Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saint Peter June 29th

Acts 12:1-11
Matt. 16:13-19

One of the marks of Divine Inspiration is the honesty of scripture concerning the heroes of our Faith. Instead of the sort of whitewashing that appears in folk legends, like George Washington and the cherry tree, we see real human beings who fall, get up again, and receive the grace of God. We see St. Paul calling himself the chief of sinners, and the least of the apostles because he had persecuted the Church before his conversion. We see the confusion and misunderstanding of the apostles, their lack of faith when they could not drive the demon out of the boy, so that Jesus had to do it himself. So too the Old Testament, where we see the faults of Moses himself, losing patience and striking the rock twice. The sins of David are recorded, and the pain he expressed as he repented and wrote the fifty-first Psalm. We see the sins of Solomon, and indeed, of the whole nation of Israel, telling on itself in the words of the prophets.

So, when we see the ministry of St. Peter in the Book of Acts, and how much he begins to resemble Jesus himself, it is only after the Gospels in which we have seen him fall, crash into the cliff, and then repent. He denied the Lord three times before the rooster crowed, and he repented with bitter weeping and tears. This should comfort all of us, because the story demonstrates the mercy of God, the grace of God and the power of God.

It demonstrates the mercy of God, because Peter was forgiven. It demonstrates the grace of God because Peter was restored and transformed. It demonstrates the power of God, because Peter fulfilled the ministry to which he had been called.

"The gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29)." St. Paul wrote those words in a long text about why God has not cast away his people Israel (to this day), and grafts back into the tree every branch that abides not still in unbelief. The gifts (χάρισμα, charisma) and calling (κλῆσις, klēsis) given to Peter follow the same general pattern, as do all gifts and callings that come through the means of indelible sacraments.

The Lord called the restoration of Peter his "conversion." Hear these words from the Gospel of St. Luke:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. Luke 22:31-34

In the last chapter of the Gospel of John, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ gives Peter the chance to affirm his love for him three times, three affirmations to cleanse his heart of the three denials. Three affirmations, as Jesus shows demonstrates the heart of pastoral ministry in healing Peter's agony.

As I said, Peter's life demonstrates God's mercy, God's grace and God's forgiveness.
Peter began his relationship with the Lord, after an initial introduction, with words of fear: After the miracle of the great catch of fish "he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." (Luke 5:8) The Lord responded with a call to ministry: "And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." (v.10) Years later Peter had denied the Lord out of fear for his own life, that same fleshly concern that had earlier prompted him to persuade Jesus away from his cross, in those words we heard for which Jesus rebuked him. But, with bitter crying and tears he turned, he was converted.
Jesus knew what was in Peter. Jesus knows what is in me. He knows what is in you.He knows whether the deposit of rich faith is in a person's heart, and if it is there, he knows that after falling his servant will stand up again; that, after crashing against reality his servant will be converted. He knows that his true servant will always convert, always turn ever more and more to his Lord, no matter how hard his fall may have been. Eventually, the servant will be like his Lord, the disciple like his Master. He praised the faith of Peter, and the ears that Peter had, for they were ears to hear. Because of that true faith, Jesus could predict a time when this man would unlock the Church of God to the Jewish people, to Samaritans, and then to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius, making use in this world of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; that Peter would become the rock upon which he, Christ, would build his Church. He would, as Jesus commanded, strengthen his brethren, acting as the obvious leader in the earliest days of their ministry after Pentecost. This was also in line with what Jesus had said to them all: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."(Matt. 18:18, "Ye," a form of "you," is always plural)

The Simon Peter we see in the Book of Acts is not the same man anymore, except for the richness of his faith and his ears to hear. And, even that is greater than before. After seeing his Master risen from the dead, and then after being filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, this servant was like his Lord, this disciple was like his Master. No longer did he boast confidently, "I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death." Instead of confidence in the flesh he truly had power from the Holy Spirit. He did follow his Lord, eventually even to his own cross, nailed upside on Vatican Hill in Rome to die as a martyr.
The key to understanding why the apparent contradiction did not confound Jesus is found in these words: "Upon this rock I will build my Church." The faith that God has is faith in himself.

Jesus Christ builds his Church, and nothing will stop him from kicking in the gates of Hell through His Church. He first binds the strong man, and then plunders his goods. He it is that leads his Church terrible as an army with banners when it assails the gates and defeats the enemy. We may think it is our efforts, gifts or talents that build the Church. But, Jesus Christ builds his Church himself, and gives us the wonderful privilege of being a part of his work. Jesus was not placing his faith in Peter's ability, or even in his faithfulness. The Lord knew what lay ahead, as St. John wrote, "But Jesus ... knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." (John 2:24, 25)How can this be? The same man, within seconds, is both the blessed rock upon whom Jesus will build his Church that conquers the very gates of Hell, and then corrected with the most sharp and painful words Christ ever spoke to any disciple other than Judas. What is even more astonishing is this: Jesus had spoken highly of Peter's faith, his willingness to hear from the Father, and told of the future place he would have in God's work to build the Church, even though he knew that Simon yet possessed the kind of flaw that would lead to his next statement.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)

The Lord began their time together by answering Peter's fear with the call to catch men, and now he heals Peter's inner suffering with the call to feed his sheep. Not only does Jesus forgive, but he calls him to work.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. -Matt.16:21-24

This is the same man who was just given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven
, praised by God himself, the Lord Jesus, for receiving the truth that the Father had granted to him. Here he is called "Satan," that is an adversary; the words he had previously spoken were from God's own revelation to him, and then his words came from the Devil and from the flesh; from Satan and from "the things of men." That is, fallen sinful men who live for gratification and survival, knowing nothing higher and better.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. Luke 22:31-34

The word "conversion" does not mean that you change your religious affiliation, and it simply does not mean that you leave one part of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church for another. It means that you are turning, whether quickly or slowly, away from sin, unbelief and weakness to God, who alone gives holiness, faith and power. In the case of Peter, he turned from the weakness of confidence in his own strength, so that he could be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

"Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death." Simon Peter was confident in the flesh, his own estimation of his love and courage blinding him to the truth about himself. This brings us to today's Gospel. For, shortly after Peter declares the truth, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God," and is told that he is blessed for the revelation given to him, what immediately follows comes across as a shock, a story of just how complicated a bag of walking contradictions one man can be.

I know that many times I have failed Christ my Lord, and you know in your heart that you have failed him too. But, you and I know also that he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Like Peter, you and I have heard this from the Father, for no one comes to the Son unless the Father draw him (John 6:44). By the Holy Spirit, the Father told you that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. And, he is the one who told me that. Whatever process he used, whatever faithful Christians who declared the Gospel to you and taught you, be sure of this. If you believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God, you have heard from the Father. This is the rich deposit of faith that God himself has invested in you. This is why you have been converted, are being converted, and will be converted. This is why you may strengthen your brethren.

Peter is a demonstration of God's mercy, shown by Jesus who gives him the chance to make his three affirmations of love. Peter is a demonstration of God's grace, because he was restored and resumed his place to receive the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Peter is a demonstration of God's power, because he did open the kingdom of heaven with the keys, become like his Master in going about teaching and healing and building the Church, and finally, without any fear of death, going himself to his own cross to die in victory as a martyr.

The story of Peter's whole life is summarized in these words: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.


IT hath been manifestly declared unto you, that no man can fulfill the Law of GOD, and therefore by the law all men are condemned: whereupon it follows necessarily, that some other thing should be required for our salvation then the law: and that is, a true and a lively faith in Christ: bringing forth good works, and a life according to GODS commandments. And also you heard the ancient authors minds of this saying, Faith in Christ only justifies man, so plainly declared, that you see, that the very true meaning of this proposition or saying, We be justified by faith in Christ only, (according to the meaning of the old ancient authors) is this: We put our faith in Christ, that we be justified by him only, that we be justified by GODS free mercy, and the merits of our Savior Christ only, and by no virtue or good works of our own, that is in us, or that we can be able to have or to do, for to deserve the same: Christ himself only being the cause meritorious thereof.

Here you perceive many words to be used to avoid contention in words with them that delight to brawl about words, and also to show the true meaning to avoid evil taking and misunderstanding, and yet peradventure all will not serve with them that be contentious: but contenders will ever forge matters of contention, even when they have none occasion thereto. Not withstanding, such be the less to be passed upon, so that the rest may profit, which will be the most desirous to know the truth, then (when it is plain enough) to contend about it, and with contentious and captious caviling, to obscure and darken it. Truth it is, that our own works do not justify us, to speak properly of our justification, (that is to say) our works do not merit or deserve remission of our sins, and make us of unjust, just before GOD: but GOD of his own mercy, through the only merits and deservings of his son Jesus Christ, does justify us. Nevertheless, Because faith does directly send us to Christ for remission of our sins, and that by faith given us of GOD, we embrace the promise of GODS mercy, and of the remission of our sins, (which thing none other of our virtues or works properly does) therefore Scripture uses to say, that faith without works doth justify. And forasmuch that it is all one sentence in effect, to say, faith without works, and only faith doth justify us, therefore the old ancient Fathers of the Church from time to time, have uttered our justification with this speech, Only faith justifies us: meaning none other thing then Saint Paul meant, when he said, Faith without works justifies us. And Because all this brought to passe through the only merits and deservings of our Savior Christ, and not through our merits, or through the merit of any virtue that we have within us, or of any work that cometh from us: therefore in that respect of merit and deserving, we forsake (as it were) altogether again, faith, works, and all other virtues. For our own imperfection is so great, through the corruption of original sin, that all is imperfect that is within us, faith, charity, hope, dread, thoughts, words, and works, and therefore not apt to merit and discern any part of our justification for us. And this form of speaking used we, in the humbling of our selves to GOD, and to give all the glory to our Savior Christ, which is best worthy to have it.

Here you have heard the office of GOD in our justification, and how we receive it of him freely, by his mercy, without our deserts, through true and lively faith.

They that preach faith only justifies, do not teach carnal liberty, or that we should do no good works. Now you shall hear the office and duty of a Christian man unto GOD, what we ought on our part to render unto GOD again, for his great mercy and goodness. Our office is, not to passe the time of this present life unfruitfully, and idly, after that we are baptized or justified, not caring how few good works we do, to the glory of GOD, and profit of our neighbors: Much less is it our office, after that we be once made Christ's members, to live contrary to the same, making our selves members of the devil, walking after his incitements, and after the suggestions of the world and the flesh, whereby we know that we do serve the world and the devil, and not GOD.

The devils have faith, but not the true faith. For that faith which brings forth (without repentance) either evil works, or no good works, is not a right, pure, and lively faith, but a dead, devilish, counterfeit and feigned faith, as Saint Paul and Saint James call it. For even the devils know and believe that Christ was borne of a virgin, that he fasted forty days and forty nights without meat and drink, that he wrought all kind of miracles, declaring himself very GOD: They believe also, that Christ for our sakes suffered most painful death, to redeem from everlasting death, and that hee rose again from death the third day: They believe that hee ascended into heaven, and that he sits on the right hand of the Father, and at the last end of this world shall come again, and judge both the quick and the dead. These articles of our faith the Devils believe, and so they believe all things that be written in the new and old Testament to be true: and yet for all this faith, they be but Devils, remaining still in their damnable estate, lacking the very true Christian faith.

What is the true and justifying faith. For the right and true Christian faith is, not only to believe that holy Scripture, and all the aforesaid articles of our faith are true, but also to have a sure trust and confidence in GODS merciful promises, to be saved from everlasting damnation by Christ: whereof doth follow a loving heart to obey his commandments. And this true Christian faith neither any devil hath, nor yet any man, which in the outward profession of his mouth, and in his outward receiving of the Sacraments, in coming to the Church, and in all other outward appearances, seems to be a Christian man, and yet in his living and deeds shows the contrary.

They that continue in evil living, have not true faith. For how can a man have this true faith, this sure trust and confidence in GOD, that by the merits of Christ, his sins be forgiven, and be reconciled to the favor of GOD, and to be partaker of the kingdom of heaven by Christ, when he lives ungodly, and denies Christ in his deeds? Surely no such ungodly man can have this faith and trust in GOD. For as they know Christ to be the only savior of the world: so they know also that wicked men shall not enjoy the kingdom of GOD. They know that GOD hates unrighteousness (Psalms 5.5-6), that he will destroy all those that speak untruly, that those which have done good works (which cannot be done without a lively faith in Christ) shall come forth into the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil, shall come unto the resurrection of judgement: very well they know also, that to them that be contentious, and to them that will not be obedient unto the truth, but will obey unrighteousness, shall come indignation, wrath, and affliction, &c

Therefore to conclude, considering the infinite benefits of GOD, showed and given unto us, mercifully without our deserts, who hath not only created us of nothing; and from a piece of vile clay, of his infinite goodness, hath exalted us (as touching our soul) unto his own similitude and likeness: but also whereas we were condemned to hell, and death everlasting, hath given his own natural Son, being GOD eternal, immortal, and equal unto himself, in power and glory, to be incarnated, and to take our mortal nature upon him, with the infirmities of the same, and in the same nature to suffer most shameful and painful death for our offences, to the intent to justify us, and to restore us to life everlasting: so making us also his dear children, brethren unto his only son our Savior Christ, and inheritors for ever with him of his eternal kingdom of heaven.

These great and merciful benefits of GOD (if they be well considered) do neither minister unto us occasion to be idle, and to live without doing any good works, neither yet stirs us up by any means to do evil things: but contrariwise, if we be not desperate persons, and our hearts harder then stones, they move us to render our selves unto GOD wholly with all our will, hearts, might, and power, to serve him in all good deeds, obeying his commandments during our lives, to seek in all things his glory and honor, not our sensual pleasures and vain glory, evermore dreading willingly to offend such a merciful GOD, and loving redeemer, in word, thought, or deed. And the said benefits of GOD deeply considered, move us for his sake also to be ever ready to give our selves to our neighbors, and as much as lies in us, to study with all our endeavor, to do good to every man. These be the fruits of true faith, to do good as much as lies in us to every man, and above all things, and in all things to advance the glory of GOD, of whom only we have our sanctification, justification, salvation, and redemption: to whom be ever glory, praise, and honor, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


As Fr. Wells said, before posting Part I (below): "We have come to Article XI, 'Of the Justification of Man,' the fulcrum, pivot-point and hinge on which the other articles hang. This is the only article which cites one of the homilies for full discussion of the issue." So, when we discuss the Article, every reader will have had the opportunity to understand the homily it cites.

YE have heard of whom all men ought to seek their justification and righteousness, and how also this righteousness cometh unto men by Christ's death and merits: ye heard also how that three things are required to the obtaining of our righteousness, that is, GODS mercy, Christ's justice, and a true and a lively faith, out of the which faith springs good works. Also before was declared at large, that no man can be justified by his own good works, that no man fulfills the Law, according to the full request of the Law.

And S. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians proves the same, saying thus, If there had been any law given which could have justified, verily righteousness should have been by the law. And again he saith, If righteousness be by the Law, then Christ died in vain (Galatians 2.21). And again he saith, You that are justified by the law, are fallen away from grace. And furthermore he writes to the Ephesians on this wise, By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of your selves, for it is the gift of GOD, and not of works, lest any man should glory (Ephesians 2.8-9). And to be short, the sum of all Paul's disputation is this: that if justice come of works, then it cometh not of grace: and if it come of grace, then it cometh not of works. And to this end tend all the Prophets, as Saint Peter saith in the tenth of the Acts. Of Christ all the Prophets (faith S. Peter) do witness that through his name, all they that believe in him, shall receive the remission of sins (Acts 10.43).

Faith only justifies, is the doctrine of old Doctors. And after this wise to be justified only by this true and lively faith in Christ, speaks all the old and ancient Authors, both Greeks and Latins. Of whom I will specially rehearse three, Hilary, Basil, and Ambrose. Saint Hilary saith these words plainly in the ix. Canon upon Matthew, Faith only justifies. And Saint Basil a Greek author writes thus, This is a perfect and whole rejoicing in GOD when a man advances not himself for his own righteousness, but acknowledges himself to lack true justice and righteousness, and to be justified by the only faith in Christ. And Paul (saith hee) doth glory in the contempt of his own righteousness, and that he looks for the righteousness of GOD, by faith (Philipp. 3.9).

These be the very words of Saint Basil. And Saint Ambrose, a Latin Author, saith these words, This is the ordinance of GOD, that they which believe in Christ, should be saved without works, by faith only, freely receiving remission of their sins. Consider diligently these words, Without works by faith only, freely we receive remission of our sins. What can be spoken more plainly, then to say, That freely without works, by faith only we obtain remission of our sins? These and other like sentences, that we be justified by faith only, freely, and without works, we do read oft times in the most best and ancient writers. As beside Hilary, Basil, and Saint Ambrose before rehearsed, we read the same in Origen, Saint Chrisostome, Saint Cyprian, Saint Augustine, Prosper, Oecumenius, Phocius, Bernardus, Anselme, and many other Authors, Greek, and Latin.

Faith alone, how it is to be understood. Nevertheless, this sentence, that we be justified by faith only, is not so meant of them, that the said justifying faith is alone in man, without true repentance, hope, charity, dread, and the fear of GOD, at any time and season. Nor when they say, That we be justified freely, they mean not that we should or might afterward be idle, and that nothing should be required on our parts afterward: Neither they mean not so to be justified without good works, that we should do no good works at all, like as shall be more expressed at large hereafter. But this saying, That we be justified by faith only, freely and without works, is spoken for to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being unable to deserve our justification at GODS hands, and thereby most plainly to express the weakness of man, and the goodness of GOD, the great infirmity of our selves, and the might and power of GOD, the imperfectness of our own works, and the most abundant grace of our Savior Christ, and therefore wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ only, and his most precious blood shedding.

The profit of the doctrine of faith only justifies. This faith the holy Scripture teaches us, this is the strong Rock and foundation of Christian Religion, this doctrine all old and ancient Authors of Christ's Church do approve, this doctrine advances and sets forth the true glory of Christ, and beats down the vain glory of man, this whosoever denies, is not to be accounted for a Christian man, nor for a setter forth of Christ's glory, but for an adversary to Christ and his Gospel, and for a setter forth of mens vain glory.

What they be that impugn the doctrine of Faith only justifies. And although this doctrine be never so true (as it is most true indeed) that we be justified freely without all merit of our own good works (as Saint Paul doth express it) and freely by this lively and perfect faith in Christ only (as the ancient authors used to speak it) yet this true doctrine must be also truly understood and most plainly declared, lest carnal men should take unjustly occasion thereby to live carnally, after the appetite and will of the world, the flesh and the devil.

A declaration of this doctrine of faith without works justifies. And Because no man should err by mistaking of this doctrine, I shall plainly and shortly so declare the right understanding of the same, that no man shall justly think that hee may thereby take any occasion of carnal liberty, to follow the desires of the flesh, or that thereby any kind of sin shall be committed, or any ungodly living the more used.

First, you shall understand, that in our justification by Christ, it is not all one thing, the office of GOD unto man, and the office of man unto GOD. Justification is not the office of man, but of GOD, or man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, neither in part, nor in the whole, for that were the greatest arrogance and presumption of man, that Antichrist could set up against GOD, to affirm that a man might by his own works, take away and purge his own sins, and so justify himself.

Justification is the office of God only. But justification is the office of GOD only, and is not a thing which we render unto him, but which we receive of him: not which we give to him, but which we take of him, by his free mercy, and by the only merits of his most dearly beloved Son, our only Redeemer, Savior, and Justifier Jesus Christ: so that the true understanding of this doctrine, We be justified freely by faith without works, or that we be justified by faith in Christ only, is not, that this our own act, to believe in Christ, or this our faith in Christ, which is within us, doth justify us, and deserve our justification unto us (for that were to count our selves to be justified by some act or virtue that is within our selves) but the true understanding and meaning thereof is, that although we hear GODS word, and believe it, although we have faith, hope, charity, repentance, dread, and fear of GOD within us, and do never so many works thereunto: yet we must renounce the merit of all our said virtues, of faith, hope, charity, and all other virtues and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as things that be far too weak and insufficient, and imperfect, to deserve remission of our sins, and our justification, and therefore we must trust only in GODS mercy, and that sacrifice which our high Priest and Savior Christ Jesus the son of GOD once offered for us upon the Crosse, to obtain thereby GODS grace, and remission, as well of our original sin in Baptism, as of all actual sin committed by us after our Baptism, if we truly repent, and turn unfeignedly to him again. So that as S. John Baptist, although he were never so virtuous and godly a man, yet in this matter of forgiving of sin, he did put the people from him, & appointed them unto Christ, saying thus unto them, Behold, yonder is the lamb of GOD, which taketh away the sins of the world (John 1.29): even so, as great and as godly a virtue as the lively faith is, yet it puts us from it self, and remits or appoints us unto Christ, for to have only by him remission of our sins, or justification. So that our faith in Christ (as it were) saith unto us thus, It is not I that take away your sins, but it is Christ only, and to him only I send you for that purpose, forsaking therein all your good virtues, words, thoughts, and works, and only putting your trust in Christ.

Monday, June 27, 2011


We have come to Article XI, "Of the Justification of Man," the fulcrum, pivot-point and hinge on which the other articles hang. This is the only article which cites one of the homilies for full discussion of the issue. Therefore we are presenting the full text of this critical document before we present our own explication of Article XI itself. To show mercy on the reader, this homily will be presented in three installments, as the homily itself was divided.

by only Christ our Savior from sin and death everlasting.

Because all men be sinners and offenders against GOD, and breakers of his law and commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, & deeds (seem they never so good) be justified, and made righteous before GOD: but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at GOD'S own hands, that is to say, the forgiveness of his sins and trespasses, in such things as he hath offended. And this justification or righteousness, which we so receive of GOD'S mercy and Christ's merits. embraced by faith, is taken, accepted and allowed of GOD, for our perfect and full justification. For the more full understanding hereof, it is our parts and duties ever to remember the great mercy of GOD, how that (all the world being wrapped in sin by breaking of the Law) GOD sent his only son our Savior Christ into this world, to fulfill the Law for us, and by shedding of his most precious blood, to make a sacrifice and satisfaction, or (as it may be called) amends to his Father for our sins, to assuage his wrath and indignation conceived against us for the same.

The efficacy of Christ's passion & oblation. In so much that infants, being baptized and dying in their infancy, are by this sacrifice washed from their sins, brought to GODS favor, and made his children, and inheritors of his kingdom of heaven. And they which in act or deed do sin after their baptism, when they turn again to GOD unfeignedly, they are likewise washed by this sacrifice from their sins, in such sort, that there remains not any spot of sin, that shall be imputed to their damnation. This is that justification or righteousness which S. Paul speaks of, when hee saith, No man is justified by the works of the Law, but freely by faith in Jesus Christ. And again he saith, We believe in Jesus Christ, that we be justified freely by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law, Because that no man shall be justified by the works of the Law (Galatians 2.16). And although this justification be free unto us, yet it cometh not so freely unto us, that there is no ransom paid therefore at all.

Objection. But here may mans reason be astonied, reasoning after this fashion. If a ransom be paid for our redemption, then is it not given us freely. For a prisoner that payed his ransom, is not let go freely, for if he go freely, then he goes without ransom: for what is it else to go freely, then to be set at liberty without paying of ransom?

Answer. This reason is satisfied by the great wisdom of GOD in this mystery of our redemption, who hath so tempered his justice & mercy together, that he would neither by his justice condemn us unto the everlasting captivity of the devil, & his prison of Hell, remediless for ever without mercy, nor by his mercy deliver us clearly, without justice or payment of a just ransom: but with his endless mercy he joined his most upright and equal justice. His great mercy he showed unto us in delivering us from our former captivity, without requiring of any ransom to be paid, or amends to be made upon our parts, which thing by us had been impossible to be done. And where as it lay not in us that to do, he provided a ransom for us, that was, the most precious body and blood of his own most dear and best beloved Son Jesus Christ, who besides this ransom, fulfilled the law for us perfectly. And so the justice of GOD & his mercy did embrace together, & fulfilled the mystery of our redemption. And of this justice and mercy of GOD knit together, speaks S. Paul in the third Chap. to the Romans, All have offended, & have need of the glory of GOD, but are justified freely by his grace, by redemption which is in Jesus Christ, whom GOD hath sent forth to us for a reconciler & peace maker, through faith in his blood, to shew his righteousness (Romans 3.23-25). And in the tenth Chap. Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness, to every man that believeth (Romans 10.4). And in the 8. Chap. That which was impossible by the law, in as much as it was weak by the flesh, GOD sending his own Son, in the similitude of sinful flesh, by sin damned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, which walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit (Romans 8.3-4).

Three things must go together in our justification. In these aforesaid places, the Apostle touches specially three things, which must go together in our justification. Upon GODS part, his great mercy and grace: upon Christ's part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of GODS justice, or the price of our redemption, by the offering of his body, and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law perfectly & throughly; and upon our part true & lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but by GODS working in us: so that in our justification, is not only Gods mercy & grace, but also his justice, which the Apostle calls the justice of GOD, & it consists in paying our ransom, & fulfilling of the law: & so the grace of God doth not shut out the justice of God in our justification, but only shuts out the justice of, that is to say, the justice of our works, as to be merits of deserving our justification. And therefore S. Paul declares here nothing upon the behalf of man, concerning his justification, but only a true & lively faith, which nevertheless is the gift of GOD, and not mans only work, without GOD: And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, & the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified, but it shuts them out fro the office of justifying.

How it is to be understood, justifies without works. So that although they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not all together: Nor the faith also does not shut out the justice of our good works, necessarily to be done afterwards of duty towards GOD (for we are most bounden to serve GOD, in doing good deeds, commanded by him in his holy Scripture, all the days of our life:) But it excludes them, so that we may not do them to this intent, to be made good by doing of them. For all the good works that we can do, be imperfect, and therefore not able to deserve our justification: but our justification doth come freely by the mere mercy of GOD, and of so great and free mercy, that whereas all the world was not able of their selves to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased our heavenly Father of his infinite mercy, without any our desert or deserving, to prepare for us the most precious jewels of Christ's body and blood, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him. Hee for them paid their ransom by his death. Hee for them fulfilled the Law in his life. So that now in him, and by him, every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the Law, forasmuch as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ's justice hath supplied.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The First Sunday after Trinity

I John 4:7-21 
Luke 16:19-31

The subject of faith and good works has been very important throughout the history of the Church, and it was especially important during the sixteenth century in the various forms taken by the Reformation. It was no less a burning issue in England than anywhere else. Nonetheless, most people tend to think of Martin Luther when the subject comes up, and his alleged dislike of the Epistle of James.
          In fact, Luther did not call the Epistle of James an “epistle of straw” exactly. Rather he wrote:

"St. John's Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul's Epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and St. Peter's Epistle-these are the books which show to thee Christ, and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for thee to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James' Epistle is a perfect straw-epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind." (Preface to the New Testament)

That is, he thought it was of less importance.
          Now, I do not think we need dwell on that, for he was not suggesting that anyone should fail to read all of Scripture. Nonetheless, to this day people contend that between St. Paul and St. James a great gulf is set in place, a barrier of disagreement too wide to traverse. So, we need to read carefully the passages in question, always remembering that the invisible hand that authored Scripture was Almighty God, the Holy Spirit opening the eyes and minds of the several writers with the revelation of God’s holy word. Therefore, no genuine contradiction can exist in the doctrine of those writers.

Works of the Law and works of faith
          The most significant passages are the third chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Church in Rome, and the second chapter of James’ general Epistle. Let us begin with St. Paul.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.(Rom. 3:19-28)

In this passage St. Paul is talking about works of the Law. Writing about our Article X, I said this, which begins by quoting a part of the Article:

“The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. 

          “Is this telling us not to prepare ourselves, or not to do good works? Read that way it can provide an excuse for laziness and disobedience to the commandments of God. On the contrary, we would sin by not doing these things. But, even our performance of them, were it the best we possibly could do, could not make us righteous…
            “It would all look completely hopeless if we did not have the second sentence of this brief Article.

“Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.

“There we see that word, ‘grace.’ That is the whole difference. However good our good works may be, God’s standard of ‘good’ is too high for even our best efforts. Righteousness by His true and perfect standard exceeds our reach. We cannot achieve it. That is not because His standard is unjust. In fact, it is because His standard is just, in fact perfectly just. This is why no one can understand the doctrine of grace unless and until he understands Original Sin.”

It is, as Paul said, “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” That is, in the work of the great Physician of souls, the Law is diagnostic. As Paul said to the Galatian Church, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24)
          It all boils down to the fact that justification is a gift given, not a reward earned. St. John tells us in today’s Epistle, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” It would be hopeless if not for the grace of God: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (I Cor. 1:30)
          So, when works of the Law are good and commendable it is only by the grace of God in Christ. On their own, works of the Law come up short, failing to meet God’s perfect standard. Works of the Law do not justify. Such good works are not weighed against sins to see which is heavier on the Day of Judgment. They are commanded and must be done; but are not counted or weighed against sins in some eternal ledger. Only the blood of Christ cancels out sin. The Law does not justify, for that is not its purpose.
          But, it appears at first glance that James contradicts Paul.

“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18)
After citing examples from the Old Testament (Abraham & Rahab), James comes right out with the most direct line of all, seeming to contradict Paul: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (v.24)
          So, which is right? Is it Paul, who says, “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”? or James who says, “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.Both men are right, both agree, for both were inspired to write their doctrine by the Holy Spirit who guided them in what to say.
          Paul spoke of works of the Law, and James spoke of works of faith. Paul explained that the Law cannot make anyone righteous, but that only faith can justify; and James explained that faith is evident by works. If we find a passage that sums up what both men were saying, in full agreement, it from Paul’s Epistle to the Church in Ephesus:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10)

Paul, again to the Galatians: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Gal. 5:6) And, to the Corinthians, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Cor. 13:13) “Faith without works is dead, being alone… For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also,” James tells us. This works well with Paul’s doctrine, that faith is accompanied by love. James says that we show faith by our works, and Paul tells us that faith "works by love.”
A true believer, one who has faith in Christ, cannot live in that faith and not be changed by it. The fact that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” as Paul wrote, simply has to find expression in our lives. Where faith is, a person having been justified already, can be transformed by the Holy Spirit in day to day life.

Love of neighbor
The second great commandment, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” comes with that piercing diagnosis. It is the Law. It reveals to each heart its own shortcomings and failure. But, God gives us more grace even still, to live as John teaches us in today’s Epistle reading. We know that God loves us. How do we know that God loves us? Because He gave His Son to be the Propitiation for our sins. And, now we have been given a power to love God because He first loved us. And, because we can love God, we have that power to love our brother also.
The love that springs from a life of true faith, due of course to the Holy Spirit (“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom. 5:5), makes good works inevitable and spontaneous. A true believer simply cannot ignore the needs he encounters among people. Works of the Law count for nothing in terms of justification; works of faith, however, are a pleasing fruit of that faith, because that faith works by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
The rich man who ignored the suffering of Lazarus, is lost, finally, because he did not hear the word of God. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.Had he heard the word of God and believed, could he have left Lazarus out there at his gate? Would not faith have worked by love? If the goats at the King’s left hand (in Matt. 25: 31-46) had the faith of those sheep at His right hand, could they have failed to do for “one of the least of these” His brethren?
The First Sunday after Trinity is very important for reasons I have said before.
The Summary of the Law with the Two Great Commandments summarizes the Ten Commandments; we have two commandments and two tables. For, in the Ten Commandments we have the first Table, with four commandments about loving God. Then we have the second table, with six commandments about loving your neighbor.
“In the middle of the Church Year we turn to the second table on this day. Up until now we have concentrated on the commandments to love the Lord thy God; now we look at the commandments that tell you, and me, how to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’
“Where, in all of that emphasis from Advent through Pentecost, do we concentrate on the commandments that tell us how to love God? It seems that the opposite is true. What we have seen is the proof that God loves us. Exactly so.  This is what St. John tells us in the Epistle reading we have heard today: ‘We love him, because he first loved us.’”
“And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
I have written another sermon for this Sunday that is a favorite of mine. I offer it for your study by clicking the link.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fr Wells' Bulletin Inserts


Today's Epistle contains a word both difficult and unfamiliar, in the statement that God “loved us and sent His Son to be the *propitiation* for our sins.” This word propitiation occurs only twice in the NT; the only other occurrence is at 1 John 2:2, which we all know by heart as the last of the “Comfortable Words” (BCP p. 76). Paul uses a slightly different form of the same word at Romans 3:25, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by his blood.”

The word propitiate means to placate, to appease, to assuage wrath. Therefore the word has had a rough time with modern liberal religion. It is hard for non-Christians, semi-Christians, or lukewarm Christians to accept the idea that God is truly angry with sin. Modern translations of the Bible have tended to eliminate this word. The RSV replaces it with the more palatable term expiation (which means to drive out sin). Another translation uses the term “atoning sacrifice.” The 1979 Prayer Book has “perfect offering.” Those who reject the correct historic term propitiation cannot seem to find another word they like.

The word propitiation refers unmistakably to an essential Biblical idea, that is the reality of God's wrath. As Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). Or as St John wrote, “he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (Jno 3:36).

