Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Apparently there is no difference between Anglicans and ISIS

The Chairman of the Latin Mass Society writes a - let's be diplomatic - interesting post here.

If you are a sensitive Anglican soul I do not advise reading it. Nor for that matter if your Anglican blood boils easily.

But for the robust among us, read on to find that because ISIS beheads people as an expression of religious extremism and Anglicans once beheaded people because of religious extremism and both are in error relative to the Catholic true faith, there is much in common between ISIS and Anglicans.

Fortunately in the comments some good points are made in response. It is the ones the chairman does not reply to which are of great interest. My own response is that he minimises the political context of England in the 16th century. The executions by both Protestants and Catholics when in power were responses to fears of political takeover as much as deeds to destroy the "other's" faith. By contrast in Northern Iraq and Syria, Christians and Yazidis pose no political threat and have lived side by side with Muslims for centuries, including during the previous Ottoman Caliphate.

Nevertheless the Chairman's thoughts show that one can defend the worst excesses of militancy and persecution in the name of the true faith with logical flair, providing ultimately the justifying reason is that it is done in the name of the truth and nothing but the truth ... oh, wait, isn't that what ISIS is doing?

But the Chairman also makes the claim that Anglicanism subsequent to the 16th century has turned into "drippy nonsense."

Naturally that claim will lead you, dear reader, as it does me, to ponder the state of liturgical life in ACANZP today. As a prelude to something I am working on re that state, read what +John Bluck has to say about the one hundred flowers of our liturgical life which are currently blooming.

You might like to ask whether another view of our liturgy is "drippy nonsense"?!


Father Ron Ron Smith said...


Today's comment on a foreign (Wgtn,) I.pad, so very brief!

In some GAFCON provinces, the R.C. auhor could well be making an Anglican equivalence with ISIS.

C. Wingate said...

I suppose being in the UK makes it possible to talk about "drippy nonsense", as compared to the deplorable character of English language masses here in the states. However, especially in the UK it's a bit hard to favor setting opponents of the state church on fire as opposed to just whacking their heads off.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I think you need to say on what grounds an RC author might be making that equivalence ... given that no GAFCON province is advocating the beheading of people belonging to other religions, nor imposing a tax on them unless they convert, nor presiding over armed forces forcing countless people to leave their homes ... where is the equivalence?????????

liturgy said...

There is much in John Bluck’s article I agree with. But in his mention of the template that appeared to encourage his “new-found freedom” it is worth adding that he not only was on the liturgical commission that created this template, but he seconded the motion for it at General Synod/Hinota Whanui (GSTHW) 2002.

At that stage it did not even have the moderating line he quotes in his article, that the template “is to ‘make better use of prayer book services’ and their ‘specific instructions’.” Those words were added later by the Judicial Committee in 2006.

This template complemented the low ebb of liturgical training, study, and formation creating the perfect storm he is now complaining about.

As for his, “There is no appetite anywhere I can see to put the genie back in the bottle, canonically speaking” that, also, is not straightforward.

GSTHW this year passed Bill 4 to amend the Constitution (hence, it will require the assent of dioceses and hui amorangi) which acknowledges that a lot of our services are “inconsistent with the 1928 Act and lack of fundamental authorisation in the first place”. Not least, in this issue, are services by bishops, not only modeling neglecting the few rules left that John Bluck mentions, but breaching Title D Canon II (which we in NZ are all too polite to act on). I think it would need the establishment of a Doctrine Commission to explore whether many ordinations are merely illegal or whether (m)any are invalid, and if the latter, how to move forward with that serious issue.

Certainly, in our diocese, whenever orthodoxy through liturgy has been clearly presented, there has been energy to get the genie back in the bottle. The issue has tended to be the church-speak that has obfuscated the reality of the escaped genie.

Bill 4 intends to let more genies out of the bottle. If John Bluck is serious in his disappointment with the direction our church life is taking, he and others with a significant voice in our church might just help push pause on that confused and confusing Bill, and diocesan synods and hui amorangi might have a serious debate about it rather than the perfunctory vote that regularly follows when GSTHW seeks their assent.



Peter Carrell said...

HI Bosco
Your comments concur with a direction I think I will be moving in, in response to Bluck's article.

Michael Reddell said...

I noticed the reference to "services by bishops". I attended a scheduled lunchtime eucharist in one NZ Anglican Cathedral yesterday, led/celebrated by the local bishop,attended by various clergy. The bishop introduced the service by noting that it was his own liturgy. I'm not familiar enough with the rules to know whether it complied, although it bore little relationship to any of the NZPB services I am familiar with. Perhaps more concerning was the "my own liturgy" as opposed to any notion of common prayer.

