Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holy Innocents and the Dark Side of Christmas

Today, three days after Christmas, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, those babies Herod murdered in order to murder the Christchild.

It is not a very Christmasy feast day, is it. Or is it?

For decades, American culture has told us we should be happy, happy, HAPPY!! at Christmas. Andy Williams singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and all that. But Christmas has a dark side. And one cannot fully get Christmas if one ignores that darkness.

We might consider it an awful thing if we spend Christmas in a place we do not want to be, whether that be away from family -- or with certain family. But Joseph and Mary spent that first Christmas in a place they would not be, far away from home because of the decree of a distant emperor. Then once at their destination, they were crowded out, to which many can also relate.

A dark side of Christmas I’ve come to notice for the first time in any significant way this Christmas season is the celebration of Adam’s Fall. Now the Fall doesn’t seem something to celebrate. But if there is no Fall, there is likely no Incarnation, no Christmas. For to save us from the Fall is why Jesus came. So traditional festivities include reading the Genesis account of the Fall during services of Nine Lessons and Carols and songs calling us to “Remember Adam’s Fall.” The Fall is virtually embraced.

Other songs remind us of the death the Christchild would eventually suffer for us. The Seven Joys of Mary contains this jarring verse:

The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of six
To see her own son Jesus,
Upon the Crucifix.

That doesn’t sound like Christmas joy. But if one separates the Incarnation from the Crucifixion, one doesn’t fully get Christmas or Christianity for that matter.

And both the Incarnation of Bethlehem and the Redemption of Calvary were so world changing, the forces of evil did their worst to short-circuit God’s plan, to snuff out the Christchild before his work was complete. And in that evil, the Holy Innocents were slaughtered.

Yes, not very Christmasy. But what passes for Christmasy in our culture is hardly Christmas. To franticly ignore the dark side of Christmas in strenuous efforts to be happy (or else) is to miss out on what Christmas is about. To understand, and fully appreciate, the “tidings of great joy,” we must understand they were, and are, proclaimed in the darkness.

May you have a blessed Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why I Won’t Become Roman Catholic 2: Tony Blair’s Lie Profession

The sordid occasion of Tony Blair being received into the Roman Catholic Church is good time to reveal another reason I won’t become a Roman Catholic.

To be received, Blair made the following profession:

I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

I can’t say that about any church. I look askance at any church that would demand such a profession. And, unlike Tony Blair, I fear God enough that I think it exceedingly unwise that my first act in a church be one of dissembling.


While we’re talking about Tony Blair, I think less of the Romans for receiving him. As Prime Minister, he willfully committed grave public sins. His forcing the Roman Catholic Church either to adopt to gays or shut down its adoption agencies is only one of his outrages. Of course, we are all sinners in need of repentance and forgiveness. But with his sins being so grave and public, I think he should be required to repent of them in public by name before being received into a church. The Romans are making no such requirement.

If my parish gave a notorious sinner such a free pass, I would have trouble going to the communion rail.

But I agree with Cranmer that the Romans can have him:

It is ironic that 'the most devoutly Christian prime minister since Gladstone' has done more to undermine Christian liberties than any challenge to the faith on these islands in more than three centuries. He is a spiritual fraud . . . he can go, and good riddance . . . .

Good riddance indeed.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I began listening to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College in 2002 or 2003. This year’s service just broadcast may be the best one yet I’ve heard.

It seemed to this experienced Lector that even the readings were better than ever. The chorister reading the first lesson certainly got that off to a good start. That boy can read!

One aspect of the service of which I’m usually critical are the newer carols selected by the Director of Music Stephen Cleobury. He is to be commended for giving new composers an opportunity to shine. But most years one or two of the modern carols seem, well, a bit too strange. But this year I liked the newer carols as well. Even the one that seemed a bit discordant to me ended very well and with drama. And I much liked Mr. Cleobury’s arrangement of a recently discovered Latvian carol.

This was the first year I didn’t tear up for some reason. But at the end of the service I spontaneously thrust my fist in the air in triumph. I don’t recommend doing that in the Chapel of King’s College itself, however.

If you missed it, BBC Radio 3 will be replaying the service tomorrow Christmas morning at 8am Dallas time. And it will be available for replay online for a week or so afterwards.

Tonight, my parish puts on a service of Nine Lessons and Carols, combined with a Christmas pageant and Holy Communion. It’s the first time we’ve combined those so it should be interesting and fun.

May your Christmas be at least as excellent as mine already is.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Black Death and Christmas?

With Christmas upon us, I thought I’d inflict treat you to the last tutorial essay I wrote in Oxford. Yes, it links the Black Death and Christmas if you can believe that. Fans of New College and King’s College and their choirs may find this especially interesting.

I have condensed the essay. Be nice about typos. In Oxford, I became eager to get my essays over with, so I’m sure there are imperfections.

This may be my last post until after Christmas. May the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord be a special one indeed for all of you.


Medieval Resiliency in the Face of the Black Death

Certainly, the most devastating event or series of events in the Middle Ages was the Black Death that struck in 1348-1351, then recurred again through the rest of the Middle Ages and beyond. How did Medieval English culture respond?

Among the most striking indications of medieval response is the architecture of the time. And the most important statement we can make about medieval architecture is: it did not stop.

Now that may at first seem rather unimportant, banal even. But let us reflect a little. When a society has less people, there is less need for buildings. Further, there are less workers to erect buildings. So one would think if a society suddenly lost roughly half of its people, that would bring building to an equally sudden halt.

But that halt did not happen.

Yes, there were buildings in which progress ceased or was delayed. Here and there still are oddly proportioned parish churches with missing aisles or ghost transepts that were suddenly finished in an unfinished state. Ashbourne Church, Derbyshire, the Delamere Church, Northborough, and Medbourne Church, Leicestershire are among the examples. Other churches, Patrington Church, Queen of Holderness being one, began in exuberant Decorated Gothic style pre-plague only to be finished in more austere early Perpendicular fashion post-plague after the available workers skilled enough for elaborate carving died.

But even the most cursory look at the architectural history of Britain reveals building as a whole most definitely did not stop. In the half-century after the plague already, there was building in the cathedrals of Winchester, Canterbury, and York. Richard II built his landmark Westminster Hall. In some places, building even boomed. Two such places were the Universities of Oxford and of Cambridge.

In Cambridge, the colleges of Gonville, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi, and Clare Hall were founded from 1348 to 1362 in the wake of the plague. Geoffrey Tyack has described Corpus Christi College as “a monument to the Black Death.” It was founded in 1352 by a town guild – unique for either Cambridge or Oxford – as a collegiate chantry to pray for the souls of deceased guild members.

In Oxford, William of Wykeham founded his monumental New College, along with Winchester College in Winchester to in effect be a feeder school for New College. In founding the colleges, William specifically cited the shortage of clergy brought about by the plague as a chief reason for founding his colleges.

New College was innovative in a number of ways. It was the first college built from the beginning as a whole piece in Oxford, and the first to use the quad design. The design greatly influenced later Oxford building. All Souls and Magdalen even have their chapels and halls connected on the same side of their main quads, as at New College. Other innovations included the size of the choir, which the statutes specified would include sixteen boy choristers, more than was customary at the time. Further, this was the first choral foundation of the Oxbridge colleges. The statues were demanding in a number of other ways as well even in such details as Latin being the language of conversation at mealtimes. William of Wykeham’s answer to death and its ravages was innovation and excellence.

There was another reason William founded his colleges, that they would be chantries praying for his soul in perpetuity. Those who could afford it often made provision that their souls be prayed for. For most, this entailed making arrangements that a priest be paid to say masses for the benefactor’s soul. But some of the wealthier built more tangible chantries of stone within churches or in the form of new churches and chapels.

The practice of setting up chantries of various sorts, both in stone and simply by arrangement, was already popular before the plague. The Church’s official recognition of Purgatory was the great initial spur to this popularity. But suddenly being surrounded by the sudden death of the plague “concentrated minds,” as Colin Platt has noted, on making preparations.

They looked death in the eye and made serious preparations for it -- and that not with despair but with hope. For them, there was hope after death through faith in Christ and through the prayers of priests and of the community.

That is the most important way English and Northern European Christian culture responded to the Black Death – they did not give up. Nor did they look the other way from death in a sort of denial those in the modern West oft indulge in with their make up and cherry red sports cars. No, medievals looked at death very realistically, which the plague gave them much opportunity to do, and they got ready, often in very tangible ways, such as architecture, that enrich us to this day.

Again, that readiness was not that of despaired resignation. Death was not the end, but a transition, a transition in which one could hope in the living Christ and in the prayers of the living community one leaves behind.

Moreover, to the medieval, one doesn’t really leave the human community. Medieval culture didn’t see the divide between the living and the dead as the great gulf we often do. Graves were right by or in the church reminding friends to pray for you (unlike the ancient pagan practices requiring removal of the dead to outside city walls). The dead were a familiar part of everyday life. As well, the liturgy saw worship and prayer as something the whole church, living and dead, participated in together, “with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.” No, death wasn’t the end, nor did it divide one from the community of God and man. Should one trust in Christ and make preparations, there was hope, a great hope of being forever joined with God and with each other. That hope permeated the culture and architecture of the late Middle Ages.