What sort of a god would not be angry with sin? When we reflect on the violence and cruelty of this world, do we kid ourselves into thinking that God can be as indifferent and shallow as we are? When we recall the holocaust of Hitler's era, or give any thought to the holocaust of abortion in our own time, what sort of god could merely blink at this? Such a god would be a false god, an idol invented by modern liberal substitutes for the religion of the Bible.

Our faith never suggests that a vengeful god waits for his creatures to find some way of placating him, appeasing him, or assuaging his wrath. That is a caricature of what the Bible reveals. Such falsehood is a sorry excuse for suppressing a sound Biblical term. Each time this word "propitiation" appears, we are told clearly that the holy angry God Himself takes the initiative in providing the reconciling sacrifice. “He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “We love Him, for He first loved us.” When we look upon the Cross drenched in the blood of sacrifice, there we see the love of God which subdued His wrath, the love which propitiated for our sins.

Our faith tells us that our Saviour has made perfect satisfaction, has paid the "uttermost farthing" of our penalty, has truly subdued the holy anger which our sin deserves. "There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."


The name of today's feast is Latin for “the Body of Christ.” Like Holy Cross Day and a couple of other feasts we celebrate in this parish, it is not a Prayer Book holy day. For centuries in Roman Catholic countries, this holy day has been elaborately celebrated with outdoor processions. It is fairly new in Anglican worship but has gradually been making inroads in parishes of every stripe of churchmanship.

For many years your Rector (who likes the Prayer Book just as he finds it) was resistive to such an innovation. But finally it occurred to him that every priest should preach at least one sermon a year on the doctrine of the Real Presence and by the same token every congregation should hear such a sermon. What better way to guarantee this, than through the celebration of a truly Catholic (in the authentic sense of that word) holy day, in which we praise and bless our dear Lord for His wonderful gift of Himself, His very flesh and blood, soul and divinity, in the sacrament of the Altar?

When we reflect on the meaning of those mysterious yet powerful words, “This Is My Body,” there are two opposite errors we must avoid. On the one hand, we might be tempted to interpret these words in a magical or superstitious manner. We might take those words quite literally and forget that the Body and Blood which becomes present are His glorified, transfigured, post-Resurrection Body. On the other hand, we might be tempted to explain Jesus' words away and pretend that this sacrament is “only a symbol” which was intended to “remind” us of His body and blood which are no longer here. There are even those who describe the bread and wine as audio-visual aids to illustrate the sermon!

Of these two opposite errors, the first barely exists today. Hardly anyone takes this sacrament too seriously or too literally. Almost no one shows too much reverence or treats the sacrament as magic. But sad to say, many Christians fail to take Jesus at His Word and to believe His sacramental teaching. “The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” What could be plainer than that?

This beautiful feast forces several questions upon us. Do we show proper reverence for the consecrated bread and wine in this sacrament? Do we remember that whenever we are inside the four walls of the church, we are in the presence of Jesus Himself? Do we take advantage of every opportunity to meet Him and feed upon His body and blood? Do we adore Him as truly present in the blessed sacrament?

In the words of Philip Doddridge, in a stanza deleted in our Hymnal:
"Hail, sacred feast which Jesus makes,
Rich banquet of his flesh and blood,
Thrice happy he, who here partakes
That sacred sream, that heavenly food."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Congo and UN World Widows' Day

We are all familiar with the troubles in Congo: the murders, the use of rape as a weapon of war, the great number of militias fighting the people, the army and each other: it is a disaster.

But in this disaster, there are people just trying to go about their daily lives, to educate their children, to find work and earn a reasonable income, so that those children can attend school, and – God willing – avoid the trauma that has been suffered by their mothers and fathers.

If work is only available in any form by going into what can only be described as holes in the ground, to try and dig out those minerals so much desired by those of us in the west, so be it: there is no choice in the matter. But there are no safety regulations; there are no hard hates, no steel toed boots, and no protection: and men die.

And the wife is left: often with several children: with a little adobe mud brick hut, a small plot to grow a little food, and nothing else: except the church, the one place where they can find community, in a place where this has lost much of its meaning.

The Anglican Catholic Church in Sud-Kivu has some projects to help: but they need your support: the first is simple: the goat project. If you give a widow a goat, she has milk for her children. The goat can be bred and then there are more goats, more ‘capital’ more milk, and perhaps the chance to sell the extra goats to provide a little income.

But if these women group together: form a cooperative venture, & they can lease some land, they can plant crops: they can market these crops in the town or city: and they have the possibility to provide the very future for their children that they had dreamt of when their husband left for the mines.

It doesn’t take much: one project is looking for $1500.00: it will allow land to be leased for 6 months, crops to be planted, harvest to be made, produce to be sold.

On this UN World Widow’s day, can you help? Contact:

The Africa Appeal,
Treasurer, Parish of St. Bride
20895 Camwood Ave
Maple Ridge, BC
V2X 2N9

or, in the USA:

The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle at
The ACC Mission Fund
The Anglican Catholic Church
c/o St. Stephens Church
PO Box 5223
Athens, Georgia 30604

Fr. David R. Marriott SSC

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Modest Proposal

'A Modest Proposal" is the title of one of Dean Swift's more aggressive satires on the Engish government in Ireland, which, in satirizing Dublin Castle's inept administration makes the suggestion that Ireland's problems with over-population and hunger could be solved by the practice of cannibalism. Of course the Dean was not being serious, he was just trying to illustrate the fact that many of Dublin Castle's policies were just as ridiculous as his modest proposal. Unfortunately for the Dean, and for Ireland, his serious suggestions for reform did not get very far, and I rather suspect that what I am going to propose in this posting will suffer a very similar fate to the literary Dean's suggestion for the Reform of the 'Castle.'(1)

Over the last few months I have spending a certain amount of time recently cogitating on the peculiarities of the Affirmation of St Louis, the way in which they might have distorted the development of the Continuing Anglican movement, and whether our present divisions owe something to the Affirmation. Furthermore, I have been thinking about what could be done to reduce the amount of argument that goes on over its provisions, and reach a consensus sufficient to eventually bring about the reunion of the Continuum.

