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Archive for the ‘Contemporary Issues’ Category


I am away from the parish this week and am just in from the opening of the first In Defense of Christians Summit www.idcsummit.org in Washington, D.C., where I am attending as the Canon Law Institute’s representative and occasional executive director.  As the incredibly brave Canon Andrew White (aka the Vicar of Baghdad) was taken ill, I might have been the only Anglican about.  I was honored to have been one of the six priests selected to bear the torches to lead the procession into the joint prayer service.

The service, which used ancient forms, was the first joint Catholic-Orthodox-Coptic (and an Anglo-Catholic) since 1987.  Dedicated to Our Lady, it was a remarkable moment pf penitance and prayer as the incense ascended before her holy icon. It was very powerful to have all of these groups and evangelical Protestant Christians in worship together.  It was a little bit of heaven

I had a chance to speak with some remarkable men of the Church Universal, albeit too briefly, as we prepared for the procession.  Cardinal Wuerl was very gracious and even remembered a wandering priest who was way out of his depth.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft was in good form, referring to the conflict between Islam and Christianity as one of liberty against forced religion.  A good, middle weight speech that didn’t fire things up.  Yet, it caused me to miss having an honest, Christian A-G who was not an Alinsky-Marxist.

The keynote by Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Oriental Churches, was disappointingly bureaucratic and rife with “social justice” metaphor.  With apologies to his Eminence, ISIS is not a problem rooted in “economic disparity” and “disproportionate wealth” as his speech seemed to suggest. As well, quotes from the documents of Vatican II and appeals to the U.N. weren’t seeming to resonate with the Orthodox side of the house or some of the uniates who have folks on the ground.

I think it might be difficult to appeal to the international ecclesiastical or legal bureaucracy when the “junior varsity” is sawing the heads off the faithful.  It appears that the church’s bureaucrats in Rome and those of  secular Washington are similarly detached from the reality of Islam.  Of course, he just might have been being cautious to keep more heads from rolling, although the Neville Chamberlain method doesn’t seem to work with ISIS any more than with Herr Hitler.  The post-opening reception was extraordinary-an embarassment of food and drink in the face of the sufferings of those say, on a mountainside in Iraq waiting for airdropped food.  But, gang, this is Washington, and you have to make a splash to get attention.  I just pray that I am not witnessing the birth of yet another faith-based lobbying group to employ out of work political science majors.  Too darned many of them already.

More to come after the first big session tomorrow.  Meantime, pray for Christians persecuted throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.

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For those of supporting the restoration of a culture of life in America, we can be depressed about this woeful turn of events and turn turtle, or we can undrestand what it means. No more sloth in teaching traditional American values, history, and the original intent of the Constitution. No longer can parents and grandparents hand our youth over to television, internet and secularist teachers while pursuing their childish interests. Above all, no more can we sit in our churches and wait for someone else to raise up a new generation. We must embrace a new evangelism to restore Christian faith and morality amongst the people. After all, Christ never promised us this would be easy.

Today, let us begin to teach. The task has become too important to leave to those hostile to the faith and Christian values, too vital to allow us to abandon children and grandchildren to the poisonous babysitter of the media. The hour is late, and the situation difficult.

Difficult?  We sew on hard ground.  Why, though, should we have it easier than our early Christian fathers and mothers? Why should we get a pass when the Apostles, martyrs and saints do not? Ora et labora! Pray and work.

And, please, no fear anymore.  No fear that we will be ridiculed or might lose some “pledge units” offended by the true teachings of the Church!  No fear from secularists and purported “conservatives” who cannot or will not see that the moral imperative must come first and that all else proceeds from it, particularly material well-being.  We have cause for nothing but joy, and it is time to share it with others.  Tor worst that can happen is that some will turn away.

Today we lay down anger, fear and sadness and begin to practice persevance. Today is the day to commit to developing the parallel economy of ideas, of the truly good things, and teach them at the local level. Today is the day we are called to reclaim a nation.

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Anglicans for Life

A chapter of Anglicans for Life to include folks from St. Athanasius and St. Luke’s parishes is forming here at St. Alban’s. Anglicans for Life believes that, as Christians, we need to uphold the sanctity of every human life as a form of worship to God, our Creator. As believers, we need to understand all of the issues (abortion, stem cell research, end of life concerns, abstinence, and adoption) that threaten life in our culture—Anglicans for Life can be a vast resource for information on life!

God, and not man, is the creator of human life. Therefore, from conception to natural death we will protect and respect the sanctity of every human life.

Furthermore, we recognize that the unjustified taking of life is sinful, but God gives absolution to those who ask for His forgiveness.

Furthermore, we recognize that the unjustified taking of life is sinful, but God gives absolution to those who ask for His forgiveness.

A brief organizing meeting will be held after the 11 am Mass on Sunday, November 25th.

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I appreciate the fact that many of you have asked me to distribute various Chrisian voter guides before this all-important presidential election. I have declined to do so for the simple reason that we should know who we are as tradtional Anglicans.  As a parish that arose as a result of the Affirmation of St. Louis, St. Alban’s and this priest adhere, in particular, to certain “non-negotiables”, in particular, two key principles of the Christian faith:
Sanctity of Human Life

Every human being, from the time of his conception, is a creature and child of God, made in His image and likeness, an infinitely precious soul; and that the unjustifiable or inexcusable taking of life is always sinful.

Family Life

The God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman is God’s loving provision for procreation and family life, and sexual activity is to be practised only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

In all that we do, not just exercise of the franchise, we are bound to maintain these standards of traditional Christianity. To be sure, “[w]e recognize that man, as inheritor of original sin, is ‘very far gone from original righteousness,’and as a rebel against God’s authority is liable to His righteous judgement.”  Thus, we are reminded of our place in dealing with other siners in charity given the beam in our own eyes.  Never theless, we believe, in charity, “it is the duty of the Church and her members to bear witness to Christian Morality, to follow it in their lives, and to reject the false standards of the world.”

So, as we prepare to vote, there is a yardstick-a rule-wherewith we can make truly informed choices–choices informed by the faith once-delivered to the saints.  That’s all that need be said.

Now let us pray fervently:

For Our Country.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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On Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 4:00 p.m., St. Alban’s will host a presentation by Mark Dellinger, VA and WV area coordinator for Voice of the Martyrs.  Mark will be speaking about, and asking prayers for, our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world.  Please invite as many as you can to this important and powerful program.

The Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian organizationdedicated to assisting the persecuted church worldwide. VOM was founded in 1967 by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who was imprisoned 14 years in Communist Romania for his faith in Christ. His wife, Sabina, was imprisoned for three years. In the 1960s, Richard, Sabina, and their son, Mihai, were ransomed out of Romania and came to the United States.

Through their travels, the Wurmbrands spread the message of the atrocities that Christians face in restricted nations, while establishing a network of offices dedicated to assisting the persecuted church. The Voice of the Martyrs continues in this mission around the world today through the following main purposes:

VOM’s ministry is based on Hebrews 13:3:

   Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Help

VOM helps Christians who are or have been, persecuted for their involvement in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They provide medical assistance, food, clothing, and other forms of aid.

Love

VOM supports Christians who are willing to invite their fellow men, even their persecutors, to Jesus Christ through faithful deeds of love in a hostile environment. They supply Bibles, literature, radios, and other evangelistic tools.

Encourage

They encourage persecuted Christians by giving their testimony a voice, informing Christians in the USA to know how to help. VOM believes that the lives and the testimony of persecuted Christians is a vital part of the fellowship of all believers and will challenge and strengthen the faith of Christians everywhere.

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For you parents with children thinking about colleges (and grand-parents who wish to offer sound advice), Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage offers a good Christian analysis of the state of university housing.

The genesis of her story is the action by John Garvey, the new President of Catholic University, to return that to single sex dorms. She reports that, “Many feathers were ruffled. It is a measure of the unisex madness in which we have become enmeshed that a Catholic university’s decision to house unmarried young men and women in separate dorms could be described as ‘controversial.’”

Garvey announced his decision in a Wall Street Journal op ed. He cited his own experience as the father of five kids, and a handful of social science studies to affirm the obvious: When adolescents freed from the constraints of family life, are tossed into the same dorms, they are more likely to do dumb things. Garvey wrrote that, “Christopher Kaczor at Loyola Marymount points to a surprising number of studies showing that students in co-ed dorms (41.5%) report weekly binge drinking more than twice as often as students in single-sex housing (17.6%). Similarly, students in co-ed housing are more likely (55.7%) than students in single-sex dorms (36.8%) to have had a sexual partner in the last year–and more than twice as likely to have had three or more.”

Gallagher asks the intuitive question, “Do we really need social science data to demonstrate this? Apparently so.”

She cites a well-designed 2009 peer-reviewed study by Brian Willoughby and Jason Carroll, “The Impact of Living in Co-ed Resident Halls on Risk-taking Among College Students” which confirms Garvey’s sense of the situation. The study, published in the Journal of American College Health, relied on data from Project R.E.A.D.Y., a multi-site research project dedicated to investigating various aspects of emerging adulthood development.

The sample consisted of 510 unmarried undergraduate students recruited during the 2004–2005 academic year from five colleges– a small, private liberal arts college, a medium-sized, religious university, and three large public universities.  No surprise in the results:

Students living in co-ed housing were more likely than students living in gender-specific housing to binge drink , consume alcohol, have more permissive sexual attitudes, and have more recent sexual partners. On-campus housing environments impact college student risk behaviors.

You can read the full article at the blog of the Ruth Institute-a fearless defender of traditional marriage and family. http://www.ruthblog.org/

I would echo the author’s plaudits to Garvey for courage, as well as common sense. Catholic University apparently is the very first university in the history of United States to return to single sex dorms, after abandoning them to go coed for no particular reason in 1982.

Garvey wrote, “I believe that intellect and virtue are connected. They influence one another. Some say the intellect is primary. If we know what is good, we will pursue it. . . . The goals we set for ourselves are brought into focus by our moral vision.” Amen!

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