Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ordinary time

Happy Sunday! We finally have been getting some beautiful weather here in Hudson after two or three days in which the whole Western Reserve (and many points to the west and the south) was soaked, flooded, blown around, and electrocuted via lightning. I suppose we needed it - but it was still very unpleasant!

We are now settling back into ordinary time after Lent, Easter, and the string of important feasts that follow on its heels. Our associate pastor is in Europe for the next two weeks (he heeds the advice to travel while you are young) and we had a substitute for the 8 am Mass today. It was the pastor of the church in Parma which "produced" our associate pastor, as a matter of fact! Annoyingly, he ad-libbed some parts of the Mass. Twinge. Must focus on the Eucharist and not on the fact that he was squirrelly with the Ecce Agnus Dei, methought to myself, pursing my lips and wishing that Bishop Pilla hadn't made that stand-through-the-end-of-the-Eucharistic-prayer rule.

I am sure that St. Therese or St. Francis or St. Dominic would not be so distracted by such imperfections in the celebration of the Mass. Not that they would be "okay" with them, or any such thing. But the saints would certainly not allow it to interfere with adoration and contemplation of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of their Beloved. Grrr... I must grow...

On the plus side, one of the (seven, I think) current seminarians which our parish has produced spoke after Mass about the Catholic Festival coming up in August in our diocese - it attracted 17,000 people last year and they are shooting for 22,000 this year. He seems to be an excellent young man, and he mentioned that our diocesan seminary here in Cleveland was at its highest enrollment in fourteen years. I am glad that we will soon benefit from so many fine young priests.

Later I put on my ecumenical hat and visited the new Anglican church, Hudson Trinity Anglican, with my good friend Shannon. They are one of the many churches which have split from the Episcopal church over that business with the gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson.

At the recent church convention in Columbus, which was supposed to be sort of the "day of reckoning" for those who are destroying the Anglican communion, those same individuals elected a woman presiding "bishop" (eh) who was supportive of Bishop Robinson's consecration (eh) and who began her ministry by leading a prayer to "Mother Jesus" (UGH!). As Shannon pointed out to me, this appellation directed to Our Lord is not only blasphemous but also fillets our great Western tradition of logic. Logically, since I'm sure the lady "bishop" would at least agree that Jesus was the... Offspring of God and not the parent in the relationship, she ought to have said Daughter Jesus (somehow that sounds even worse than what came out of her mouth).

From what I have read, this was quite a slap in the face to the conservative African/Asian Anglican bishops, many of whom do not accept female ordination to the priesthood, let alone to the episcopacy; who furthermore do not approve of the Robinson business and who would also (like most Christians) not be caught dead with any combination of the words "Jesus" and "Mother" except, of course, if it was formulated as "Jesus' mother" and followed immediately by the words, "the Virgin Mary."

Now, the lady "bishop" and all of those individuals involved need love and prayers. That is the only way in which conversion is obtained. I am sure that she only has the best of intentions and that the current divisions in the Anglican communion cause her a great deal of pain. Her soul and the souls of those allied with her are very precious to God, Who wants nothing more than to be with them forever in Heaven. We should never put limits on what God's grace can do.

At Hudson Trinity Anglican, however, they are somewhat removed from all that fuss as they are under a Rawandan archbishop and have simply gotten on with the Gospel. The new church is in my old pediatrician's former office, although of course they've knocked down quite a few walls to make room for the nave... It is a lovely church, and I wish the church-builders in the Catholic realm would take note and not make so many ugly modern monstrosities. They even had an altar rail - an altar rail! - and I am not sure if they even believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or not. Shannon, if you read this maybe you can comment? Hudson Trinity seems to be Broad church rather than High or Low, and I don't know what the Eucharstic doctrinal tendencies (if any) are prevalent in the Broad Church movement.

Now, you would think some honest-to-goodness Roman Catholics who are supposed to truly believe that it's literally Jesus Whom we receive at Mass in what only appears to be bread and wine would prefer to do it kneeling at a proper altar rail! But most Catholic churches nowadays don't have one. It reminds me of that Protestant who once said that he didn't believe the Catholics truly believed in the Real Presence, because he didn't see them crawling up the aisle on Sundays!

Anyway, I always very much enjoy my time at Hudson Trinity, not least because they have some nice hymns which I can sing whilst the Anglicans go up for communion, and also because of the very friendly congregation and the cookies which are available afterward ;) I think in the future, efforts toward re-uniting Christians will more and more involve these Anglicans and less and less the Episcopalians. When you ordain women, officially affirm homosexuality and start throwing around terms like "Mother Jesus," you don't have much in common with Catholicism any more. Although Hudson Trinity has a deaconess, they are still waaaaay closer to small-c catholicism than the Episcopals down the street. There are only two ancient churches which date back to the time of Christ - Eastern Orthodoxy and Rome - and, sadly, Episcopalianism bears little resemblance to either nowadays. It seems more like a church founded back in the mists of time when "Will and Grace" was in its heyday... The mid-90s or somesuch... ;)

Check out Hudson Trinity Anglican online - they have pictures of the inside of the church, you'll see what I mean about the altar rail!


  1. geee Maggie thanks for wishing me a happy birthday...some friend you are! =(

  2. Bu-bu-but I sent you a caaaaard!!!