What I Found in the Catholic Church

After leaving the Episcopal (Anglican) church for scriptural reasons that I explained in last week’s blog, I came to the Catholic Church. Here is my personal story of what I found.

I remember leaving St Peter and St Paul, my last pastorate in the Anglican church. I had a week to move out of my office, so by Friday of that week I was pretty much done, and so I was looking forward to the weekend, as moving is always so much fun! I had yet to renounce my orders in the Anglican Church, but having been convicted by scripture and called by God to the Catholic Church, Stephanie and I had no intention of going to an Anglican service that Sunday. So we went to St Stephen’s Catholic in Weatherford.

I was prepared. I knew that the Catholic Church was short on clergy, so the pastor might be rushed, english might not be his first language, and we would have to get used to a new liturgy. When we got to the church, all those concerns didn’t matter. Not that those issues went away, they just did not matter. We walked in and knew that we were home. The pastor, Fr Mike, was an Irishman who has a God given talent of making all feel welcome. Everything was just so peaceful. Stephanie and I knew that we had made the right choice. But this was simply a feeling, and I know that all feeling pass; it was the life of a Catholic that was the true gift that God was about to give us.

The first step of any future Catholic is to enroll in an RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) class. We had a team of four people teaching the class, all lay. Four people who had answered a call to teach neophytes the faith, they cared about Jesus’ great commission. Every week from mid September to late May they would meet on Wednesday nights and have an hour and a half class. I soon noticed that this was not a voluntary class, there were no exceptions ( even for those who had a masters in divinity!). In most denominations, including Anglican, such an “intro” class is voluntary, not in the Catholic Church. These guys were prepared and knew their stuff. Over the weeks the class became a family of sorts. People who once spread out over the large meeting hall were now sitting together and asking each other how the week had gone, the class became a fellowship very quickly. We looked forward to Wednesday nights. RCIA was not a requirement, it had become a pleasure.

We got used to going to mass on Saturday nights, and to St Timothy’s Catholic (Ordinariate) on Sunday mornings. As we came out of mass one Saturday evening, there was a group of men handing out forms to all the men exiting the church. They were asking for men to become Knights. I had heard of the Knight of Columbus and was eager to join. As I became active in the council, I found that the Knights met monthly and planned and executed many charitable events, as well as helped with whatever Fr. Mike needed. We put on fish fry’s for the parish in lent, we brought awareness to the horrors of abortion by having a walk for life, and we had fundraisers that helped us give to local charities. The knights opened for me a door to providing charity to the community. To offer charity is often too big of a job for one person, we need to have groups come together to help the needy, the knights are just such a group.

Worship, education and charity towards others, this is a Christian life. But there is one more surprise that awaited me in the Catholic Church; confession. Of course I knew coming in that Catholics were expected to go to confession. We had the Anglican version of sacramental confession in the Anglican church, but this was different. In the Anglican church, the famous phrase, all may, some should, none must, permeates the church’s teaching on confession. This created a sporadic at best practice of coming to the confessional. Some clergy refused to hear confessions, as it was too “pope-ish”. But in the Catholic Church it is expected on a regular basis. If a Catholic is in mortal sin, they should not receive the Eucharist until they visit the confessional. I quickly discovered that frequent (monthly) visits to the confessional made me a better person. Better, not just because I was in a state of grace, but better in that I focused more on the sins I committed, as after having to speak them monthly, I had decided to fix some of these issues. The confessional convicted me to live a life of grace; as opposed to living a life of typical sin and getting grace in the confessional. This, for me, was the greatest discovery I made in the catholic Church. We all may think that we live a pretty good life, but it is only when you have to study your life monthly that you find that you have more short comings than you imagined. Add to that the fact that you must confess those faults to a priest, who then identifies the sin and gives you penance, these “extra” steps truly make for a graceful Christian.

Worship, education, service and living in and by grace, this is the Catholic Church. I have been a Christian since birth, but have never been more habitually close to God. It is the lifestyle of the Catholic that facilitates the closeness to our heavenly Father. And after experiencing all this, I quickly found that there is so much more to the Church! Devotions to Mary, the saints, and the Eucharist. Novenas, adoration and countless methods of prayer. And maybe most importantly, millions of fellow catholics that are one in faith and there to help. I would urge all to at least give the Catholic Church a chance and find out what they have been missing!