But did the Black Death mark a turning point in medieval culture? That question has been much debated in recent decades. But we shouldn’t look so much at the question of the Black Death as turning point that we miss the more important point that, even in the face of a third, a half or even more of the population being wiped away, the religious culture did not respond to the plague with despair but with resolution, often a very creative and productive resolution as at Oxford and Cambridge. Instead of descending into dark ages, Christian Europe rose again with glory.

And that determination to deal with death and get ready has living echoes that enrich English and Western culture to this day. We will conclude with an example particularly meaningful to this student.

We mentioned the founding of New College and Winchester College. In the next century, pious young Henry VI founded Kings College, Cambridge and Eton College. He, too, sought to increase the numbers and learning of the clergy and to provide prayers for his soul while also extirpating heresies.

King Henry was frequently in Winchester on royal business. And he took the opportunities to visit Winchester College and examine the charters and statutes of it and New College. He was so impressed by what he saw, he changed the founding documents of Kings and Eton to be more like those of New and Winchester. He linked his two colleges as Wykeham had linked his. He expanded the number of scholars at King’s from twelve to Wykeham’s seventy. Henry’s founding documents even ended up having identical wording to those of New and Winchester Colleges for long stretches.

Henry sought even to excel William of Wykeham. The Chapel of King’s College is the great monument to that aspiration, though not even nearly completed in Henry’s life. Nor was his vision of a huge quad completed until centuries later in very much altered form. Fortunately for us, Henry’s devout conviction that death was not the end turned out to be very tangible reality at King’s College.

There’s one other aspect of Kings Henry’s founding of King’s influenced by New College – the choir. Again imitating William of Wykeham, it was the first choral foundation in Cambridge and was to have sixteen choristers as well. Those the least familiar with English choral music know to what glories the Choir of King’s College would ascend. Strange as it may seem, because of King Henry VI’s imitation of William of Wykeham in founding King’s College and its Choir, we can in part credit the Black Death and determined English response to it for the music from King’s we still enjoy today.

So when on Christmas Eve, we with millions around the world listen intently for the voice of a lone boy on the radio or perhaps in the Chapel of King’s College itself . . .

Once in Royal David’s city . . .

. . . Our thoughts probably do not turn to the Black Death, nor to the resolute response that created the Choirs of New College then of King’s College. More likely, we rejoice quietly in the joy and hope that the Child born in the City of David brings to us.

But we should not forget the resolution with which William of Wykeham, Henry VI, and late medieval England as a whole faced the devastation of the Black Death. Their joy and hope was in the Christ Child as well and in the life he brings even in the midst of death. To their hope, that blessed hope, we and our culture remain, even today, deeply in debt.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Chuck Collins nails it.

In his commentary on Rowan William’s Advent letter, Christ Church San Antonio rector Chuck Collins nails it:

The Archbishop told the Primates at Dar es Salaam that he would consult them on invitations to Lambeth, which he did not do. He could have upheld the Windsor Report by inviting those who uphold the traditional values endorsed in the Windsor Report, but he did not. He could have revised the invitation list in the Advent Letter to support Windsor, but he chose not to do so. And the end result is the Windsor Report is rendered virtually meaningless, and the Windsor process has been exposed as a ploy to buy time. There could be very detrimental results from this Letter, including the disintegration of one of the Instruments of Unity (Lambeth Conference) and the diminution of the authority of another Instrument, the Primates Meeting. It looks to me like the man behind the curtain has been exposed.

I, too, am convinced that the Windsor Report was a ploy for time that Rowan Williams is now casting aside (or interpreting beyond recognition) now that it no longer serves its deceptive purposes. Similarly, he’s practically ignoring the Primates’ Meetings. At the least, he has undermined the Primates’ Meetings time and again.

Now that Rowan is beginning to show his true colors, it’s becoming clear that he has been stringing along the Global South and orthodox North American Anglicans for four long years, only to sell them out.

The result will be an ugly 2008 for the Anglican Communion and perhaps the end of it as an effective orthodox body.

Collins is also right that Rowan Williams has missed an opportunity. In the past four years, when he still had credibility and esteem among most conservatives (including me), if he had really led, he could have strengthened the Anglican Communion. Any number of times in history, the church responded to unorthodoxy with a reassertion and strengthening of orthodoxy and of the church. Rowan had the opportunity to help bring that about again.

And he blew it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mike Huckabee just won the Christmas War.

Mike Huckabee’s campaign has just pulled the most brilliant coup of the presidential campaign so far with his Christmas ad.

Let’s take a quick look at the issues his campaign faced going into the ad:

1. Suddenly, he’s a frontrunner now, if not the frontrunner. He is already becoming a target. How do you respond? “Puff piece” ads that build up what a wonderful guy he is are boring and get lost in the clutter. Ads debunking attacks on him can look defensive and even give credence to attacks. It’s not easy to be the frontrunner in a crowded race. Just ask Hillary about that.

2. He wants to motivate and bring in his evangelical base. Therefore, he wants to make a contrast with his opponents in the area of religion (an area in which they are rather weak), but without alienating potential supporters.

3. It’s Christmastime when the usual political ads would likely be ineffective at best or backfire at worse. Yet the Iowa caucus is January 3rd, so he can hardly take a break now.

The solution is the Christmas ad, and it is a brilliant (or at least very lucky) one. The ad elevates him above the political fray. It reminds his base of his faith and takes a nice stand for it in a way that only the easily offended -- who won’t be voting for him anyway – would object to.

And, perhaps most importantly, he takes a nice but firm stand in the annual Christmas War. That cheer you’ve been hearing is from all those who like “Merry Christmas” and pour scorn on “Happy Holidays.” Don’t underestimate the importance of that. Mike Huckabee just won the Christmas War.

In addition, the easily offended are helping Huckabee out by being . . . easily offended. This just draws more attention to the ad and provides him with wonderful foils. In politics, it can really help to have the right adversaries.

I got a prediction for you. Huckabee will now win big in Iowa and will pull well out in front of the presidential race. This ad is that important.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Common Cause Communique

It didn’t take long for Common Cause to issue a communiqué from their Orlando meeting yesterday. I don’t know quite what to make of it. I suspect it may be one of those statements where what is not said is more important than what is said.

Another development: the Anglican Province of America is divided over participation in Common Cause as freely acknowledged by Presiding Bishop Walter Grundorf:

This subject has generated much conversation and seems to dominate the thinking of so many in our Province. It has caused great division among us and has polarized those who support remaining as partners and those who wish to see us only as observers at the Partnership meetings.

For now, they are observers.

Hat tip to Stand Firm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

About the Golden Compass . . .

I’ve been meaning to post about the Golden Compass, but time and lack of energy has kept me from doing so.

I knew this movie could be a problem as soon as I saw the preview months ago with their ominous use of “Magisterium.” I had never heard of Philip Pullman or his books, but even before the preview was over, I thought, “Oh boy, I know where this is heading.”

And guess what? *DING* Right again!

I’m good sometimes.

Anyway if you’d like slightly deeper analysis of the movie and the book series behind it, here and here are two good articles.

I will add two thoughts. First, when Hollywood engages in an anti-Christian agenda, they will do so without my dime. And I would discourage anyone from going to this movie, much less taking their kids to it. Even if the Christian bashing of Pullman is toned down in the movie, remember sequels are likely if this one succeeds. And Pullman’s series gets more blatantly anti-God (And I’m not using that term loosely.) as it goes along. The same can be expected of sequels.

So help this movie fail. Don’t go.

Second, and this is a bit of a tangent, Peter Hitchens struck a chord with me when he stated:

I really don't think this book would have had the Hollywood full-power treatment if Mr. Pullman were not a much-caressed darling of the liberal, anti-religious establishment in Britain. That has propelled him to book-world stardom, based on acclamation and approval as much as (if not more than) on the merit of the books. And it has put those books in that wonderful class, coveted by all authors, where they sell a lot because they have already sold a lot. This status often has nothing to do with the quality of the books, and more to do with capturing some moment or meeting some fashionable need.

A lot of very good fiction languishes at a level of sales way below this, and simply cannot hope for the window displays and other bookshop promotion which stars such as Mr. Pullman receive.

As an author who was not long ago knee-deep in the publishing industry, I heartily agree. For various reasons, money being the chief of them, the publishing and book retail industry often pushes crap while throwing excellent writing aside.

And, sadly, the “Christian” side of this industry isn’t at all exempt from this criticism. Just try browsing a Family Christian Store sometime.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Be sure to pray for the Common Cause Leadership Council meeting in Orlando tomorrow.

‘Nuff said.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rowan Williams’ Advent Letter is Finally Out

Rowan Williams’ much awaited Advent letter is finally out. And once again Canterbury fails to address adequately the apostasy of the Episcopal Church and the need to defend the faithful from TEC wolves.

In places, he seems to understand the seriousness of TEC’s departure from the faith and practice of the Anglican Communion. But then he makes statements like this:

Successive Lambeth Conferences and Primates' Meetings have, however, cautioned very strongly against such provision [of overseas interventions]. It creates a seriously anomalous position. It does not appeal to a clear or universal principle by which it may be decided that a local church's ministry is completely defective.

