"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Book Recommendation

Several of the Anglo-Catholic blogs that I follow have included book recommendations in recent weeks. I thought I would do the same for readers of this site. My recommendation for this month:

Martin Biddle. The Tomb of Christ. Sutton Publishing Ltd: Stroud, Gloucestershire, England. 1999.

Prof. Biddle is Professor of Medieval Archeology and Astor Senior Research Fellow in Medieval Archeology at Hertford College, Oxford. The Tomb of Christ is his well argued and lavishly illustrated report on archeological research he undertook at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in the mid-1990's. His conclusion? The traditional site of Christ's tomb within the great Constantinian church is very probably correct.

Evidence indicates that within the walls of the late Byzantine-style chapel that now sits under the great dome of the church lies the living rock of a first century AD tomb. Biddle hypothesizes that Helena's excavation team in the 330's probably identified Christ' tomb by graffiti written on its walls by late first and early second century Christian pilgrims. Similar graffiti were found on the "Trophy of St. Peter" when archeological excavations were mounted under the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica by the Vatican in the mid-twentieth century.

I found this book to be fascinating and highly informative, providing not only a highly detailed history of this site but a glimpse of pilgrimage practices through the centuries and developments in church architecture during the medieval period. While it is a work of science and not of devotion, there is much that the POD crowd will find to enjoy in this book. Take up and read! Despite its obscure publisher, you may order it from Amazon here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

St. Thomas Aquinas

A Prayer of St. Thomas of Aquino:

'Almighty and everlasting God, you see that I am coming to the sacrament of your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I come to it as a sick man to the life-giving healer, as one impure to the fount of mercy, as one blind to the light of eternal brightness, as one who is poor and destitute to the Master of heaven and earth. I turn therefore to the abundance of your immense generosity, begging that you will deign to heal my infirmity, cleanse my uncleanness, give light to my blindness, enrich my poverty, clothe my nakedness.'
Quoted in an essay by Yves Congar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ecumenical Service

This evening I participated in an ecumenical service to commemorate the end of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity with the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. This ecumenical service was held at First Christian Church, Arlington, Texas, where my good friend the Rev. Andy Mangum is pastor. There were representatives from the Roman Catholic Church, the United Methodists, the Southern Baptists, the Christian Church--Disciples of Christ, and the Church of Christ (non-instrumental). I was the sole Anglican participant, a last minute lay minister replacement due to the fact that all our clergy in the diocese of Fort Worth are on retreat with Bishop Iker this week in Dallas. The service was nice, though there were some things about the liturgy that I would have amended if I had been in charge (such as our collective repentance tonight for having "tried to contain God in our doctrines and theologies"-- I agree this can be a problem, but I think the greater problem at present is a refusal to recognize that the doctrinal teachings of Holy Scripture and sacred Tradition are in fact TRUE!).

The preacher tonight was the new Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth, the Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann. His sermon was fine, and he seems a very nice fellow. I was quite surprised to see the RC archbishop of San Antonio, Archbishop Gomez, also in attendance tonight. In fact, I was struck by how many Roman Catholic clergy participated in the service--a bishop, three priests and a deacon. That is certainly a positive reflection on the teachings of Vatican II and John Paul II's Ut Unum Sint. It was also remarkable to have Southern Baptist and Church of Christ pastors sharing the pulpit with a Roman Catholic bishop on very comfortable terms. You wouldn't have seen that forty years ago!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another personal note

Just a note of thanks for all those who have lifted up my mother's mastectomy today in their prayers. Her surgeon reported that the operation went well, and tonight Mom is resting in her room in good spirits and minimal pain. God is good.

Monday, January 23, 2006

An interesting development

The Rome Report calls attention to this tid-bit from The Tablet:

"These signs [of an ecumenical thaw] were manifest during a major international gathering of theologians at Ushaw College near Durham. One happened at an Anglican Eucharist when a curial cardinal went up to a Church of England bishop, head bowed, for a blessing at Communion. At least two Catholic bishops, the Ushaw rector and most other Catholics present did the same."

One ought not read too much into this, of course, but it is at least mildly interesting. Now if they had received Communion, that would have been news!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bishop Urwin at St. Vincent's

We have been blessed in recent days at St. Vincent's Cathedral with a visit by the Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, bishop of Horsham, England. His see covers most of West Sussex, and he has episcope over more than 200 congregations. He also heads a school board with oversight over 160 parochial schools. Bishop Urwin is a professed brother of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, a celibate dispersed religious order. He was made a founder member of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’s College of Evangelists in 2000. His skill as an evangelist comes through practically every time he opens his mouth. Seldom have I met a clergyman who radiates love for Jesus Christ and His holy Church the way Bishop Urwin does.

Yesterday the bishop gave an inspiring talk at our diocesan conference on ministry to youth. He focused on the need to bring "the abiding Tradition" to teens within their contemporary context. Our goal ought to be to engender a sincere love for Holy Scripture and a genuine hunger for the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, he reminded us, for these are things that will last. His talk was filled with helpful insights and a great deal of humor.

This morning the bishop confirmed several members of our parish, then gave two first-rate (and quite different) homilies at the 9 AM and 11:15 AM Masses. I have been remarkably impressed. The clergy of our diocese are certainly going to benefit from their time in retreat with Bishop Urwin this week.

