Deborah Gyapong: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Friendship and the artist--Barbara Nicolosi

This is a beautiful essay by Barbara Nicolosi, who founded Act One, a screenwriting institute training Christians in the difficult art of movie-making. Some excerpts:

In his "Letter to Artists," Pope John Paul II described the paradoxical process in which as artists grow in their ability to produce more beautiful things, their personal being is "uglified" by the process of practice and study and isolation and the near fanaticism that beauty requires. The Pope described artists as priests who make sacrifices that produce objects of redeeming power. He also says artists are prophets called and outfitted by God to lead people into new depths of understanding.

I spent about a year trying out the life of a full time novelist. I found the practice, study and isolation is not for me. I guess I lack the "near fanaticism" that beauty requires. But I can truly relate to this post. The commercial failure of my novel---something I worked harder on than I ever thought possible---also contributed to my unwillingness to continue.

Both of these vocations exact a tremendous toll on the human vessel. For want of a "sturdy shelter," many divinely gifted people end up foundering on the rocks of addiction, materialism and celebrity. Are you a sturdy shelter for your artist friends? What kind of qualities should you, as an artist, look for in a person to know that you will find a sturdy shelter there when you need it?

The concept of shelter itself is a beautiful image and indicates several senses of the gift we are called to be and to receive as friends. To speak of a shelter at all implies that there is a storm. One doesn't seek shelter from a light breeze wafting dreamily over sun-bathed hills. One seeking shelter conjures up the image of a bedraggled, shivering and exhausted wayfarer. It is one having no other place to go and needing a respite from the elements. It is one seeking safety, rest, security, and renewal. I have met many of my artist friends in the throes of bringing forth a project, and truly, they can be scary to normal people. I've been that person myself, wild-eyed and still in my pajamas at 3:00 pm, surrounded by Diet Coke cans and takeout boxes, needing a shower or to start dinner, but too caught up in the intricacies of a character's inciting incident to be able to stop.

Yup. Know what that's like.

The spark of friendship is initially kindled when two people experience what St. Aelred of Rivaulx called the miracle of mutual attraction. In his wonderful twelfth-century work Spiritual Friendship, the Cistercian monk remembered as "the Bernard of the North" wrote that it is already amazing when we meet a person whose personality causes delight in us. When two people experience holy delight in each other—without any motivation of greed or ambition or other unholy need—it borders on the miraculous.

Holy delight means seeing the other person with Divine wisdom, to know her name the way God does. It's a gift that Adam had and then lost: to know the essential gift and place of each creature. In friendship, we recover it and we are able to see the miracle that is the core in another soul. It is the friend's gift to still delight when the other really needs a shelter, when her beauty is most obscured by tragedy, or sorrow, or suffering, or, in the artist's case, by the demands of creativity. A real friend feels tenderness at a condition in which a non-friend would probably feel revulsion. Aelred goes so far as to say that friendship is "the kiss of Christ," which He mediates through the physical presence of the human friend.

Beautiful. Read it all.

Watching Fox News the other day

And a panel on Bill O'Reilly's program. Some of the panelists were talking about whether one's religious beliefs should play a role in public policy and when they are fair game for journalists to examine.

Generally, the sentiment---and I say sentiment because obviously no real thought had gone into the view---was that candidates' religious views should not influence their policies, and if they did, the public had the right to know.

I was appalled at the ignorance displayed on the panel. Our beliefs--religious or not---influence our attitudes towards public policy, law and morality all the time.

For example, if my religious views influence how I view theft, should my opposition to theft be removed from the equation because it is informed by the Ten Commandments? If someone's Darwinist, dog-eat-dog views permit him to steal if no one can possibly find out, then say what?

Those scary dominionists!

A good analysis of how secularist fundamentalist and abysmally ignorant journalists always get it wrong about us religious folk by Douglas Grootius (h.t. The Anchoress):

There is a buzz in the political beehive about the dark dangers of Bachmann's association with "dominionism"—a fundamentalist movement heaven-bent on imposing a hellish theocracy on America. In the August 15 issue of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza asserts that Bachmann has been ideologically shaped by "exotic" thinkers of the dominionist stripe who pose a threat to our secular political institutions. The piece—and much of the subsequent media reaction—is a calamity of confusion, conflation, and obfuscation.

Lizza notes that Bachmann was influenced by the writings of Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-84), an evangelical minister, theologian, and philosopher. Schaeffer, along with the contemporary writer Nancy Pearcey and others, are "dominionists." That is, they believe that "Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy secular institutions until Christ returns." Worse yet, Schaeffer, in A Christian Manifesto (1981), supposedly "argued for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe vs. Wade isn't reversed." Lizza also writes of the influence of the prolific author Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001), who advocated "a pure Christian theocracy in which Old Testament law...would be instituted." Bachman is allegedly thick as thieves with all these "exotic" subversives—and should be exposed as such.

Having read reams of books from all these authors (and every book by Schaeffer) over the last thirty-five years, as well as having taught many of these books at the graduate level, I assign Mr. Lizza the grade of "F." Consider four reasons.

First, Rushdoony argued for a position he called reconstructionism (not theocracy), which would have made biblical law the civil law of the land. However, neither Rushdoony nor his followers desired to impose this system through violence or illegal activity, but rather see it come to fruition through a long-term change of minds and institutions.

Second, Rushdoony's devotees make up but an infinitesimal fraction of Christian conservatives. The vast majority of those who have been influenced by certain aspects of Rushdoony's writings emphatically reject his understanding of biblical law, as do I.

Third, the key Christian influences on Bachman are not Rushdoony and his followers, but Francis Schaeffer and Nancy Pearcey. Schaeffer referred to Rushdoony's views on mandating biblical law as "insanity," and never sanctioned any form of theocracy. (The name "Rushdoony" does not even appear in the index of Schaeffer's five-volume collected works.) Schaeffer explicitly condemned theocracy in A Christian Manifesto (p. 120-1). Nor did he call for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe V. Wade were not overturned. Schaeffer rather explained various ways of resisting tyranny according to a Christian worldview and in light of church history. He saw "civil disobedience" (his phrase) as a last resort and did not stipulate any specific conditions under which it would be advisable in America. In fact, Schaeffer worried (on p. 126) that speaking of civil disobedience is "frightening because there are so many kooky people around." Further, "anarchy is never appropriate."