Excuse me. Which “universal principles” of the church through the ages has the Episcopal Church not violated? By any number of canons of any number of historic church councils, the Episcopal Church is apostate.

And this:

A great deal of the language that is around in the Communion at present seems to presuppose that any change from our current deadlock is impossible, that division is unavoidable and that any such division represents so radical a difference in fundamental faith that no recognition and future co-operation can be imagined. I cannot accept these assumptions. . . .

Then I guess Rowan doesn’t accept the Windsor Report, which in grave language talked of the possibility of “walking apart” should the Episcopal Church continue on its course. In any case, if Rowan doesn’t see that the faith of TEC is radically and irreconcilably different from that of orthodox Anglicans, then he just doesn’t get it, to put it mildly.

Having gravely understated the divisions, he underestimates what is called for. In this letter, there are no calls for Primates Meetings, interventions, or discipline. Instead, he calls for more . . . “conversation.”

That prescription would be comical if Rowan Williams’ utter failure to lead wasn’t so sad and his betrayal of faithful North American Anglicans so great.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Marilyn McCord Adams – Showing Us the Future of The Episcopal Church?

Canon Marilyn McCord Adams has delivered a paper that is creating quite a stir. Although she is now ensconced at Christ Church, Oxford (where I’m told she is an excellent scholar), I suspect her paper gives more than a glimpse of the future of The Episcopal Church and other likeminded provinces. The following especially stands out:

Likewise, sex-and-gender liberals have no interest in excommunicating sex-and-gender conservatives or in denying them the institutional access that all members of TEC/CoE enjoy. But in the name of faithfulness to the Gospel, sex-and-gender liberals cannot extend toleration to allowing sex-and-gender conservatives to set institutional policy no matter what. Liberals should not be so desperately committed to inclusiveness as to let themselves be held hostage by conservative threats to leave unless they get their way. Nor should liberals barter conscientious content-commitments away in a panic to be included in the pan-Anglican polity that conservatives are constructing. Time to teeter-totter! Sex-and-gender liberals should repent of the ‘flying bishops’ scheme, of DEPO and EV. Liberals should also refuse to sign a Gomez-style (as opposed to a Lambeth-Quadrilateral-style) covenant. Liberals should work within the established polity of TEC/CoE and use their majority to uproot homophobia. The reason is straight-forward: homophobia is a sin, and its end-time is now!

Granted, Adams is rather far left. But her advocated policy of close to zero (or below zero?) accommodation of traditional conservatives already is the policy of several TEC dioceses. And I suspect it will soon be the policy of TEC as a whole. Take a good look. This is the real face of “inclusiveness.”


By the way, Canon Adams gave a Remembrance Day sermon at Christ Church I had the misfortune to hear. In it, she made an offensive comparison between Hiroshima and the Holocaust. Yes, you read correctly – it was a Remembrance Day sermon.

Christ Church nearly had its first spontaneous combustion in its long and hallowed history . . . with me as the combustee.

In a subsequent exchange of e-mails, she did eventually say that she felt Hiroshima and the Holocaust were different. Nevertheless, I challenged both her and the Dean either to apologize for the extremely inappropriate comparison or to publish the sermon so that others could judge for themselves.

As far as I can tell, they have done neither.

Hat tip to MCJ.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vatican Rebukes Georgetown Theologian

After being a bit hard on the Roman Catholic Church yesterday, I’m glad to pass on something positive. At the direction of the Vatican, U. S. bishops have put heretical Georgetown theologian Peter Phan (*snicker*) in his place by rebuking him for his writings. He has written that Jesus isn’t the sole unique Saviour of the world, that non-Christian religions offer paths to salvation, you know -- Episcopal Church kind of theology.

And the fact that I really do not like Georgetown makes this even better.

As I alluded to yesterday, the RCC has a much better track record of holding to and defending the Faith than Protestants, particularly under John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Kudos to them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BREAKING: Anglican Communion Network on December 18th Common Cause Meeting

I just got this. The emphasis is mine.


Dear Network,

The next major milestone in the development of Common Cause is next week, when the Common Cause Leadership Council gathers in Orlando, Florida on December 18 for its inaugural meeting. The Council comprises the head bishop, a clergy representative, and a lay representative from each Partner. This body represents Common Cause in all its fullness, and has the authority to do the work of the Partnership.

This is the organizing meeting of Common Cause, at which the assembly will elect its first officers and establish its initial committees and task forces. As such, December 18, 2007 will mark the formal beginning of a "separate ecclesiastical structure" in North America. Following this meeting, Common Cause will be in a place to seek official recognition from the Primates of our Communion.

We at the Network are pleased to have been given the Kingdom assignment of building unity among the Common Cause Partners. Thank you for sharing with us in this task, and please pray for our work next week.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton
Chief Operating Officer
Anglican Communion Network


With everything else going on, this has snuck up on us, has it not? But I think this highly significant. I expect I will comment in due time.

Having let this sink in some, I now have some thoughts:

The Common Cause Partners aren’t wasting any time, are they? The Panel of Reference they’re not. I think they are engaging in deliberate speed for three main reasons:

1. They realize the urgent need to provide credible safe places for distressed Anglicans. North American Anglicanism is bleeding people to Rome and various other churches, including the church of the sacred pillow. Many determined to remain faithful Anglicans need a safe place and soon.

2. As much as they can and as quickly as they can, they want to end the scandalous joke of the Anglican “alphabet soup.” For those who claim to be catholic to be so splintered is not right. The current environment makes it all the more urgent to be much more united. (And, by the way, I’m proud that my once sectarian Reformed Episcopal Church has taken a significant role in this effort.)

3. They are responding to the call of at least some Primates for a “separate ecclesiastical structure.”

I don’t think forcing ++Rowan Williams’ hand is a motive, but it likely will be an effect. With dioceses leaving The Episcopal Church and fleeing to the shelter of ++Greg Venables and now with Common Cause getting ready “to seek official recognition from the Primates” perhaps by the New Year and perhaps as a province, I suspect ++Rowan will have to make decisions and take sides in the New Year whether he wants to or not.
Why I Won’t Become Roman Catholic

I begin this with some trepidation. I hate Catholic bashing and won’t engage in it. I have Catholic friends I greatly value and do not want to hurt or offend. And I respect the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has a better overall track record of holding to the Faith than Protestant bodies.

But so many Anglicans have been quite publicly crossing the Tiber to Rome, to the diminishment of Anglicanism, that I think it’s time for the other side to be heard. It’s time for orthodox Anglicans to speak up and say why becoming Roman Catholic is not an option for them.

One reason I won’t become Roman Catholic is I refuse to take myself out of communion with faithful brothers and sisters I greatly value. Roman Catholics practice a very restrictive form of closed communion -- you have to be Roman Catholic to receive at their masses. Further, Roman Catholics are not to receive communion at non-RC churches.

So if I were to become Roman Catholic, I would cut myself off from communion with wonderful brothers and sisters. I could never again take communion at my current parish or at Pusey House or at Smokey Matt’s. And I would belong to a church that refuses communion to them. I will not do that.

Further, the Church of Rome is flat wrong for doing that. A truly catholic church should not act in such a sectarian manner.

Now I oppose handing out communion like so much candy as too many protestant churches do. Churches should require that those that receive be baptized believers not engaged in scandalous conduct. But to be more restrictive in communion than that, to cut faithful Christians off from communion is wrong and sectarian. And I will not engage in that.

Well . . . I’m sure I stirred up a hornets nest, although that’s not my intent. My Catholic friends (And I hope they are still my friends.) are very welcome to comment and/or correct. I do hope I’m at least slightly mistaken about the Roman Catholic Church as I desire the whole church to be faithful to both truth and unity.

As the above is not the only reason I won’t join the Roman Catholic Church, there may be more to come, however.

Monday, December 10, 2007

San Joaquin and my parish

A lot happened over the weekend with the Diocese of San Joaquin leaving the Episcopal Church and CANA consecrating more bishops. (Lots of video on the latter may be found here.)

I don’t wish to test your endurance and mine by trying to get my arms around these developments, at least not this morning. But two relevant things happened at my REC parish yesterday.

First, we prayed for the Diocese of San Joaquin during both Morning Prayer and Holy Communion.

Second, as Lector of the day, I read the lessons yesterday. The Second Lesson during MP was 2 Timothy 3. The first five verses were very timely:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: . . .

Does a lot of that sound familiar? I thought so.

And how does Paul say we should respond to such apostates?

. . . from such turn away.

The Diocese of San Joaquin is doing the right thing. God bless them.

Friday, December 07, 2007

You might be Anglo-Catholic if . . .

. . . when someone asks you what day it is, you answer, “St. Nicholas Day.”

(This actually happened yesterday when I was buying groceries. A gentleman was trying to figure out how fresh some bread was, so he asked me what date it was. I was nice and told him the numerical date first. He looked slightly disoriented when I then smilingly added the correct saint’s day as well.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Just a quick note to let you all know I got home last night after a fun day and half in London.

