On the Martyrdom of Charles Stuart

Today I had the pleasure of going to Holy Communion at my home Parish of All Saints’ Cathedral in Edmonton for the Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Charles Stuart, King of England and Scotland (and Ireland. And claimed to France), Martyr. However, the me of 15 years ago would have been shocked to have seen the me of today do that. Let me explain.

When I was 16 I joined a group called the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta. I attended from 1996 until 2000. (If anyone from TUXIS is reading this I just have away who I am). TUXIS is a Christian Youth Parliament which, when I was there, was committed to preparing youth for service as Christians in a modern Parliamentary Democracy.

One of the more important things I learned about there are the modern traditions of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth that are in reaction to the events surrounding the conflict between Charles I of England (etc.) and Parliament. A conflict which would lead to a bloody Civil War. To those of us in TUXIS Charles was a bit of a bad guy who attempted to usurp the power of Parliament that it had gained since the Magna Carta in the 13th Century. And, although I am firmly agains the death penalty, I thought that Charles was a tyrant who got what he deserved.

Since leaving TUXIS I have grown up a bit and learned more of the complexity. Was Charles guilty of some less than stellar conduct? Absolutely. However, the final reasoning that Charles found his head on a block was because he refused to compromise on several key issues to the English Church and State. In the end, Anglicanism likely survived because Charles refused to compromise. For his actions Charles was executed by the spiritual ancestors of what we would now call Evangelical Protestantism here in North America. Throughout England those loyal Anglicans were persecuted in their own country by the new government under Oliver Cromwell.

When his son, Charles II, returned in 1660 the Anglican Faith had endured and prevailed. For that we can be truly thankful. Amen.

Defending Anglican Validity: Part 1 – An Introduction

I have been trying to do this in video form for nearly three years and have all but given up. In the end I might use this series of blog entries as the basis for a script. So, if all else fails, here we go.

The Rev'd Alberto R. Cutié

The Rev’d Alberto R. Cutié

This is the Rev’d Alberto Cutie. He has been the Rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, Miami, Florida, which is part of the Diocese of Southeast Florida in the Episcopal Church. However, Father Cutie has not always served in the Episcopal Church; He was from 1995 until 2009 a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami. He left in, what is all fairness, a scandal when he was caught kissing his future wife Ruhama on a beach. One of his primary reasons for leaving the Roman Catholic Church was the discipline of mandatory celibacy for Priests. I would encourage all persons to read his book on the matter which is called Dilemma.

Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson

Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson

This is the Rev’d Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson PA. He is has been the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (a body for former Anglicans who have sought Full Communion with the See of Rome) since it was incorporated in 2012. He has been a Priest of the Roman Catholic Church (originally in the Archdiocese of Sante Fe) since his ordination on February 21, 2009. However, Monsignor Steenson was previously Bishop Steenson of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande. He was ordained a Priest in the Episcopal Church in 1980, and a Bishop in 2005. He left the Episcopal Church on December 1, 2007 to seek Communion with the See of Rome. When he became a Roman Catholic he was accepted as a layman with his Orders in the Anglican Communion (and Episcopal Church) viewed as being Utterly Null and Void.

Why is it that Father Cutie, when he was received into the Anglican Communion in 2009, was accepted as a Priest of the Church and when former Bishop, now Monsignor, Steenson was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 2007 he was not? The answer comes to a number of Roman Catholic theological positions, and a Papal bull which declared that since the Reformation any and all Anglican Ordinations have been invalid leaving the recipient a layman. Over the course of this series I would like to go into more depth, and show that the orders of our Bishops, Priests and Deacons are perfectly valid. It should be a lot of fun. Or, pretty boring to the average person. In this series I hope to cover:

  • The events of the English Reformation
  • The papal bull Apostolicae Curae, which formally nullified Anglican Orders in the eyes of the Papacy… and the issues arising from the Papal bull
  • The Ordination services used by Anglicans until the mid-20th Century… which are perfectly valid, and
  • The services of the Holy Eucharist used by Anglicans, Catholics (Roman and Eastern Rite), Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians… all of which are perfectly valid

So, who’s with me?