Joshua Bovis said...


"In some GAFCON provinces, the R.C. auhor could well be making an Anglican equivalence with ISIS."

This is a disgraceful thing to write!

I am simply puzzled Peter how you could let this post from Ron go through?!?!?!?!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Joshua
I nearly deleted it and perhaps I should delete it, but I have published it on the basis that I immediately rebutted it and challenged Ron to come up with his evidence.

I may and indeed probably will delete it if a satisfactory response is not forthcoming by tomorrow morning.

Jean said...

Hi Peter

Well the first post re Anglican's I had to laugh at since it's tenuous links between Anglican's and the ISIS are so obscure it's only worth a laugh.

In regards to John Bluck's article. I actually read it prior to your post. My initial thought was, I actually quite like flowers. I also love how he writes but I didn't completely agree.

In church I appreciate both the prayers in the prayer book and those coming from the heart of people.

There are of course weaknesses in both, with the prayer book we can become so familiar we stop engaging with it whereas the prayers of individuals may go off course.

All this aside, I see it as a both, not an either or an or. I see a richness and sincerity of heart in the 'free' prayers of people praying in a local context, and a depth in the theology, balance, and language with the use of the prayer book.

I quite like all the flowers in our garden, even if the odd weed pops up.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, by all means do what Mr. Beavis has requested if it helps him in any way at all.

However, the equivalence, I was suggesting, between, say Uganda and ISIS, could be found in their common desire to harshly punish those who fall short of their requirements of religious purity.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I continue to weigh up the possibility of deletion but while it remains up, let's draw attention to the egregiousness of your comment: a generalised claim about GAFCON has now boiled down to a claim about Uganda.

I do not accept that the Ugandan church's support for punishment of homosexuals via imprisonment equates to ISIS penchant to behead people. Neither is commendable, both are disgraceful for being associated with religious belief. But I wager that gays would fancy their chances of remaining alive in Uganda compared to the Caliphate.

liturgy said...

Jean, you seem to misrepresent how quality contemporary liturgy uses a Prayer Book. The required words in a contemporary Prayer Book’s eucharistic rite, for example, take a little over five minutes to proclaim. The rest of what happens in a service of say an hour or more is locally and individually decided.

I strongly oppose your spin of distinguishing “prayers in the prayer book and those coming from the heart of people”. There is no assurance that extemporary prayers come from an individual’s heart more than those pre-prepared. And I would add that many pre-prepared prayers, our church holds, are inspired by the Holy Spirit – we do not have the church’s agreement that extemporary prayers are so inspired. Furthermore, if one person is leading prayer in a community, we have no assurance, if it is extemporary, that it is echoed in the hearts of the rest of those gathered.

What is being talked about here is not a few weeds in the garden – that is inevitable. We have agreed to have a shared, common garden. For many what they find is very little nourishing to eat, and little on which to feast the eye. We can survive on the lettuces alone we find amongst the weeds for a short while, but I do not believe we are going to flourish and grow.



Father Ron Smith said...

Regarding the subject of John Bluck's essay - that part of it that refers to liturgical worship - very little training was given during my time at St. John's College (late 1970's). I suspect that situation still stands.

Why is it that Kiwi theological colleges give lots of classes in theology, but very little guidance on how to apply it in 'right worship'? This may very well be the source of the problem with the reluctance of clergy to teach the intrinsic value of the Eucharist.

In Aotearoa/N.Z. and Polynesia, it seems there is more emphasis given to, and practice of non-liturgical worship than to the central motif of Christian worship in the Eucharistic celebration. Where is the practical training and advise for students who will be expected to teach their congregations how best to communicate wit the Living God in appropriate worship?

"Do this to remember me" is quite possibly the most important contact point we have been given with the Incarnate, Risen, and Glorified Jesus in tangible form. And how we 'do it' is important.

Jean said...

Hi Bosco

You are right. Prayer's from the prayer book are just as likely to come from the heart and resound with people as exemplary prayers.

I think it would be difficult for the 'church' to agree whether exemplary prayers are Holy Spirit inspired as one can only test/examine them once they are spoken.

I would rather 'discard' the odd exemplary prayer I find myself unable to agree with, than not have the benefit of people the Holy Spirit does use to give life to and exhort a congregation through it. [note this does not mean I think someone using the prayer book does not also give live and exhort through the Holy Spirit]

So we have moved on from the flower garden to the vegetable one... . Let's see, if prayer as the soil of the churc -, common prayer the topsoil, exemplary prayer the fertilizer, personal prayer the oxygen, corporate prayer the compost. Hopefully more than lettuces would flourish : )

I enjoy and find spiritual depth, and fruit in all prayer.