I tell you what: that avocado quesadilla at the Blue Mesa Grill in DFW Terminal D tasted gooooood.

And personal morning prayer at dawn today at my place isn’t morning mass at Pusey House, but hardly anything else can’t beat it.

It’s good to be back in Texas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kudos to Venezuelans

The defeat of the latest attempt of Hugo Chavez to grab even more power in Venezuela is a pleasant surprise.

I had thought he would steal the election if the real votes didn’t go his way. And if you read between the lines of his concession statements, it’s pretty clear he thought about it. Perhaps a pre-election demonstration of 100,000 or so convinced him that would have been too much of a gamble.

But he also made it clear that this won’t be the last time he tries to turn Venezuela into a Communist dictatorship.

But, at least this time, his power grab was defeated by the majority of Venezuelans. Kudos to them.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I’m almost out the door to head to London, but I wanted to bring this to your attention.

Russia is no longer a democracy. It’s back to the bad old days under KGB spy Putin.

It’s time we stop treating Russia like a legitimate democracy.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

All’s Well . . .

My last full day in Oxford, Advent Sunday, will soon come to a close. And it’s been a good one. The Mass at Pusey House was wonderful, topped off by Lo He Comes, the Helmsey version as the Lord intends, of course. No, I wasn’t able to sing it all the way through. The service was already emotional for me. Tears started flowing on the third verse. I made myself sing the last verse with vigor though. Yes, I’m a sop. Deal with it.

Oh, I mentioned it was rainy. But the sun came out and illuminated parts of the service through the incense in timely fashion. Like I said, wonderful.

Later, after my usual Sunday lunch at Shanghai 30’s (highly recommended), even though I was very far from the front of the line at New College Chapel, I got a great seat with wonderful views for their special Christmas service. The service wasn’t as emotional for me as mass this morning (which is a good thing actually given I was practically front and center), but it was excellent.

Then I rushed back and heard the end of the famous St. John’s Advent service (that I attended two years ago). In its own way, it was neat to hear it on the radio here in Britain.

As I’m about to leave tomorrow morning, I now have a very positive attitude toward my stay in Oxford. Oh, I haven’t forgotten how difficult much of it was. Nor do I have any illusions about my ability to handle academic stress. But the past week or two has been very nice. And even in the difficult periods were times very meaningful to me. So I’m leaving with a positive attitude, yet still very ready to leave. And that’s close to perfect, isn’t it?

Through the wind and rain, the bells of Christ Church are ringing in Advent Sunday. And I have a special one in store, my last full day in Oxford.

Advent actually began last night for me with an excellent last choral service of term at Magdalen. This morning I go to Pusey House for Sunday Mass. Yes, they will smoke the place up.

Then this afternoon I go to New College for their special Christmas Carol Service. Yes, that’s jumping the gun a bit. But, as I’ve mentioned, a lot of people are gone after this weekend.

But where is Rowan’s Advent letter?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Leaving Days

This morning it was quite clear today is leaving day for many students in Oxford. People were taking belongings out of the colleges onto sideroads crowded with parked cars. It reminds me of two years ago when I was also here at the end of Michaelmas term.

I’m glad I’m leaving Oxford Monday early. Not nearly as much happens around here when the students are gone. Most of my fellow CMRS students will still be here. CMRS is on a different semester schedule. But I got my academics done early and will go home early. Thanks be to God!

I haven’t done much myself today or yesterday. I’ve actually caught a small cold. It’s no big deal, and I’m feeling better already. But after staying well all through term in spite of the stress and exhaustion, it’s funny I get sick now once the pressure is off.

The timing is good though. I can use the rest. And it’s been rainy these two days anyway. When it was sunny Wednesday and Thursday, I got to be the tourist. So it’s all good.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Weather Forecast (and random pining)

Next week, I go HOME.

The weather forecast for home the day after I get back: sunny and 76 degrees.

I can hardly remember what that feels like.

I’ve been really tired today. But in part that’s because I’ve had fun the past couple days. I’ve been busy being a tourist, along with doing some more exploring in the libraries.

I still haven’t gotten into Corpus Christi College though. They aren’t as friendly as the town of the same name or as the Cambridge version.

Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to home as you can tell.

Well, I better go. Christ Church has a good Evensong on tap. And I’m glad, since with heavy rain outside and my being a bit tired, I don’t want to walk around much tonight.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Forthcoming Advent Letter from Rowan Williams

It hasn’t been much noticed – or at least I haven’t noticed it much – but Rowan Williams apparently plans to offer his views on the Episcopal Church and its response to Dar es Salaam in a forthcoming Advent letter to the Primates, as noted here.

I suspect this letter will be huge. He has precious few chances left to do the right thing and discipline the Episcopal Church. Should the Archbishop (again) whitewash TEC’s response to Dar es Salaam – and I suspect he will – then the disintegration of the Anglican Communion may well accelerate.

I, for one, intend to watch for that letter as my schedule permits.

Hat tip to Stand Firm.
Now That’s Discipline!

In the best English choirs, the choristers are renowned for being highly disciplined. I experienced an example of that last night . . . or didn’t as the case may be.

I was at New College for Evensong. It was a good service by the usual high New College standards, nothing remarkable, or so I thought.

When I left the chapel, I noticed a mess on the floor. Puzzled, I asked someone else leaving what happened.

It turns out that during the service a chorister threw up and left! He did it so quietly and the service went on with so little, if any, interruption that I didn’t know anything was amiss!

Maybe it was during the Magnificat. I noticed the choristers lost a little of their volume during it. And Mr. Higginbottom was pointing to his temple, motioning for them to stay focused perhaps. But that’s just a guess. The service was seamless.

For 17 boys to ignore quite a substantial barf like that is discipline!

Monday, November 26, 2007

More on Rowan Williams and Yesterday

Yesterday did indeed turn out to be a special day. But first about my little letter to Rowan.

If it seemed impertinent, be thankful I waited a few hours after first being alerted to the story when I read the Sunday Times. (It was on the front page, by the way.) I was steaming to the point I didn’t trust myself to write a blog post.

Now that I’ve slept on it, I’m convinced I and many others were right to be steamed about Rowan’s interview. What makes it worse is that it was with a Muslim publication. It is really “helpful” for the Archbishop of Canterbury to tell Muslims that their “Great Satan”, the U. S., is indeed the Great Satan? Rowan gave Muslim extremists a propaganda coup.

Still worse are his criticisms of Israel and its efforts to protect itself. Again the interview was with a Muslim publication -- what Rowan did is on the same moral level as complaining about Nigeria to a white supremacist publication.

It’s indefensible. Rowan Williams deserves every counterattack he’s getting for it.


On more pleasant subjects, Pusey House did indeed do up Christ the King, including my first ever Solemn Te Deum, complete with a very impressive full 360 degree thurible swing.

I like the idea of ending the church year in a big way like that.

Later, Magdalen’s Advent service was excellent, even if it seemed a bit short at one hour. The highlight was the choir singing John Sheppard’s Christi virgo dilectissima from the Antechapel near the end of the service. The trebles soared and just about transported me up into heaven.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dear Rowan . . .

Dear Rowan,

I can’t help but notice you’d rather bash us eeeevil imperialistic Americans than fulfill the responsibilities of your office to defend the faith and the church from apostasies and heresies. Now, don’t deny it. The Bishop of New Hampshire might as well deny he’s gay. It’s kind of hard to miss -- imperialistic Americans are bad; heretic Episcopalian Americans . . . get invited to tea at Lambeth. Yeah, it’s that obvious.

But hey, I don’t blame you. Bashing eeeevil imperialistic Americans is more fun than dealing with heresy and apostasy.

So I have a friendly suggestion.

Why not leave the Archbishopric of Canterbury and join The Guardian as an op-ed writer? There, bashing eeeevil imperialistic Americans is part of the job description.

You’ll be a lot happier. And you’ll improve both institutions, too.

You’re welcome. Always glad to help.

Very sincerely,

Christ the King!

The bells at Christ Church are ringing away as I type this, getting me in the mood for an awesome day ahead. It’s Christ the King Sunday here in Oxford, and for me it’s a special one indeed. This morning I go to Pusey House. They do up Christ the King there and bring in an orchestra.

Then comes a pleasant afternoon of lunch at my favorite Oxford restaurant, then rest, some packing, etc. Then I have a ticket to Magdalen College’s special service of Music and Readings for Advent. I’ve been wanting to go to this for a long time.

I hope the last Sunday of the church year is a red letter one indeed for you as well.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Reason Not to Trust the NRSV

At an otherwise excellent service of Choral Evensong at Christ Church Friday night, the first reading set off alarm bells. Part of it, Daniel 7:13 went like this:

As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.

I thought, That’s not right. And almost immediately I remembered that “like a human being” should be “like a Son of man” or “like the Son of man.” And sure enough I was right. Yes, I’m good sometimes.

The New Revised Standard Version is all the rage here in the U. K. It’s the default translation in much of the Church of England. And sure enough, the NRSV uses the “human being” rendering. Check it out if you like.