I am especially grateful to this exemplary man of God for his kindness to my mother. As you know, Mom will be undergoing a mastectomy on Tuesday. Despite his busy schedule Bishop Urwin took the time to sit and talk with her in our chapel today. Then he annointed her brow and her hands in the most tender and moving administration of the Annointing of the Sick I have ever witnessed. Mom truly felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit under his hands today, and now says she doesn't want to wash! May God bless the good bishop, and grant the Anglican Communion many more shepherds like him.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Ma Beck has "tagged" me with the following question: "Who are the first five people you'd like to see in Heaven?" She adds that I should "Assume the Queen of Heaven herself is already with you." I will, of course, further assume that our Lord Jesus is already with us as well (surely He would top the list of everyone who reads this blog!).

At first I thought I would give joke answers to this question, but that just didn't fit my mood this morning. For whatever reason, I took the task seriously. So these really are the saints in glory that--as of today--I would most like to meet and speak with on Day One (not funny, but from the heart):

St. Augustine of Hippo--It is difficult to overestimate the impact of Augustine's Confessions on my development as a Christian. I simply must thank him, if given the chance.

C.S. Lewis--I first read Mere Christianity a few weeks after my baptism in 1990, then quickly read the "usual suspects" on Lewis' bibliography. No further explanation is necessary, I am sure.

St. Thomas Becket--I made my first confession following baptism in the undercroft of Canterbury Cathedral. As I did so I felt strongly that St. Thomas was praying for me. Since that day I have felt a special connection to "the holy, blissful martyr" and have come to think of him as my patron. I want to thank him for the inspiration his bold witness even unto death has been to me and for his many prayers on my behalf.

St. Anselm--"Faith seeking understanding." Cur Deus Homo? went straight to my heart. 'Nuf said.

St. Gregory the Great--What a man! This "servant of the servants of God" is the very paradigm of a minister of Jesus Christ, giving all that he had--intellectually, spiritually, and physically--for God's people. Not to mention his sending of Augustine of Canterbury on his fateful mission to England. Thank you, blessed Gregory.

As I said--not funny. But I now tag the Common Anglican, Fr. Nelson and Fr. Chris Cantrell with the same question (you worthy gentlemen can certainly be funny, if you wish). Enjoy!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Oldie But a Goodie

I first called readers' attention to "Baby Got Book" by Southpaw about a year ago. But I recently watched it again and just couldn't resist the temptation to remind you all about it. Those who are fluent in Evangelical culture will appreciate it most, but even brain-dead Anglo-Catholics will get a chuckle out of it. View the video here.

"I ain't talkin' bout a paraphrase, cause Paul wouldn't use those anyways."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Personal News

On the personal front, I have good news and bad news.

First, the good news: Thanks be to God, I just received official notification from the Right Rev. Jack Leo Iker, bishop of Fort Worth, that I have been enrolled as a Postulant for Holy Orders. I thank all of you who have lifted up my discernment process in your prayers. I now await word from the bishop as to what additional education and training I will need before advancing to Candidacy.

Unfortunately, there is also bad news. My mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be undergoing surgery next Tuesday. Please remember Hazel in your prayers, my friends.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Augustine Lives!

Augustine, a volcano on an uninhabited Alaskan island, has begun erupting. This image of Augustine is from the BBC web site.

"Our tectonic plates are restless until they rest in Thee."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Certified "100% Chalcedon compliant"

Another amusing theological quiz, to determine one's heretical proclivities. (Hat tip to Canterbury Tales.) I turned out to be--drum roll please--"100% Chalcedon compliant." I am a bit confused as to how I could have lurking Nestorian and Apollinarian/Monophysite tendencies at the same time, however. Having an undercurrent in one's thought that is simultaneously both partially Alexandrian and partially Antiochian makes one Chalcedonian, doesn't it? Go figure.

"You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant 100%
Nestorianism 42%
Apollinarian 33%
Pelagianism 33%
Monophysitism 33%
Arianism 0%
Monarchianism 0%
Adoptionist 0%
Docetism 0%
Donatism 0%
Albigensianism 0%
Modalism 0%
Gnosticism 0%
Socinianism 0%"

You may take the entire quiz here. The image above is of St. Leo the Great of Rome, author of the famous Tomus endorsed at the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon) in 451 A.D. "Peter has spoken through Leo!"

Sunday, January 08, 2006

New Class at St. Vincent's

Friends, I just wanted to let readers who are located in Tarrrant or Dallas Counties, Texas, know that I will be starting a new Thursday night class at St. Vincent's Cathedral this week. On January 12th at 7:30 PM we will begin our study of "Theology in the Sixteenth Century," the historical period known as "The Reformation." I will be assisted in teaching this course by Ryan Mills (M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary; Master of Sacred Theology, Philadelphia Lutheran Seminary). Mr. Mills will soon will be ordained a Lutheran pastor in our area.

The sixteenth century saw the rise of both Protestantism and Anglicanism, as well as major developments in Catholic theology. We will explore selections from the writings of several important theologians, including Luther and Calvin among Protestant authors, Erasmus, More, Eck and the decrees of Trent as representative of Roman Catholic thought, and early Anglican writers. There is no cost, of course, and no experience in Church history is necessary. We will meet in the library at 7:30 PM each Thursday for the next eight weeks. Just show up ready to think and question. And coming to the first class does not obligate you for the entire series, so please drop by and see how exciting it is to read the fathers of the modern Christian world.

The image above is Erasmus of Rotterdam, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1530.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Challenges facing an "Anglican Catholic Church"

In recent weeks I have seen an increasing amount of "chatter" on the Web about the prospects for the establishment of an "Anglican Catholic Church" in full communion with the bishop of Rome. Confessing Reader has an interesting essay, quoting an Informed Observer, in which he details some of the challenges that stand in the way of such a reunion between Anglo-Catholics with the Vatican. I commend it for your consideration.

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