The real cause of climate change

James Delingpole writes in the Telegraph:

f Michael Crichton had lived to write a follow-up to State of Fear, the plotline might well have gone like this: at a top secret, state of the art laboratory in Switzerland, scientists finally discover the true cause of “global warming”. It’s the sun, stupid. More specifically – as the Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark has long postulated – it’s the result of cosmic rays which act as a seed for cloud formation. The scientists working on the project are naturally euphoric: this is a major breakthrough which will not only overturn decades of misguided conjecture on so-called Man Made Global Warming but will spare the global economy trillions of dollars which might otherwise have been squandered on utterly pointless efforts to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, these scientists have failed to realise just how many people – alarmist scientists, huckster politicians, rent-seeking landowners like (the late Michael Crichton’s brilliant and, of course, entirely fictional creation) the absurd, pompous Sir Reginald Leeds Bt, green activists, eco-fund managers, EU technocrats, MSM environmental correspondents – stand to gain from the Man Made “Climate Change” industry. Their discovery must be suppressed at all costs. So, one by one, the scientists on the cosmic ray project find themselves being bumped off, until only one man remains and must race against time to prove, etc, etc…

Except of course in the real world the second part wouldn’t happen. No one would need to go to the trouble of bumping off those pesky scientists with their awkward, annoying facts and their proper actual research. That’s because the MSM and the scientific “community” would find it perfectly easy to suppress the story anyway, without recourse to severed brake cables or ricin-impregnated hand-washes or staged “suicides”.

This is exactly what has happened with the latest revelations from CERN over its landmark CLOUD experiment . . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fight for your Catholic identity says EFC

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, which punches way above its weight in the public square, especially in the front line battles in Canada's courts, has written an open letter to Toronto Catholic school trustees on the eve of an important vote regarding the province's equity policy. reports (an excerpt, there's more at the site):

TORONTO, Ontario, August 30, 2011 ( – Canada’s Evangelical Christians are calling on the trustees at the Toronto Catholic District School Board to uphold a vigorous and authentic Catholic identity as they prepare to pass judgment Wednesday on crucial amendments to a controversial equity and inclusive education policy.
Don Hutchinson of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

“We … encourage you to make your decision in a way that recognizes the raison d’être for the existence of the TCDSB and not to allow the unique nature and character of a Catholic education to be infringed upon by the actions of the Government of Ontario,” wrote Don Hutchinson, vice president and general legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, in an open letter Tuesday.

The school board’s equity policy, passed earlier this year as part of the Ontario government’s sweeping equity and inclusive education strategy, has sparked an unprecedented mobilization of parents over fears that the policy will give homosexual activists a foothold in order to further subvert already weak Catholic sexual teaching in the schools.

In response, trustees Angela Kennedy and John Del Grande put forward amendments designed to ensure that “equity” and “inclusion” are interpreted in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching. Those amendments will be voted on at a meeting Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at 80 Sheppard Ave. E.

Hutchinson told LifeSiteNews that he was not commenting on the amendments themselves, but calling on the trustees to consider them carefully in order to maintain the Catholic nature of the school board. “That, I think, is critical to maintaining the sincerity of the diversity in our education system and in our country by retaining the unique identity, character, and principles of the Catholic faith,” he explained.

He said he believes that in a “pluralist democracy,” if parents choose to enroll their children in a faith-based school, “the school should be able to function from that religious belief, and educate from that religious belief without having their religious beliefs infringed upon by the policies of the Ministry of Education.”

Critics of the government’s equity strategy have pointed out that the Ministry’s documents recommend that schools celebrate the Gay Pride Parades, use texts by homosexual authors, and promote homosexual clubs such as gay-straight alliances.

Hutchinson expressed concern that the Ministry has focused on sexual orientation “without taking the time, and making the effort, to engage a broader policy dealing with discrimination on the basis of grounds prohibited under the human rights code. … It’s not balanced.”

In his letter to the trustees, Hutchinson urged them to “consider that such policies should not favour one group over another.”

In the effort to be welcoming of students, a school should not be “required to compromise the principles upon which [it] is established,” wrote Hutchinson.

“In a diverse, free and democratic society Catholic schools are expected to be distinctively Catholic,” he continued. “Your existence as ‘Catholic’ benefits not only Catholic students and parents, but contributes to a genuine diversity in Canada by retaining an identity founded in the character and principles of your creed.”

Cardinal Ambrozic R.I.P.

Michael Swan has written a nice piece for the Catholic Register in which friends and acquaintances make tributes to Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic.

Cardinal Ambrozic's great love of Scripture and ability as a scholar never left him, said St. Augustine's Seminary rector Msgr. Robert Nusca. When Ambrozic was well into his 70s, Nusca had the cardinal lecture first-year seminarians annually on the Gospel of Mark.

"You could see how much he enjoyed lecturing," Nusca said. "It was obviously his area. It was amazing to see how well read he was and what a great teacher he was in the classroom."

For Ottawa's Jesuit Archbishop Terry Prendergast the line between teacher and friend blurred over the years. As a professor of New Testament at the Toronto School of Theology in the 1970s, Cardinal Ambrozic supervised Prendergast's PhD thesis. As archbishop of Toronto, he asked for Prendergast to be appointed auxilliary bishop.

"I always say I have had three or four teachers in my life who built confidence in me and helped me to learn. He was one of them," said Prendergast.

When the young Jesuit scholar was plagued with doubt, wondering whether he had chosen the wrong topic for his thesis, Cardinal Ambrozic invited Prendergast over, poured him a scotch and talked it out.

"He said, 'You are totally free to do what you want, but I think you have a good thesis topic,' ” recalled Prendergast.

With renewed confidence, Prendergast finished his thesis within a year and went on to teach New Testament at the Toronto School of Theology.

If Cardinal Ambrozic came across as a bulldog in debates, there was good reason, said Prendergast.

"Cardinal Ambrozic's experience as a displaced person, as a refugee, as a person who suffered at the hands of communists and fascists — I think he basically had the experience in his bones of what it means to see evil incarnate. I think he felt he needed to warn people about that," he said. "That's why ideas were so important to him."

Cardinal Ambrozic was no elitist who thought only professors were capable of grasping the faith.

"He trusted ordinary parents and family to do what was right in terms of the faith. He really had the sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful)," said Prendergast.

I only recall meeting him once. It was at a reception at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, marking the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate.
Invited guests included many from the Jewish community. The cardinal came over and introduced himself to me. While some in Michael's article recall Ambrozic as having a reputation for being gruff and intimidating, I found him gracious and kind and shy!

As soon as he discovered I was a journalist, he seemed to quickly excuse himself.

Similar arguments used in the Christian Horizons case

Remember the case against Christian Horizons, the charity that serves mentally challenged adults by creating homes for them supervised by faithful Christians who ensure they eat properly, live in safety and community and help them with things such as hygiene, shopping and outings?