What we have here is a case of putting inclusive language over honestly presenting important messianic Biblical language. You don’t have to have a theology degree to know that “Son of Man” is an important term denoting the Messiah in both Old and New Testaments.

But “inclusiveness” ran roughshod right over that in the NRSV.

Hey, but inclusiveness is more important than faithfulness, honesty, and accuracy in translating scripture, right?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hugh of Lincoln

Today, the Church of England celebrates the Feast of St. Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln. I intend to celebrate at Magdalen tonight (and with dinner and a pint at a pub afterward, of course). The choir there has really hit their stride, by the way, and is sounding even better than earlier in the term.

What I don’t expect to hear in praise of St. Hugh, however, is his well-earned reputation as a notorious collector of relics. He even went so far as to take a bite out of the arm of Mary Magdalen to collect a relic of her . . . which makes remembering him at Magdalen College this evening all the more appropriate, does it not?

Friday, November 16, 2007


Today is a red letter day. I finished a pretty good draft of my last tutorial essay. I still have some mopping up work to do on this and that. But now I go into the phase I’ve been yearning for – I can read, explore, and downright flourish without academic work hanging over my head.

And I am determined to make the most of the remaining days here in Oxford. And in spite of all the stress and ccccold, I’ve got the health and spirit to do it.

By the way, I expect to blog more in these final weeks, too.
The Smoking Gun

What we have long suspected is now a matter of record in open court: it was indeed Presiding Heretic Schori who turned what was going to be an amicable separation among Anglicans in Virginia into an ugly persecution of the faithful.

I just don’t get vindictiveness like that. What Bishop Peter Lee and the departing congregations were working out would have been good for all concerned under the circumstances. But no, she wanted to punish those congregations for daring to want to remain Anglican but not Episcopalian.

And as for her being upset that CANA "violates the ancient principle of the church that two bishops do not have jurisdiction in the same area," she’s proven doesn’t give a flip about ancient principles except when they can be twisted to help out her agenda.

I could say more, but I’m trying to foam at the mouth less get more into the practice of letting the facts speak for themselves.

Wait, I will say one more thing. If I were a betting man, I bet the Episcopal Church will get much less than if they had continued to negotiate in good faith with the departing congregations.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Crazy Providential Day at St. Paul’s

Monday, I took a much needed day off to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. On the pleasantly crisp sunny day, I was first eating lunch in Pater Noster Square when I noticed an ominous dark cloud between the buildings. I knew that wasn’t weather; something had happened. I wondered if people would soon be running by in a panic.

But I finished my lunch, then walked over to the cathedral. I was just inside, about to pay for a ticket, when we were informed that a bomb had gone off, that no one could go in or out of the cathedral, and that we were to go into the crypt.

So I looked around in the crypt a while, then noticed it was getting less crowded. So I went back up and found out that it was a warehouse fire near the 2012 Olympic site, not a terrorist bomb.

A little later on, I was on a tour when the fire alarm went off, and the cathedral was evacuated. Outside, three fire trucks drove up, but there was no fire. But they couldn’t get the fricking alarm to turn off either. So the cathedral was shut down for the afternoon.

That wasn’t too bad though. I walked around and saw things I might not have otherwise, like the Millennium Bridge and two small churches. It’s something how many smaller old churches are near St. Paul’s.

The alarm was such a problem, though, that at one point, staff thought Choral Evensong that evening was going to be cancelled. Now that would have been a serious bummer. That’s a big reason I chose that day to come. But while I was talking with staff, word came that Evensong was on.

And it was a glorious service. The boys (It was only the choristers singing that night.) were a bit off and seemed not to know some of their parts very well. Perhaps their practice was cancelled because of the alarm. But they still sounded wonderful in the amazing acoustics of St. Paul’s. And hearing Revelation 5 read while looking up at the apse which so well portrays Christ in glory was . . . well, glorious.

So it was an excellent day after all in spite of the false alarms.

There was one other way in which the day was providential. On Mondays, I normally go to Magdalen for Evening Prayer. It’s the one choristers-only service among the three Oxford foundations, so I automatically go there then. Well, Tuesday morning, I noticed that Magdalen didn’t have its usual Monday Evening Prayer but a Eucharist for Affirming Catholicism instead. If I hadn’t gone to London, I likely would have unknowingly walked right into that.

Now that scares me more than any bomb or fire alarm!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

“Vomit Alley” or One Reason I’m Glad I’m Not a Night Crawler

The Daily Mail had an interesting article on binge drinking, in Oxford in particular.

Now the Daily Mail has a reputation for sensationalizing things a bit and blaming all of Britain’s problems on immigrants and youth. So I asked a room full of college students if the article was a fair picture of Oxford’s George Street.

They pretty much all agreed it was. Further, they volunteered it wasn’t just George Street that’s vomit alley.

Heck, a pint with dinner, and I’m happy. I leave that other stuff to tarts and louts, thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Learning the Hard Way

I learned two things the hard way last night:

1. The Sheldonian Theatre is an awful music venue. There’s not a comfortable seat in the house for less then 20 pounds.

2. I really, really don’t like Mahler. Before last night, I didn’t know that composer from what. But a friend was in the orchestra performing Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, so I wanted to go to the performance.

Friend or not, between the seat and the symphony, it was torture. I slipped out of there between movements. It sounded to me like overwrought, overly sentimental movie soundtrack music. And I later found out I’m not alone. From wikipedia:

…little common ground can be found between those who revere Mahler for his 'emotional frankness' and 'spiritual honesty', and his equally vociferous detractors for whom the same music displays 'mawkishness', 'tastelessness' and 'sentimentality' (Franz Schmidt clearly spoke for the latter camp when he described Mahler's symphonies as "cheap novels").

Guess what camp I’m now in?

The walk home was quite enjoyable though. A homeless guy who does chalk painting was with his dog by his work on the sidewalk on Cornmarket Street. I really liked it, so I told him so and put a pound in his box.

Then a little later as I walked past Christ Church, this girl yelled out of a long white limo at me, “Heyyy, Sexxyyy!” Yes, she indeed was yelling at me; there was no one else around.

And, yes, she seemed quite inebriated.

But I do admire her taste more than Mahler’s.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ass Elected TEC “Bishop” of Chicago

Jeffrey Lee was elected Bishop of Chicago today. And after reading the following from his profile, I frankly wish Tracey Lind got the golden mitre instead. Says Mr. Lee:

For instance, in the parish I try hard to listen deeply to people who are concerned or troubled by developments in the church around sexuality and what I discover over and over again is that the issue is rarely the real issue. Someone may be deeply troubled about the liberalization of the church’s practice around the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church, but what lies at the root of their misgivings is some hurt or brokenness in their family. Once you uncover that pain in a safe way you can begin to move through it to a place of deeper understanding.

So if people disagree with him on “full inclusion” of homosexuals, it’s because they have family problems. What an ass!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Are the Global South Primates Taking Over?

I’m so chronically tired I’m having trouble putting two coherent thoughts together. Oxford is too close to exhausting me. So do take the following with a grain of salt.

But when I read ++Peter Akinola’s call to the other primates for a primates meeting, regardless of noises from Lambeth that there won’t be one, combined with word that ++Gregory Venables will take under his wing those dioceses that split from the Episcopal Church, I wonder if we’re entering a new phase of the current troubles.

With it being clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury won’t lift a finger to provide for distressed North American Anglicans or to discipline the Episcopal Church, perhaps the core of Global South primates have decided it’s time to take over the reins and lead, bypassing ++Rowan. I think it’s possible (though not likely) that we may be witnessing the reduction of the Archbishop of Canterbury to a figurehead, not unlike the Queen of England. More likely is a hastened split of the Communion.

Whether this tact by the two primates and allies saves the Anglican Communion or hastens its split is to be seen. In either case, I fully support it. When bishops don’t do their duty, and ++Rowan has not and will not, then it’s right for other bishops to do theirs.

I think what is being said in an indirect though firm manner to ++Rowan Williams by ++Akinola and ++Venables is “It’s clear you won’t lead, Rowan. So we will.”


By the way, I more or less predicted ++Venables would take on breakaway dioceses six months ago. I’m good sometimes.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It’s Official: King’s College Choir in U. S. April ‘08

About a month ago, I informed you straight from the lips of Stephen Cleobury himself that the Choir of King’s College was coming to the U. S. in April, including a stop in Dallas.

Now, it’s official (Scroll down.) And Dallas is the first stop on April 3rd.

It’s very likely I’ll be there.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Remember, remember the Fifth of November!

Yes, today is the Fifth of November: Guy Fawkes Day.

I thought us Texans like to blow stuff up. But -- wow! -- Oxford sounded like a war zone the past two nights. The laws about fireworks within city limits are certainly different here. I’ve heard a number of the colleges set off fireworks. I wonder in what danger that puts the old buildings.

But what’s even stranger is that the fireworks ceased around 10pm. I’ve definitely noticed people are good about letting you sleep around here, much better than Americans.

If you wish in a proper manner to give thanks to the Lord for delivering England from “Popish treachery,” you may find the correct liturgy here. Well, at least it used to be correct.

Sadly, I have yet to hear of any commemoration services in Oxford today.

