Friday, October 24, 2008

Christ the King final Sunday in October

I am busy in Roanoke today, but I want to post a link to my sermon for Christ the King Sunday from 2006.

32 comments:

Matthew Nelson said...

If we are "Continuing Anglicans," why are we observing a Feast never placed on our former jurisdiction, not even as an optional feast?

Alternatively, presuming that we "Continuing Anglicans" observe the feast solely on the authority of Pius XI, then why don't we follow Paul VI's authority regarding the date of its observance?

In short, does not the fact that North American Anglo-Catholics observe a feast never collegially recognized by North-American Catholics, and then choose their own date to observe it just wreak to high heaven of the principles of do-what-ever-you-want, to-hell-with-the-Church-or-tradition Protestantism?

What am I missing here? Does this brand of Anglo-Catholicism have no clothe?

Sandra McColl said...

'Alternatively, presuming that we "Continuing Anglicans" observe the feast solely on the authority of Pius XI, then why don't we follow Paul VI's authority regarding the date of its observance?'

Seeing no great harm in the feast, and in any case not being in a position to control whether it is celebrated or not, I can only say that the old way is better than the new: the Sunday Next before Advent has its own special identity, which should not be perpetually displaced by another.

traditionalanglican said...

If I have done my reading correctly, the various book used by many Anglo-Catholics never had authority in the Episcopal Church. The only book which appears to have been given any authority was the Lesser Feasts and Fasts. In some continuing church jurisdictions the various missals can be used with approval from the Bishop. If any jurisdiction makes a missal the basics of worship, I do not know of it.

To me if you use the BCP with no additions, or do a full “Missal Mass” make no difference. I light of everything going on within the Anglican community, which calendar you use is of little concern to me. I am fully aware of the discussion about Christ the King, Corpus Christi, and other items in the Missal Kalendar. Fine but to call those who chose to be on one side or the other not to be Anglican is to my mind a very unhealthy discussion.

Canon Tallis said...

I may be excessively fond of the full prayer book tradition and consequently dislike such very late Roman additions as the feast of Christ the King more than I should. But I also believe that their is such a thing as true Catholic obedience and remember that in the Church of England in the old days (and probably even to this day) you were required to "use this book and no other." Therefore I find myself siding with Mister Nelson in this discussion and disagreeing with Sandra in that I also find any unthinking imitation of the Church of Rome a matter of great harm in that it implies to that Church an authority which the general councils and the majority of bishops and Catholic fathers of the first five centuries denied it.

A major weakness of Continuing Anglicanism in particular and Anglicanism in general is that we have so little sense of ourselves or knowledge of our own tradition. A great deal of this comes from what Proctor and Frere's A New History of the Book of Common Prayer calls "the false tradition" which those who wanted to be known as Anglicans but refused to acknowledge or obey the Book of Common Prayer have created since the restoration of the Church in 1660. But for those of us who are supposed to know and value the tradition to debase it in this fashion is, at the very least, unfortunate in that it gives the lie to all our protestations. It is, at the very best, unthinking.

All that being expressed and strongly so, I side - to a point - with the "traditional anglican" in that I believe we need to exercise charity to those who simply don't and probably will never be able to understand the issues. The type of internal psychology which results in this type of behaviour is not going to be erased overnight or even in a generation of great teaching and practise. The 'papier mache' Catholicism of the Roman Church is very attractive to those who neither know or care about the real teaching of the classical prayer books and the real Anglicanism. It was designed to be so and to overwhelm by its false grandeur its failure to meet or live up to the standards of the fathers, the creeds, the General Councils and antiquity itself. It was against this that Anglicanism and the Church of England and its true daughters have struggled since the rise of the Hildebrandine conception of the papal office. Our challenge is simply to know and to do better.

Anonymous said...

Being a "Continuing Anglican" does not mean we are frozen in time, with no room for liturgical development, as long as it is consistent with the fundamental principles of the Common Prayer tradition. I feel that the Feast of Christ the King is a an excellent addition, but I prefer it to come on the Sunday Next Before Advent rather than on an arbitrary assignment which interrupts Trinity Season.
Placing "Christ the King" just before Advent caps off Trinity with a strong eschatological emphasis. The Gospel appointed could well be changed to the Great Assizes passage in Matthew 25:31ff.
(The John 6 miracle has already been read on Lent IV anyhow.)
The historic Collect could be tweaked thus:
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord Christ, the wills of thy faithful people; that we, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded when thou comest in thy kingdom, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

Even if Christ the King was a modern Roman feast, it was a good idea. And most years this Sunday comes close to Thanksgiving Day.
The Altar Guild has to put out the white paraments anyway. This saves them the trouble of putting out green for just one more Sunday.
LKW

Paul Goings said...

