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Pastoral writings from the perspective of Traditional Old Roman Catholicism in the Anglican Tradition by Rutherford Cardinal Johnson Count of Sainte Animie

26 November 2012

Advent 2012

Sub Tuum.

Once again this coming Sunday we begin our season of penance and preparation, culminating in the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ. As it was foretold by the prophets, the Word truly became flesh and dwelt among us. Approximately a third of the way through this coming season of preparation, we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is most fitting that this celebration takes place within the season of Advent. Our Lady, having been chosen as the vessel of the Incarnate Word, had to be exceptionally pure and without the stains born by fallen man. Thus she was given the special favor of exemption from the stain of original sin. 

The Blessed Virgin was the chosen vessel, and thus she was so blessed by God by immaculate conception so that she would be worthy to bear the Son of God. She had a choice, though, and we may all be thankful that she chose to accept the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit. As God gave Mary the special graces she needed, so too does God give us all the graces we need to fulfill our individual purposes in life. And, like Mary, we have a choice whether or not we will answer God's call and embrace the Faith or instead ignore the call and descend into secularism. 

This Advent Season begins the new liturgical year, which we have dedicated to Faith and Tradition. During this year, we especially encourage each person to work towards a renewal of their own faith through the experience of the rich traditions of the Church. Not only should this be a personal matter of renewal, but also a mission of assistance of others in the renewal of their faith. We are not mere individuals, but are all part of the community of all mankind in Christ. 

The faith of the Church begins with Advent and the coming of Christ. That is the beginning. The climax is the Passion, Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. The end is yet to come. It is the final victory of the Church Triumphant over the forces of evil. The traditions of the Church likewise begin with Advent, for they necessarily must begin with and follow the faith precisely. Our traditions are not mere empty ceremony or entertainment, but true and active worship with the sole purpose of the praise and glory of God. The rich traditions of the Church are rich only through the faith, for they are the outward expression of that very faith. The traditions of the Church guide us through the annual re-discovery of the mysteries and the glories of the Christian Faith. This liturgical year, then, let us all walk together through the beauty of our traditions and, in so doing, through the glories of our faith that we may grow in love and service.

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson

Advent 2012

Sub Tuum.

Once again this coming Sunday we begin our season of penance and preparation, culminating in the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ. As it was foretold by the prophets, the Word truly became flesh and dwelt among us. Approximately a third of the way through this coming season of preparation, we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is most fitting that this celebration takes place within the season of Advent. Our Lady, having been chosen as the vessel of the Incarnate Word, had to be exceptionally pure and without the stains born by fallen man. Thus she was given the special favor of exemption from the stain of original sin. 

The Blessed Virgin was the chosen vessel, and thus she was so blessed by God by immaculate conception so that she would be worthy to bear the Son of God. She had a choice, though, and we may all be thankful that she chose to accept the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit. As God gave Mary the special graces she needed, so too does God give us all the graces we need to fulfill our individual purposes in life. And, like Mary, we have a choice whether or not we will answer God's call and embrace the Faith or instead ignore the call and descend into secularism. 

This Advent Season begins the new liturgical year, which we have dedicated to Faith and Tradition. During this year, we especially encourage each person to work towards a renewal of their own faith through the experience of the rich traditions of the Church. Not only should this be a personal matter of renewal, but also a mission of assistance of others in the renewal of their faith. We are not mere individuals, but are all part of the community of all mankind in Christ. 

The faith of the Church begins with Advent and the coming of Christ. That is the beginning. The climax is the Passion, Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. The end is yet to come. It is the final victory of the Church Triumphant over the forces of evil. The traditions of the Church likewise begin with Advent, for they necessarily must begin with and follow the faith precisely. Our traditions are not mere empty ceremony or entertainment, but true and active worship with the sole purpose of the praise and glory of God. The rich traditions of the Church are rich only through the faith, for they are the outward expression of that very faith. The traditions of the Church guide us through the annual re-discovery of the mysteries and the glories of the Christian Faith. This liturgical year, then, let us all walk together through the beauty of our traditions and, in so doing, through the glories of our faith that we may grow in love and service.