Fr Scott

Why I Became Catholic, Biblically Speaking.

As a convert to Catholicism, I tend to wonder why everyone does not see that the Catholic Church is the one true Church. After all, I spent years studying before my conversion, doesn’t everyone do that kind of research before picking a church? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no, they do not. Now I could write a series of lengthy papers on what issues I have with other churches theologies…or…I could just write about what I found that drew me to Catholicism. I think the positive is always the best practice, so lets look at the first reason I am Catholic; scripture.

 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 19:41-42

This is what the original Church looked like. Believers were baptized, they were catechized, they were in fellowship, and they shared the breaking of the bread. Lets take these one at a time.

They were baptized. How? Well Jesus had cleared that up before He ascended.

 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:19

-20

They were to be baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now I know many lift up the thief on the cross, or the fact that no reference is made to the baptism of the apostles, but let me ask a question. When you told your child to clean his room, is there anything more maddening than him telling you that “Billy (his friend) never cleans his room and he and his family are just fine with it”? I may be an overly strict parent, but my stock response was “I don’t care what Billys family does, clean your room”!

Let us not study how many people apparently did not have to be baptized, let us do as Jesus commands.

Doing so takes out Mormonism, Jehovah witnesses, any church that believes in “believers baptism”, and any church that does not use the proper designations for “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. These include but are not limited to “creator, redeemer and sanctifier”.

If you have not been baptized in the name of the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit, please see me so that you can be soon.

Well this first bit knocks out quite a few churches in our search. But let us go on to the second, catechism. This seems simple enough, almost every church has some kind of teaching. But which teaching? Of course, the Bible. Seems simple enough, but did God really mean for us to obey ALL of it?? It is a lengthy book. God does address this. Whereas I will not publish the entirety of scripture here in my essay, I will pick a few of the most pertinent.

Deuteronomy 12:32 “Everything that I command you you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to it or take from it.

Revelation 22:I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Matthew 5:17…(Jesus says) “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished

Just a few, there are so many more. What does this tell us? God wants us to obey ALL of the Bible. Don’t add, don’t deduct. It tells us that God has specific teachings that He wishes to impart upon us. This creates a problem; give any 10 people a Bible and tell them to read it and give you a synopsis; you will in short order have 10 different reports on who God is and what He asks of us.

So here we have a dilemma. It is estimated that there are 22,800 protestant denominations, and around 60 different Orthodox rites, and one Catholic Church. Who is catechizing correctly? Well we already knocked out more than a few with the baptism test, but that does still leave us with a number of really friendly churches.

How did I solve this? I studied the fathers of the Church. They were undeniably Catholic. So if those who actually knew Jesus were Catholic, shouldn’t I be also? The teachings of the fathers, and of scripture, form the basis of the teaching of the Catholic Church. If this is not true about the church you attend, you should question as to why. The Church fathers were there, and they were willing to die for what they knew and practiced as Catholics. What was true about God and His wish for us was true then and is still true now, God does not change.

There is a small issue here though; what about Orthodoxy? My first reasoning here is that the Orthodox fight, a lot. The Orthodox have in the United States several of their rites, Greek, Russian, Antiochian, just to name a few. Those in the Antiochian are under constant attack to even exist from those in other rites. But even that did not prevent me from considering the Orthodox. But as I thought of all their fighting, and with my experience of the constant fighting of the Anglican Church I was a part of, I always wished someone would stand up and lead. Not for the power and the glory, but for God. Kind of like a pope. Then it hit me, mankind will always fight, it is in their broken nature. This is why you need a central authority to arbitrate. But in this arbitration, I don’t want them to decide right and wrong on their own, or on the winds of societal decrees, but on biblical truths. Truths that can not be touched or changed; kind of like dogma. So we need dogma and a pope…that brings us to one church; the Catholic Church.

But we still have one more item. (well two, but doesn’t every church have fellowship?? …and if they don’t, run!)

The last was the breaking of the bread. What was Luke speaking of when he wrote this in Acts? Just a dinner party? St Paul seems to think not:

When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not

1 Corinthians 11:20

So this is no dinner party. Then what is it? Jesus Himself answers this.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.

John 6:53.

The breaking of the bread is not dinner, it is not fellowship, (though it is communion…I’ll cover this in a yet to be written paper) it is partaking of the very body and blood of Christ. Paul adds an explanation mark on this fact:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

1 Corinthians 11:26

So not only is this the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, we also need to take it only in a state of grace, through confession.

So baptism, unity of catechism, and the true Eucharist are all biblical reasons to come home to the original Church of Christ, the Catholic Church.

God Bless

Fr Scott

1Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1994). The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (Ac 2:41–42). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.
2Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1994). The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (Mt 28:19–20). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.
3Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1994). The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (Dt 12:32). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.
4The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (Re 22:18–19). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
5The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (Mt 5:17–18). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
6The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (1 Co 11:20–22). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
7The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (Jn 6:53–58). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
8The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (1 Co 11:23–26). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
9The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (1 Co 11:27–29). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Divine Worship, Where did it come from?

Divine Worship:

The Missal expands Church’s diversity in expression, unity in faith.

The Missal, a definitive book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Ordinariates around the world, has been approved and promulgated by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2015. The authorization of the new missal marks a milestone in the life of the Ordinariates. The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life, and Divine Worship: The Missal provides a way for the Ordinariates to celebrate the sacred liturgy of the Catholic Church with an “Anglican inflection.” The missal uses Prayer Book English – language derived from the classic books of the Anglican liturgical tradition – that is fully Catholic in expression and content. 

Drawn from various Anglican sources and the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the new missal is an authoritative adaptation of the Roman Rite. Over the past five years, the Vatican – guided by the interdicasterial Anglicanae Traditiones Commission – reviewed and winnowed centuries of Anglican texts dating back to 1549, then assembled the best of them together, in accordance with the Roman Rite. The formal establishment of a missal that uses the great poetic language of the Anglican heritage is a nod to the gift the Ordinariate communities are being asked to pass on to their members and to the entire Catholic Church. Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution that gave a path for Anglican groups to become Catholic, asked the Ordinariates to maintain “elements of their liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions” as a “treasure to be shared” with the wider Church. The promulgation of Divine Worship: The Missal also signifies a benchmark in the liturgical history of the Catholic Church. The new missal marks the first time that the Catholic Church has sanctioned liturgical texts deriving from the Protestant Reformation.The Ordinariate Observer sat down with Msgr. N. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and Dr. Clint Brand, English Department Chair at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and member of the commission that advised the Vatican on the liturgical texts, to discuss Divine Worship: The Missal. Below are excerpts from that conversation. 

What is Divine Worship: The Missal?

Dr. Brand: It is a pastoral variation of the Roman Rite for the members of the Personal Ordinariates in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States. It is an adaptation of the Roman Rite for the sanctification of the faithful in the Ordinariates, to serve the liturgical mission the Catholic Church. 

Msgr. Steenson: Divine Worship: The Missal fits firmly and squarely in the Latin rite. It is not a separate rite for an autonomous ritual church. This missal is firmly part of the Western liturgical tradition.Dr. Brand: Let there be no mistaking: This is not an Anglican liturgy separate and distinct from the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. This is not an Anglican Use Rite. It does not reflect Anglican Eucharistic theology. It is not a Protestant service dressed up as a Catholic Mass. It is the Catholic Mass of the Western Rite, filtered through the Anglican experience, corrected and expressed in an Anglican voice.


Can any Catholic attend Mass according to Divine Worship?


Msgr. Steenson: Yes. Any Catholic can meet his or her Sunday obligation in the parishes and communities of the Ordinariate. 

Why was Divine Worship: The Missal developed?


Dr. Brand: The [Vatican’s interdicasterial Anglicanae Traditiones] commission that I served on was constituted to advise the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship on the implementation of the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus. Article III of the constitution says that the Holy See will approve liturgical forms for the Ordinariate from the books proper to the Anglican liturgical tradition, in accordance and conformity with Catholic norms. So Divine Worship: The Missal is the first fruits of that provision in Article III of the apostolic constitution.