...a feast never collegially recognized by North-American Catholics...

What does this mean?

Anonymous said...

I forgot to point out that the Sunday NBA reading from Jeremiah xxiii. 5, simply cries out for a sermon on Our Lord's kingly office.
It is perfect for "The Feast of Christ the King, Observed and Kept on the Sunday Next Before Advent."
LKW

highchurchman said...

canon tallis entirely.

Highchurchman.

John A. Hollister said...

Matthew Nelson asked, "If we are 'Continuing Anglicans,' why are we observing a Feast never placed [sic] on our former jurisdiction, not even as an optional feast?"

As I told the congregation to which I preached this morning, at least for the Anglican Catholic Church the Festival of Christ the King is an authorized "Black Letter Day" because it is placed on the last Sunday in October in the Kalendar of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon's Book of Common Prayer of 1963.

That edition of the BCP is one of the ones that the ACC's Constitution expressly authorizes for use throughout the ACC. It occupies this position, of course, because the CIPBC _is_ the ACC's "Second Province".

Thus for those Continuing Anglicans (sans quotation marks) who are members of the ACC, it is utterly irrelevant whether PECUSA did or does recognize this observance, just as it is irrelevant to us that the same PECUSA recognizes female "ordinations", promotes homosexual "marriages", or does a whole host of other things.

John A. Hollister+

Matthew Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I will leave it to Canon Hollister to defend the canonical status of the Feast of Christ the King. Personally I have no great zeal about whether it is celebrated one Sunday or another. No principle is at stake for me in that, and I have already stated my preference for the Sunday NBAdvent.
NT Wright has somewhere written that this is a redundant feast, in that our Lord's royal office is already celebrated on Ascension Day. But like the doctrine of the Real Presence, the Kingship of the Crucified is worth celebrating more than once a year. A sermon could be developed that Ascension Day and Sunday NBA Advent form a parenthesis around a sustained assertion that Jesus is King.

Be that as it may, I would feel myself delinquent if I did not at least once a year devote a sermon to the meaning of Christ's kingship. As a child I memorized,
"Christ executeth the office of a king in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies." I can get at least three sermons out of that. White vestments and a snappy bulletin cover help it along.
What's the big deal?
LKW

Anonymous said...

For Prayer Book fundamentalists who get testy at the thought of replacing Prayer Book propers with something from the Missal(s), let me point out that the Epistle and Gospel for Sunday NBAdvent already point to the theme of Christ the King. The "epistle" from Jeremiah contains the glorious text "a King shall reign and prosper." The Gospel from John 6 (open your Bibles, please) stops just short of
the text "Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him a king."
That fairly cries out for a sermon on the crown of thorns.
LKW

Matt said...

Thanks for the thoughtful discussion of my inquiry. I have suggested a possible "solution" (for those who feel the observance of the Feast of Christ the King is in some way problematic for Continuing Anglicans) on my blog:

http://orthodoxanglican.blogspot.com/

My solution is based on the actual service of Trinity XXIII celebrated by a Continuum Bishop, which I found very edifying.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Heaven forbid that I would do anything simply on the basis of a pope's authority, which I see as limited properly to his own. I wrote the sermon when I was still in the Province of Christ the King, where it seemed almost mandatory, and I posted the link in a hotel lobby knowing that others wanted to use the only computer in the whole place (having already fielded one "excuse me; how much longer will you be?").

The ACC has approved specific Missal use, and the Anglican observation of the Christ the King Feast came at a time (by way of permission, of course) between the World Wars, at which time some Lutherans and even Orthodox adopted it. In that period between the World Wars the message was loud and clear: The Christian kings of Europe went to war with each other because they forgot that each of them had to give account to the one King who rules over them all. This war between Christian kings involved an alliance with the Turks on one side, and it also caused the establishment of an atheist Communist state in Russia. The world has never recovered.

The historian in me likes this feast, and sees the rebuke to all earthly powers, especially those powers that were supposed to have been wielded by Christians in accord with God's commandments. "The war to end all wars" has made the earth a more dangerous place, and with millions of lives snuffed out. This is because of Christian kings who forgot that Christ was their king.

