24 December 2012

The Galveston Carol: Nativity


"Glory be to God on high!"
the angels surely sang,
And shepherds in the fields
stood amaz-ed by the sign.
"Go and see God's own Child
with his mother meek and mild.
He's the Lord's own anointed.
He's Christ of whom we sing.
He's your Friend and your Brother and your King!"

Now with haste we go with them,
To David's city blest,
To Bethlehem where Christ is born
As prophets long confessed.
Come and see God's own Child
with his mother meek and mild.
He's the Lord's own anointed.
He's Christ of whom we sing.
He's our Friend and our Brother and our King!

At the crib we bend the knee
Astounded at the sight.
A carpenter who with his wife
presents a boy of Light.
Glory be! God the Child!
See, his virgin mother smiled!
He's the Father's beloved
He's Christ of whom we sing.
He's our Friend and our Brother and our King!

Small and frail and in her arms
we know for us he came.
For common folk he'll die and live
And take us home again.
Hope and joy come to you
And the love of Jesus too!
All our hearts we will give him,
His glory we will sing.
He's our Friend and our Brother and our King!

Words: Copyright © 1997 by Vincent Uher.
usic: The Wassail Song (Here we come a-wassailling among the leaves so green)

21 December 2012

Of Holy Innocents


In the Church after Christmas we remember a horror in which King Herod killed all the little boys of Bethlehem. We do not focus on Herod on this occasion but rather we focus on the little boys: we call it the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

I always pray for innocent children who have been murdered in peace time or war time during the past year. I intend to remember the little children in Connecticut by name. They are all safe in God's arms of Divine Mercy, but this is little comfort to the living on Earth who have seen the face of the Fallen Angel in an act of complete human depravity. Yet with time the reality that the little ones and all innocents are safe with God does help the survivors to go on if they have faith, but it will be difficult if not a lifelong work to continue on and to struggle with the unanswerable.

We have little background for dealing with the Face of the Fallen Angel when it appears in the eyes of a human traitor to humanity. But as Elie Wiesel advised after the Holocaust:  one must not lose faith -- no matter how impossible faith seems -- because otherwise Evil would win yet another victory, and Evil must not win at our own hands.

So for all who struggle with faith or grieve the innocents, I bid you Peace to your heart, the Peace that surpasses our human understanding, the Peace that is eternal life in the Living God who loves us all and waits for us with open arms... to dry away the tears of Earth, to restore what was stolen, to heal what was broken, and to renew in perpetuity the bond of love and life between the human and the Divine.

It is the Child Jesus who makes this hope of heaven a reality.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.
The Peace fo the Lord be always with you.

+Veni Emmanuel!

20 December 2012

Radio Walsingham Online


You are invited to enjoy traditional Advent and Christmas music from around the world -- programmed by me -- on RADIO WALSINGHAM: 

... as you work at your computer or engage in the various tasks of the day.  

The Lord be with you!

A Holy Adventide 
& A Happy, Blessed and Merry Christmas to All!


10 December 2012

09 December 2012

Prayer to God and His Saints

Some will recall this prayer from a small collection entitled "A little book of prayers from Old English Sources" edited by Dom F. Aidan Gasquet and published by the Catholic Truth Society.  More recently Templegate republished the volume in 1996 as Ancestral Prayers: Prayers in common use before the Norman Conquest of 1066 and in the centuries following.

This ancient prayer from before A.D. 1066 is an excellent aid in contemplation of the Judgement of God under which every soul shall pass.


O Almighty and Holy Trinity, one God, whom I adore, whom I love, whom I confess, hear my humble prayer; enter into my heart and blot out my numberless sins.

And, because I have nothing good upon which I may rely, first and before all things do thou intercede for me, O Holy Mary, ever a Virgin, that I may deserve to be heard and find eternal salvation.

Come to my assistance also, O thou most honoured Prince of the Angels, Saint Michael, with all the host of heavenly powers.