11 November 2012

Veteran's Day 2012

Sub Tuum.

This Sunday, though officially observed Monday this year, is one of my favorite days of the year. It is a day to honor those who have served in the armed forces. It is Veteran's Day. Be sure to thank a veteran, even if you are one. I have yet to meet a veteran who couldn't name at least one other person who did more than he. And remember those who fell in the service of something greater than themselves, for that is really what military service is about. Wear a poppy flower and remember those who survived, but are now no longer with us.

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson

07 November 2012

Hope and Change

Sub Tuum.

Yesterday Americans exercised a right that few people in history to date have had. We elected our government leaders. It is a freedom not to be taken lightly, given the large numbers of people in the world today still living under oppressive and totalitarian regimes. With this freedom, though, comes tremendous responsibility. A vote is a powerful tool. It must be used for the common good, not one's own selfish interests. It requires thought and deliberation on an individual basis, for the victors in the election can have significant impact, good or bad, on the nation and the world. Now that the election is over, we must turn our attention towards an increase of love in America, for that has been sorely lacking for far too long. That ultimately has been the root cause of the unfortunate state of affairs in the country.

The results of the election yesterday underscore the great polarization that persists in this country. On one side we have those of more socialist leaning. On the other we have conservatives and Constitutionalists. This, however, is an oversimplification. Individual people are far more complex in their wants, needs, beliefs, desires, feelings, and thoughts. Suffice it to say that we are a nation divided at present.

It gives me great concern that the people, albeit it by a rather narrow margin, re-elected a socialist and the most pro-abortion President in history to the White House. While perhaps this may have been excusable four years ago when many people knew far less about him, the results in these key areas of the past four years he has had in office ought to have left no room for doubt in the voters' minds yesterday.

Yet, as we are all living in this nation together, we must seek to come together in a positive, realistic, and effective way. This is even more essential, given the intense polarization seen in this election. First, though, let us consider two important points.

Socialism is incompatible with Christianity. In short, it is an establishment of the State as the supreme authority above God and His Church. The State then seeks to have the people look to it for the things for which they ought to look to God. Yet, God is above all States in the world. Despite the secularist rhetoric to the contrary, the Founding Fathers knew quite well that we are a nation under God. The godless societies that socialism has spawned around  the world should be more than ample to give people pause before voting for socialism and socialist politicians. Have people perhaps voted for their own selfish interests instead?

The issue of right to life was and is the most significant and troubling of this President. Abortion is not a right, and it is not a matter of health care. It is murder of an unborn child. Of this there is no room for argument or disagreement. It is not a matter of being "black and white," but an issue of simple right and wrong. We as a nation murder over one million unborn children per year, yet we allow ourselves to be blind to it. Ask yourselves if we would we be equally blind to Nazi death camps.

Those who thought the economy was the most important issue in yesterday's election missed the most important point of all. You must be alive to participate in the economy. Life is a precondition for all economic activity. Economic justice only matters to those who have had the chance to be born. What does it matter if we have the most flourishing economy in the world if we decide through the application of abortion who will and who will not be able to enjoy it?

Our Lord said that what we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him. That gets us back to the issue of love. The troubles facing America will never, ever be solved until we fix the underlying problem. You see, it is a problem of our soul that is at the root of everything in America. We have turned from God's love and embraced hate. There have been many smoke-screens disguised in the form of pressing issues, but they only serve to distract us from the real issue underlying everything else. If we as a nation would simply convert our hearts and love one another as our Lord commanded, real and positive change could take place. It sounds like a dream, but it really is just that simple. It takes a conscious decision, though, by each and every individual. To be clear, no, we should not compromise our sacred principles simply to "get along" or be avoid being called "obstructionist." Yet, if we truly learn to love each other, a natural result of that will be to find positive ways to build a society that respects its Creator, values life, and honors its people. That is real change that we need not only in America, but in the world. I challenge everyone in America from Mr. Obama to the Congress to the citizens to undertake this task. Will you each take the first step?

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson