Sunday, March 26, 2023


After yesterday's Feast of the Annunciation we now return to Lent, in fact Passiontide. You may use the link below for the collect, readings, and the sermon preached at Saint Benedict's on Passion Sunday (March 26, 2023).

To send a contribution to the church, you may use the link below (thank you).

Saturday, March 25, 2023

More for the Annunciation (March 25)

Tomorrow we are back in the thick of Lent, Passion Sunday to be exact. But today (Saturday) is March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. Here are two presentations for you, one a video from the Noon Mass, and the other a written meditation.

 Also, here is the link to send a contribution to our church. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

The Annunciation March 25

On this Feast day of the Annunciation I want us to meditate on two very important things.

The first is the meaning of the Incarnation in light of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. For, as soon as the Angel Gabriel announced to the blessed Virgin that she was to become the mother of God, the miracle happened. "The Word was made flesh" at the very instant that she accepted her mission with the words, "behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." 

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) tells of those on the Lord's right hand, to whom the words are spoken: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." It also tells of those on his left to whom terrifying words are spoken: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting(1) fire, prepared for the devil and his angels...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." 

The Word became flesh, that is, he took into his Divine nature the fullness of human nature. In so doing he sanctified every stage of life, including that of the youngest and most helpless of all people. His brethren include children in the womb, boys and girls not "lumps of tissue," many of whom are murdered every day for the selfish convenience of fallen men who do not know God, who have allowed love to grow cold. The culture of death teaches us that life in the womb is worth nothing, a mere thing to be thrown away. Indeed, the pressure today is to accept birth as the beginning of life, when, in fact, it is simply an early stage in a life that has existed already, generally for about nine months. As Christians, we must continue to work for the sanctity of all life, from the moment of conception until death. We must do all we can to protect the children in danger, and to come as well to the rescue of expentent mothers who feel afraid, who feel undue pressure to kill their children before seeing their faces, and think they have no one to whom they can turn. We must be that lifeline to them. 

"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. " We must also be champions of the poor, and in our own lives, from our own resources of money, time, and talent, generous to everyone in need when it is in our power. To turn away the poor begger is a sin of ommission against Christ. Look at the categories in the parable: The hungry and thirtsy, the stranger (immigrant), naked, sick or in prison (V. 35, 36, 42, 43).

If you profess the Incarnation with your mouth, then consider that Jesus Christ takes personally how you treat even the least of these whose human nature he graciously shares by his divine will. If you say that you love the Lord Jesus Christ, but show no mercy and compassion to the least of these, you are a liar, and your hypocrisy will be punished. If do love the Lord Jesus Christ, you will show mercy and compassion to the least of these, and it will bring you joy; both in this age, and in the age to come, and to the ages of ages. 

 Also, I want us to consider this miracle, the Incarnation, itself. I mentioned before that Mary accepted her mission, a mission that would bring such pain to her, one Friday, that it would be, in the words of Simeon, a sword that would pierce her own soul. Her willingness to accept this mission would be fulfilled thirty three years later by her son, as he would pray in his agony, "not my will, but thine be done." Mary was the only person to share directly the miracle of the Incarnation with the Lord himself. She also felt keenly the pain of his death.

What happened when the Word, that is the Logos (λόγος), was made flesh? How did God do this thing? Not by reducing Divinity so that it could fit into a small receptacle. Think of our human nature as but a drop. A drop that falls into an ocean is transformed into something grand, into part of an ocean. He did not reduce divinity. Rather, he took human nature into his own divine Person as God the Son. God the Son has taken human nature into His Divine Person, our created nature into uncreated Person. He has taken what is alien to Him, our humanity, as the One who is wholly other from every created nature, to forever transform human nature and by grace make us partakers of the Divine Nature (II Peter 1:4). This Person, the Logos, is both Uncreated and creature; both Eternal and in time; both omnipresent and local; both King and servant; both Lord and worshiper; both God and man.

This, the Incarnation, is, along with the cross, the expression and revelation of God's love; so it is fitting to remember that the Annunciation was originally thought to be the correct date of the first Good Friday. That love is the charity that St. Paul wrote about to the Corinthians, and is poured into our hearts by the Holy Ghost given to us.

The Angleus

V/. The Angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary,
R/. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (Lk 1:28) Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. (Lk 1:42). Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
V/. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."
R/. "Be it unto me according to thy Word."

Hail Mary, full of grace...
V/. And the Word was made flesh,
R/. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace...
V/. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought unto the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(1). Greek for "everlasting" is the word αἰώνιος (aiōnios), which indicates an age or eon, not eternity.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


This Sunday (March 19, 2023) I appointed Deacon Nicholas Harrelson to preach. He gave an excellent sermon that drives home a very important message to us all.

To send an offering to Saint Benedict's Anglican Church you may use the link below.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

A Small Apologetic

Yesterday I posted a brief statement that objectively and accurately explains why Eternal Damnation is not, and never has been, the dogmatic teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. That may come as a shock to many; but it is both obviously and irrefutably true. My purpose today is to answer just a few points, merely two in this post, that have been offered in an effort to prove me wrong (no doubt intended to save my soul from the consequences of heresy), by holding up those two objections to facts and logic. 

The Quincunque Vult

Earlier in the day I had learned that a well-meaning priest wanted me to affirm the "Creed of Saint Athanasius," also called the Quincunque Vult, which, as I was reminded, holds out "the possibility of eternal damnation." Indeed, it does appear to do so in the opening and closing remarks:

"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith unless every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly..."


"...Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sittith on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire (ignem aeternum). This is the Catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved."