At the very outset I have to say that, in my researches over the years, I have not come across a complete and orderly account of how the Affirmation of St Louis was drafted, nor an explanation of the precise aims of its framers. In absence of such an account I need to take the Affirmation at face value, and let it speak for itself.

It seems to me that the basic intent was to maintain 'business as usual' as understood by orthodox churchmen in both the Episcopal Church, USA, and the Anglican Church of Canada. There was no intent to exclude any Churchmanship - Catholic, Broad, Low or Evangelical - from the original Anglican Church of North America (Episcopal), and lastly, there was no intent to depart from the faith received from the Church of England. On the other hand, there was an intent to close several loopholes, particularly those concerning the number of Ecumenical Councils accepted by the Anglican Church, and the character and method of selecting those to be ordained. There is also a protest in favour of traditional Christian morality, which, given the way society has moved on in the last 34 years, seems almost prophetic.

Unfortunately, like most documents drawn up in a hurry, and passed with very little debate(2) the Affirmation of St Louis has a couple of slip-ups in it, both of which look as though they are intended to allow the Continuum to morph into a narrowly Catholic - read quasi-Tridentine - body.

The first of these is the provision concerning the seven Sacraments. All Anglicans would agree that Baptism (including Baptism by desire) and the Eucharist were directly instituted by Our Lord, and are generally (that is, universally) necessary to salvation. Most would agree also agree that the other five - confirmation, penance, holy unction, marriage, and orders - are sacraments, though instituted by the Church rather than Christ himself. The real snag is that the Western Church left the number of sacraments undefined until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1214. This Council also defined Transubstantiation, and several other things generally (in the modern sense) unpalatable to Anglicans. It also gives the impression that the Affirmation tacitly accepts some parts of Lateran IV, which might lead to some folks seeking to repudiate the whole Affirmation, and might lead others into acceptng the whole of that Papally convened council.

Now you will note that in what I have written above I am not repudiating the idea that there are seven Sacraments - an idea that has wide support in both the Eastern and Western traditions. However, I am expressing a certain nervousness as to the way in which it has been done in the Affirmation of St Louis, and a desire to make clear its basic theological thrust. Like the other sevens in catholic teaching - the works of corporal mercy, deadly sins, etc. - it is a very handy teaching tool, and is backed by a good deal of tradition, and even, in the case of seven Sacraments garnering some support from the Articles of Religion, but it is not a rigid dogmatic pronouncement. The Articles use the term 'commonly called' when referring to what I grew up calling the 'Lesser Sacraments' (or, if we were feeling facetious, Looser Sacraments), which is a simple statement that they are commonly accepted as sacraments, being the outward signs of inward spiritual grace. I assume that the framers of the Article simply wished to point out that, unlike Baptism and the Eucharist, they did not have direct Dominical authority in Scripture.

The other provision that has caused some difficulty is that allowing liturgical forms incorporating the Book of Common Prayer. This has led some to behave as though there is, in fact, a double standard, and that the BCP was retained only for sentimental reasons. I have often had to listen to clergymen justifying their use of the Missal on the basis of the BCP being in some undefined way 'uncatholic' that to some extent I now have an aversion to giving the Missals any sort of official status. However, that is an aversion I am prepared to set aside in the interests of unity, along with my title of Archbishop. However, it is clear from the way in which this provision of the Affirmation of St Louis that the Book of Common Prayer, and no other liturgy, is the standard in this Church. The Missals are allowed, but have no right to supercede the Book of Common Prayer except as a matter of parochial custom.

This brings me to my modest proposal that, as part of the on going process of reconciliation and reunion, the Houses of Bishops of the uniting jurisdictions authorize a statement which in essence states the following two positions:

Firstly, that after Holy Scripture and the three ancient Creeds, the Seven Ecumenical Councils constitute the doctrinal authority in this Church. The Articles of Religion (1571/1801) and the Affirmation of St Louis (1977) and are, in all respects, to be interpreted in accordance with the said seven Ecumenical Councils.

Secondly, that liturgical books incorporating the Book of Common Prayer, do not constitute a liturgical or doctrinal authority or standard, alternative, or supplementary, to the standard editions of the Book of Common Prayer. In certain circles there seems to be a certain tendancy to discount the Prayer Book in favour of the Missals even though the former is the official standard of liturgy in the Continuum.

To reference another one of Swift's satires, the disputes between the Catholic Anglican and Anglo-Catholic factions in the continuum often resemble the hostilities between the Big Enders and the Little Enders in Gulliver's Travels. Hopefully, a reaffirmation that the Seven Councils and the Prayer Book are the standards after Scripture and the Creeds would cut out a lot of that fractiousness, and reaffirm the clear intent of the Affirmation of St Louis to reaffirm the theological character of the Anglican Church as that of the Catholic Church before the disunion of East and West without Papal additions or Puritan subtractions.

(1) "The Castle" was common slang for the pre-1922 Irish government which was largely housed in Dublin Castle.
(2) The survivors of the St Louis Congress that I have had the opportunity to talk with have all suggested to me that the Affirmation was prepared before the Congress, and was passed with very little discussion and no amendments even though some Central and Low Churchmen had questions about the two provisions which I am discussing in this post. The fact it passed was a reflection of its fundamental soundness, and the desire of all present to maintain a united front against the bigger enemy - revisionism.