Dawn Eden on The Journey Home
It Really Is

Anglican Catholic News

(See this post for background.) 

Our little, and I do mean little, group perseveres. We now have our own chapel--well, almost: we don't have an altar yet, but we hope to have the first Mass there on the first Sunday of Advent. There is a group blog called Anglican Patrimony to which our priest, Fr. Matt Venuti, contributes, and he's posted some pictures of the progress on the chapel there. It's the long-disused chapel of a former convent. The convent building is sort of an all-purpose utility space for the parish of St. Mary in Mobile (Alabama). The chapel, as you can see from the first picture, had become more or less a storage room. We put quite a lot of work into cleaning and painting (that's me in the second picture, on the ladder at the back of the room, priming the wall). The pictures are not that great but you get the idea (you can click on them for a bigger view).

We have not grown, though we've had some interest and encouragement. If we don't grow and get to a point of being able to pay our own way as a parish (Fr. Matt's full-time job is with St. Mary), we will not be able to continue. All we can do is give it our best effort and leave the longer run to God.

Meanwhile in the Church of England, the vote to have women bishops failed by a slim margin, and progressives are distraught. But they shouldn't be, because obviously they're going to win eventually. Damian Thompson, on the other hand, is pleased, in a schadenfreudish sort of way. I have to agree with him that Anglo-Catholicism (in the old Oxford Movement etc. sense) is done for, but then I thought that thirty years ago. I like his remark about the Ordinariate:

Six months ago I thought the experiment had failed; now, having witnessed its determination up close, I'm sure it will find a secure place for itself in the English Catholic landscape. But it will do so by evangelism and punching above its weight, not by forming a church within a church.

I'd been thinking along those lines, too.


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Lovely pics, Maclin - I'm smiling. God bless your group.

Thank you. Btw in that one where I'm on the ladder, the person on the left is my son-in-law, Gabe (not, alas, a member, but kindly helping out), and the one on the right is Fr. Matt. He's roughly the same age as a couple of my children, which is sometimes disconcerting.

What a terrific job you did -- it's beautiful.

Funny you find Fr. Matt's being roughly your children's age a bit disconcerting. I tend to find younger members of clergy comforting. I guess because their very youth says the faith is being kept alive.

Oops, I see you posted this comment (accidentally, I guess) on the "understatement" thread, and I replied to it there.

Sorry about the double-post. I had gone to the other thread to talk about tattooing and must have gotten trigger happy, or something.

I don't like to see the words "tattooing" and "trigger happy" in the same sentence. ;-)

I think I would be okay with a boss in his thirties. I think I could work for my middle daughter. It took me a long time to get used to doctors and priests that are younger than I am.


I don't like to see the words "tattooing" and "trigger happy" in the same sentence

Quite right, Janet, now that is disconcerting.

Maclin, I hope your congregation prospers. Y'all did a good job with the chapel.

Thank you.

I got over doctors and priests and all sorts of people being younger, and have had a boss who was somewhat younger (5-10 years), but not as young as my children.

I'm trying to imagine what it might be like to be bossed around by 16yo's. Oh wait, I am!

I can't imagine that having a boss 5-10 years younger (if they are a good boss) would be too confronting, but a boss the same age as your kids would be pretty difficult to get your head around!

Maclin, we will certainly be praying for you all. I wish we lived closer, because we'd be a part of it if we could. As it is, I have been mostly grateful not to have had the Ordinariate, or any Anglican-Use option available, when we converted, because I have been very glad to have had the opportunity to be simply a Latin-Rite Catholic, warts and all (both mine and the liturgical kind). I think that what Damien Thompson says about the Ordinariate's possibility of growth is apt, and I've had mixed feelings about it precisely because I've wondered whether they really wanted to be Catholic, or just Anglican on more Catholic terms. But then who am I to say? And what do I even mean by that? I'm really not sure.

But I do find myself missing all that Anglican language and music. I also miss the luxury of not working to evangelize it into the larger church culture, as I seem to find myself crusading to do all the time with our choir. It was so nice just to sit back and let it wash over me. I think I'd also find it emotionally overwhelming to experience it all again, as you described in your other post.

Maybe it will come to some place within easy reach of you. I suppose in some ways it has been good for me to have lived with the plain old Novus Ordo for 30+ years--it forced me to accept purely on faith that grace was operating--but as far as subjective experience is concerned it has been a pretty bad one, or was for the first 20 years or so. At some point it didn't really matter anymore, at least as long as the music was not just excruciating and the homily not anti-Catholic. Well, and also things have improved a bit liturgically.

My sample of these Anglican-Catholics (I keep wanting to say Anglo-Catholics, because it's accurate, but that term is already taken) hasn't shown me any indication of any lack of desire or intent to be fully Catholic. But it's a very small sample.

Thank you very much for your prayers. I was reading something else about the Ordinariate in the UK a little while ago, and it mentioned that lack of lay people following clergy to Rome has so far been a problem. I guess I can see that with our group.

Well, I'm not sure I said what I said very well, and I really don't mean to question or belittle anyone's route to conversion. And I'm spoiled at the moment in the regular old Latin-Rite church, because we have a very good parish and priest, and it's easy to forget just how cruddy things can be, though when this pastor leaves we might well be reminded.

I didn't take it that way. I mean, Anglo-Catholics can be a somewhat eccentric group, and it's certainly not hard to imagine one/some wanting to get an official Catholic stamp while perhaps not being fully on board (I have heard some really strange things once or twice from Byzantine Catholics along those lines), or wishing to remain a coterie or clique within the Church. What's wanted, and what I think I'm seeing so far, is a sense that we have a gift to give the rest of the Church and are looking outward more than inward, or at least as much so--that's what I liked about Damian Thompson's remark.