And thou, Abraham, too, Patriarch beloved of God, who as a similitude of the Father didst offer thy son Isaac to Him, for which thing in thee all the nations of the earth are blessed, mayest thou and may all the other patriarchs pray that I may daily offer my soul to Christ.

Be at my side also, O David, prophet, king, and psalmist, who even as a boy didst overthrow the giant Goliath with a stone.  Do thou, with all the other holy prophets, drive far from me the everlasting foe.

O glorious Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, by the memory of thy high glory, do thou with the other Apostles, those lights of this earth, who seated upon the twelve thrones will judge the world, do you help me, that in the Judgement Day my lot may not be found with the wicked.

May the choir of Holy Innocents, slain for the Infant Jesus, intercede beneath the throne of the Lamb of God for me.

O thou glorious and illustrious through every age, Saint Stephen, and you, all ye crimsoned ranks of martyrs, by your intercession help to wash me from every stain of sin.


An Anglican Office of Our Lady

With the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception yesterday and the Second Sunday of Advent today I am reposting The Office of Our Lady and encouraging its use among Anglicans and Catholics of Anglican identity.  It is very much part of the contemplation of the four last things that should occupy our thoughts and meditations during the season of Advent ... and especially of the contemplation of Heaven -- to which we are each called by name -- Heaven which broke into our world through the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

[Recently I read someone opine that there was no Anglican Little Office of the Blessed Virgin for the Ordinariates to use.  At face value one could say such a thing, but it would not be the whole story.  There are many little Offices of Our Lady of Anglican provenance.  Should one take time to gather them together they would indeed form a kind of Anglican Little Office of the Blessed Virgin.  By way of example, the following is "The Office of Our Lady" from Cambridge Offices and Orisons, 1921 arranged by Eric Milner-White and BTD Smith:]


V.  O God, make speed to save us ;
R.  O Lord, make haste to help us.
V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost ;
R.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.



O GLORIOUS Maid, exalted far
Beyond the light of burning star,
From him who made thee thou hast won
Grace to be Mother of his Son.

That which was lost in hapless Eve
Thy holy Scion did retrieve :
The tear-worn sons of Adam's race
Through thee have seen the heavenly place.

Thou wast the gate of heaven's high Lord,
The door through which the Light hath poured.
Christians rejoice, for through a Maid
To all mankind is life conveyed !
[English Hymnal 215.]

Antiphon. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee : and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.


  + MY soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
  For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
  For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessèd.
  For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
  And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
  He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
  He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
  He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
  He remembering his mercy hath hoplen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost : As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Antiphon. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee : and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.

CHAPTER. (REV. xii. 1.)

THERE appeard a great wonder in heaven ; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
R.  Thanks be to God.

V.  He brought me into the banqueting house : and his banner over me was love ;
R.  He brought me into the banqueting house : and his banner over me was love.
V.  He set the royal crown upon her head ;
R.  And his banner over me was love.
V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost ;
R.  He brought me into the banqueting house : and his banner over me was love.
V.  Behold the handmaid of the Lord ;
R.  Be it unto me according to thy Word.
V.  The Lord be with you.
R.  And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary to be a dwelling-place for thy Son ; Grant that we who rejoice in her commemoration may at her tender intercession be kept unspottèd, and made a pure temple for his dwelling ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

V.  The Lord be with you ;
R.  And with thy spirit.
V.  Let us bless the Lord ;
R.  Thanks be to God.

08 December 2012

The Uniate Impulse

On the whole the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham is very well done.  This posting of mine is about a problem to be found in it but should not be construed as a negative judgement of the book.  There is an enormous amount of laudable substance to the Customary and the labour taken to put it together is likewise praiseworthy.

My concern is for the Uniate impulse which is on display in this book and the approved liturgies of the Ordinariates.  As Pope John Paul II taught us clearly, the Uniate impulse to Romanisation is to be avoided, and each proper portion of the Church is to authentically live out its charism... returning ad fontes as necessary.  By way of example, it is a great tragedy to lose O Sapientia on December 16th -- which is established ancient English rubric -- and likewise lose "O Virgo virginum" in order to follow the Latin rite system beginning December 17th.  If you exist to preserve the Anglican liturgical heritage, then preserve it for heaven's sake.