Jean said...

Ha, ha did you notice my mistake, I have written exemplary rather than extemporary! I would like to claim the Holy Spirit was working in me but just maybe God has a sense of humour ....?

Father Ron Smith said...

OR, maybe....

Anonymous said...

Reading the life of Dick Sheppard recently I noticed that extemporary prayer was practised at St Martin's in the Field's in his day; and I recall reading that some of the high church slum priests of the East End of London also practised extemporary prayer; and in the high tide of the charismatic movement bishops like Richard Hare were involved in large services using Anglican liturgy and including extemporary prayer. It would seema not dishonourable minor Anglican tradition (ina church which invents "tradtions" at the drop of a hat or should that be mitre - not many of them seen in Anglicanism before 1900 I believe.

Kurt said...

The LMS is a truly vile website. Thank God most Romans I know are not at all like them.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Jean said...

Hi Bosco

On thinking... a liturgical question. Are all preprepared prayers accepted liturgy? - or just those which follow the set pattern. I was just pondering my own experience with prayers in church by people lay and clergy alike and while I encounter extemporary prayer I also encounter a lot of preprepared informal prayer also.


liturgy said...

Rhys, I'm not sure I understand your point? There is plenty of room for extemporary prayer in contemporary Prayer Books. Am I missing something?

Jean, can you clarify your question - I'm not sure what you mean by "accepted liturgy", nor "the set pattern", and not even how you distinguish "informal" prayer. Sorry - I don't want to misunderstand your question.



Jean said...

Hi Bosco

By accepted liturgy I mean that which complies with the NZPB or fits within the formularies of the church, by set pattern I am referring to what I have encountered as a congregational member where prayers are done in a formulaic kind of way, e.g. We pray for.... (prayer) and then an asked for response by the congregation such as 'Lord have Mercy'. By informal prayer I am meaning prayer which doesn't have any formal structure and does not come under the Anglican Common Prayer banner. I hope this makes sense.

Blessings Jean

liturgy said...

Greetings Jean

As I said to you above, "required words in a contemporary Prayer Book’s eucharistic rite, for example, take a little over five minutes to proclaim. The rest of what happens in a service of say an hour or more is locally and individually decided."

So prayers etc. that fill the other parts of the service can be extemporary or pre-prepared, formulaic or innovative, what you call formal or informal. I, myself, am comfortable with any variety of those combinations. A well-formed leader and community moves pretty seamlessly between all those possibilities, with all of it connecting with our heart.

You might appreciate



Father Ron Smith said...

Extemporaneous prayers became very much the vogue during the influence of the Charismatic Movement in the Anglican Church in New Zealand in the 1970s. Even the Anglo-Catholic church of Saint Paul's, Symonds Street in Auckland - under Father Kenneth Prebble, and Fr. David Balfour after him - encouraged extempore prayers during the Mass at the Intercessions.

At the time, when everyone was beginning to realise that the prayers of The Faithful were an important part of Intercessions at the Mass, that was an opportunity for extempore prayer to be heard.

Sometimes they were over-long, but mostly they seemed quite fitting. In the context of the times, this seemed to convey an understanding of the Holy Spirit's inspiration.
(Not an altogether bad idea!)

Jean said...

Hi Bosco

Thanks for taking the time to reply. This is good to know I will check out the site. Does the contention then raised by John Bluck refer to there not being enough prayer or liturgy centred around the words of the prayer book at this current time?

Have a good day

Pageantmaster said...

Father Ron says:
"In Aotearoa/N.Z. and Polynesia, it seems there is more emphasis given to, and practice of non-liturgical worship than to the central motif of Christian worship in the Eucharistic celebration. Where is the practical training and advise for students who will be expected to teach their congregations how best to communicate wit the Living God in appropriate worship?

"Do this to remember me" is quite possibly the most important contact point we have been given with the Incarnate, Risen, and Glorified Jesus in tangible form. And how we 'do it' is important."

In the far off days of my youth, and probably Father Ron's assuming he was an Anglican then, in the days hard to remember before the New Zealand Prayer book and before the Alternative Series and Common Worship in my country, a reasonably sized parish in most Communion countries would consider Matins [Morning Worship] from the Prayer Book as the mainstay of worship, with Prayer Book Eucharist once a month or so; more regularly in larger churches.

In morning prayer and evening prayer one would hear an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, umpteen psalms and perhaps part of an Epistle, a balanced diet taken from the whole of the Bible, and while the services could be dry and most of it as a youngster flew straight over my head, yet the regular hearing of the Scriptures read, sung and connected in a sermon was the diet we were brought up with and seeped deep into our memories.