An employee who had signed the faith and moral conduct code became involved in a lesbian relationship and sued Christian Horizons when her employment was terminated. Hazy on the details---she may not have been terminated, but perhaps left voluntarily because she found it a poisoned work environment due to her newly discovered sexual orientation.

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that New Horizons was perfectly entitled to have its faith and conduct code if it only served people of the same religious faith. New Horizons, like most Christian charities that serve the poor and marginalized, does not have a faith test for its clients or their families, only those on its staff. (A higher court overturned that aspect of the OHRT decision, but did not find the faith and conduct code was a bona fide part of the plaintiff's job description. Here's the Evangelical Fellowship's take on last year's court decision.)

Well, in the United States, under the Obama administration, a similar anti-charity mode of thought imperils Catholic health care and social services and worse, religious freedom and conscience rights. Father Z has added his emphases and comments in red to a chilling op ed or letter to the editor:

The Star Tribune’s editorial “Benefits outweigh birth control costs” (Aug. 1) drew attention to an Institute of Medicine recommendation adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It requires health care plans to cover contraceptives and sterilizations [Remember: some "contraceptives" are abortifacients.] under regulations for preventive care created in response to the health care reform legislation passed in 2010. [Let us never forget that the USCCB warned against this, and that Sr. Carol Keehan, beloved of liberals, publicly supported Obamacare against the US bishops.]

This is a troubling mandate. It raises serious questions not only about the nature of health care and employment, but also about religious freedom and public charity.

For the church, one consequence is that the state seems to have begun to define who our neighbor is and the extent of our mission. [Bingo.]

The vindication of Justice Clarence Thomas

When Clarence Thomas faced the charges of Anita Hill some 20 years ago, my parents were listening to the hearings on public radio as they drove up through Vermont from Boston to visit us that Thanksgiving ? (or see the fall colors) weekend.

My husband and I had been glued to our television set watching hour after hour. When my folks arrived, the only TV that carried cable was in our bedroom, so they joined us on our queen-size bed to watch.

Usually I'm the lone conservative in my family (though my now deceased father was also conservative). But we were united behind Clarence Thomas during that hearing.

Now a lengthy article in The New Yorker, of all magazines, shows the intellectual impact this long-ridiculed man is having on the court. Jeffrey Toobin writes:

These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

The conventional view of Thomas takes his lack of participation at oral argument as a kind of metaphor. The silent Justice is said to be an intellectual nonentity, a cipher for his similarly conservative colleague, Antonin Scalia. But those who follow the Court closely find this stereotype wrong in every particular. Thomas has long been a favorite of conservatives, but they admire the Justice for how he gives voice to their cause, not just because he votes their way. “Of the nine Justices presently on the Court, he is the one whose opinions I enjoy reading the most,” Steve Calabresi, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and a co-founder of the Federalist Society, said. “They are very scholarly, with lots of historical sources, and his views are the most principled, even among the conservatives. He has staked out some bold positions, and then the Court has set out and moved in his direction.”

Thomas’s intellect and his influence have also been recognized by those who generally disagree with his views. According to Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School, Thomas’s career resembles that of Hugo Black, the former Alabama senator who served from 1937 to 1971 and is today universally regarded as a major figure in the Court’s history. “Both were Southerners who came to the Court young and with very little judicial experience,” Amar said. (Thomas is from Georgia.) “Early in their careers, they were often in dissent, sometimes by themselves, but they were content to go their own way. But once Earl Warren became Chief Justice the Court started to come to Black. It’s the same with Thomas and the Roberts Court. Thomas’s views are now being followed by a majority of the Court in case after case.”

The implications of Thomas’s leadership for the Court, and for the country, are profound. Thomas is probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties. More than virtually any of his colleagues, he has a fully wrought judicial philosophy that, if realized, would transform much of American government and society. Thomas’s views both reflect and inspire the Tea Party movement, which his wife has helped lead almost since its inception. The Tea Party is a diffuse operation, and it can be difficult to pin down its stand on any given issue. Still, the Tea Party is unusual among American political movements in its commitment to a specific view of the Constitution—one that accords, with great precision, with Thomas’s own approach. For decades, various branches of the conservative movement have called for a reduction in the size of the federal government, but for the Tea Party, and for Thomas, small government is a constitutional command.

Read more
This article is going viral. And of course, someone is invoking Tolkein and the Lord of the Rings. Walter Russell Mead writes:

Lord of the Rings aficionados know that the evil lord Sauron paid little attention to the danger posed by two hobbits slowly struggling across the mountains and deserts of Mordor until he suddenly realized that the ring on which all his power depended was about to be hurled into the pits of Mount Doom. All at once the enemy plan became clear; what looked like stupidity was revealed as genius, and Sauron understood everything just when it was too late to act.

Jeffrey Toobin’s gripping, must-read profile of Clarence and Virginia Thomas in the New Yorker gives readers new insight into what Sauron must have felt: Toobin argues that the only Black man in public life that liberals could safely mock and despise may be on the point of bringing the Blue Empire down.

In fact, Toobin suggests, Clarence Thomas may be the Frodo Baggins of the right; his lonely and obscure struggle has led him to the point from which he may be able to overthrow the entire edifice of the modern progressive state.

I dunno. But if one court decision can open the way to abortion on demand, why couldn't one court decision start us back on the road to sanity from the statist torpor we find ourselves in.

My latest at the English Catholic

On credentialism and the Ichabod spirit:

After America Last night, while reading Mark Steyn’s latest book After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, (which I highly recommend–a prophetic but humorous look at the decline of western civilization and the impending collapse of its last guarantor the United States) I came across the word “credentialism” in a chapter he wrote about the uselessness of most college educations and higher degrees that merely prolong adolescence and do nothing except creating a stultifying conformity of thought. (A conformity of thought that would not know the origins of the metaphor “The handwriting on the wall” which Mark explores at length, pointing out it is not the graffiti that defaces even nice areas of cities like Rome.)

Mark wrote that he himself never went to college. I did, but Mark can run circles around me in the education department, the kind that counts from reading and experience. I thought in my post here I had coined the word myself!

Speaking of credentialism in the churches, perhaps the most exciting and practical faith-forming interlude I ever spent was under a charismatic pastor who also lacked formal credentials from prestigious educational institutions. But I have met few– priests, bishops and cardinals included–who have made me say to myself, “I want what you have,” or “I want to be like you” because of a discernible peace, joy, and holy love that makes your “heart burn within you” for Jesus and for heaven. Penn Clark has the same charism of love that Cardinal Marc Ouellet has, and that’s saying something.

