Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

Sub Tuum. 
 Sunday the United States saw a major shooting incident in Orlando at the hands of an Islamic militant bent on the destruction of human life. It is not the worst shooting incident in U.S. history, for the incidents at Waco and Wounded Knee, slaughter at the hands of the government, had a higher death toll. However, it is nevertheless a tragic event. It is one that the Holy Land knows on a regular basis as a routine event, though it has thankfully thus far been very rare in the United States. What we are dealing with is not a gun control issue or any other political issue. What we are dealing with is a fundamental lack of respect for the sanctity of life. That is a problem that plagues the United States, Europe, and indeed the world of today as a whole. We cannot point the finger at the Orlando shooter without acknowledging the sickness that plagues modern society as a whole. If we clamor for action over the pointless death of fifty people in Orlando, but stand silently by while crimes against human rights are committed and over 1,000,000 children are murdered legally every year, we as a society have as much blood on our hands as does the Orlando shooter. Nothing will heal what ails the nation until we turn to the love as exemplified by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Love & Judgment

Sub Tuum.

These days we hear "Judge not" as the end-all unifying and supreme verse of Bible. Relativism has been promoted as the correct Catholic belief, not to mention the philosophy underlying the modern way of things in society at large. The problem is, like anything relativistic and anything that takes only one slice of the Christian faith as the totality, it leads to contradictions that weaken our individual faith and spirituality. We should love our neighbor with all their imperfections just as Christ loved the world that nailed Him to the Cross. Yet Christ did not hesitate to proclaim the faith and point out the difference between right and wrong. We love the sinner even while hating the sin. The makes sense, for how can we help the sinner if we drive the sinner away through arrogant judgmental action? Still, Scripture tells us that we should fight evil. 
So, there is a proper framework in which we must be. First, we must accept and acknowledge taht we are all sinners. When we observe the sin in others, we must consciously recognize the sin that is in us as well. We cannot judge in a way that puts us in a superior positions to those who sin, for that is ignoring our own shortcomings. It is finding fault in others in order to make ourselves feel better. If we condemn others for sin, we condemn ourselves in the process. However, if instead we notice sin in others and also in ourselves at the same time, if we turn the microscope on ourselves, we realize that the other person not only needs help, but needs help in the same way that we do. They not only have issues with which they are straggling, but are straggling with those issues in ways similar to us. In that way we see ourselves in other people. We see our own faults in the faults of others, even if those faults are not the same. It becomes a framework of brother helping brother rather than some sort of Puritanical condemnation of those who fail to keep the standards. We as humans all fail. Puritans tolerate no failure. To be Catholic, though, is to realize that we all fail and that failure is part of our journey.
We can only solve our problems through the grace of Jesus Christ and through the efforts in us inspired by faith in Him. Christ hung on the Cross for us all, but remember that we are to take up our own crosses. Doing that unifies us with the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the only way in which we can obtain forgiveness of our sins and seek true amendment of life. This is the frame of mind in which we must always be if we are to observe the errors of others. When we judge others, if we are to be Christian, we must judge ourselves at the same time and, realizing we are all sinners, join ourselves to our brethren who are in sin and strive through the power of the Cross to bring them up.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Transcript of the Patriarchal Address on the Feast of Corpus Christ 2016

Sub Tuum.
To the Members of the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham, to all the clergy and faithful under Our pastoral care, and indeed to all the clergy and faithful in Christ around the world, that all may be one, the grace and peace of our Lord, and Apostolic Blessings on this Feast of Corpus Christi in the year of our Lord 2016. As the Trinity season begun on Sunday, a mere four days ago, we will remark again that we consider the Trinity Season a great gift as a period of reflection on all that has recently been experienced. From the beginning of the liturgical year in Advent, we prepare for and experience the coming of our Lord to earth as man, the chief occasion being the Nativity. Then comes the period of the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in which we welcome Christ likewise into our homes and our hearts. Next comes Lent, during which time we focus on the earthly ministry of our Lord, culminating in the going up to Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Crucifixion. Then comes the moment for which the world long waited and for which we wait in anticipation each year, the most important day of the liturgical calendar, the Easter Vigil and the Sunday of Resurrection, when the victory over the grave is complete. Yet Christ did not merely rise from the grave and disappear. He had more to do. He had to make plain His great victory, that all might believe and be saved. Thus begins the forty days from Easter to the Ascension - a marvelous time in which there is much to absorb. And, of course, the Feast of Christ's glorious Ascension itself does not even mark the end of Paschaltide, for our Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit. That we celebrate on Whitsunday and throughout Whitsunweek, inviting the Holy Spirit again into our hearts and renewing our openness to the work of the Spirit in Christ's Holy Church Militant. And so it is that Paschaltide ends immediately prior to the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. God the Father was made known first to the Hebrew people. Then God the Son was made manifest on earth. Once our Lord's ministry on earth had been fulfilled, indeed in very fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, He send the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. It is truly right and even logical that the end of the Easter season ends with the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