Sadly, the Uniate impulse is on display elsewhere in these liturgical efforts.  After lengthy inquiry into why the Ordinariate has chosen to abandon the traditional Anglican wording of the Gloria Patri in favour of a form widely used by some English speaking Latin-rite Cathoics, I have repeatedly been told it is so that English speaking Catholics will be saying the same form of the Gloria Patri.  In other words, we are aping Rome albeit in English non-Anglican translation.

Rather ridiculous if the above were true. Were this a substantial principle then we would not have "And with thy spirit" but rather "And with your spirit."  There would be no need for an Ordinariate.

There are those who say the traditional Anglican form has not been abandoned but is permissible.  Although true it is also incredibly misguided.   The very heart of what Pope John Paul II began and what Pope Benedict has continued is that the unique character and essential forms should be brought into the Church without change from those outside the normative Latin rite.  No Anglican prayer book uses the Gloria Patri as translated in the Ordinariate texts and as such it is not Anglican in origin as a matter of text.

The issue appears to be that someone somewhere simply does not like the Anglican "Holy Ghost" and has systematically tried to erase it.  I have been told again and again that this is not the case.

So, if everyone is telling me the truth, then obviously this one Uniatish error is open for correction in future books.  The unique original Anglican forms must be used.  Variations from that belong in permissible rubrics.

For Anglicanorum coetibus to be taken seriously ... the Anglican Prayer Book forms must be used as they appear in the official books and texts held in common by those people called "Anglican" or "Episcopalian" if the claims being made for the Ordinariates are to be taken seriously by those outside of the Church (not to mention those inside the Church who are still debating whether or not the Ordinariate is for them).

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

+ + +

It really isn't possible to divine the agenda that would drive the elimination of an obvious traditional Anglican way of speaking about God and relegating it to the permissible rubrics.  It is, of course, insulting to anyone who claims this tradition in its traditional expression as their own living faith.  So what could be at work?

Others have observed that there is a generational issue at work in the avoidance of "Holy Ghost".  If one is 'older' sometimes there is a feeling that "Holy Ghost" references Caspar the Friendly Ghost or American "Halloween".  This is understandable but a mistaken concern.  The culture is obsessed with ghosts and ghost hunters.  It is actually the prime time to raise up the reality of the Third Person of the Trinity as the Holy Ghost -- who is more than able to drive away anything that goes bump in the night.

Second, the New Age teachers and movements speak of "Spirit" or "the Spirit" or "holy Spirit" all the time.  This is not the same as "Spiritus Sanctus"and it makes abundant plain sense to differentiate the claims of Catholic Christians from the terms and claims of the New Agers.  "Holy Ghost" is plainly the Christian deity. "Spirit" or "the Spirit" could reference almost anything, and it is a tragedy to give up unique and clear language for the Third Person of the Godhead because of misplaced concerns and a failure to think in terms of evangelical engagement of the terms being used in the culture.

"Holy Spirit" clearly means "Holy Ghost" when used by Catholics.  But non-Christians also speak of "holy Spirit" at times. As for Anglican identity people -- especially in North America -- "Holy Ghost" should not be excised or replaced in any traditional Prayer Book text.  I can only hope that the good folk of the Ordinariates in their private deliberations in crafting these new books and texts will reverse course on this, avoid the Uniate impulse, and return to use of the Anglican terms and forms as they are found in their traditional expression.

All that being said, there is good work in the Customary.  I am still praying that the first drafts of the marriage and burial liturgies will either be redrafted entirely or that they will add a simple rubric permitting use of the texts that appear in the current Book of Divine Worship.   Hope never fails, and seeing good work and good intent in the Customary, one can hope for better in the future as the texts develop.