Theology and Relativity

Earlier this week I was having coffee (okay, it was Hot Chocolate) with the Rev’d Jon Connell (@ConnellJon) of Good Shepherd Anglican Church here in Edmonton. One thing we discussed (which I am certain anyone listening in must have had a WTF moment) was how modern concepts of time, via Relativity, force us to rethink (but not abandon or reconsider) several Theological positions of the Church. Let me Explain.

In the 20th Century a physicist by the name of Albert Einstein (you may have heard of him), changed the concept we have of time when he developed two theories: Special Relativity and General Relativity. In both Theories (which I won’t dive into) there is a prediction of Time Dilation. Time, is thus, not absolute and depends on a frame of reference. For me, this raises a bit of a question: How does God experience time?

No, really. How exactly does a Supreme being of infinite power, knowledge and benevolence experience Time. I am heard a few (like Jon) state that God might not experience time at all; He could simply be experiencing every moment of existence all at once. Now, Jon is currently not the first person to state this (sorry to pop your bubble Jon, if you had one). However, with Relativity does mean the Church as to think about the consequences of time not being absolute.

What does this mean for Christ’s Second Coming? Is Christ, in some ways, still buried in his tomb while he is leading the souls of the departed out of Infernos in the so-called Harrowing of Hell? Is he waiting for us so he can Resurrect us with him… which of course already happened. Is the Sacrifice of Christ ongoing because he is, in some way, still on the Cross?

In terms of Christology it comes to something truly marvelous: As God has become man in Jesus Christ this means that God has had to experience Linear time as one of us. How truly awesome is that God was not just willing to take on flesh but then have to experience everything that came with it such as getting ill, pooping, and yes even the dreaded experience of Linear time.

Anyhow, that is my little bone. If you want to call me a heretic for writing this please have the decently to look up Relativity and a few things on temporal mechanics before demanding my Bishop have me burnt at the stake.

In Christ,

MA~

What We Need in a New Prayer Book

Recently I posted on Why We Need a New Book of Common Prayer in the Canadian Church. In this post I want to directly go over what I feel we need in a New Prayer Book.

Calendar

This one is obvious as the Church needs to know it’s own Feasts. My own recommendation that the new Calendar be based primarily on the that of the Book of Alternative Services, however, some of the feasts days should be moved back to the more traditional days while allowing alternate days (ex. St. Stephen’s Day).

Daily Office

The new Prayer Book would need order of services for Morning, Mid-day, and Evening Prayer with Compline. Nominally there should be one each using traditional English and one in Contemporary English. While conforming to a traditional structure the rubrics should allow for some creative deviation (with the permission of the Ordinary). The optional Canticles should be allowed for these services, however, the suggested Canticles for these services should be the traditional ones either rendered in traditional or contemporary English. The Great Litany should be included in either contemporary English or both.

Holy Baptism

Services for Holy Baptism, either as a separate service or part of Holy Communion as has been the norm in contemporary liturgies. If included in a Communion service it should be in contempoary English but should be compatible with being part of any Holy Communion service. The separate service should be modeled on the traditional services.

Holy Communion

Nominally, two services: one in traditional English and the other in contemporary. While both services should allow for a number of Eucharistic Prayers they should not be too numerous (no more than say 7). Both services should follow a contemporary order (like the services of the 1979 American BCP).

Allowances must also be made for the use of Reserve Sacrament.

Reconciliation/Confession

We’re sinn(ers. Sometimes we need to do this in private with a Priest. If you don’t think so then get over it.

Marriage

We need to marry people. Er… I’m not even going to get into the Marriage of Same-sex couples or blessings or structure.

Ministries to the Sick and Dying

The Church requires services for the laying on of hands of the Sick and the Rites for those at the time of their Death.

Funerals

People die. I know, shocking news. We need to grieve for their loss, remind the faithful of the promise of Everlasting life through our Lord Jesus Christ, and then bury their Body or cremate and intern it.

Services for traditional and contemporary English should be included, however, due to the modern world said services will have to allow for a number of options in order to facilitate  the needs of any one particular family or situation.