Matt said...

Fr. Hart,

I was always taught that, in addition to the merits of the Feast itself, the motivation of Pius the XI's addition of CTK was, as it happened, as the last hurrah of the Counter-Reformation in contraposition to Reformation Sunday, which is still more or less universally observed by Lutherans and Reformed Confessions. (and it doesn't surprise me that postconcilar Rome wanted to undo this tit-for-tat and moved the Feast to a non-polemical date as part of its Novus Ordo.

Also, I had never heard of Orthodox CTK -- at least not in the Eastern Rites. I am always, however, open to a history lesson though.

Sincerely,

MDN

Matt said...

Fr. Hollister,

In the ACC, does the canonicity of the Feast of Christ the King really rest on the 1963 calendar additions in India, Burma, and Ceylon? I mean, had this not happened, would the ACC seriously have not put the Feast on its calendar?

Sincerely,

MDN

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...the motivation of Pius the XI's addition of CTK was, as it happened, as the last hurrah of the Counter-Reformation in contraposition to Reformation Sunday...

That could be (and Reformation Sunday is not in the Book of Common Prayer); but how strange indeed it would be for Christ the King to possess in anyone's mind a denominational rallying cry. The theme seems infinitely larger to me.

It was quite typical of the innocent early years of ecumenism between the WWs (and the feast seems to have caught on outside of the RCC circa 1925), and of that period when Anglicans hoped for a Reunion that would have room for their convictions, to find ways for the various churches to share ideas and feasts. To some degree this too may have been part of the post WWI "peace movement" reaction.

Anonymous said...

To answer Matt:

Not to invade Fr Hollister's area of expertise, Feast of Christ the King was already "authorized" in both Anglican and American Missals, which were legally authorized in the Affirmation of St Louis and subsequent legislation of various Continuing Churches. It was authorized as a Votive "Of the Reign of Christ" with the very same Collect, Epistle and Gospel in the 1963 edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Theologically, it is beyond criticism. So what is your point? This discussion is stating to sound like Pontius Pilate's question, "So thou art a king, then?" I solemnly promise I will not look at this thread again, even to see if this comment passes muster with Albion. Enough!
LKW

John A. Hollister said...

Matt asked, "In the ACC, does the canonicity of the Feast of Christ the King really rest on the 1963 calendar additions in India, Burma, and Ceylon? I mean, had this not happened, would the ACC seriously have not put the Feast on its calendar?"

To this point, neither the Constitution nor the Canons of the ACC has never adopted any official Kalendar unique to that jurisdiction. Instead, it has merely inherited the Kalendars that were previously enacted by certain Provinces of the Lambeth Communion, back in the days of their orthodoxy, as constituent parts of the specific editions of the Book of Common Prayer that the ACC has authorized (C of E 1549, PECUSA 1928, CPSA 1954, CIPBC Supplement to the BCP 1960, Canada 1962, CIPBC BCP 1963).

I suppose that the ACC could devise and adopt its own official Kalendar but that would be tantamount to Prayer Book revision which, even after 32 years, is still a very touchy subject, one that sends shudders down the spines of everyone who envisions what it might be like to attend a Provincial Synod where that were on the agenda.

Reasonable men may differ in their interpretations of the words "The Book of Common Prayer ... shall be the Standard of Public Worship of this Church, together with The Anglican Missal, The American Missal, The English Missal, and other missals and devotional manuals, based on and conforming to those editions of The Book of Common Prayer." (Art. XIV, Sec. 1, Constitution of the ACC.)

That is, it may be open to argument whether every single thing found within the covers of those enumerated Missals is authorized or only those things that actually conform to the BCP. However, charity and prudence suggest that is a can of worms, the opening of which is not strictly required at this juncture, so long as priests in valid Orders celebrate rites that, at a minimum, serve to confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist; even if they possibly go beyond what is necessary to accomplish this, they never fall below what is neccessary for that.

Anyone who has read the history of the Ritualist Controversies in England in the late 19th and early 20th Century knows how fruitless and unproductive, and ultimately destructive, such disputes are.

I have celebrated in parishes where the congregation follows the Prayer Book line by line to make sure there is not one word of addition and I have celebrated in parishes that use all the options provided for in the Missals (to the extent that someone unable to sing can do so, that is). I firmly believe that the prudent, pastoral thing is to give each congregation the service to which it is accustomed, because people do not come to church to be unsettled.