How did the commission assemble the new missal? 


Dr. Brand: Anglicans have a tradition going back more than 400 years of adapting and translating Latin liturgical texts into English. It is a tradition that began with the translation of the Bible and continued with the development of the Books of Common Prayer. Anglicans pioneered a set of conventions and a memorable style for rendering Latin texts faithfully into English.The Anglican tradition, then, created an impressive collection of texts which were, in effect, mostly translations and variations of ancient prayers from the Roman Rite. The [Anglicanae Traditiones] commission assessed this collection of texts going back to [the first English Book of Common Prayer of] 1549 and ranging through the Prayer Books of different countries — England, Scotland, Canada and the United States — to distill and assemble the richest, most faithful selections for this adaptation of the Roman Rite. 


Will the faithful of the Ordinariates readily recognize the language of Divine Worship: The Missal?


Dr. Brand: Divine Worship: The Missal is representative of the Anglican tradition, as expressed in many different countries, conformed to the Catholic faith. It is not identical to this or that Book of Common Prayer or to any particular edition of the Book of Common Prayer. It includes familiar prayers, but it also offers expressions or elements that will be new to everyone.


How does the text of the new missal reflect Anglican patrimony, while also being fully Roman Catholic?


Msgr. Steenson: Anglican patrimony can be defined by as many people that happen to be in a room at that time. The Holy See helped us to define what is genuinely Catholic in these Anglican texts. Left to our own devices, we could not have defined our patrimony, simply because it is too various and too diverse; every congregation has a definition of ‘what is’ the distinctive Anglican patrimony of those they represent. Anglican patrimony was principally expressed locally, not universally. The Holy See needed to come in and help us ‘see it.’Dr. Brand: The [Anglicanae Traditiones] commission concluded that Anglican patrimony is that which has nourished the Catholic faith within the Anglican tradition and promoted aspirations to full ecclesial unity. The commission in effect said, ‘Anything within the Anglican tradition that nourished Catholic longings and shaped this desire for unity with the Church is legitimate.’ Any texts that didn’t do that were best left behind. 


Can Ordinariate communities use the Roman Missal instead of Divine Worship: The Missal?


Dr. Brand: The Anglican tradition of worship derives from a language of prayer that has a distinctive idiom – a dialect, so to speak.  It features a sacred vernacular in a “high” verbal register — with “thees” and “thous” — one that is both elevated and intimate and one that goes back to a time before the memorable phrases of the King James Bible. In the 1960s, around the time of Vatican II, a lot of Anglican churches started adapting their liturgies for expression in contemporary idiom. But the older Prayer Book language survived and continued in use, so you have two streams of Anglican prayer: one traditional and one more modern.So when Rome faced the challenge of representing one liturgical voice for all the Ordinariates, the question of traditional versus modern language came up. The Holy See — understandably quite proud of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal as the new norm — said, in effect, that if you come from contemporary language in your worship, use the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Why? Lots of contemporary texts [from the Anglican tradition] that seemed convergent with Anglican prayer books are no longer in sync with the Roman Rite. In some ways, the new English translation of the Roman Missal is actually more in tune with the older Books of Common Prayer than many Anglican texts in contemporary English.So we have the Third Edition of the Roman Missal for those who have been shaped by contemporary language and worship and for whom that is evangelistic and sanctifying. Then we have this traditional, distinctive Divine Worship: The Missal that represents the language of the long Prayer Book tradition from 1549 through the 1960s and surviving yet today.Msgr. Steenson: On the First Sunday of Advent, the Eucharistic texts in The Book of Divine Worship [the first ritual book used by the Ordinariates] will be repressed, and at that time, all of our loose-leaf binders that have served as the altar missal will be repressed. In the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, every public Mass celebrated in our communities will be offered from the newly published missal. 


What is the significance of this new missal to the Ordinariates and the Catholic Church?


Msgr. Steenson: This is historic. This is the first time in the history of the Catholic Church that the liturgical texts of a separated Christian community have been brought back into the life of the Church of Rome. This missal is now recognized by the Church as standing side by side with the Roman Missal. 