Thanksgiving after Childbirth

Ah, yes, the good old Churching of Women. I don’t know of anyone that has used this service at all in the last 25 years, however, a contemporary English service should be included.

Episcopal Offices

As Anglicans we have Bishops who are responsible for certain Rites of the Church that only they can preform, namely:

  • Confirmation – contemporary English version that should integrated into Holy Communion service with Baptism, and a traditional English version used as has been done previously.
  • Blessing of Oil/Chrism – contemporary English version.
  • Ordinations – I would urge a contemporary English version while the Rites use strong language to support and maintain Anglican Theology regarding Holy Orders.

Special Services

Throughout the Church year they comes a time when any one of the previously mentioned services needs to be altered. This should include, but be limited to:

  • Lighting of Advent Wreaths
  • Ash Wednesday,
  • Palm Sunday,
  • Maundy Thursday,
  • Good Friday,
  • Easter Vigil

Propers and Lectionaries

The system of the Church year as introduced with the 1985 BAS should be maintained, along with use of the Revised Common Lectionary, or a modification to it. Collects should be available in both contemporary and traditional English.

Conversely, Collects for optional observances of the Pre-Lenten Season should be made available for those Parishes wishing to observe that season.

The use of commemorating the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent for the Season of Advent and the Collect for Ash Wednesday for the Season of Lent should be highly encouraged, but not not required.

Psalter

A contemporary English Psalter should be included, however, use of a traditional Psalter should be allowed. Conversely, the “truncated” Psalter from the 1962 BCP should not be used as it left out a number of Psalm verses and one whole Psalm.

Historical Documents

The Solemn Declaration of 1893, the Athanasian Creed, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, among others, should be included

Supplemental Liturgies

Although not directly in the New Prayer Book a series of Supplementary Prayer Books, such as a Book for services in traditional language and form similar to that of our 1962 Book of Common Prayer with its system of Collects and Lessons, should be published.

Closing

If you have any comments or remarks please feel free to comment on this blog posting or to send an email to me via info@mapleanglican.com.

In Christ,

MA~

Why We Need a New Book of Common Prayer in the Canadian Church

(A re-post from my Tumblog and my Facebook Page)

I had considered doing a video on this particular topic, however, I have decided against it for now and decided to give my rant in a written method.

The current Book of Common Prayer (BCP) we use here in the Anglican Church of Canada was completed and approved by our General Synod in 1959 and went into use in 1962. It is the de jure Prayer Book for our services. By Canons of the Church the services and prayers that it holds are our official Lex orandi, lex credendi, that is the Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief.

However, there is a bit of a problem: the 1962 Book has effectively fallen to the wayside. Here in the Canada Church the de facto standard has become the 1985 Book of Alternative Services (BAS). As it’s name implies the book contains accepted alternatives to the services authorized by the 1962 Book. The problem is that use of the BAS has eclipsed that of the BCP; In most parishes the BCP is effectively only used a either early services on Sunday morning, mid-week services or Evensong.

How exactly did this happen? Well, that in itself turns out to be complicated. The 1985 BAS is the product of the continued work on experimental liturgies used in the 1960s within the Canadian Church, and work done outside the Canadian Church specifically in the Episcopal Church with the completion of their 1979 Prayer Book and the Church of England’s Alternative Service Book of 1980. If one compares our BAS to the American 1979 BCP one will find a lot of similarities. In fact, one would think that we pilfered most of its contents from it (Hint: We did. With Permission). 

With the introduction of the BAS the use of the 1962 BCP has decline and now fallen into disuse. This was not the original intention of the BAS, but what has happened none-the-less.

What should have, and more importantly should be, done is to replace the 1962 BCP with a newer book to adapt to the times. Now some people might accuse me of despising the 1962 Book please be aware that a decent amount of my time I go to Holy Communion and Evening Prayer services using said Book. While we certainly shouldn’t complete abandon the services found in the 1962 BCP or it’s language style we do need to move on. We need a new Book of Common Prayer to replace both and bring an end to this nonsense.