In the mid 1990s, Penn Clark traveled from Upper State New York for ten Saturdays to teach a winter Bible School here in Kanata. I have attended many other workshops of his and invited him to lead our ladies’ retreat two years in a row when I was on a committee involved in women’s ministry at an evangelical church. He is the most credible and practical teacher on the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit that I have ever encountered. To this day. A couple of years ago, he came to our little cathedral in Ottawa to hold an ecumenical workshop on the Holy Spirit. We had about 30 folks present, Roman Catholics, people from our parish, evangelicals and charismatics. It was wonderful.

There is something about the grace that is imparted as he teaches, that raises you up in heart, mind and spirit and changes you. For those of us who are experiencing discouragement right now, go on over and read some of his teaching and see if you don’t find your room brightening and your heart uplifted.

There is more.

Dick Cheney's memoir focused on the past journalist complains

Kathy Shaidle linked to this with a Wow. Uh huh.

Newsweek journalist is a little hazy on the concept of memoirs. Dan Stone appeared on MSNBC’s News Live to voice a strange complaint about Dick Cheney’s new memoir. “This book is very focused on rehashing. It’s very based on the past, from what I can tell.” Dan, buddy, books that take place in the future are called science fiction, not memoirs.

Some sobering observations about the one and only Ordinariate

From a blog of a former Canterbury Anglican who choose go to a Continuing Anglican body (not Traditional Anglican Communion, as far as I know), rather than join the English Ordinariate:

I received this a comment to a previous post. I didn't publish it there on the grounds that it didn't fit the post to which it was appended. The poster remained anonymous, which is a shame.

The big national Pilgrimage to Walsingham organised by the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham took place today in the wooden barn-like structure that serves the Latin Rite Catholics as a church. As a rather disillusioned ex-Anglo-Catholic [now a traditionalist Catholic] I was looking forward to it and particuarly to see what elements of Anglican Patrimony and customs might be
incorporated into the Mass and procession. I was greatly isappointed. It was concelebrated in modern Roman style in nylon matching chasubles, the rite of Mass was the current New Rite of Paul VI with the proper sung to Missa de Angelis, full throatedly (so not very R.C.). There was one Anglican hymn Immortal Invisible and at the Offertory a rather slushly worship-song: Gifts of Bread and Wine. In all, a typical reasonably High Church Modern Roman Catholic service. The brochure was covered and filled with pictures of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, a number of references to Don Gobbi's Visions, and a Day of Divine Mercy. In the afternoon there was a weather-damaged procession to the Anglican shrine and a Sprinkling with Holy Well water took place. Alas, during this we were treated to a young lady singing a modern Roman Catholic worship song with a guitar. I left greatly disappointed wondering what elements of Anglican heritage, the "Patrimony" were going to be brought by these ex-Anglicans to Holy Church. They all seemed to be good, decent, dutiful modern Roman Catholic priests. What is the point of the Ordinariate ? Can someone explain ?

So why have I published this post? Largely because it is a cry from the heart. Perhaps, then, I am getting sentimental in my old age? Well, simply put, I know what it's like to be ignored and this is a cry from one who has become accustomed to being ignored by those rolling merrily on a bandwagon.

It is a long post. Here is another excerpt:

It is going to take time for what Anglican Patrimony there is in the Ordinariate to become apparent, and that’s the big challenge that faces the new Monsignors and the Anglicanorum Cœtibus hierarchy. They will have to convince Anglo-Catholics who will potentially form the second and future waves into the Ordinariate of just how they are preserving that Patrimony. While some may be happy to become Roman Catholics, others will be looking for that distinction. Others will not want to find themselves doing circuits in an episcopal piscine! The Anonymous Commentator is certainly justified in his/her comments that surely there should be something of the Anglican Patrimony apparent.

Fr. Anthony Chadwick, who is back from holidays, responds to this post in a long lament of his own about the discouraging state of play.

The Ordinariate solution is not sufficiently established to command the trust of all, and these ghosts will continue to haunt our blogs and inward thoughts until the difficulties are seen by all to be resolved in an open and honest way. We can only wait and see, and no one should be made to feel any compulsion to this or that commitment. Likewise, the projects of repair work in the continuing Anglican world have yet to show their fruits and have lasting results, presumably through a more “professional” profile in the Episcopate and influential clergy. On the ground, people need stability, and the state of flux that has been maintained over the past four years has become unbearable in emotional and spiritual terms. Many of us are worn out, and perhaps even tempted at times by the possibility of abandoning Christianity altogether…


Many of us are still hopeful that lessons are learned. We are extremely heartened by many of the words of Pope Benedict XVI that show a self-critical attitude and honest recognition that some ecclesiastical policies have alienated people and failed to be conducive to reconciliation and visible unity. Such words and utterances are already something, but the difficulty is convincing Curial authorities and local bishops to get over their own prejudices and implement them. Otherwise, we have pious thoughts and good words, but nothing actually makes a difference. We still hope, but we are afraid we will grow old, sicken and die in the same hopes…

We do not have the right to give up, and most of us can do something. Other than prayer, the most important thing is to become lucid about reality and deal with truth rather than illusion. We have also to form social bonds of friendship and a feeling of kin and family. We must overcome our alienation, because we cannot go back to where we were before. We have to find new roots, and it is on this basis that new communities may be formed, whether under the authority of a Catholic bishop or in an independent “holding” community of some kind. That is probably the hardest part. We can repeat doctrines and truths, and say what the ideal is. That is easy. The hard part is to be human and live in community, developing bonds of empathy, love and friendship in which Christ can infuse the grace of ecclesial communion. This is the nerve to be touched and the issue to be faced.

As for me, I have been on the Ordinariate-or-bust bandwagon, so much so that if the little TAC/ACCC cart I am on lurches to a stop because a red light is thrown in its path, I might keep on going through inertia and join the Church on my own.

But the thought of having to leave behind the Anglican beauty that we try to keep alive, the rigorous old-fashioned Athanasian Creed type faith we cultivate and my little church family makes me heartsick.

Montreal Interfaith Conference coming up soon

Point de Bascule warns about the real agenda:

Écrit par Point de Bascule on 30 Août 2011. Posted in Articles par Point de Bascule

On September 7, 2011, the Dalai Lama, Tariq Ramadan and other personalities are scheduled to speak at the Second Global Conference on World's Religions after 9/11. The conference is organized in Montreal with the active cooperation of McGill University and the Université de Montréal.

Tariq Ramadan’s mentor, Youssef Qaradawi, states that “We only carry out dialogue with (Christians) in order to find common grounds that serve as a basis for further action.” In two texts, Qaradawi mentions four of these “further actions” that should justify engaging in interfaith dialogue (Priorities GMBDR):

1. Improving the image of Islam;

2. Converting Christians;

3. Rallying Christians against Israel;

4. Discouraging Christian leaders from supporting fellow Christians involved in conflict with Muslims. Qaradawi mentioned specifically Sudan and the Philippines.