So great and so deep is the mystery that we cannot hope to comprehend it all. There is much to learn each year. There is much personal growth that can take place if we only open our hearts to the truth of Christ. Thus we are given the marvelous gift of the Trinity season each year, following Paschaltide and continuing until the beginning of the next liturgical year with Advent. As the liturgy shows us the Persons of the Holy Trinity in Christmas and Epiphany, Lent and Easter, and Pentecost, the Trinity season lets us relax and reflect, taking in all that we have experienced, and marvel at the mystery and power of the combined Trinity.

Less than a week into Trinity season, though, comes the Feast of Corpus Christi. We celebrate and worship the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of Mankind, the founder of the Holy Catholic Church, and the Supreme and Eternal King and Priest. We celebrate the fact that our Lord remains with us here on earth through His presence in the Most Holy Sacrament. Christ lives on the altar, which remains a true and living Sacrifice to which we may all join ourselves. As we begin Trinitytide, we receive the bold reminder of Christ's presence on earth so that we do not wander through Trintytide aimlessly, merely waiting for it all to begin again next year at Advent, but instead walk through like pilgrims with purpose. May we in our Patriarchate be pilgrims with purpose, letting our lives be as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Let us all seek Christ in all that we do and thereby lead a life filled with divinely-inspired purpose.

We are blessed in the Patriarchate of St. Stephen, the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, to continue the legacy of Walsingham, of Rome, of Florence, and of Jerusalem. Our legacy is ancient and deep, and we drive forward in humility. To the members of Our Curia and Houeshold without whose assistance We could not so effectively serve, We thank you sincerely and give Our special blessing. And now, all may prepare to receive the blessing of our Lord.

Et Benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, + et Filii, + et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos and maneat semper. R. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Sub Tuum.

Coat of arms of Flanders
This evening after the liturgy I was reflecting on the events earlier today in Belgium. Another group of militants from ISIS carried out yet another attack, again on European soil, making good on their threats. It is easy enough to say that it is a distant thing half a world away and does not impact us directly. Even with the cries of "Je suis Bruxelles," it is easy for it to seem distant as life goes on. Life does indeed go on, as it must. As it happens, though, two of my old schoolmates were there in the middle of it all. One, a physician, helped to treat the wounded. The other tended to the needs of the victims as well. I am proud to see the two school girls I knew in my youth have grown into ladies who did not fail to help others, even in the midst of the chaos of what was nothing less than a combat situation. Their selfless acts and the selfless acts of others stand in stark contrast to the cowardly acts of those who pretend to be soldiers, but strike at the civilian population with an intent to terrorize, demoralize, and destroy order and civilisation.

Continued reflection reminded me of my many ancestors who came from Flanders, once its own state, and now a region of Belgium. Brussels is the Belgian capital and also the Flemish capital. Indeed, the city from which my name comes, Ruddervoorde, is not very far from Brussels. Ruddervoorde translates from Flemish as "Knight's Ford (River Crossing)," which brings to mind the Flemish and Frankish knights, among others, who successfully defended Europe against those who would invade and maraud, terrorizing the local populations. 

During this Holy Week, I request that all the faithful pray a rosary for the people of Belgium and for a final victory against the militants that will not stop in their efforts to bring chaos and destruction to the world. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thine Altars, O Lord of Hosts

Sub Tuum.