Dr. Brand: This missal is the fruit of receptive and realized ecumenism. Ecumenism isn’t just talk anymore — it is a real movement. People who come into the Ordinariate are completely and fully Catholic, yet bring with them the gifts of their Anglican heritage and lay them at the feet of Peter. Peter has now given the gifts back to us and said, ‘Use this to make more Catholics.’

Msgr. Steenson: In Unitatis redintegatio [the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism], the Catholic Church specified what it would look like to bring Christians into communion. One of the points is that they would bring their own distinctive traditions to the Church; they would not be suppressed or absorbed. Our traditions are meant to mutually enrich each other. Dr. Brand: With this missal, the Holy See sends a message to all the faithful within the Ordinariates: They are an enduring, permanent part of the Church, charged with the mission of evangelizing. 

The Anglicanae Traditiones Commission
Divine Worship: The Missal was developed under the guidance of the interdicasterial Anglicanae Traditiones Commission, whose task has been to identify Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and to incorporate it into Catholic worship for the Ordinariates. Advising the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship, the commission included:
• Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Chair of the Commission and Assistant (Adjunct) Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
• Msgr. Steven J. Lopes, Coordinating Secretary of the Commission and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
• Msgr. Andrew Burnham of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
• Auxiliary Bishop Peter J. Elliott of the Archdiocese of Melbourne
• Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco
• Father Uwe Michael Lang of the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in London
• Dr. Hans-Jürgen Feulner of the University of Vienna, Austria
• Dr. Clinton A. Brand of the University of St. Thomas of Houston, Texas 
• Father Andrew Menke, Associate Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship and former staff member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
• Consulter Msgr. Peter Wilkinson of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

This article reprinted with permission from The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter 6/21

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Growing Pains, all churches have them, even the earliest church. In Acts we see the first issue that came to pass after the ascension of Jesus.

Acts 15:4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.  But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.”

Acts 15:4-5

The fledgling Church was still trying to decide how to merge Gentiles and Jews. The Jews were insisting that the Gentiles be circumcised, the gentiles were not to fond of this idea. This was an issue that could have easily created the first schism in the Church. How was this avoided? Peter stood, as the first among all the apostles, and reminded those present of the mission of the Church, to save souls. What will bring the most souls to Christ.

I was reminded the other day at a parishioners home, of the Baptist church I spent 11 years across from. Good Shepherd Episcopal was right across the street from First Baptist Wichita Falls. The Baptists were all about saving souls; it’s the mission, right? They would do this by offering iPads to those who regularly attended, offering Chic-fil-a after their service, (Wichita Falls for years did not have a Chic-fil-A franchise…they shipped it in from Layton OK!) they even went so far as to baptize kids at the water park. This certainly, from the surface, looks to be bringing “the most” to Christ. But if we look closer, the offering of worldly things like iPads and chicken is a bribe to follow Christ, and don’t get me started about baptizing at a water park. We are to come to Christ, as ones who have surrendered to Him, not as one who was enticed to worship.

And this is what brought the apostles together, instead of breaking them apart; the humility of surrendering to Christ. Coming to Christ should not be seen as a contest of wills. The Jews saw circumcision as a right of passage…“we did, why shouldn’t they have to”? Coming to Christ should not be seen as a competition; we surrender to Christ, that is all.

Coming to Christ should be seen as charity. Love of God and Love of neighbor. This means you bend where the Church allows, but stand firm where the Church does not. As traditional Christians we are sometimes branded as hateful, as we do have to lay down the law in places. We should be aware of this and learn to bend when we can.

The apostles were divided at the council of Jerusalem, no doubt. They, as all subsequent councils, agreed that they would present their arguments, listen, reflect, but in the end, they would agree with the decisions of the council, whether they agreed with it or not.

Some might question how this is not abused as a practice. For one, we have had 21 ecumenical councils, and the Church still stands and holds the truth of the Gospel. In this we should remember Peter’s final words in his address to the Jerusalem Council.

Acts 15: 19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.

Acts 15:19-20

Peter was stating that though he had directed the Church not to follow one of the traditions of Judaism, he still instructed the Church to stand against the known heresies. There are limits; but God guards His Church, and the powers of Hell will never overcome it.