These objectives confirm that interfaith dialogue with Christians is just another front where Tariq Ramadan and the Muslim Brotherhood wage their ideological jihad. It should come as no surprise since scholars endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood consider that Christianity is a distorted version of a truth exclusively upheld by Islam, their “understanding of Islam” as Ramadan puts it.

Another objective pursued by the Muslim Brotherhood with its “interfaith activities” is to try to gain support from non-Muslims for the censorship of its critics.

Monday, August 29, 2011

John Allen Jr. on Cardinal Sean O'Malley's list of abusive priests

I love his description of O'Malley. Interesting article, as is usual for Allen. Read it all. Here's how it begins:

If one were to poll Catholic insiders as to which bishops are considered global leaders on the sexual abuse crisis, a few names would likely pop up repeatedly: ArcLinkhbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland, for instance, or Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Germany. Martin's searing candor has made him a hero to some and a lightning rod for others, while the German bishops are considered to have mounted one of the most effective responses to the scandals of any national conference, and Zollitsch is their chairman.

Right at the top of the list, however, would be Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.

In part, that's a product of history. In the early 1990s, O'Malley confronted the James Porter mess as bishop of the Fall River, Mass., diocese. Ten years later he took over in Palm Beach, where his two immediate predecessors had resigned after admitting to sex abuse earlier in their careers. In 2003, of course, he stepped into a near-apocalyptic situation in Boston.

It's not just O'Malley's résumé which makes him a point of reference, however, but his persona. He's about as far from a blowhard as any public figure can be, and he radiates a genuine prayerfulness that tends to impress even those who disagree with him on issues. Where decisions by other leaders originate in their head or their gut, with O'Malley, one might say, they seem to come from his knees.

I wasn't kidding about the sex box for toddlers

Pajamas Media has pictures of the insanity in Switzerland kindergartens:

Sex box’ to get new name as parents revolt

Officials in Basel have agreed to rename the “sex box” after receiving some 3,000 letters of protest from parents angered by the controversial trove of wooden penises and fabric vaginas set to be used in a new sex education programme for playschool and primary school kids.

Christoph Eymann, Basel education minister and member of the liberal democrat party (LDP), responded to parent’s protests in an interview with SonntagsBlick.

It was no doubt stupid to call it a ’sex box’ – we will change that. But we will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents,“ he said.

Many parents say they do not understand why sex education needs to be taught to children as young as four.

“There are usually two reasons why sexuality becomes a topic in kindergarten: either the teacher is pregnant or one of the children will soon get a new sister or brother. In such cases, it is correct that the teacher can respond”, Eymann told SonntagsBlick.

Eymann said he understood that one line in the programme, “touching can be enjoyed heartily”, could be misconstrued, but insisted: “It is not about ‘touch me, feel me’. We want to tell the children that there is contact that they may find pleasurable, but some that they should say ’no’ to. Kids can unfortunately can become victims of sexual violence already at playschool age.“

Eymann said he would prefer if sex education was taught to children at home but argued that education officials needed to respond to the realities of today.

We currently live in an oversexualised society. There is uncontrolled distribution of pornographic material that can reach young children. Some primary school children know the TV schedule until 2am. We would like to offer these children firm support, which is often not available in the family. The box is only an aid. I trust the teachers to approach the material with care.”

Despite this, Eymann said he takes critics’ arguments seriously, and has ordered the contents of the box to be examined after finding the cover of previous teaching material tasteless.

Some parents have called for their children to be exempted from sex education. Eymann says he is strictly against exemptions, although he is aware this will not make him many friends:

“Primary school may be the only big audience that our society has. The shared values that it teaches are very important. I would definitely like to keep this. The explanatory lesson can be portrayed in a way that doesn’t offend“, he said.

Critics of public school sex education have been warning of this for decades: Once you start down the slippery slope of teaching kids about the mechanics of sex, it will invariably (in some school districts at least) eventually lead to advocacy for sex. Combine that with the relentless drive to introduce sex ed at lower and lower grades, and you end up with what’s happening in Switzerland: Telling four-year-olds how pleasurable sex is and leading them in classroom activities that are tantamount to public masturbation:

‘Sex box’ for Swiss kindergarteners has genitalia toys: will teach sexuality is pleasurable

Kindergarten children in Basel, Switzerland will be presented this year with fabric models of human genitalia in a “sex box” to teach them that “contacting body parts can be pleasurable.”

The kit for teachers to give sex-education lessons to primary school children uses models and recommends having children massage each other or to rub themselves with warm sand bags, accompanied by soft music….

I can no longer deny what I’ve long merely suspected: That many “progressive” educators use mandatory public school sex education specifically for the purpose of indoctrinating entire generations of children into being promiscuous as early as possible. Why? To cause the breakdown of the nuclear family, to pave the road for a Brave New World.

Yesterday, it only happened in fiction. Today, it happens in Switzerland. Tomorrow — coming to a school near you.

[Here are some more photos of various Sex Box materials, found on this page:]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson on why tax hikes will hurt the economy

Here's why he has much more credibility to me than the Warren Buffet's of this world:

For the record, I live by choice in a rural area of the poorest quadrant of one of the poorest counties in the central valley of California, a world away from Monterey. My interest is not with the “rich,” but jobs for the non-rich (unemployment in my home town hovers at 20%). I live with “the poor and the working class” and their lot has gotten far worse since 2008 as jobs have disappeared and even generous state entitlements have now become unsustainable and are being cut back, as too many taxpayers flee the state and revenues nosedive. Whether George Soros, John Kerry, Al Gore, or Warren Buffett fly a little more quickly in their private jets than I do in coach, or whether their hot water comes out of designer faucets and mine does not, or whether their Mercedes or BMW is quieter than my quite adequate Honda concerns me not at all.

The Herald deliberately did not address the chief point of my essay: My worry is instead with those creating most of the jobs who make between $200-$500,000. They represent about 5% of the tax filers and pay about 60% of the income taxes (about 50% of Americans pay no income tax and are thus not directly vested in income tax questions). They are not hiring in fear of higher taxes, rich/poor class warfare rhetoric, worry over new regulations, and rising fuel and energy costs—and that hesitation hurts poorer millions as we see with near nonexistent growth, a declining stock market, a 9.1% unemployment rate, near record low consumer confidence, record annual deficits and aggregate debt, and soaring fuel and food costs. Does the Herald not see that a red-state Texas or the Dakotas does not experience the stasis of the Illinois/New York/California blue-state model, in the manner a Germany or Netherlands does not suffer from the insolvency of a far more liberal tax-and-spend Mediterranean Europe? Did California’s 10% income tax rate, 10% sales tax rate, and record gas tax rates ensure that the problems of infrastructure (crumbling), education (near bottom in national test score rankings), crime (record numbers of inmates with record costs per inmate) and entitlements (among the most generous and the most endangered) were addressed far better than elsewhere with lower tax rates? Are job-employers arriving to, or leaving a naturally beautiful California in preference to a cold Utah, North and South Dakota or arid Texas?

