The People

I heard an absolutely wonderful statement today (thank you Margaret) and it struck me with its beautiful simplicity. To quote:

"What if the Anglican Patrimony is people?"

This is not to deny all the practices and perspectives that make up the "culture" of the Anglican Patrimony; certainly not. Yet it is trying to point out something that is often forgotten in all the hustle and bustle of theological blatheration that does more to cloud the issues than to clear them up. The practices only exist if there are people who are doing them, and the perspectives only exist if there are people who are holding them. These things, like love, only exist in the performance of them, and we often forget that it is the people who are the "flesh and blood" of what we are discussing (pun intended).

It is not as though we can discuss a structure of a vestry or parish council and imagine that structure without it being filled by people. Hence, it is those very people's souls which are what we are supposed to be preserving when we seek to obey the Holy Father's wishes in Anglicanorum Coetibus. The academic side of things only exists because there are academicians who are "academizing". To get all caught up in a heated torrent of debate over any detail of the faith will usually mean that we have come to believe that we are discussing Plato's forms rather than the behaviors of men and women who are loved by Christ.

When I see the behaviors of many Christians today, it seems as though they want us to believe that they love their brother enough to kill him. Oddly, I recall the command being more along the lines of loving our brother enough to die for him. Sometimes this dying for our brother means dying to self. There are many ways that you can live out that "dying to self", but if nothing in you changes, then you have not died to self. One can die to self by just shutting his mouth (or putting Chinese handcuffs on your typing fingers); one can die to self by apologizing to a brother (publicly if the offense was public); or one can die to self by saying "yessir" when the Ordinary tells you to do something you do not want to do.

To preserve the human part of the patrimony means that we are to be "our brother's keeper". This is so because these beautiful practices and ideas will become ugly and unholy if we use them as swords against the tender heart of a confused Christian brother. There are some who pride themselves in defending a cause or system as though they were the last defender of the faith, and yet all they are accomplishing is the alienation of one that they should be seeking to help to grow in faith. Better to let the cause go and save the man, than to let the man go and save the cause.

Many of us find great joy in the Anglican Patrimony. Yet, every one of those aspects that you enjoy are mere words on paper (or the screen) if you do not treat the people as more important. To turn a phrase: God made the patrimony for man, and not man for the patrimony. Sometimes we forget this, and it shows when we least expect it.

There are many, many souls out there who have been dragged out to sea by the undertow of either the liberalism in the Episcopal Churches or the cantankerousness of the "continuing" Anglican denominations. Others have merely wandered into the waves because they got confused by much that has happened recently in the Catholic Church. A new ship is setting sail now in the American Ordinariate and the sailors who board her need to do more than keep the deck clean. They need to be going out seeking those who are floating in the sea of modern relativism and immorality; those who have fallen away and yet not found (or forgotten) their true home in the barque of Peter. They have been treading dangerous waters for quite some time and have not found safe harbor; let us seek and find them with all the passion of the Chief Shepherd looking for His lost sheep. This is what it means to preserve the patrimony more than anything else: to seek and save that which was lost.

20 thoughts on “The People”

  1. Thank you, Father, for this very edifying message. May I, as an unofficial part of the Patrimony, also offer to everyone here my best wishes for many happy returns of the day on this, Royal Martyr Day. Although King Charles is reported to have said, as his last word, "Remember", I like to think that if he had lived in the XXth Century, he would also have cried out, with so many others, "Viva Cristo Rey", and surely he is crying it out now, together with Bl. Miguel Pro, Bl. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, the son of Col. Moscardo, and many others.

    1. Are the Ordinariates "allowed" to commemorate St Charles, King and Martyr? Will his feast be included in their calendar and missal? I trow not.

      1. Well, it is always possible to celebrate a yearly requiem Mass for him, as the French do for Louis XVI on january 21th.