Nowadays morning and evening prayer are rare, there is one parish near me I dropped into which boasts 5 services a week, all of them holy communion. The one I tried had only two attending, though there were double the number involved in the service. We are seeing this come home to roost in the shortage of clergy, as we now need ordained clergy for every service at which communion has now become the norm.

Notwithstanding that, nowadays liturgy is all over the place, with each province going its own often quite divergent way, and you are lucky to get one or two Scripture readings in a service, including in those churches which proclaim themselves to be 'biblical'. The consistent proclaiming of the whole of the Scripture has suffered, and we get tidbits to back up the theme of the service unless a lectionary is followed.

Don't get me wrong, there are good developments in the church these days and an appeal to a new generation in places, and personally I try to attend Communion at least once a week. It is not however just about Communion, though that is important, it is also about the intelligent teaching of the Scriptures, and the whole of them, including the Psalms, and the difficult bits and the boring bits, or those which are boring such as geneologies unless they are explained intelligently and with understanding.

It is a reflection of modern life - there has never been so much information and variety available on the internet, expanding exponentially, and yet as with the news, there is also indiscriminate information not thoughtfully connected. We have become reading and liturgical jackdaws, always moving onto the next attractive thing presented to us, but never allowing our attention to be held for long or our understanding to deepen.

We need to read and be taught our Scriptures, along with our Sacraments and their meaning thoroughly and consistently, and be ready and prepared to do the same, for it is the power of God as Isaiah prophesied [Isaiah 55:11]:

"so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it"

Pageantmaster said...

I suppose that much as the Scriptures in the Authorised Version [KJV], so the Prayer Book was "the diet we were brought up with and seeped deep into our memories" and not just ours. I was fascinated to see its echoes in addresses I read from Abraham Lincoln and Henry Kissinger.

In England, after some of the experimentation in right on language in the Alternative Service Book [known as the rocky horror series] and other trial liturgies, we settled back to an equilibrium with Common Worship. Common Worship restores much of the stateliness of the liturgy of the in England legal 'Prayer Book' [1662 although some follow other early versions].

I can't speak to the New Zealand Prayer Book though suspects something of the same hammering out took place.

The huge benefit of the old Prayer Book is that its liturgy is taken primarily almost verbatim from Scripture, together with a few prayers of the church fathers such as St John Chrysostom. This was its brilliance, its defense against attack in the Reformation because of its Scriptural base. It had that and a high degree of universality until relatively recently, just as the Catholic Church had with its Latin mass.

Sadly for the text generation though with familiarity it might seep into their souls too, when young it would probably fly straight over their heads, just at that age it did mine.

As in many areas in Commonwealth life though, I do think we have lost something as each part of the denomination has adapted liturgy to its local context as in laws and other areas. The easy interchangeability and reciprocity there was up until the 1950's has now been replaced by each church liturgically going its own way, and no one has apparently [including the Church of England] wanted to bother trying to agree new forms of liturgy with other parts of the Communion. The old centre has gone, and things fly apart, just like the universe as we speed further and further apart. But perhaps as with changing language, the same is inevitable in liturgy, as apparently in doctrine.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Pageantmaster; as one baptized (85 years ago), Confirmed and brought up in the Church of England, I resonate with some of your remarks here. However, I don't know whether you were alive then, but just after the 2nd World War, there was a movement in England towards 'Parish Communion' as being the most useful worship paradigm for raising people in the faith.

From that time on, there was less emphasis on Morning Prayer, and more on identifying the reception of Christ in the Eucharist as the most efficacious way of building up the Body of Christ in parishes.

When I was more mature, and after my move to New Zealand, I joined and Anglo-Catholic parish where Daily Mass was celebrated. It became the locus - in the mid-1960s - of the first stirrings of the charismatic movement. In my Auckland parish, this movement of the Holy spirit served to draw our attention to the primacy of the Eucharist as the form of worship bringing us closer to God. There was no shortage of bible readings.

Even Presbyterians now in New Zealand, in some places, celebrate their Holy Communion on a weekly basis. Some future Presbyterian ministers, with whom I later trained as an ordinand at Saint John's College, Auckland, learned to respect and emulate our basic Anglican understanding of the need for Eucharist as primary worship source.

As a retired priest I now have the privilege of celebrating the Holy Communion 1662 Rite at the 8am Sunday service once a fortnight in my parish church. I also currently preside at three other modern rite Eucharists during the week - taking turns with our Vicar. We are fed with the grace of Christ on a daily basis, for our own lives - as well as those for whom we serve God in this way.