You may find an interesting discussion thread here.


Almost as important is that today is exactly one month until I fly home.

I’m determined to make the most of the time. But I also very much look forward to home -- to the point that I have to remind myself to make the most of the time here instead of just counting the days.

One thing I’ve learned here is that my home is where I belong.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bishop Duncan is my hero.

His response to Presiding Heretic Schori’s not-so veiled threat is masterful:

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh
Oxford is Mad or I hate tutorial essays.

I’m coming to some conclusions about the Oxford style of education. I think it’s utterly mad.

Typically, the student takes two tutorials. In each tutorial, the student writes an essay a week. That’s sixteen essays in an eight week term. That’s in addition to other academic commitments. At CMRS, a full load also includes a seminar with a major research paper.

I’m beginning to think that is utterly mad.

Right now, my tutorial is focusing on the relationship between church architecture and liturgy. That’s an area I find very interesting. Yet I am loathing the task of writing yet another tutorial essay.

And I’m only taking a half-load, if even that! The only thing I’m taking for credit for the term is my medieval church history tutorial. (I took a broad-base medieval studies course with the rest of the program before the Oxford term began.)

I swore to myself before I came here that I wouldn’t become an academic grind. I did that in high school and at Duke; I wasn't going there again. That’s why I’m taking a half load. Oh, I would study and explore in the libraries. I would certainly take in a glorious opportunity to learn. I certainly wouldn’t be lazy.

Yet these frigging weekly tutorial essays have turned me into an academic grind for the moment at least. And I so hate them, I’m even becoming lazy in a way. I have to force myself to write, and the writing doesn’t come easy. Already this morning, my brain feels like a brick.

I don’t have any easy solutions. I’m a very self-motivated student. But I suspect most are not. And back long ago when Oxford relied on oral exams and the like, it became a joke how students could skate through without any work. Without some measuring stick, be it essays or exams, how do you ensure students are learning?

But the Oxford system encourages grinding out essays at the expense of learning I think. Sixteen essays in eight weeks is too much. It’s madness. How one can do that and actually find time to live and learn is beyond me.

Part of the problem is me as well. I suspected I wasn’t well suited for academic life. I was right.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Being Communist means never having to say you’re sorry.

The Sunday Times ran an excellent article by a repentant ex-Communist, Neil Lyndon.

In it he laments that few of his former comrades have joined him in apologizing for having “toasted mass murderers, torturers and totalitarian despots.” Yet they've moved on up in society and government.

And he points out a double standard in how we deal with unrepentant Communists and unrepentant Nazis. This double standard has personally ticked me off for a long time.

You could have joined the Hitler youth under pressure as a teen and still get grief for that, as our current pope knows.

But what about those who ran with the Soviet Union? What about those I saw pushing every foreign policy line that came from Moscow? Heck, some of them are in Congress without a simple mea culpa.

What about the World Coven Council of "Churches" who supported that monster Mugabe and has yet to apologize? Yet they are still respected and treated as credible (but NOT by me).

We respect our Nazi hunters, and rightly so. But if any Western Communist hunters are out there, they are branded “McCarthyites.”

Again, this double standard ticks me off to no end.

When I get too ticked and need to calm down, I remind myself that God is just. Unrepentant Nazis, unrepentant Communists and those who perpetuate the double standard will get theirs.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oxford Beggars

Oxford has a serious begging problem. This comments to this article give you a pretty good picture.

Most beggars here are polite, and I’m polite but usually distant back. But a few can be aggressive. In fact, the other night I felt threatened to the point of coming very close to running to the (thankfully) nearby police station.

I will give money to some “buskers” (performers), however. There are a lot of those in Oxford, too. But if they are trying to earn something and are doing a good job at what they do, I respect that.

As for just straight out begging, it’s a bit problematic how to respond as individuals and as a society. I prefer to give to agencies that are better equipped to effectively address the needs of the poor instead of enabling harmful and often disruptive behaviors.

But in any case, people should not be threatened or harassed simply because they are walking about and minding their business. And Oxford does have a problem in this regard.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Merton College Saves the World (or British Summer Time Ends)

Overnight, British Summer Time (the equivalent of daylight savings time) ended.

Therefore, the students of Merton College donned full academic gown, drank port, and walked backwards around their Fellows Quad for an hour in order to restore the time-space continuum.

And for that we are all thankful.

I’m not that thankful for BST ending, however. Now it will really start getting dark early. In addition to more dearinesss, I very soon, maybe today, won’t be able to take my pleasant shortcut across Christ Church Meadow when walking to Evensong at Magdalen or New College. (The gates close at dusk.)

Oh well. I’ve been in good spirits. And it’s only five weeks until home. The shorter days will serve as a reminder to make the most of what time remains.

And I’m glad to say my days are both fuller and more fulfilling now. But that’s for other posts.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Good Day

I’ve been meaning to post on what one of my days is like here in Oxford just to get that out to those who care. So here goes.

Today is unusual in that none of the three main Oxford choirs (Christ Church, New College, and Magdalen) is singing. But I like my habit here of going to a service every day. So I decided to get up early and go to Morning Prayer and Mass at Pusey House. Their weekday morning services are a quiet, prayerful, and excellent start to the day. Afterwards, they have a very English breakfast of coffee or tea and toast with stimulating, wonderfully dry conversation. This morning we had fun testing each others’ knowledge of popes among other things.

(On breakfast, I did cheat a bit and had my usual cereal and O. J. before I walked up to Pusey House. I need more than toast and coffee to function well.)

Then I walked over (I walk everywhere in Oxford.) to the Bodleian Library and up to the Duke Humfrey room to study for and work on my weekly tutorial essay, this week on illuminated manuscripts. The books the DH room has on illuminated manuscripts are amazing. My schedule today was unusually clear, so I decided to camp out there and work.

And that I did. With only a break to eat lunch at my favorite sandwich shop, Harvey’s on High Street, and to intake a much needed extra dose of caffeine (Coke), I was in the DH Room from 9:15am to after 6pm.

That is unusual. I normally konk before then. But I had psyched myself and love illuminated manuscripts anyway. In fact, I came across one wonderful illumination I hope I can find online to post for you all.

And I did accomplish beyond what I wanted to. I only need to fill in some blanks in my essay now. Moreover, I think it will be my best one yet. And without too much more work on, maybe I can recharge my batteries a bit. Even though I’m taking a half-load the pace has worn me down at times. (Again, thank God I had enough wisdom not to take a full load.)

Then, thoroughly brain-dead, I walked over to the Turf, where they happened to have a small beer festival going on out back. So with my dinner I had three half-pints of different ales, two of which were really good and interesting.

Satisfied with everything this day and thankful, I then walked “home” to my flat near Folly Bridge, where I am now and will surely konk for good before long.

That’s a little different than a typical day for me here, but a good one indeed. Thanks be to God!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Receive.

After having given up hope of receiving the Sacrament until I got back home, I finally received this morning.

I found a place* that is very orthodox and independent enough of Canterbury that I could conscientiously receive. It might be going too far to say their communion with Canterbury is impaired, but it definitely would not go too far to say that it’s not 100%. And that’s good enough for me.

So, though it was dawn on a Monday morning, I walked with a spring in my step to go and take my first communion in almost exactly a month (in spite of going to services just about every day).

Though very solemn, this Mass wasn’t tinged with sadness for me like other Eucharists I’ve attended in the past month. There wasn’t that sense that I was missing out, that I was only a partial participant. A number of the prayers of the Mass are such that they remind you that you are not receiving if that is the case. And I’ve felt that loss each of the few times I’ve attended a Eucharist in the past month.

But not this morning.

After I received and sat down, I felt a deep peace, like a sense of relief. And after the Mass ended I had to pause to regain my composure before going to breakfast.

*(I think it best I not identify the place. The nature of their relationship with Canterbury was given in a confidential conversation. So I think it best to be extra safe for their sake and keep it confidential.)
Quiet Evensongs at New College

Two of the New College Choral Evensongs I’ve attended have been unaccompanied, no organ or instruments. Both were excellent services. The quiet in the spaces and just having voices for the prayers and anthems definitely adds a certain atmosphere in the dark chapel.

And the choir is more than good enough to pull it off. They are amazing.

In the past I thought the Choir of New College was excellent, but not quite my style. I generally prefer a lighter style of singing, such as that of King’s College, Cambridge. But I’ve found I like New College more in person than their recordings. In fact, they may be my favorite Oxford choir right now. (Magdalen is a very close second and probably better some nights.)

And I think I’ve figured out one reason why New College sounds different – the boys sing at closer to full volume than other choirs.

By the way, I consider the liturgy at New College superior overall to that of Magdalen or Christ Church, which is interesting coming from me given that the chaplain, Dr. Jane Shaw, could probably be considered in the reappraiser camp. Last night, we “miserable sinners” even did the whole 1662 confession.

One thing that helps is that she doesn’t preach mini-sermons to introduce prayers. A number of English priests have a bad habit of doing so I’ve noticed.


There’s so many moments here I could write about. I need to put more of them down here, as much as for me as for you.

Like last night, I was about to leave the main quad of New College after an excellent Choral Evensong when I heard a piano.