        + PAX et BONUM

    1. "Some are so heavenly bound they are of no earthly good." "Reach for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground." Or as my wonderful mother (RIP) would say, :They are armpit Christians; holding the Bible under their armpit while they wag their finger at others."

    2. Thank you all for your interest. I understand your curiosity, but the personal experiences of seminarians is not a good topic for public discussion. Their preparation and training is a private time that is for spiritual development and discernment (and should be respected as such). For their sake, I will say only that things went very well. Please keep these men and their families in your prayers.

      1. I agree entirely with the principle that those entering on the process of discernment and formation should be permitted a high degree of privacy. However, on the other hand, there is another aspect to the Ms Humm's post,

        Those who are personally interested in the progress of the Ordinariate do need to be kept informed in general terms about what is going on. I first learned the formation programme was under way from the parish bulletin of Our Lady of Walsingham. It might have been better for this to be announced in general terms on the Ordinariate's own web site. Two or three lines would have been enough.

        A modicum of news and progress reports serves to encourage those considering their own position.

        1. Thank you for the generalities- but we have posters throughout most parishes with pictures and home parishes of our local seminarians. I meant no intrusion- only intending to see how we can support (before the occasion) those who are in formation. I do believe that only those who have been cleared for the Ordinariate were invited to attend. Or was this a 'come and see' vocation weekend… I am just interested in ongoing news from and about the Ordinariate. Please advise on where we would find the upcoming information or calendar of activities.

          1. No "intrusion" was assumed. I just wanted to make it clear that we should respect the privacy of those involved in this process.

            All official information on the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will be found on the Ordinariate website ( and the official connected links. Whatever Fr. Steenson wants to be made public will be posted there. "Leaks" should be treated as such and therefore be "cleaned up" (as anyone with a child in diapers should know!).

            1. Seeing as how Fr. Steenson has posted a Pastoral Letter on the Ordinariate website, might a new post be created for it?

              I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "leaks"? Both Frs. Steenson and Hurd have been giving various interviews that you'd have to run down to find as they don't post them on the ordinariate website. Are these considered "leaks"? Their facebook page generally has a bit more than the website, but again has not provided each interview that has been out there.

  2. So beautifully written Father. Makes me proud to have been a sailor all these years. The saying I remember so well from my days at sea is, "God always watches out for fools and sailors" So having been one or both all my life, how blessed I am to be near such wonderful People who know where they are going and the Anglican Patrimony. Gods Speed to all of you sailing toward the Chair of St. Peter.

  3. It was very good to see the Ordinary's first Pastoral Letter and it shows just how much has been accomplished in a short time.

    The site also shows that the Ordinariate has also acquired its Chancellor, Dr Margaret Poll Chalmers, JD, PhD, JCD and those with an interest in the Canon Law issues which arise from the new dispensation of the Apostolic Constitution will understand what a challenging role Dr Chalmers has taken on.

    May I also put in a plug for the official magazine of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. It promised last issue to report on events in the USA and the current issue – on line at The Portal – carries its first "Letter from America" written by Timothy Perkins of the St Peter the Rock community in Arlington, Texas. All the back issues are on-line too and they give a picture of how the OLW Ordinariate is progressing over here.

    1. I enjoyed "Father Peter's Page". It's one of the few times lately that I've seen the original primary intent of the Pastoral Provision in the United States accurately stated: "which had allowed communities to be
      reconciled with the Catholic Church whilst retaining
      some aspects of their spirituality". He was also on the mark in saying "No longer can people falsely claim that that 'the Pastoral Provision has no future': there will now be a succession of priests for its continuum." Though of course he is referring to the Pastoral Provision in the sense of communities retaining a common identity, versus the new interpretation of it being for the purpose of providing diocesan priests.

  4. I have been keeping up with the news 'across the pond' via the Portal and am very excited about all that is happening… It is very good to read actual 'news' from our Ordinariates. God is good… ALL the time. And my nappies are NOT leaking, Fr. Seraiah!

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