As we grow there will be discussions, maybe even an argument. We should hear each other out in a Christian manner. We will act in charity and love towards one another. We will decide these difference in accords with the Ordinariate practice and the law of the Catholic Church. And after the discussion is ended and decided, we should all pledge to walk forward together to grow the Catholic Church here in Cleburne, remembering that schism nor rancor ever grew a church.

God Bless

Fr Scott

Who Are We?

I have been writing a pamphlet for new parishioners. We have been growing at a pretty nice clip of late, and I wanted to have something that I can hand to them that will give visitors some insight as to who we are. I have used, as my guide, this statement that was created through suggestions from our congregation.

St John Vianney is an authentic, faith filled traditional community that is committed to welcoming all to the Catholic Church through education, service, fellowship and worship.

SJV Parishioners

I have always said, we must know who we are in order to grow as a community. So here is a line by line breakout of the above statement.

We are authentic. We preach the gospel at St John Vianney. God’s Word will not be ignored nor soft peddled, we will preach God’s Word no matter who it offends. Why are we so adamant about this? The Gospel is God’s Word. Modern times has brought a culture that thinks they can chart their own course, do what they wish, make their own decisions not only on what they will be but also who they will be. Gender fluidity, homosexuality, ramped sexual promiscuity, abortion, disappearing human rights, and inadequate ethics; these are but a few of societal problems we see. These sins stem from a deadly pride that has humanity re-writing God’s Word. This pressing issue can only be combatted with God’s authentic Word.

We are faith filled. We are a church that believes in God. We believe in Jesus, the only Son of God. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the counsellor. We believe in the Triune God, and furthermore we believe this One true God is the only way in which we can be saved. We show forth this faith through works. Our works are shown in charity. Charity is rightly seen as helping the poor, but we also show our faith through charity in how we treat each other. We try our best to treat each other with respect, always putting others feelings before our own. We are a community in Christ at SJV, and Christ taught us to love one another. We do our best to imitate Christ in all His teachings, especially showing ultimate charity in how we treat our fellow parishioners.

We are traditional. The Ordinariate was formed out of the patrimony of the Anglican movement. Anglicanism was schismatic, and at times even heretical. However, the Church has found within Anglicanism a patrimony, that which is of God. Pope Benedict XVI brought those elements out of Anglicanism and into the Catholic Church and ensconced them in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. We are a traditional expression of the Catholic faith. Most who come to us from the Ordinary Rite of the Catholic Church are seeking a more traditional mass than the one St. Pope Paul VI created. For the Sunday mass and the Saturday vigil, our clergy is canonically bound to use Divine Worship. On the weekdays we also use Divine Worship. It may be different as opposed to the mass many cradle Catholics are used to, but give it time and the profound beauty of the liturgy will become clear.

We are committed to welcoming. The Ordinariate was created to welcome Anglicans home to the Catholic Church. We likewise welcome the un-churched to the Catholic Church. Bringing the un-churched and Anglicans to the Catholic Faith is why we are in existence. The pastoral provision was created by St John Paul II, and still exists to allow Anglican clergy a path to ordination and service within the Ordinary Rite. If we were here simply to be “another” catholic Church, we would be superfluous. The Ordinariate is focused on proselytizing Anglicans and those who have strayed from Christ, enticing them to come back to the Church. We do welcome cradle Catholics also, with the knowledge that we are a missionary church focused on bringing our non-Catholic brethren back home.

Lastly, we are teachers and servants. It has been said many times that Ordinariate clergy excel in preaching and teaching. This is God equipping us for a purpose, the purpose I spoke of in the previous paragraph, to save souls. The Ordinariate focuses on methods to gather both the faithful and unchurched together and educating them in the faith. This is done through fellowship and service. Fellowship and service provide an excellent conduit by which we can bring people to the faith. These two elements provide presence in the community, it’s the best advertising we can hope for. Through fellowship and service we get to know our community. Once they get to know us, we can then invite them to get to know Christ through the Catholic faith.

As we grow, we will see St John Vianney through many changes. Hymns, mass settings, furnishings, and vestments may change, but we should never lose sight of who we are and why we are in existence.