So far, I have established that:

– By Canon Law in The Anglican Church of Canada our 1962 BCP is our de jure Prayer Book
– In Reality our 1985 Book of Alternative Services has become our de facto Prayer Book
– As we are Anglicans we hold to Lex orandi, lex credendi. The BCP is our Lex orandi that we aren’t using in practice.
– A new BCP that replaced the current BCP and the BAS is therefore necessary

Now, I am going to cover why that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

The 1962 Prayer book is the second one the Anglican Church of Canada has produced. The first one was completed in 1918 and was, for the most part, a modification of the 1662 BCP produced by the Church of England. The 1918 was a disappointment to those in the Anglo-Catholic Tradition here in Canada. As well, it was only a short time after the 1918 BCP was completed that a number of other Churches in the Anglican Communion made a leap ahead of us. 

In 1928 both the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Church of England enacted new Prayer Books. In the case of the Church of England it was a proposed Prayer Book that was never approved by Parliament but authorized for use. These new Books were modern, in the sense, for the 20th Century and were more reflective of it. It wasn’t until the 1950s that we here in Canada that we prepared a new Prayer book to “catch up” with the Liturgical Reforms of the 1920s.

However, almost as soon as we had enacted our own new BCP the English and American Churches made another leap forward. The Americans produced their 1979 Prayer Book and in 1980 the English completed the Alternative Service Book to work alongside their BCP. Our 1985 BAS is built on those liturgical reforms. However, the BAS is still, by virtue of its own name, an Alternate to the standard of the BCP.

At this point one can reasonably ask the question ‘Why haven’t we already made a new BCP?’. The answer comes with how hard it is to change some things. In order to change or replace our BCP the Church requires that Two successive General Synods of the Church enact the Change (by two-thirds majority in all three of it’s Houses if I am not mistaken). That is no small feat. Since the 1962 Prayer Book came into effect we have enacted a single change to it in 1989. That change was the removal of a single Prayer; The Third Collect for Good Friday. It is actually uncanonical for any Minister (Lay or Ordained) to use that Collect in public worship now.

The Third Collect for Good Friday was as follows:

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou has made, nor wouldest the death of a sinn, but rather the he should be converted and live: Have mercy upon the Jews, thine ancient people, upon all who reject and deny thy Son; take them from all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Now, for any of you that are shocked by this Prayer this is a nicer version that the one the Church of England still uses today in their 1662 BCP. In 1989 this Collect was struck from the BCP. It was done so because some Anglican clergy had it brought to their attention by several Jewish leaders that they found it offensive and in response we sought to either change or remove it. Do you have any idea when this issue was brought to General Synod? It was 1965. Only a bare three years after the General Synod that approved the “new” BCP and the next General Synod had an issue raised with it. It took 24 years, 8 meetings of General Synod, to formally strike that Collect from the BCP.

We can thus discern that changing, let alone tossing out and replacing, the 1962 would take a lot of time, energy and will-power. Time might be had but Energy and will-power for this type of project is scarce, and frankly there are things that the leadership of our Church finds more important, such as dealing with our dwindling numbers.

However, in a growing secularized society we must recognize that in order to carry on our mission of the Church, and indeed successfully evangelize to the growing secular elements in society, we need to firmed articulate and present the Beliefs of the Church in a 21st Century world. And in order to present the Lex credendi for them we have to present to them a Lex orandi for the 21st Century as well. And, while I can say I love the language and the services of the 1962 Prayer Book I do not believe that it is the Prayer Book we need at this time.

If the time and energy was found we should focus on getting a new Book of Common Prayer in place. And, it sadly can’t be just a quick re-branding of the BAS for a number of reasons. For example the options and rubrics for Morning and Evening Prayer are numerous and mind-numbingingly hard to grasp. I won’t go into much detail but less options need to be presented and rubrics clarified, if it options are left open. Also, we need a form of suffrages in the service which is basically gone in the BAS.

Conversely, what ever replacement we do have needs to be built in a model similar to the 1979 American BCP and the 2004 Irish BCP where traditional English language services can be used with contemporary ones. Whether this is divided into a Volume One and Volume Two of the book, or combined is not up for me to judge.