Again, note the absence of any rebuttal to my original contention. Why does Warren Buffett simply not pay at the income tax rate, rather than at the capital gains rate, as do most of those who make over $200,000 who do not have his options? And why, given his belief that our debt problem is found in a lack of revenue rather than in wasteful and counterproductive government spending, did he assign his own fortune of nearly $50 billion to a private foundation rather than to a more benevolent and wise government to disperse as it saw fit, especially inasmuch he will deprive the community of billions in lost inheritance tax revenue? (And why invest heavily in life-insurance companies while advocating hiked inheritance taxes, when the former’s profits so often depend on the latter?)

So the Herald does not address the chief point of my argument: that the super-rich are different from the upper-middle-class; they often make arguments for higher taxes usually when they reach the point of being super-rich, not while struggling and ascendant, at least in part apparently because higher taxation levels do not really affect their ample income in a way it might the family dentist, electrical contractor, or computer sales manager who, whether logically or due to emotion, so often reacts to a redistributive agenda like that of the last three years by not hiring another receptionist, another electrician, or another sales rep.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I experience this every time I go to a Catholic mass

Spiritual communion. The Communion of desire. CNS Rome correspondent Cindy Wooden writes about how most World Youth Day pilgrims had to do the same in Madrid:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than a million young Catholics learned the hard way about a venerable Catholic tradition: "spiritual Communion" or the "Communion of desire."

After a wild storm Aug. 20 at World Youth Day in Madrid left six people injured -- including two with broken legs -- Spanish police collapsed the tents where most of the unconsecrated hosts for the next morning's Mass were being kept.

Without the hosts in the tents, where organizers had 5,000 ciboriums holding 200 hosts each, Communion was distributed at Mass Aug. 21 only to pilgrims in the section closest to the altar.

Distributing Communion to just 100,000 people wasn't a decision anyone took lightly, and apparently there were long discussions with World Youth Day organizers and Vatican officials trying to find a solution. In the end, it just wasn't possible logistically to locate another 1 million hosts.

A couple of hours before the Mass, organizers announced that most of the people present would not be able to receive; they asked the pilgrims to offer up that sacrifice for the pope's intentions and told them they could receive Communion later in the day at any church in Madrid.

The decision to cancel Communion for most Mass participants was reached "with the greatest pain," Yago de la Cierva, director of World Youth Day Madrid, told reporters Aug. 21.

Whenever there is a huge crowd for a Mass, whether in St. Peter's Square or at a World Youth Day, there always are some people unable to get to the Communion distribution point in time to receive. But in Madrid, de la Cierva said, "almost everyone" was among those not receiving.
At the 2008 Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City, I was glad I could not receive when torrential rain began pouring. The Holy Father consoled me greatly when, over his live homily via video, he spoke of the Communion of desire as efficacious. So, once people began lining up, I ran for the first taxi cab I could hail off the Plains of Abraham, my clothes soaking wet. Then I got to my frigid hotel room---I hadn't figured out how to turn up the air-conditioning temperature---and filed my story.

Simcha Fisher on Thomas Kinkade

What a writer this young Catholic mother is! And she explains so eloquently why I find Thomas Kinkade paintings almost diabetes inducing:

His paintings are intended to show an idealized version of the world. He never shows anything ugly, and he never shows anything unadorned. There is nothing wrong with this, and I fully understand that people need something beautiful to look at, especially if they are surrounded by ugliness in real life. Beauty is a true and necessary refuge.

But again, let’s look at that light. Let’s consider its source.

By showing light in the form of exaggerated highlights, fuzzy halos, and a hyperluminescent shine on everything, regardless of where they are in the composition, he isn’t revealing the true nature of—anything. It’s a bafflingly incoherent mish-mosh of light: an orange sunset here, a pearly mid-morning sheen there, a crystal-clear reflection in one spot, a hazy mist in the other—all impossibly coexisting in the same scene. This picture:


makes sense only as a depiction of an oncoming storm, with heavy smog in some spots and total visibility just inches away (blown by what wind, when the chimney smoke rises undisturbed?), several cordless Klieg lights, possibly a partial eclipse, and that most cheerful of pastoral daydreams: a robust house fire. This is a lovely fantasy in the same way as it makes lovely music when all of your favorite instruments play as loudly as they can at the same time. Listen, and go mad.

Where is the source of light? This isn’t just clumsy execution, this is an artist who cannot see—who knows nothing at all about light, what it is for, or whence it comes. (Or, more frightfully, an accomplished artist who has discovered that it’s much more lucrative to quash his understanding of these things.)

Kinkade isn’t content with shying away from ugliness: He sees nothing beautiful in the world the way it is. He thinks it needs polishing. He loves the world in the same way that a pageant mom thinks her child is just adorable—or will be, after she loses ten pounds, dyes and curls her hair, gets implants, and makes herself almost unrecognizable with a thick layer of make-up. Normal people recoil from such extreme artifice—not because they hate beauty, but because they love it.

Read more:

Drama at the check-out counter!!!!!

At the check-out counter yesterday, as a young lady helped put my groceries into the cart, she suddenly exclaimed, "You have a huge, freakin' bug in your bananas!"

Sure enough, when I leaned over, I saw---inside a plastic bag thankfully---what looked like a cockroach about two inches long.

"I'm not taking those bananas," I said and a young male employee scooped the bag from my cart and the young lady who had spotted La Cacuracha promised to bring me another bag of bananas, since I'd already paid for them.

As I waited, another drama ensued. I saw a red-faced, dark-haired young woman carrying a plastic bag sans bananas that I realized still contained the bug, who was, "too big to kill" and would have created the giant squishing sound all the way to Mexico or the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica, wherever the bug came from.

"This is murder," she said, striding purposefully towards the exit, her shoulders hunched to protect her death row victim from the hands of a male employee who was trying to get it from her.