"Do this to remember me!"

Pageantmaster said...

Thanks Father Ron, as a member of Generation Jones I missed out on the post-war changes. The rise of Parish Communion perhaps reflected the rise in influence of the catholic movements particularly in England and the US, something which has accelerated and given us some of the problems we have now, including the pressure of expanding the need for and pressure on clergy while clergy numbers are declining and with retirements approaching crisis levels.

Though I don't follow it myself, perhaps there is something to be said for taking communion as something special monthly or even more rarely of necessity, as one RC priest I spoke to brought once a year when he travelled to remote parts while working in Africa.

While something special may be at work in Holy Communion, our minds need to be fed too and it is the regular and faithful intelligent teaching and discipling of young Christians which is what at our best Anglicans are good at, and is best for encouraging and developing our growth as Christians following in the Master's footsteps on the right path

The charismatic influence has rejuvenated many parts of the Church, but appears, unless keeping rooted in Scripture and testing both the spirit and the fruit of the spirit, to going rapidly off track as we have seen so often, and in scandals such as Lakeland, resulting in tragic loss of disillusioned new Christians.

Father Ron Smith said...


"The charismatic influence has rejuvenated many parts of the Church, but appears, unless keeping rooted in Scripture and testing both the spirit and the fruit of the spirit, to going rapidly off track as we have seen so often, and in scandals such as Lakeland, resulting in tragic loss of disillusioned new Christians."

Precisely! If there had been a little more emphasis in imbibing the essence of Christ in the Eucharist - which is enabled by the Holy Spirit at the epiclesis - perhaps there would have been more sustenacne to keep the neophyte Christians on track - not to be so easily diverted by the errant behaviour of unfaithful shepherds.

There is, by the way, no lack of teaching through the reflections offered by lectionary and homily at the Eucharist. Here, the Word truly becomes flesh and dwells amongst us.

Pageantmaster said...

"imbibing the essence of Christ in the Eucharist - which is enabled by the Holy Spirit at the epiclesis "

May I take it you are just a little bit catholic Father Ron?

I don't seem able to find that reference in our doctrine. I once attended a large consecration service in a famous abbey. At one point communion parties were despatched to various locations, and ours wandered up and down trying to work out where they should stand. Hither and fro they processed bewildered. A waggish retired bishop behind me muttered: "The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up or worshipped." [Article XXVII]. I just dissolved.

I have no problem with the Real Presence, as I believe that Christ is present at all times and in all places. In the Communion we are opened to be receptive to Him and His presence. I do not believe in transubstantiation or perhaps even in consubstantiation.

I have thought though that if it does not become wooden and formulaic that there is something wonderful in the catholic appreciation of the Eucharist, and that is the emphasis on the worship of God in the beauty of holiness, the respect given him and how everything is about the physical person of the individual priest moving into the background - a clearing away of the individual to open the way to concentrate fully upon Christ and His presence and the taking of the Sacrement in a "heavenly and spiritual manner."

Moreover in a R Catholic service I felt a tingle run down my spine as a bell rang.

Excellent and necessary as this is, unless we search, imbibe and obey the Word given to us in the Holy Scriptures, no amount of invocation of the Holy Spirit or attendance at Communion will protect us from going off track individually or in the church. How often do we see this?

I remember how the US House of Bishops were called upon to observe silence and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit before they proceeded to depose some hapless bishop or to overthow some aspect of their doctrine. Invoking the Holy Spirit or taking Holy Communion will not protect us unless we "rightly, worthily and with faith receive the same."

No doubt the Inquisition communed and invoked the guidance of the Holy Spirit before consigning their victims to torture and to incineration.

We have not been left without guidance in all this:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path [Ps 119:105

Father Ron Smith said...

"May I take it you are just a little bit catholic Father Ron?"
- Pagentmaster -

A lot Catholic, P., just not necessarily 'Roman' - more universal, perhaps

Also, in New Zealand, the BCP is still legal liturgy. I have the privilege of presiding at its celebration on alternate Sundays.

However, the newer liturgies, with modern wording, may be all the more accessible to modern minds.

In my book, unless Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, there might be little use in preserving its celebration. It has been the heart of Christian worship for the great majority of Christians - ever since it was introduced by the Founder of Christianity.

Queen Elizabeth I is reputed to have said - of the Eucharist:

"Christ was the Word that spake it;
He took the Bread and brake it;
And what His Word doth make it;
That I believe, and take it."

What Jesus (The Word) said was: "This is my body. This is my blood. Do this, to remember me" So, like Good Queen Bess, I do!

Both Epiclesis and Anamnesis are vital elements in the Eucharist.