Oxford is a very musical place. Often you’ll hear music when you least expect it. Well, there’s this piano practice room right by the way out of the quad. And this student was practicing. He, playing a complex piece, was obviously quite good. So without him knowing I stopped and listened, turning back toward the quad.

There was the least bit of light remaining from dusk outlining the quad and the pinnacles of the chapel and hall. Light dimly showed through the stained glass windows. And it was quiet, just the piano providing a stirring background.

After a while, distant bells began ringing. For once, Oxford bells were out of place, at least then and there. And the student pianist paused to regain his bearings on the piece.

I took that as the time to walk on, content.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

World Cup Rugby Final

I’m relaxing by watching the World Cup Rugby Final, England vs. South Africa. England’s going a bit crazy over this, so I thought I might as well watch. However, it doesn’t look terribly interesting so far.

There’s a benefit for me though. One of my favorite pubs, The Bear, had plenty of seating though it’s a Saturday night. . . . They don’t have a television.

I have to say I find the field goals in rugby interesting.

And the England fans' big song? Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. I'm not kidding.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So Much to Blog. So Little Time.

Yes, my blogging frequency has gone down. Researching and writing a 6-8 page essay a week kinda puts a crimp on other writing. I bet I’ll be so glad when my last essay is done. I’m already getting a bit tired of them. And I’ve only done two with six to go!

By the way, I’m so glad I’m taking a half load. There is no way I could handle a full load. No way. Well, I guess I could do a half-baked job on everything. But that’s not my nature. And I would burn out anyway.

I mentioned a while back about the Oxford malaise that had caught me. I haven’t posted on it much because I didn’t want to get too personal and depressing. But let’s just say “malaise” was understating things at times.

But a week ago as I was in Magdalen College chapel for choral evening prayer, I prayed that God would “restore a right spirit in me.”

And he did. I sensed it as soon as I left Magdalen.

With the exception of a dark mood brought on by a certain college dining hall malnourishing me (a situation now resolved.), I’ve been upbeat even during gloomy rainy days that were getting me down before.

Part of the new positivity is I’m enjoying the Englishness around me more. For example, one of my tutorial readings is from The Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, which is basically a journal. I love that sort of thing.

Well, I’d say more, but like I said . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007


Kendall Harmon very graciously, but quite clearly has blown the cover off the railroading of the Joint Standing Committee Report, which gave the Episcopal Church a pass, of course.

At this point, I think one has to be either naïve or a foaming liberal not to see that the whole so-called “Windsor Process” is rigged. And it probably has been rigged from the start.

I’m now convinced that Eames, the Blarney Bishop, Rowan Williams and friends started the whole process with the Lambeth Commission and the Windsor Report to buy time. They never intended to hold the Episcopal Church to the modest requirements of Windsor.

And when the Primates tried to push things along and assist the orthodox, Rowan threw sand in the gears. The Primates asked, as a matter of urgency, for a Panel of Reference to help relieve the orthodox. Rowan dragged his feet, then appointed a committee of foot-draggers chaired by a rank liberal. The Primates drew a line in the sand of September 30th . Rowan fuzzed it into “a starting point.” Etc., etc, ad nauseum.

Yes, Rowan Williams has been an active party to this charade, to this rigging of “the Windsor Process.” Behind his pretense of supposedly being even handed and letting the Primates decide, he has subverted them every step of the way.

Rowan has strung the orthodox along for four long years. Now he’ll leave North American orthodox hanging out to dry. Rowan’s answer to those who can no longer conscientiously stay in the Episcopal Church? Stay in the Episcopal Church. Oh, and your bishops are “illicit.” And all the TEC bishops (save one, and he’ll probably get invited, too) are invited to Lambeth for tea.

We’ve waited four long years for that? We’ve been fools and played for fools. And if you’re waiting for some covenant to bring a decent resolution, you’ll get fooled again.

But not me anymore. I’m through waiting for Rowan. And, yes, I’m still not taking communion from anyone in full communion with him.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Edwardtide Glory (and fun) in London.

Last night, I took the Oxford Tube (my first double-decker bus) to London. The main reason was a Sung Eucharist on the Eve of the Translation of St. Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey.

King Edward was the founder of Westminster Abbey (hence, their celebration of “Edwardtide”) so I thought it would be special. And was I right!

First, I got off the bus early on a whim to walk through Hyde Park. Broad green spaces are therapeutic for me. It became a bit warm though. I guess I better stop complaining about cold, grey days.

The service at Westminster was excellent. Of course, I could nitpick like any traditionalist neophyte liturgist. But the usher, without any prompting from me, guided me to the “Canada” seat on the back row of the choir. And it was a very comfortable, relatively private, and excellent place to hear and view the service. Heck, I was right next to one of the lectors. Arriving early has its perks. And I guess I’ll have to stop blaming Canada . . . for a while.

The choir sang Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices very well. The organ pieces, mainly from Bach, were very well selected and played. (By the way, Bach’s organ pieces can really speak to me.)

I liked the sermon from the Dean, which pointed out that we celebrate King Edward in part because England is not a (nasty) secular state like France.

We sang excellent hymns in praise of St. Edward. Yes, I love that sort of thing.

And after the service, the screen was opened for us to go behind it and circumnavigate the shrine of St. Edward. Very medieval.

The bells were ringing like crazy, which only increased my joy from the service when I stepped outside. I was so happy as I walked to the excellent Italian dinner I stumbled upon (Spaghetti House near St. Martins-at-the-Fields is expensive, but good.).

Then I attended my first ever London theatre to see Spamalot. I bought the ticket online during a discount promotion. It was A-10, so I thought it would a good front row seat in the balconies. Wrong! It was FRONT ROW, PERIOD!

(Now, be warned that Spamalot is more bawdy than the Monty Python and the Holy Grail it “lovingly” rips off. But, with that caveat, it was good fun.)

Yes, it was an auspicious evening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Turkey has no shame.

I need to run off and get going on academics, but I can’t let this pass.

Turkey truly has no shame. They still get oh-so-outraged when light is shed on their genocide of Armenians 1915-17.

If you want a good history lesson on that, the Daily Mail had an excellent article a few weeks ago. Be warned that it’s not easy reading.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Flummery is fun.

The past four nights, I’ve gone to three special services with extra doses of ceremony and flummery.

First at Christ Church was the installation of two professors as canons of the cathedral. I was really going there for the choral evensong part of it. But there was a man in a funny wig and the reading of Letters Patent from Her Majesty, the Queen.

It also happened to Be a Chorister for a Day night. So the choristers-for-a-day gathered haphazardly in the aisle in the midst of the choir to help sing the opening introit. The informality was quite a contrast with the installation of canons later.

Oh, and after the service, all the vested clergy escorted the new canons around Tom Quad to their new lodgings.

The following night, the new head choristers were installed at Magdalen College with the President of the College reading the installations to the two kneeling choristers . . . in Latin.

Then last night at Christ Church was the Court Sermon (formerly known as the Assize Sermon). Lots of funny wigs and outfits in procession, as the local judges were there.

What was most surprising, however, was the Court Sermon itself. When I saw that a Rev. Dr. Michael Spence, Fellow of St. Catherine’s College and Head of the Social Sciences Division (uh oh) was giving it, I thought it might be one I quietly slip out of (especially since the choir’s duties were pretty much finished at that point).

But it was actually a good sermon from what I could hear. (I was sitting behind a column.) And he actually preached the gospel. Yes, you read that right. In fact, his whole sermon was a winsome gospel presentation. And (except for a quibble or two) he did it well.

And that impressed me more than all the flummery.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Random Oxford Thread

The Choir of New College is sounding good . . . really good.


I think the favorite part of Christ Church’s services for some of the choristers is actually after the service when two of them come out during the organ voluntary and put out the candles of the choir stalls.

One chorister in particular, the tallest one, has a look of pure entranced delight when he does this. The pyro.


If Brasenose College isn’t a snooty little place, you could have fooled me. I’ve been here about six weeks now. And I can’t recall ever seeing it open to the public.


One of the big events of “Naught (0) Week” (which was this past week) is the Freshers Fair. (“Freshers” is Oxford for Freshmen.) Other new students are invited, too. Hence, I had a ticket to go in.

It is quite a crowded ordeal, not unlike a cattle drive.

For some reason, the first section you go through is that of left-wing politicos. When I saw a sign proclaiming Bush the world’s number 1 terrorist, I said, “Ah, this must be the looney section.”

Yes, I somehow made it through that section intact.

I did find some interesting and worthwhile organizations. I’m definitely getting involved with the chess club . . . and the Real Ale Club. Yes! And it will be good to get involved with some people. I’ve been a bit lonely at times.


I am now also a member of the Oxford Gregorian Chant Society.


You know the way English children sound like in the movies?

They really sound that way. It’s delightful.


I know this isn’t an Oxford matter, but I’ve neglected to mention something not yet generally known: the Choir of King’s College will be doing a U. S. tour this coming Spring. One of their stops will be Dallas in April.