Yes, that's what I hope for. One thing I think the Ordinariate does do, with regard to the wider Latin-Rite Church, is give former Anglicans a leg to stand on when they, for example, push to have an Advent Lessons and Carols service and try to explain to their pastors this service which isn't a Mass, and isn't Eucharistic Adoration, yet takes place in the church . . . Now a thing like this isn't just some sentimental Anglican journey which some nostalgic former Anglican is trying to import into the approved and reliable goings-on of the parish, but an Ordinariate thing. (and again, I am giving thanks for a good and visionary pastor who's even willing to entertain things like this, when they're outside his range of experience).

I do think that the patrimony of a longstanding and beautiful English-language liturgy is a very great gift, and I wish it were available for wider use.

More later, but: my zeal for the enterprise is proved by the fact that I was out of bed at 6:30 on a Sunday morning to go to Morning Prayer before the diocesan Christ the King Mass. My wife and I are empty-nesters who have gotten accustomed to sleeping late on Sundays.

I have six kids, including a toddler. I sleep in as often as possible - i.e. regularly!

I am seriously impressed by your 6.30 rise!

Was it still dark when you woke up? We are now only a month away from the longest day of the year. I had (unfortnate) cause to be out and about this morning at 8.30 (which is 7.30, standard time) and the sun was already very high.

Perhaps when my kids are all grown up I will never get out of bed. :D

It starts getting light a little after 6 here these days. We of course are heading for the shortest day. As for sleeping in, I hope to have the opportunity to see what schedule I will spontaneously work into with no external constraints. It will probably involve staying up late and sleeping late, although I note signs of falling into the old person's early/early pattern.

Sally, a priest who doesn't understand the idea of a service that's in the church but isn't a Mass or Adoration needs to have his horizons broadened a bit. In the cathedral of this archdiocese we had for years an Advent Vespers service which was extremely beautiful, a bit like a Lessons and Carols sort of thing, but entirely Roman. I think it's fallen away now due to the musicians having lost the energy to keep it up.

A "longstanding and beautiful English-language liturgy is a very great gift" indeed. We'll see whether the Church at large is interested in receiving it. But two members of our group have no Anglican background at all--they just love the liturgy.

Reading about the beautiful liturgy you're enjoying right after reading in the local paper about the renovation of one of the Catholic churches here in town was almost enough to make me weep, for I'd just read that "the parish had decided about three years ago it would become 'outward looking' rather than focus on what went on within its walls."

What already goes on within those walls is sad enough, but to realize they're not all that into it being the focus of church life is, nonetheless, a real downer.

I'm trying to read this as positively as I can, but it's a bit of a struggle. The park itself might be a nice idea. But what exactly are they demolishing? And what are the "renovations" going to do? And the remark about not focusing "on what went on within its walls" is definitely ominous.

Oh, well, I forgot about the Divine Office . . . we do do that. With vigor. Usually right after Mass. In fact, for several years now Fr. has tried to have Vespers in Advent and Lent, but it's never been very well attended, and he's never been willing to have it be choral/musical -- that is, there would be a hymn, and whatever members of the already tiny choir showed up would sing the Magnificat to a simple tone, but he was never willing for the psalms to be sung. So the whole thing kind of felt like a non-event, I think.

I do think you're right about widening horizons, however, in the sense of . . . well, again, I'm not sure how to put this without seeming somehow belittling or non-constructively critical, which is not what I mean to be at all. I love my priest a lot, and in general he's really excellent and full of vision of what the church can be and do, liturgically speaking. Vespers is within his comfort zone (although Vespers where all two non-choir attendees might be "excluded" from the psalms by having them sung is not. Also, these Vespers services involved Exposition and Solemn Benediction, and a homily, because I think he thought the service was crying out for something, but not for music . . . ).

Something Anglican, meanwhile, is -- not exactly outside the comfort zone, but also not so squarely inside that comfort zone as to be an obvious thing to want to do, in the way that learning to say the Latin Mass would be an obvious thing to want to do. There is something, I think, to having grown up in an entirely Catholic Midwestern milieu, with very little exposure to Anglicanism, so that it just seems like more Protestantism, full stop, and why would you want to do Protestant things? And you can't say, well, the Church of England has preserved this marvelous medieval tradition, and now we can reclaim it, because it's a Victorian invention with no real Catholic roots . . . and we're back to "Why would we want to do Protestant things?"

So it helps to have the distinctive Anglican patrimony enter Catholicism, because then you can say, "Well, actually, it must not be all *that* Protestant . . . "

Meanwhile, we are having this Lessons and Carols service in three weeks, but after our performance at Mass yesterday, I think people might start paying us for permission to stay home. THAT is a whole nother can of beans . . . I think I've personally almost passed through the stage of "What was I thinking" to the stage of Anglo-Saxon despair (like Beowulf, make a noble death and have done with it), but at least Fr. is on board.

"...with very little exposure to Anglicanism, so that it just seems like more Protestantism, full stop, and why would you want to do Protestant things?"

I believe that's the reaction of a great many Catholics, clerical and lay. In addition I've heard, second or third hand, some sort of harsh things from lay Catholics about married priests. "Not really a priest" etc.

Carry on with your Lessons and Carols! As someone who is a little shaky at carrying a tune even with a strong supporting voice close by, I admire all who can actually, like, sing, and are willing to do so in public.

I want to research the Prayer Book prayers and translations. Fr. Matt says a good deal of it really does pre-date the Reformation.

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