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Why trust the Fathers?

19 April 2015


“When we read Scripture with the Fathers, we are far less likely to innovate and far more likely to understand the apostles on their own terms. This is why the bishops of the true Church in every age have looked back to the Fathers to guide their understanding of the Scripture. It is why, as Beveridge says, we can trust in the Anglican formularies, because they not only reflect back to us the teaching of Scripture but the teaching of Scripture as it has been consistently received in the Church throughout the centuries. It is why, when we are trying to discern which Church is true and which is false, we ought to ask which Church the Fathers would be able to recognize as their own. Saint Athanasius may not have worshipped from a Book of Common Prayer, but he would recognize in our liturgy the same faith that he defended against the Arians in the fourth century (who also claimed the Scriptures for their own); the same faith handed on by Peter, James, John, and the other apostles; the same faith which was given by Jesus Himself.”

Originally posted on The Conciliar Anglican:

trust-me-im-the-doctor-royal-brosIan, who writes from Australia, says that he has a lot of difficulty talking to other young Christians about why the historic teaching of the Church ought to carry any weight. Here’s part of his letter:

…If I make the point that something is what the Church for over 1,500 years universally taught, their immediate response without the slightest degree of hesitation is usually, “they could have been [and probably were] wrong”, and, “we simply have to figure out things ourselves as best we can”.  And what I find perhaps most intolerable is that I can’t use The Book of Common Prayer to prove things to people either because their immediate response is, “but what does the Bible say?”, followed by, “the Prayer Book must be wrong”, or, “we’re not interested in what the Prayer Book says, only in what the Bible says”… Another question relating to this that I’m not sure…

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We Never Say Mass in a Vacuum.

18 April 2015
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“A liturgy that doesn’t act like the Blessed Sacrament is the center of our life and work is not worth anyone’s time, and it doesn’t serve any purpose other than to prop up a lifeless Christianity that is well on its way to irrelevancy. Worship that centers on Christ’s presence with us, that draws us into the mystery of the Altar and the holiness of God is worship that is worthy of our apostolic heritage.”

Originally posted on thebrokechurchman:

I am the Rector of a black parish that self-identifies as Anglo-Catholic.They greatly prefer music out of Lift Every Voice and Sing. They are vocal in response to my sermons. They play Gospel pandora stations when they’re hanging out in the Sunday School rooms. It confused me.

I really struggled with the question “Is this an Anglo-Catholic Parish?” or is this just one of those “That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” moments? But the more I talked with my parishioners, the more I got to know exactly what they believed and held dear about the Church and the Sacraments, the more I became convinced that they had their identity right. They knew what meant, and they meant what they said.

The identity issue was my issue. Before I got here the Catholic revival and Euro-centrism were inexplicably tied in my mind. A high expression…

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Elder Thaddeus: “The Lord is always waiting for us to unite ourselves with Him in love”

17 April 2015


“The Lord is always waiting for us to unite ourselves with Him in love; but instead, we drift further and further away from Him. We know that there can be no life without love. This means that there is no life without God, for God is Love. But His love is not according to the understanding of the world. The love that the world gives us consists of suffering and enslavement, because the spirits of evil interfere with it. There is a little bit of love, but mostly it is just enslavement.”

– Elder Thaddeus

Tocqueville: “I know of no country in which, speaking generally, there is less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion than in America.”

17 April 2015


“In America while the majority is in doubt, one talks; but when it has irrevocably pronounced, everyone is silent, and friends and enemies alike seem to make for its bandwagon. The reason is simple: no monarch is so absolute that he can hold all the forces of society in his hands, and overcome all resistance, as a majority invested with the right to make the laws and execute them can do. Moreover, a king’s power is physical only, controlling actions but not influencing desires, whereas the majority is invested with both physical and moral authority, which acts as much upon the will as upon behavior and at the same moment prevents both the act and the desire to do it. I know of no country in which, speaking generally, there is less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion than in America.

In America the majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence. A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man who goes beyond it. Not that he stands in fear of an auto-ca-fe, but he must face all kinds of unpleasantness and everyday persecution. A career in politics is closed to him, for he has offended the only power that holds the keys. He is denied everything, including renown. Before he goes into print, he believes he has supporters; but he feels that he has them no more once he stands revealed to all, for those who condemn him express their views loudly, while those who think as he does, but without his courage, retreat into silence as if ashamed of having told the truth.

Formerly tyranny used the clumsy weapons of chains and hangmen; nowadays even despotism, though it seemed to have nothing more to learn, has been perfected by civilization.”

– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Alasdair MacIntyre: “the coming ages of barbarism and darkness”

16 April 2015

alasdair_maclntyre ” “It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age in Europe and North America and the epoch in which the Roman empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead — often not recognizing fully what they were doing — was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another — doubtless very different — St. Benedict. “

– Alasdair MacIntyre, in his book After Virtue

Leonid of Optina: “If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles”

15 April 2015

Elder Leonid of Optina'

“If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then that is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understand it. This path is the shortest way to salvation and attracts the grace of God. Unpretentiousness, guilelessness, frankness of soul – this is what is pleasing to the Lord, Who is lowly of heart. Except ye become like children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God (Matt. 18:13).”
– Elder Leonid of Optina

Mother Teresa: “So spread love everywhere you go”

14 April 2015

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more who are dying for a little love. Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread love everywhere you go.”
-Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta


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