So if some wish to use all of the Black Letter Days suggested by the Kalendar in one or another of the Missals, doing so may in fact be authorized and in any case cannot possibly do any harm. In fact, the more occasions folks have to go to church and assist at Mass, the better, in my opinion.

John A. Hollister+

Matthew Nelson said...

Fr. Hollister,

Though I am not sure that you answered my question (as if you are required to do so!), I nevertheless take your point that the Affirmation's use of "conforming to the BCP" is a bit vague.

Personally, I certainly would hope that no one would interpret it as meaning "exact compliance," else the whole point of allowing "certain variances" would be moot. We surely don't want to require "Prayer Book fundamentalism," though having no issue with those that find its exact letter both sufficient and edifying for non-legalistic reasons.

Rather, I would hope that the word "conforming" in the Affirmation would cause all those who see the Affirmation as the foundational document of Continuing Anglicanism (and I believe it is a very good foundation) to take time to seriously reflect just how loyal they are to the spirit and ethos of the entire Book of Common Prayer Tradition, which is built on Old Sarum and was never meant to be conform to the Roman Tridentine Missal, and not seek out as many legalistic loopholes as they possibly can to avoid our tradition and supersede it with distinctly different tradition (which all are free to switch to at any time if spiritually or aesthetically so compelled).

In short, I would hope that 'Our Sunday Visitor' would leave every Continuuing Anglican parish with the thought that they had indubitably experienced distinctively Anglican worship, mostly in common with the historical Anglican tradition. (I suppose certain special exceptions might be made for reasons of evangelization and mission to congregations with strong Continental, not British, identity and patrimony, but they ought not be pervasive or common place.)

Christ's Peace,

MDN

Sandra McColl said...

"I firmly believe that the prudent, pastoral thing is to give each congregation the service to which it is accustomed, because people do not come to church to be unsettled."

What? Respect for the laity? This could start a revolution.

John A. Hollister said...

Matt Nelson wrote that he hopes that no one would interpret "conforming to" as meaning "in exact compliance with" and I would certainly agree with him on that.

In the ACC, we once had a bishop who tried to require all of the clergy in his diocese to use only the English Missal with the Gregorian Canon, which to my mind seems to deny that the Prayer Book is the Standard of Public Worship, fails to conform to the Prayer Book, and, when enforced uniformly and exclusively, scarcely qualifies as an Anglican Rite. Fortunately, however, this bishop's other odd ideas led him into other pastures, so he no longer presents a problem for us.

That case was so extreme that it made it pretty easy to draw a line and say, "This does not conform". I hope we will never have to take a millimeter rule and measure off the distance between this man's idiosyncratic liturgical concepts, at one end of the scale, and a celebration in surplice and tippet while standing at the North End, at the other end of the scale, and say, "Well, so-and-so far 'conforms' but beyond that precise distance everything is no longer conforming."

Again, prudence and charity in all things. Those of us who are agreed among ourselves on the important -- and closely-related -- issues of the Creedal nature of the Faith, the traditional Sacramental Theology and Ecclesiology, the nature of Holy Order, the necessity of the Apostolic Succession, and the basic Epistemology of the Church, are all under sufficient threat from outside that we do not need to fall out among ourselves over issues of decorative flourishes and the like.

When I travel and find another congregation where I can worship, I am so grateful for that oasis is the desert that I just can't worry about the species of palm tree the natives prefer to grow there, even when it is not the one I would have chosen for myself.

John A. Hollister+

Sandra McColl said...

"a celebration in surplice and tippet while standing at the North End"

Make it surplice, scarf & hood at the North End and I'll be back in my childhood.

On another note, Pusey House used to display a splendid painting of High Mass, with the three sacred ministers nicely arranged on the steps all proudly sporting surplice, scarf and hood.

John A. Hollister said...

Sandra McCholl's comment made me wonder: Is there a difference between a scarf and a tippet, other than, perhaps, one of construction (as a tippet's being folded and stitched out of two layers of cloth, into a sort of tube, and probably made out of some sort of faille or crepe, and a scarf's being knitted -- or woven selvage-to-selvage -- in one layer)?

I'd love to have a copy of that Pusey House painting of the High Mass, by the way. We've got a couple of parishes that could use a framed print to hang in some prominent place....

And I presume that the emphasis on wearing a hood at Mass is to underline that the precise manner in which the Real Presence occurs is a purely academic question?

John A. Hollister+

Sandra McColl said...

Scarf, tippet: probably a difference of terminology. I'm not a tat queen, so I often only know things by the name people use for them in my hearing.

I haven't been near Pusey house for 12 years, and haven't been a part of its community since 1986.

The painting (I think that's what it is) is of the last Mass at the Margaret Chapel.

Sandra McColl said...

With apologies to the late, great Fr Forrest:

The Anglican Continuum is BCP (approx.):
It's Kalendar is Popish and its Missal made by Knox.
Tridentine Bre-v-a-ries are occasionally used,
And frills and lace are commonplace and laity confused.

John A. Hollister said...

"Tat queen"? Is that an Antipodism? Or a sovereign provider of the quos that are exchanged in response to antecedent quids?

(I ask most respectfully and out of sincere interest, because I like the sound of the term, I just can't parse it.)

John A. Hollister+

Sandra McColl said...

A tat queen is the sort of clergyman, or seminarian or member of sanctuary party who has an obsessive interest in tat, being ecclesiastical textile decoration, whether in the form of clothing or otherwise.

By the way, this morning I thought I'd added this, but apparently it didn't make it (or was censored):

The Anglican Continuum is BCP (approx):
Its Kalendar is Popish and its Missal made by Knox.*
Tridentine Bre-vi-a-ries are occasionally used
And frills and lace are commonplace, and laity confused.

Actually, of course, it's Knott, but that doesn't rhyme with 'approx', and I'm not one to let the truth get in the way of a rhyme.

John A. Hollister said...

"The Anglican Continuum is BCP (or not):" would preserve the rhyme....

And thanks for elucidating "tat queen", which seems to be cousin german to a "chancel prancer".

By the way, in my experience comments on this blogspot. don't get censored; they're either rejected outright or posted with admonitory comments....

(The Blogmeisters seem to be pretty sensitive on the issue of censorship, having several of them experienced that same thing in other venues.)

John A. Hollister+

Sandra McColl said...

"BCP (approx)" is an homage to The Revd S J Forrest. I'm BCP (approx).

Canon Tallis said...

Since I am in an area where the local Continuum bishop's service so little approximates the BCP service in the interest of making it look and sound like the the old extreme Anglo-papalist one, I the the idea of conforming to the BCP requires more than anything we have ever gotten out of the missal clergy. After all, what is the advantage of having opted for 1928 over 1979 if all that you get is the creed and the 1662 canon so that the rest of the Gregorian canon can be said silently in Latin.

Frankly I think that one of the reasons why the Continuum has never grown in the way that I and others expected is that you never know what you can expect from parish to parish with it mostly being a case of every priest the pope at his own altar. And too many of those priests being like the ACC bishop who demanded the English Missal with the Gregorian canon.

If you are going to embellish or elaborate the American Calendar I would think that there are two logical places to seek for enrichment. One is the 1662 book and the other is that of the Scots Episcopal Church. But borrowing from the modern Roman calendar like other borrowings from the same have the effect of giving the Roman See and its bishop an authority which loyalty to the prayer book and Anglicanism should deny him. The result of all this are the Anglican priest who openly use the Roman Novum Ordo on the grounds that we never had the right or the authority to reform our own. But what really amuses me is that outside some very strange papists, the only place you are going to see "Latin" vestments, i.e., the fiddlebacks and tablard dalmatics and tunicles is in supposedly "high church" Anglican parishes.

And whether one likes it or not, it is my personal belief that all such practises represent an embarrassment with "mere Anglicanism" that eventually takes its toll on priest and parishioner alike. People finally give up and cross the Tiber only to find that what they expected is only rarely available to Romans.

We have in the Ornaments Rubric adequate justification for the use of the historic ornaments of the ministers, but it gives no one the authority to do anything other than was done "by authority of Parliament" in England. And this is probably why so-called evangelicals dislike it as much as Anglo-papists. It represents discipline and commitment and they both reject exactly that.

The hardest part of being Anglican is finding a parish where the religion is that of the prayer book and not that of the priest - or the bishop.

poetreader said...

Just a brief addendum to the thoughts here.

It has long seemed to me that in the USA where elections are so often hotly, fiercely, and agrily contested (as we have just seen today), that the end of October is an excellent time to be forced to remember who really is King. Whatever the historiical roots, I am very glad indeed to celebrate this feast on this date.

ed