But this has to be considered in line with our "Three legged Stool" of Scripture, Right Reason, and Tradition. As I mentioned yesterday, and will address again below, in the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures there is no such thing as eternal or everlasting Hell. So, the first leg does not bear up the notion of eternal damnation. 

Right Reason unfolds everything according to logic. So let us weigh this against logic. Frankly, if such a terrible fate awaits all "they who have done evil," then we may as well quit right now, stop trying to be Christians, and accept the dreaded punishment to come. Inasmuch as "All have sinned" it is only logical to accept that sins can be forgiven, and that apart from the sinless One Himself, "We all like sheep have gone astray." But if we believe also that "the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all," we cannot simply accept the statement as having been intended to be absolute and without exception. If believing the Catholic Faith is part of how we attain forgiveness of sins, then we must consider that anyone who has faced God in judgment has been, thereby, converted to belief in the Catholic Faith. Even this Medieval doctrinal statement does not say that one cannot believe and be saved after departing this earthly life. So, it is quite logical to say that this so-called creed cannot really obligate anyone to believe in the possibility of eternal damnation. Indeed, it manages, when considered with Right Reason, to hold out, at the very least, hope for everybody.

Finally, if the Quincunque Vult  is to be considered part of the Tradition, then we must limit our understanding of what constitutes the Church to the West, and effectively regard all of our Eastern brethren to be excommunicated. Because this "creed" affirms filioque, the Orthodox Church does not hold to it. This explains why it is only written in Latin, and there is no corresponding Greek original. Finally, it is in form not a creed at all, having no "I believe" or "We believe" (no credo) in its contents. Nor is it by Saint Athanasius, as is quite obvious. Its Trinitarian theology is very good (as long as one is so very Western as to regard filioque as dogma, which raises other problems that are beyond the purpose of this post); but it is not part of the Tradition of the Universal Church, which is why the 1928 American edition of the Book of Common Prayer, which happens to be the edition we use in the diocese wherein I am resident, makes no mention of it, even in the Articles of Religion. I will not treat any document in a Fundamentalist manner. If the Affirmation of Saint Louis affirms this "creed" then that means we accept its Trinitarian theology, the problem of filioque not withstanding, nor resolved.  It does not bind us to even so much as consider the possibility of something so horrifying as an eternal damnation to suffering. 

αἰώνιος (aiōnios)

Two verses were quoted in a recent discussion, one most probably aimed at saving my soul and the souls I would endanger by teaching ἀποκατάστᾰσις. Those two verses were Matthew 25:46 and II Thessalonians 2:16. In the quotation from Matthew we see the words "eternal punishment" in the King James Bible. In II Thessalonians we see the term "everlasting destruction" in the same King James Bible. After centuries of custom, rather than Tradition (one of those three legs) it became standard to translate the Greek word αἰώνιος (aiōnios) as "eternal" and "everlasting." However, custom does not have the same weight as Tradition. The fact is, αἰώνιος was very often used to mean something that lasts a long time as opposed to lasting forever. Indeed St. John Chrysostom made a point of using the word αἰώνιος in describing the devil's time of power over the world as temporary rather than as eternal. Also, αἰώνιος is from the Greek word αἰών, which has been carried over into our own language as the English word "aeon." It means a very long period of time.

When I point this out, some people are troubled because the same word is used for "eternal" when the term "eternal life" (or "everlasting life") is employed in the King James Bible, and other translations. And I do say that this is also a technically incorrect translation of the word. But our faith in eternal life does not depend on that one word αἰώνιος. The New Testament teaches very clearly that our sure and certain hope is based on the solid fact of Christ's resurrection from death; but not merely as in the case of Lazarus: Rather, fully and completely from mortality itself; that is, from even the possibility of  dying again. The strongest part of the New Testament that explains this is the fifteenth chapter of Saint Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. 

I will also point out, in the case of Matthew 25:46, the word for punishment κόλασις (kolasis) indicates correction. If the punishment takes forever, then it fails to correct. In the case of II Thessalonians 2:16, where the King James Bible says "everlasting destruction," it must be pointed out that in the scriptures we see destruction often followed by God making all things new, even those things that had been destroyed. This is true of everything from the Temple in Jerusalem to the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day, even to "a new heaven and a new earth." More to the point, it is surprising that the same brilliant minds who translated the King James Bible fell into such an obvious trap as self-contradiction. Destruction cannot be an everlasting process, because if it goes on forever the person is never destroyed. The word "destruction" has to mean a temporal process of bringing about the ruin and removal of something. It cannot go on forever. And this very phrase itself should indicate that, with all due respect for those brilliant Anglican scholars, we have run into a problem of faulty translation. They were bound by Western custom to mistranslate the word, a custom inflicted by the flawed Latin translation of αἰώνιος into aeternum.

The simple truth is, eternal punishment is not in the Bible, not in the Tradition, and very weak when weighed against Right Reason. Believe it if you want to; but your position will be the one that is quite fragile. At the very least, you have no basis for calling Universalism a heresy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

About infernal tarnation

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not Universalists that have “a lotta ‘splainin’ to do.” It’s the believers in eternal conscious torment who are in the weak position. Eternal damnation is not anywhere to be found in the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures; nor is it affirmed in the Creeds of the Universal Church; nor is it dogma according to any Ecumenical Council. In short: It is not the dogmatic teaching of the Church.  “Hell” is an English word that was used in the KJV for Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and even one time for Tartarus. But these are all very different things, none of them eternal or everlasting. Purgatory, as redemptive and salvific (not the “Romish doctrine”) is what the actual original New Testament sets forth clearly as the Apostles’ doctrine.