I heard it from Mr. Cleobury himself.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Very Interesting

This bit of news posted over at Stand Firm is very interesting, particularly this from reporter Jonathan Petre:

Sometime in November, a conservative archbishop is planning to announce radical plans to adopt a breakaway group of conservative American dioceses,and the resulting collision could prove very messy indeed. Under the plans, between three and five dioceses will - over a period of time - opt out of The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the conservative province thousands of miles away. The proposals, which I have seen, have been drawn up over a number of months and follow extensive consultations between the bishops of the American dioceses and their counterparts in the province concerned.

As if that’s not interesting enough, then comes this in the comments:

++Venables is the patron of FACA which is having a meeting of bishops next week. . . .

I did not know that. Since most of the members of FACA are also in Common Cause, that will likely be discussed.

Then I chime in on who the “conservative archbishop” might be:

I’m betting on ++Venables. Just a hunch.

And do note who soon concurs.

Like I said – interesting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

By the way . . .

I’m not ignoring the statement from the Common Cause bishops meeting, which sounds like good progress. I just don’t have anything profound to say about it at the moment.

However, it so happens I’ve been elected a delegate to the 2008 REC General Council next summer. Since Common Cause and its efforts will almost certainly be on our agenda, it just might be interesting.
Peaceful Islam

This needs no elaboration from me:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Taliban militants hanged a teenager in southern Afghanistan because he had U.S. money in his pocket, and they stuffed five $1 bills in his mouth as a warning to others not to use dollars, police said Monday. Taliban militants elsewhere killed eight police.

The 15-year-old boy was hanged from a tree on Sunday in Helmand, the most violent province in the country and the world's No. 1 poppy-growing region.

"The Taliban warned villagers that they would face the same punishment if they were caught with dollars," said Wali Mohammad, the district police chief in Sangin.

Dollars are commonly used in Afghanistan alongside the afghani, the local currency, although the U.S. currency is more commonly seen in larger cities where international organizations are found.

Militants often justify their attacks and executions as a response to U.S. meddling in Afghan affairs.

In Sangin on Saturday, the Taliban shot and killed another man who had sought farm assistance and seeds from an international aid program, Mohammad said. The militants accused him of being a spy.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Saturday was Michaelmas. Friday I walked down a narrow lane by the hotel and found it led right past Little St. Mary’s church. And I read a notice that they were having High Mass for Michaelmas at 10am.

So I went, and I am glad I did so. The service was wonderful. I knew from my visit almost two years ago that they knew how to worship, but it was even better than I expected, with Michaelmas hymns, too! Yes, there is a such a thing.

Adding to the glory of it were the occasional sunbeams shining across the sanctuary through the incense.

Not being able to receive the Holy Sacrament (See my 9-21 post.) added a little melancholy, but made me pray that much harder for unity amongst orthodox Anglicans. I prayed one day I would be able to take communion here once again.

I’m glad Little St. Mary’s had High Mass on Michaelmas. That way I could have my Little St. Mary’s and King’s College, too, without missing a service this weekend at King’s.

In the evening was the first public choral service at King’s this term, an Evensong. (They had a private service marking the beginning of term Friday night. And, yes, Cambridge begins their Michaelmas term a week earlier than Oxford.) I have very much looked forward to this service as those who know me would easily imagine.

And the choir sounded great, better I think than even two years ago. I think the choir is younger than two years ago. That may be why it sounds better to me. There was an older boy two years ago who was the star, and deservedly so, but who had a style that IMHO was slightly out of synch with the traditional King’s College sound. And that affected the sound of the whole choir. They were excellent, of course, but not that pure King’s sound I prefer. Now, they sound more like King’s College to me.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, this was the most special Michaelmas I’ve ever had.
Random Weekend in Cambridge Thread

I’m on a three hour bus ride to Cambridge (Yes, it takes that long. Yes, it’s ridiculous.) mainly to study the windows at Kings College and to enjoy the first choral services of the term there.

So I thought I’d catch up on some random thoughts. I don’t know when I’ll get around to posting them though.


Jan Morris, in her book Oxford, wrote of a malaise in the atmosphere of the town that drags the spirit down or at least makes it complacent. I looked askance when I read that back in Texas. But now I think I know what’s she was talking about.

For I’ve had a couple bouts of malaise, even mild depression. I don’t quite know why. Maybe it is something in the air in Oxford. Or that the pleasant weather and long days are quickly becoming unpleasant and short.

I’ve even been mildly homesick a couple times. I haven’t been homesick since I was a little kid! That this is by far the longest I’ve been away from home since college is probably part of it. That I miss my friendships back home is surely another.

It’s strange. I’ve reminded myself that I’m in an awesome situation. I should be happy! And lately I have been. I’m in good spirits now. But I’ve certainly experienced some of that Oxford malaise.


I’m always content in the Oxford University libraries, however. Yes, I’m strange. But they are also amazing. You wouldn’t believe what they have just on the open shelves. The surroundings also inspire one to read.

I’m glad the lecture part of the semester is over so I can spend more time reading and exploring in the libraries. Sitting and listening is not the best or most enjoyable way for me to learn anyway.


I’m in Cambridge now. One difference between Oxford and Cambridge: in Cambridge, you can get a hotel room in the middle of town, look out your window . . . and see cows.

In fact, after a pint (ONE pint mind you, with food) across this path through their pasture, I had conversation with them on the way back. Very therapeutic.


By the way, I probably won’t post this until I get back in Oxford Sunday night. The internet charges are so ridiculous where I’m staying, I thought it best to just fast from the net. I’m dedicating my fast to prayer for the Common Cause bishops meeting (even though it will probably be over by the time I’m back in touch with the Anglican world).


With Labour well ahead in the polls, there may be a parliamentary election called while I’m here. Fun, fun!

But not so fun for the Conservatives. Their leader David Cameron is, well, a loser. He doesn’t really give any reason to vote for him, either in his personage or his issues. If I were a Brit, about the only reason I’d vote Conservative is that they aren’t Labour.

The Conservatives certainly aren’t the party of Maggie Thatcher anymore. And Labour PM Brown shrewdly played on that by having her pay a high profile visit to 10 Downing Street recently.

I wonder if The Monster Raving Looney Party is still around.


On the bus back to Oxford now. Except for noise issues at my hotel, it was a great weekend. I hope to have a post or two up about it soon.

But I wish it wasn’t such a long bus trip back. I want to get back online and catch up with people! Besides, I still don’t know anything about how the Common Cause bishops meeting came out.


Back. And dead tired.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

BREAKING (or not): Bishops of West Texas Sit on Fence

The TEC bishops of West Texas have issued their response to the House of Bishops meeting and statement. It can be found here. The money passages:

. . . the response we made on Tuesday was less than the two of us had hoped for, but more than we had expected after our discussions on Monday. Despite our reservations about the final document, a careful reading shows we did go further than the Bishops were able to go in March. Is it far enough? Is our response adequate? As many have stated, we should know that in the very near future when the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Primates and the Joint Standing Committee, offer their response to our response.

So before I make a real response to TEC’s response, I’ll wait for Rowan’s response to TEC’s response. Then I’ll think more about my response to TEC’s and Rowan’s response before making a full response.

Fifth, some have asked why the Windsor Bishops have not issued a minority report. After various conversations, we decided to wait for the response to this statement from those who asked the questions. Over the past several years, the Windsor group has met numerous times. We have issued signed statements, minority reports, principles, etc. and the prevailing view is simply to hear the response to our response.

See above.

That, my friends, is some serious fence-sitting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An Appropriate Collect

The 1662 BCP collect for this week is very timely.

O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Amen indeed.

If you think the craze for relics is just a medieval thing, think again!
My Thoughts on U. S. Anglican Doings

Going into the TEC House of Bishops meeting, which just ended, and the Common Cause College of Bishops meeting, which just began, I felt it was necessary for Common Cause to unite into a new province, if necessarily with a federal structure. And I was convinced that the Episcopal Church is no place for the orthodox.

That much hasn’t changed. But the events in the TEC HOB meeting gave me two negative surprises which have hardened my views even further if you can imagine that.

1. As I mentioned a few days ago, Rowan Williams’ clarity on his attitude toward distressed North American Anglicans and those new bishops shepherding them shocked me. His stated solution to those who can’t stay in the Episcopal Church is . . . to stay in the Episcopal Church and not come under those “illicit bishops” outside TEC.

2. It’s hard to know for sure. But so far it seems the tripe passed by the TEC HOB received only one no vote. In a way I’m glad if this is so. It speaks volumes on the spinelessness of those so-called Windsor bishops who are dead set on remaining in the Episcopal Church.

These two factors make it even clearer, if that’s possible, that there is no safe place for the orthodox in the Episcopal Church. And forget about Rowan coming to the rescue. Please. Frankly my sympathy for the arguments of those who want to stay in, especially the Windsor bishops, is wearing thin.

So I will continue to pray and pray hard for the Common Cause meeting. I don’t want to think about the consequences if they fail to make significant progress toward forming a new orthodox Anglican province.

Lord have mercy upon us.
Christ have mercy upon us.
Lord have mercy upon us.

A hat tip to Baby Blue for this update:
The New York Times confirms only one bishop voiced a “no” vote.