The Communion Verse for today's mass, the Third Sunday in Lent, says, "Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God." How true this is, that the Most Holy Sacrifice that takes place upon the altar of God is the source of the eternal offspring of God. It is by uniting ourselves to the Sacrifice that takes place on the altar, the one Sacrifice for all time, which we both remember and experience as a true and living Sacrifice, that we become children of God. It is through the saving grace of the Sacrament that we have hope of eternal life, that we may dwell in the house of the Lord and praise Him for ever and ever. We are truly blessed indeed to be made sharers in this great and marvelous Mystery, for there is not even one thing on earth that has as much power as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Those of us who have been made sharers in the Light of Christ must, therefore, within the ever-present bounds of human weakness, seek to live as children of the Light. In the Epistle for today's mass, Saint Paul writes of just that very thing. Yet, today we see ever-increasing secularism, as people turn from God and turn towards alternative idols. 

We, the Christian faithful, would be much stronger and would be much better able as a group to walk as children of the Light of Christ if we were not so fractured. Many so-called "calls for unity" are nothing more than arrogant attempts by one organization to absorb another for often less than pious reasons. We see in Scripture that there are many peoples, yet it is through Christ and through Christ alone that all become one. We in the Apostolic ministry continue the authority given by Christ Himself, first to Blessed Peter as first among the Apostles, and then to all the Apostles. 

As our Lord says in today's Gospel, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Why, then, do we allow vanity and arrogance to separate the Christian brethren? Why do we permit disputes to break up the family of Christ? Would we not be better off finding what common ground we may find and working to cooperate, while not compromising our principles? The building of artificial walls between us is as ridiculous as one of the twelve Apostles refusing to work with another. What foolish pride that would be! If we Christians are fractured, it is the work of the antichrist, but we Christians have only ourselves for allowing it to perpetuate. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Christ the King

Sub Tuum.

Today we celebrate the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as we do on the last Sunday of October each year. It is right that this feast is celebrated on the Sunday preceding the Feast of All Saints, for Christ is Lord over all the Saints and Angels in Heaven. The Kingdom of God is not of this world, as Our Lord told to Pilate during His Passion. Yet God created the heavens and the earth. All the earth, all people, and all nations are inherently of God and therefore under God. Christ's Kingship extends over all earth. All kings of the earth are subject to Him. All nations of the earth are His subordinates, for that which is created is not greater than the Creator. 

Our Lord is the supreme and eternal King, the final arbiter and judge, and the ultimate law-giver. There are no laws of man that are superior to the laws of Christ and His Holy Church. Those laws of man that are good and just are only good and just insofar as they are consistent with the laws of Christ. Those laws that are not consistent with the supreme laws of Christ need not be obeyed, and the Christian people are right in opposing them. Those who force and compel obedience to such unrighteous laws violate the supreme law of Christ. 

Christ on his Cross has redeemed mankind. It is in the Cross that all mankind is united, despite differences of politics, culture, race, ethnicity, and language. It is up to each of us, however, to accept or reject this gift. It is up to each of us to accept or reject unity of all people in the corporate Body of Christ. Man's inhumanity to his fellows, whether through physical violence, through words, or through other means, is an offense against this unity to which we are called and which is a reflection of the reward of eternal life in Heaven. 

The leaders of the nations must seek to govern in accordance with the supreme law of Christ and with a mind towards building unity in Christ. Indeed, all people must seek to live according to Christ's law and approach others with the intent of furthering unity. In dealing with all people, even when dealing with those who do not believe, we must strive to follow the example of Christ, both in love for all mankind and in just defense of truth. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The United States and the Enlightenment

Sub Tuum.

Pray for the faith
in America
Over 200 years ago, the groundwork was laid for the eventual destruction of the United States with the influx of the ideas of the Enlightenment into the founding of what was otherwise a Christian-oriented (albeit Protestant), independent republic. Rather than absolute truth, the precedent of truth and justice according to popular vote was established. As we are seeing now, even the definition of words is subject to judicial rule. What is and is not true, what is and is not actual history, what speech is protected and what is not. All these things in the United States are subject to popular vote, usually spurred by a determined minority (something some of the Founders rightly feared). Popular vote at the hands of activists has resulted in Christians and particularly Catholics being bullied out of the mainstream, for we do espouse the right idea that truth is NOT subject to popular vote. We do not espouse relativism. We are the antithesis of the Enlightenment, and the Enlightenment is the antithesis of faith in God. This Independence Day, pray for the United States to return to what Christian roots it had and to strengthen them. Resolve to declare yourselves independent of the politically correct establishment and the bigoted progressives and stand always for the faith.