The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Nonjurors: The Repudiationof Erastianism and The Recovery of Sacrifice

Following the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688, the Church of England suffered a notable schism, as several prominent bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury among them, with hundreds of the lower clergy, refused to take an oath of allegiance to William as King, regarding the ousted, but not abdicated King James II as their lawful leige. These clergy were deposed, and other clergy appointed to their place, which led many of the laity to also go into schism to follow the men they regarded as their rightful pastors. Because they refused to take the oath, they became known as Nonjurors. 

The Nonjurors would go on to recover even more of the Catholic theology and practice in liturgy that had been lost, at least de facto, in the Church of England, and to draw inspiration not only from their own Catholic heritage but from the heritage of the Eastern Church. Read about them and the link they provided from the old Church Papists and Prayer Book Catholics to the Oxford Movement in our issue from Lent 2011:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Restoration in England

Following the Puritan Rebellion and Cromwell dictatorship, England restored the monarchy, the episcopate and the Book of Common Prayer to national life. Charles II, who had been smuggled to France with the help of Catholic subjects, and who grew up in Catholic France, returned to England and as king was also Governor of the Church of England. But both he and his heir, James II (VII of Scotland) would convert to Catholicism. James being the last Catholic to sit on the throne.

In a presentation to the Anglican Use Society in 2010, Dr. Anne Barbeau Gardiner tells the story of these two royal brothers who brought the Church of England near to a full restoration - to Catholic communion. But who ultimately failed due to the Puritan objections that would once more bring war to the realm and a foreigner to the throne.
Read Dr. Gardiner's fine essay in our Advent 2010 issue:

Archbishop Laud and the Restoration of Public Worship in the Church of England

Under Elizabeth I and James (I of England and VI of Scotland) the public worship in the churches of England deteriorated as the Puritan party within the Church of England extended its influence. The official doctrine of the Church of England, as stated in Convocation, still took note of "the ancient Catholic fathers and doctors", but the Puritan reading of Scripture, tending toward a fundamentalist reading (which would ultimately resurrect the fundamentalist teachings of Arius and result in many Puritan churches becoming Unitarian) would ban anything not explicitly found in Scripture, for example clerical dress such as the surplice.

But under Charles I's Archbishop William Laud, the "Catholic" party within the Church, which found support in the writings of divines such as Richard Hooker and Jeremy Taylor, found renewed strength. And while the Puritan backlash, which resulted in Laud's execution and the regicide of Charles by the Scottish rebels seemed overwhelming, when the monarchy and episcopate were restored under Charles II, it was largely a Laudian pattern of worship and church government that flourished.
In the second of a three-part series, you can read about Laud's efforts to restore the public worship (and larger public role of the Church) as published in Volume 2, Number 2 (Pentecost 2007) at the Anglican Embers page of the Anglican Use Society:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Melismatic Propers for Midnight Mass at Christmas

Many people who attend Anglican Use liturgies are aware of The Anglican Use Gradual, edited by C. David Burt, a fellow congregant of mine at St. Athanasius Parish in Boston. The AUG sets the minor propers of the liturgy (introit, gradual, alleluia, tract, offertory and communion) to simple psalm tones so that even a small schola or choir can chant them. I have heard the chants of the AUG sung not only in Pastoral Provision and Ordinariate parishes, but even in regular Roman Rite parishes.

Mr. Burt's gradual was the first English language gradual to appear for Catholic use, although there are now many others available, thanks to the work of folks like the hard working people at Corpus Christi Watershed.

But The Anglican Use Gradual remains the best suited for the Divine Worship liturgy, as it has congruent language, the texts being taken from the Coverdale psalter and the King James and Revised Standard translations of the Scriptures.

Over the years, we have published additions to the gradual in Anglican Embers, adapting the melismatic tones found in the Solemnes books and chants from the Sarum tradition. These are available on the Anglican Embers page at the Anglican Use Society web site, but here's a link to an appropriate one, the Midnight Mass propers for Christmas, published in our Advent 2010 issue:

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Catholicism of Henry VIII

It is doubtful that Henry Tudor thought he was changing the faith of his realm when he wrested control of the English Church from its natural obedience to the Holy See. In his will, he provided for two Masses to be said daily for his repose; only one of that will's provisions that wouldn't be carried out, as the regents of his son Edward began the purge of Catholicism from the English Church before his body was cold!
We have five articles in Anglican Embers dealing with the first centuries of Anglicanism, and the struggle for Catholic faith in England, which, despite the hierarchical separation that was made permanent after Elizabeth I's accession, was never complete as long as there were members of the faithful who clung to their faith.
The first of these was published in volume 1, number 12 (Advent 2006), and bears the same title as this post. Especially for those who haven't spent much time looking at the history, these may prove to be helpful.
Find the article at:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Voices from the Patrimony on the Psalms

One of the positive achievements of the reformers in the Church of England was the renewal of the daily office in parish life. The combination of Matins and Lauds into Morning Prayer and of Vespers and Compline into Evening Prayer (a situation that was commonly done de facto in many English parishes and cathedrals at the time) in the Book of Common Prayer, and the canonical requirement for pastors to recite the offices in the parish church daily brought this important liturgical element once more into the daily lives of Christians. Far from being only an Anglican concern, the renewal of daily liturgical prayer was also frequently urged by Popes and Councils.
On the Anglican Embers page at the Anglican Use Society site ( we have made available two articles in our "From the Anglican Patrimony" series. The first is from the writings of William Law, who was a nonjuror and mystic in 18th century England. His classic book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life influenced many readers, including John and Charles Wesley, William Wilberforce and John Henry Newman. This selection from Law's work "On the Singing of Psalms" ( gets to the heart of the importance of the psalms in Christian worship, and the psalms are, of course, the heart of the Divine Office. This except from Law's work was published in our Lent 2010 issue.