For a moment I wondered, gee, what if Mama Cucuracha did get loose and dropped thousands of eggs to be an invasive species. (It is then when you thank God for Canadian winters.) And ugh, what if the eagle-eyed young lady had not spotted the bug and I had brought it home? It was definitely even bigger than Igor, the centipede or millipede? who lives in my basement, could handle as a snack. I like Igor and let him live because he is like a "cat" to other insect "mice" and does a good job as a carnivore. Igor is shy and pretends he is a fake mustache if I catch him by turning on the lights. Then he scurries away.

Thankfully, the male employee was successful in grabbing the bug-bag away from the young woman. Hmmmm. She was definitely pro-life when it comes to cockroaches. Would she have the same public concern for unborn children?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shades of Jean Chretien's 911 Memorial

Remember when 100,000 folks jammed Parliament Hill after 9/11 and there were no prayers allowed by Prime Minister Chretien?

Looks like Mayor Bloomberg is following in his secularist footsteps for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 near, I imagine, the big hole that ten years later is not filled. The Anchoress is utterly dismayed:

So, let me get this straight, just so we’re all on the same page, here.

When two hijacked, terrorist-piloted passenger jets were deliberately flown into the Twin Towers, in an act of war against our nation, the first recorded casualty was a Roman Catholic priest and NYFD chaplain — Fr. Mychal Judge — who had ridden to the burning towers, and blessed doomed firefighters, hearing last confessions on the way.

And while Judge’s body was being carried away from the catastrophe by the firefighters who loved him, and whom he loved, First Responders from all ranks, all units, all departments were heading toward that disaster area, not running away, intent on saving as many human lives as possible, even as they weighed the terrible odds. They went up the stairs, while office workers went down. Some of them were kissed by a blind man’s guide-dog, as they passed.

Of the First Responders, 343 members of the FDNY lost their lives.
The NYPD lost 23. The Port Authority Police lost 37. Of the 2998 killed at Ground Zero, 403 of them were First Responders, and one of them was a priest. That’s what, about 12% of the total?

In the days, weeks and months after 9/11, Rescue workers from all over the country showed up at Ground Zero to lend a hand, first at recovery, and then at debris removal. And, as Sr. Mary Ann Walsh details, here, lots of priests were there, too, from the first day, and for months afterward.

The city established a site for those looking for missing family members, a place with counselors and social workers. The line went on for blocks and priests walked alongside it and helped people accept the inevitable—a loss of someone only to be found again in heaven. A veteran psychiatrist told Cardinal Egan that he was amazed when he interviewed families and saw how deeply they had been touched by their sidewalk conversations with priests.

The church knows the importance of chaplains and designates priests to help emergency workers such as police, firefighters, and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. These public servants need one of their own in crises and at 9/11 their own priests responded.

9/11’s own, however, also turned out to be not just official chaplains but also priests in other ministries, like Msgr. Anthony Sherman, a Brooklyn pastor who counseled strangers and led funeral Masses for the dead from his parish—some whose bodies were never found—and Jesuit Father James Martin, an editor at America magazine, who worked with rescuers in the aftermath, and so many other unnamed and unrecognized priests who offered the sacraments, encouragement and human consolation.

And the clergy were not represented only by Catholic priests; there were Rabbis and Protestant ministers; Orthodox priests and Muslim clergy. And nuns, too, and everyday people of great faith, or no faith at all, who understood that something greater than opinions or ideology or theology or social theory or doubt was before them.

But now — understanding all of that — we read that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not inviting First Responders to observe the tenth anniversary of this day of death and sacrifice, at Ground Zero.

And we read, also that Mayor Bloomberg’s guest list is empty of any clergy, as well.

There will be no prayers at his little shindig. Heaven, forbid.

There's more. Follow the links.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ezra pulls a Michael Moore/Marge Delahunty on the CBC!


H/t BCF who has several videos of the whole program

Fr. Ray Blake has lunch with Michael Voris and friends

He writes:

Their vision of the Church is one that many of us priests might find disturbing, it is radical, maybe not so much a school for sinners, or a hospital for the wounded, and certainly not about "cultural" Catholicism. It is militant. I don't mean to give a caricature, they are kind and compassionate. What I find exciting about them all is that Christ and his Church's teaching is something they find exhilarating and demanding. It is something to build a life on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daughter writes about helping her mother starve to death

Horrendous story by New York Times reporter:

“As the days passed, I watched the hands of the clock from my perch in a corner of my mother’s room,” she writes. “They seemed to have stopped moving. She soon became a curiosity, as staff stood in her doorway to watch the old lady who would not die. I accused staff of sneaking her ice cubes when my back was turned. I was twitching with impatience. I wanted my mother to hurry up and die, and was ashamed to admit it.”

Finally, Gross writes, “On the 13th day without food or water, my mother finally got her wish.”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews (LSN), Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, expressed his sorrow at Gross’ account, saying, “Sadly, the concept of dehydrating and starving a person death, whether it is done in a voluntary way or not, is becoming more common.”

“This sad article about the death of Estelle, is held up as an example of fulfilling the last request or ensuring that a person’s autonomy has been maintained,” he said. “The fact is that Estelle was abandoned in her death.”

“We need to make it clear that dehydrating people to death, who are not otherwise dying, is not only an abuse of good care, but also euthanasia by dehydration,” Schadenberg said. “The acceptance of euthanasia by dehydration leads to the acceptance of killing the most vulnerable in society. This abuse of the vulnerable cannot continue.”

Grandmother heaven

The most beautiful boy in the world

What a joy to be a grandmother.

The most beautiful girl in the world, who looks like a mini me of her dad at that age

I had such a good time with them.

My son and his lovely wife and children

Nana snuggles up

We had a wonderful vacation.

brotherly love

Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the heavens

I love this song by Third Day:

Twila Paris. I heard her today on the radio as I was driving to Adoration this morning.

I have signed on as an Adoration substitute, available to come in on short notice to fill in for those who are not able to fill their committed hour(s) during the week.

Last night, a woman with a sweet French accent called me and asked if I could come in to cover the 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. time slot.

She was there when I arrived this morning. I picked up my little laminated "committed adorer" sign to put on my kneeler, and settled in after realizing I had forgotten my bag of books---ordo, Book of Common Prayer, King James Bible, rosaries and a journal that I usually take with me so I can do the morning or evening office (or both if I missed one).

So I sat in silence, then later did the rosary with a little plastic set of beads that I found hanging on a hook on the back wall.

The woman, who wore glasses and reminded me a little of my maternal grandmother in appearance, passed me a note, thanking me for what I was doing and extending to me and my family a blessing. When she and her husband got up to leave, she came over and kissed me.

It was like being kissed by the Blessed Mother herself. I kissed her opposite cheek, the way the French do.

Why not spare myself all this anguish?

Why not just walk away from all this turmoil and become a Catholic on my own.

