are remarkable indeed, something that was unimaginable a mere 5 years ago. The remarks go beyond the usual ecumenical niceties and shows the way to a real and practical ecumenism rooted in clear doctrine and pastoral needs.

Also Dr Williams has more or less admitted that Anglicanism will survive outside the Anglican church!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The First Anglican Ordinariate Website/Portal!

Check this out  for everything about the Anglican Ordinariate in the UK!

An Evening hymn from the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal

I found this evening hymn from our old 1940 Hymnal. It is true Roman Catholic and Anglican Patrimony! It was St Ambrose of Milan who wrote the words to


"O Trinity of blessed light,
O Unity of princely might,
the fiery sun now goes his way;
shed thou within our hearts thy ray.

To thee our morning song of praise,
to thee our evening prayer we raise;
O grant us with thy saints on high
to praise thee through eternity.

All laud to God the Father be;
all praise, eternal Son, to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to God the holy Paraclete."


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The World Over Raymond Arroyo w and Rev Jason Catania

Interesting interview on the Anglican Ordinariate in the USA

What is Filipino Anglican Patrimony?

From Anglo Catholic blog posts I learned that the phrase "Anglican Patrimony" was coined by none other than Pope Paul VI in a message to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This implies that the Pope had a sense of what that patrimony is. Now that his successor Pope Benedict XVI has come out with Anglicanorum Coetibus, which uses the same phrase, Anglicans everywhere are now trying to find out what this is all about.

I asked Fr Joe Frary of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines what this was all about. He wrote me that Anglicanism is a system of many religions (many patrimonies) linked by the Establishment. Now this makes me wonder which "patrimony" will Rome let board the Pope's boat. It happened that I came upon a copy of William Fry's  "History of the Mountain Province" which has a whole chapter about Episcopal missions in the Cordilleras. The book has old pictures showing how the newly converted Bontocs worshiped in the Episcopal way. Perhaps the most interesting one was the first Episcopal service said in a newly consecrated chapel which eventually in the late 20th century, was raised to the dignity of a cathedral. The priest was vested in a Gothic chausuble and was apparently saying the words of consecration when the photo was taken. The people were on their knees. And the priest was ad orientem!

This is the only photo of Filipino Anglican Patrimony I ever found. There are photos of Staunton's St Mary's, and the first Episcopal confirmations of Filipinos.  Do these photos say much of Filipino Anglican patrimony? Perhaps our friends from the Episcopal Church can share their thoughts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Five Church of England bishops decide to join the English Ordinariate

The AngloCatholic blog reports that five Church of England bishops have resigned their posts and decided to join the Catholic Church. The five bishops had been long expected to get on the Pope's boat so the announcement wasn't a surprise. The response of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury is here.

One of them, Bishop Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough is tipped to become the first ordinary of the English Ordinariate.

The resignation of the five Anglican bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church is the most significant since the former Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Graham Leonard upon his retirement joined the Catholic Church and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1994

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Prayer of Humble Access and the Centurion's prayer

The Prayer of Humble Access is a traditional prayer in the Anglican Eucharistic celebration which was part of the early Books of Common Prayer. It was said after the Canon of the Mass. In later revisions in many Anglican provinces it was moved to after the Paternoster is said but before the Agnus Dei. It is said before the Body and Blood of the Lord is given to the people.

It is analogous to the Roman Rite's Centurion's prayer

"Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea"

Which is translated in the English Mass used in the Philippines as

"Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed"

This isn't really so accurate. The Eastern Churches (the Orthodox and those Churches in communion with Rome) view the Eucharist as a "medicine of the soul". It is a medicine that first cleanses before the healing comes.

In the new translation authorized for US dioceses it goes like this

"Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, my soul shall be healed"

Which is quite close to the Latin of the Mass but in my honest opinion still misses out on an earlier understanding closer to that understood by the Early Church.. "Sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea"  I translate with my rusty Latin as "Just say the word, and my soul shall be cleansed"

We must receive the gifts of the Altar as spotless as possible!

Nonetheless we should be glad that the new translation captures much of the old understanding a form of which is used in the Anglican Use Mass.

The Prayer of Humble Access in the American Anglican Use Mass follows the words found  in the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer.

"We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the Flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his Blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen."

In the Anglican Use,  After the Prayer of Humble Access is said by the priest, the Ecce Agnus Dei follows  and then the Centurion's Prayer.

The Prayer of Humble Access and the Centurion's Prayer are two of my favourite prayers in the Anglican Eucharist and Roman Mass. The two prayers remind us how so unworthy of us to receive the Lord, now truly present under the appearances of Bread and Wine. The reference to the 'crumbs under thy Table" is from the Gospel story of the Syrophoenician Woman whose daughter was healed. In our politically correct world, it is extremely offensive to call another person "like a dog". But because of our sinful nature, we might as well be even worse than dogs, but Jesus raises us up, even to the extent that we are worthy to receive Him in the Eucharist. And like the Centurion's servant, we shall be cleansed and healed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How will the Anglican Ordinariates be in communion?

This is an interesting take on the problem of communion from Melbourne auxiliary bishop Peter J Elliot, the Australian Catholic bishops' delegate for the Australian Ordinariate. While aimed at Anglo-Catholics both those who have signified taking the Pope's boat and those for conscience and other reasons, choose to remain in the Anglican Communion or the Continuing Communion, the address is also relevant for Traditionalist Catholics.

In Catholic ecclesial understanding, we can't ignore the bishop of the local church and the bishops in communion with the whole Church. Anglicanism carefully preserves this according to Bp Elliot even with the ordination of women as bishops.  The Jacobean insistence of "No bishop, No Church" remains as one of the foundations of Anglicanism.  Will traditionalist Anglicans end up as congregationalists, ignoring the whole idea and essence of episcopal polity? This is an interesting question.

We can also ask the same for Traditionalist Catholics. Even with Summorum Pontificum, some Traditionalist Catholics tend to be isolated in their congregations, some even expressing defiance against the local ordinary. Summorum Pontificum and Benedict XVI's letter to the bishops on the motu propio explicitly mentions the importance of the OF and the EF in the liturgical life of the church. This is premised on communion which is exemplified by Benedict's idea of both forms "mutually enriching" each other. Reconciliation is the first step in Communion. Benedict wanted an "internal reconciliation" within the Church. The bishop is the enabler of this reconciliation in the local church. The Pope is the enabler of this reconciliation in the Universal Church.

The Anglican Ordinariates can be the first witness of this "internal reconciliation" which we hope will happen in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.