The second article is by Canon Charles Winfrid Douglas, an erudite and key Anglican clergyman of 20th century America, who was chief editor of the Episcopal Church's new hymnal in 1918 and one of the editors of The Hymnal 1940. Canon Douglas' article "The Importance of the Psalter in Worship" (…) is from his The Hale Lectures. Church Music in History and Practice: Studies in the Praise of God. Here again, we are instructed in a short but wise essay on the value of the psalter to our daily prayer. Canon Douglas' article was published in our Pentecost 2012 issue.

(Cross-posted on the Facebook page of the Anglican Use Society.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Anglican Patrimony and the New Evangelization

For those who have not visited the web site of the Anglican Use Society (, please do! 

The page devoted to Anglican Embers ( has several free articles, and more will be made available in the coming months.

Yesterday we released "The Anglican Patrimony and the New Evangelization" by Msgr. John Jay Hughes. Msgr. Hughes article was published in the Advent 2012 issue of Anglican Embers, and is based on a talk he delivered at that year's Anglican Use Society conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vatican lifts ban on married priests for Eastern Catholics in diaspora

Not exactly about the Ordinariates or Pastoral Provision, but this has relevance all the same. I wrote about the situation with the Ruthenians in my article "Whither the Anglican Use in the Catholic Church?" in the Lent 2006 issue of Anglican Embers; that article was also included as a chapter in the book Anglicanism and the Roman Catholic Church: Recent Developments.

  • November 17, 2014
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has lifted its ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories, including in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Pope Francis approved lifting the ban, also doing away with the provision that, in exceptional cases, Eastern Catholic bishops in the diaspora could receive Vatican approval to ordain married men. In recent years, however, some Eastern Catholic bishops went ahead with such ordinations discreetly without Vatican approval.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, signed the decree June 14. It was published later online in the "Acta Apostolicae Sedis," the official periodical through which Vatican laws and decisions are published.
The new law says the pope concedes to Eastern Catholic bishops outside their traditional territory the faculties to "allow pastoral service of Eastern married clergy" and "to ordain Eastern married candidates" in their eparchies or dioceses, although they must inform the local Latin-rite bishop in writing "in order to have his opinion and any relevant information."
"We are overjoyed with the lifting of the ban," Melkite Bishop Nicholas Samra of Newton, Mass., told Catholic News Service in a Nov. 15 email.
The Vatican decree explained that in response to the "protests" of the Latin-rite bishops in the United States, in 1890 the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples prohibited married Ruthenian priests from living in the United States. And in 1929-30, the Congregation for Eastern Churches extended the ban to all Eastern-rite priests throughout North America, South America and Australia.
The 1929 prohibition, known as "Cum data fuerit," had significant repercussions for the Eastern Catholic churches in the United States. Cardinal Sandri's decree noted that soon after the law was promulgated, "an estimated 200,000 Ruthenian faithful became Orthodox."
Ruthenian Bishop John Kudrick of Parma, Ohio, told CNS Nov. 16 that he sees the end to imposed celibacy for Eastern priests in the diaspora as an acknowledgement of the Eastern churches' "obligation to maintain their integrity" and "of the right of the various churches to equal responsibility of evangelization throughout the world."
"The world needs the church in its fullness," he said, adding he believes the "change of policy results from the longstanding experience of married priests in the Western world, especially the Orthodox, but also Eastern Catholic."
Bishop Kudrick said Eastern churches in the diaspora have a responsibility to minister to new immigrants, who are accustomed to married priests.
"Because of the dual responsibilities to maintain continuity with our past and to reach out to the society to which we are called, some degree of freedom is necessary," he said...
Read the rest at The Catholic Regsiter

Saturday, November 15, 2014

RIP: Servant of God Jerry McGreevy

I am saddened to report that George Gerald (Jerry) McGreevy, long-time treasurer of the Anglican Use Society and a founding member of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Scranton, died on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 in Palm Beach County, Florida, where he had resided for the past 16 months. He was instrumental in the establishment of the mission of St. Thomas More to reconcile our separated brethren to Holy Mother Church, accompanying Fr. Eric Bergman on many trips to share with others the work of their community of converts to the Faith. 
Jerry (right) with my family on his visit to Boston.

I met Jerry when he accompanied Fr. Bergman to Boston so that he could have his initial evaluation with the faculty at St. John's Seminary, which was the faculty that worked with Pastoral Provision clergy candidates at the time. Jerry stayed with us in Brockton, and it was the beginning of a warm friendship. He returned the hospitality when David Burt and I stayed with him when we attended the first annual Anglican Use Conference in Scranton in 2005. Jerry was received into the Church and confirmed later that year, along with more than 30 others, on All Saints Eve in 2005. 

While he will be buried in Florida, a Requiem Mass for Jerry will be offered on Saturday, December 6 at 10 AM at St. Joseph Church in Scranton, with a pot luck lunch in the Parish Hall to follow. Please mark this date on your calendars and make every effort to assist at this Mass, offered for the repose of the soul of one of God's faithful servants.

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord,
And let light perpetual shine upon him.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed
Through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Mount Calvary choir to sing at Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

On St. Nicholas Day, December 6th at 6 pm.  The choir of Mount Calvary Church This will continue its collaborative efforts with the Mother Seton Shrine and St. Mary's Spiritual Center. Their choir will be singing at shrine, which is 2 1/2 blocks away from the church on Paca Street in Baltimore.