I must say I have been sorely tempted for purely selfish reasons, because I would be spared any more of the bewildering and crushing sense of disappointment that has pummeled me for the past year; I would be spared the uncertainty, the queasy feeling in my gut that makes me wonder if we in the Traditional Anglican Communion are even welcome in the Catholic Church.

Shoot, I was baptized Russian Orthodox, so I could go over to the Ukrainian Catholics and skip RCIA, as my three-fold initiation as an infant would be automatically accepted as valid. My Ukrainian Catholic priest friend, who tells me “You’re such a Slav,” has joked (half seriously) that canon law used to require that those baptized Russian Orthodox become Byzantine Catholics. Ah, the liturgy. I love the Divine Liturgy and can easily sing it, finding the harmonies that are familiar from my childhood. What an adventure to learn more about my ancestral roots and immerse myself in my ethnic heritage.

There are also several Roman Catholic parishes in Ottawa where I already have an established network of friends and would feel right at home. It would be a sweet joy discerning which one God is calling me to. Would I got to St. Mary’s, the Companions of the Cross parish where I go to Adoration, where the worship is charismatic, where the people are so sweet and loving in the Lord. Would I go to St. Pat’s, where some of the more intellectual Catholic friends I have go. Would I go to Notre Dame Cathedral—both St. Pat’s and Notre Dame are basilicas so I would have architectural beauty, musical excellence, congruent preaching and, well, how much more like heaven can you get? Would I cross town to go to the Traditional Latin Mass Church where I also have friends? Would I go down the road to the parish not far from my neighborhood where I am an associate member of the Catholic Women’s League?

I have had lots of experience in giving up things and people I love, people o whom I was dearly attached. I know that grief will pass with time. Yes, it would be a splendid adventure.

Archbishop Prendergast introduces the bishops at the National March for Life

We have a great Roman Catholic archbishop here in Ottawa. Coming from an evangelical formation as an adult, congruence is everything in a pastor when you don’t have sacraments—the words and the music, the walk and the talk have to match (unless you are a television charlatan that attracts dupes). So here in Ottawa, we have a congruent bishop, one even a dark evangelical heart like mine can love and trust. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast is a true shepherd, a bishop who humbly knows that love, the kind that pours from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is part of his job description.

I confess, I have seriously mused about this. I even told Archbishop Prendergast, “I could become a Roman Catholic under you.” (How Donatist of me).

Don’t do it because of me, he told me. I could die or be moved somewhere else tomorrow and the next bishop might be a sinner or incompetent, he said (I am paraphrasing). Do it because you believe that through the Church, Christ guides your salvation.

Seminarian Michael Trolly gives the children's lesson before I take them downstairs

So, why do I linger in our humble little cathedral, with its threadbare red indoor/outdoor carpet, and warped linoleum with the yellow wax build up? Why do I say with an embarrassingly small, poor, fragile church community that doesn’t even have a choir and where I used to have to wash the floors and the toilets when we all took turns doing it, or where I have to give up listening to the homily so I can take the children downstairs for Sunday school?

It is so astonishing and outrageous for us in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada to be described as arrogant. We’re used to being treated like the off scouring of the earth by the Anglicans we could not longer stay in communion with because of their votes “by democracy” to change the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony. I remember one time, practically in tears, thanking Archbishop Prendergast for not being ashamed of us, because his generosity and kindness to our priests and bishops has been amazing.

A few years ago, when we were holding a quiet day of prayer in conjunction with 40 Days for Life, he came and prayed for 45 minutes in one of our creaking pews. That gives me a picture of Christ leaving heaven to come to earth, what a step down from Notre Dame to our little digs.

The ordination of Fr. Hezuk Shroff at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa

Archbishop Gervais before him was also kind and generous, letting us have episcopal ordinations in one of his churches because our cathedral is too small.

I have been sensitive to the fact that prelates in the Catholic Church might not want to have their pictures taken with us because it might, well, harm their reputations because we have been so trashed by the Anglicans we left, and of legitimate concerns that we’re sort of the Taiwan of Anglicanism and getting cozy with us might upset the China of Canterbury in the ecumenical arena.

So why do I stay? Because mostly I don’t have a clear leading to go. That may change. I know I must become Catholic. But this is my family and if I left I could inadvertently harm this fragile little community. We are like immigrants asking to come in family class and I don’t want to see any of my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ left behind.

I stay because I love the Holy Father and I want very much for Anglicanorum coetibus to succeed. If I left and others followed my example, what critical mass would be left to form an Ordinariate here in Canada? (Is is already too late for that?)

I stay because despite our poverty, despite our humble building, and the uncertainty and pain of this voyage, we are living an Anglican patrimony that is a beauty to behold if you have eyes to see it. I feel rich when I attend Mass here, because the liturgy is so beautiful, and beautifully done with such care and our sermons are like steak not milkshakes.

From the first time I came in to hear Bishop Robert Mercer pray the Mass I, who then had no knowledge of sacraments, was lifted up to heaven and intuitively grasped Christ’s Real Presence. There was something so profound that was imparted to me through the way our priests and bishops devoutly pray the liturgy, the ballet of genuflection, the reverence, the sense that they mean they prayers—every word—the hard to sing hymns that were so rich in theology and in keeping with the liturgical calendar. I have learned so much, my faith has been so deepened, I have been so well-catechized in my little church, well enough catechized that after less than four years I went on to be the national correspondent for Roman Catholic newspapers in Canada and no one has ever complained about my theology.

Oh, and I love the way we are a family, where everyone has a place at the table no matter how difficult to love (and we all are from time to time, no?)–we care for you and call you by name. Everyone knows your name, like Cheers, at our little cathedral. Our bishop is like our father, his wife, our Matushka or mother. We have our little meltdowns, our cross words exchanged, our opportunities to forgive and overlook and to grow in patience and love. We can’t put our bishops or priests on pedestals because we see them up close, close enough to experience their flaws, but also close enough to marvel at how beautifully they have grown in Christ over the years, as we hope we have too. This parish model is also Anglican patrimony.

Our people are growing older. Money is drying up while we are in this painful holding pattern. People will be tempted, like I have been, to move on just to get this over with. We have already sent several people on to the Roman Catholic Church with our blessing.

So folks, instead of judging us, or castigating us for our weaknesses and flaws, pray for us. We know we haven’t been perfect in this. We are experiencing a harrowing purification right now. We are suffering. My consolation is that the Lord knows and He is allowing it and it is ultimately for our good.

Pray that Ordinariates will gather us all up, in every country around the world that wants one. Pray that we will be able to hold fast, to keep our eyes on Christ and to trust, that yes, He does truly guide our salvation through His Church.