At the same time a supplemental prayer book must be created and authorized for Parishes that wish to hold onto the 1962 Prayer book in some fashion. Such a supplemental should consist of parts of the BCP with the services of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, Holy Communion, Holy Baptism, Confirmation, the Propers (Collects and Readings), and Psalter while specifically excluding components such as the Solemn Declaration, most Episcopal services, the Articles of Religion. However, those components should be included in the new BCP already.

Finally, we must acknowledge that we live in a changing work and that Books have less of a place in as they did previously. While will still effectively need a new Book of Common Prayer in order to satisfy canon law we don’t really need a “Book” of Common Prayer. Until the invention of the Printing Press the faithful did not have easy access to the liturgy they partook in, which didn’t really matter too much because the majority of people were illiterate. However, with the ability to mass produce books this began to change. Today we are seeing a new printing press in action: The Internet.

Now, I am not saying that we need to make a “Website of Common Prayer” as our de jure source of liturgy. However, we have in our hands a medium that has the capability to assist the faithful of the Church more easily then books ever did. If we, as Anglicans, hold to the principle of that the Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief than we must be prepared to easily show what we believe to others in our prayers.

At this time we are generally showing outsiders that we primarily just argue among ourselves on issues pertaining Human Sexuality rather than carrying out the mission of the Church. (That, of course, does not mean we don’t keep discussing these issues but they must not be front and centre). However, if we wish to be Christ centred and to carry out the Great Commission that our Lord, God and Saviour gave to us through his Apostles than we must be prepared to now mission at home to the ever growing secular society we now live in. Frankly, the 1962 Prayer Book is not the book to carry out that mission.

In Christ,

MA~

Epilogue

This is a brief follow up intended to show why a quick re-branding of the Book of Alternative Services into a new Book of Common Prayer.

I. Christmas Collect Confusion

The BAS has three Collects for Christmas Day (one midnight, one early morning, one daytime), with a Collect for the First and Second Sundays after Christmas. The BCP directs that the Collect for Christmas Day is used throughout the Twelve days of Christmas, but the BAS contains no rubric on the directions. Thus, after the First Sunday after Christmas it is unknown which Collect is to be used on a weekday? Is it the daytime Collect for Christmas or the Collect for the Sunday? The same occurs if a Second Sunday occurs after Christmas and if the Epiphany is not observed Early as the BAS directs can be.

II. Shrove Tuesday Confusion

Let’s say your Parish does a service of Holy Communion before or after it’s Pancake dinner on Shrove Tuesday. The Propers for the Last Sunday after Epiphany (Transfiguration Sunday) would be used. However, the Weekday Eucharistic Lectionary does not contain entries for the Monday and Tuesday between Transfiguration Sunday and Ash Wednesday. Hypothetically, one could project the entries from the Nth Sunday after Epiphany forward, however this would be ignoring the fact that the Daily Office Lectionary specifies the readings for the day; One would think the Lectionaries would link up in some manner.

III. Whitsuntide Confusion

The week following Pentecost has traditionally been called Whitsuntide, which contained its own readings for Monday and Tuesday, with the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday being Ember days with their own propers. The Collect for Pentecost is used from the Sunday until the Saturday afternoon with that of Trinity Sunday is used. One would naturally assume the propers for Pentecost would continue as well in the BAS but that is not the case. The season of Easter ends with Pentecost, so, hypothetically it is now the Season after Pentecost and thus the Propers for what would have been Sunday should be used had it not been Pentecost. The Daily Office and Weekday Eucharist Lectionary to be used during this days in the Seasons after Epiphany and Pentecost, however, the Rubrics do not direct the Propers.

IIIA. Octave of Trinity Sunday Confusion

Ditto for Trinity Sunday.

IV. Ember Days and Rogation Days

The BCP gives rubrics on the use of the Ember and Rogation Days, however, while the BAS provides Propers for these times it does not specify any rubrics regarding this use of these Propers, nor when the Ember and Rogation Days are.

These are just four examples. There are many others.