Friday, September 23, 2011

Complete text of address from Patriarchal Court

SAN ANTONIO (ACNS) - The complete text of Cardinal Johnson's address to the Patriarchal Court is given below:

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. Greetings and Apostolic Blessings on the Feast of Saint Joseph of Cupertino in the Year of Our Lord 2011. We thank all the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, as well as guests, and especially those who travelled great distances to be here and worked diligently to ensure that this event would be most meaningful and memorable.

This Convocation is particularly special as it comes at the beginning of newly-implemented initiatives for ecclesiastical unity. These efforts have been underway for several years and may even be said to have originated with the work of the late Bishop Caudill when he was Bishop of the Southwest. We are indeed holding this Convocation in Bishop Caudill’s own historic See City, so it is particularly fitting that we continue his work here.

For far too long, differences in opinion, egotism, and the work of the Antichrist have resulted in a fractured Church on this earth. Sacred Tradition and even Sacred Scripture have been used to divide the Church rather than unite it. This has resulted in the trend of more division being the result of disagreement. Yet, we must not be afraid of disagreement. Faith is a struggle. It is warfare against the ways of the world in favor of the ways of God. True religion is not easy. It demands true conversion of heart, it demands sacrifice, and it demands spiritual warfare. The Christian Faith should be at the center of each Christian’s life. It must be the guiding force in all aspects of their lives, rather than simply something relegated to a few hours on Sunday, if even that.

Far too often one’s duty to God is subjugated to the obligations of the world. Far too often the laws of God are asserted to be inferior to the laws of the world. In both these cases, we know this to be wrong, yet it is rapidly becoming the norm more and more, day by day. Nations, municipalities, societies, and commercial organizations, though, only have true authority when they recognize that they are under God and act accordingly. Those who claim that governments are independent of God, often using the popular phrase “separation of Church and State,” speak falsely. Insofar as a government has just authority, it comes from God. Governments that fail in this regard lose their authority to govern. This is applicable to employers and organizations as well.

Indeed, we are in a time in which the world is divided into two camps; the companions of the Antichrist and the brotherhood of the Christian faithful. This was spoken of by Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his time, and the situation he described has continued to worsen. We are in the midst of a great fight against the forces of the Antichrist. They are found all around us, openly proclaiming their anti-Christian message and promoting their anti-Christian agenda. They are the secularists and the atheists who wish to remove or at least suppress the Christian Faith. Particularly troubling is the trend by secularists, modernists, liberals, and socialists in society and the government of marginalizing Christians while simultaneously promoting religions that fundamentally seek the destruction of Christianity, such as Islam. The secularists have gained ground through success in suppressing the Christian Faith for a number of reasons. Among these is the divided nature of the Church. In-fighting and schism has made it much easier for secularists to divide and conquer. We know, though, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Holy Church. Even if the Church is reduced to a handful, those who keep her faith and traditions remain the true Church.

Nevertheless, this makes the issue of unity all the more urgent today. Yet, unity must be rational. Compromise, particularly on matters of doctrine and in areas on which the true Faith cannot compromise, all for the sake of creating the pretense of union in fact does just the opposite. Compromise on such matters creates weakness and leads to a culture of relativism, thereby making it more difficult to combat the secularists and modernists of today.

What is needed is cooperation amongst the apostolic branches of the Church. We must come together, work together, seeking partnerships in Christian brotherhood for the good of the Holy Church and for the sake of our Lord. Furthermore, schism must be resisted. Those who disagree must not create further division in the Church through initiating or participating in a schism. We need only look to the writings of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas to know the truth on this matter. Heresy, though a sin, is better than schism. Schism includes the sin of heresy as well and further is a sin against charity. Particularly troublesome are priests and even bishops who lead or participate in schism, for they not only place their own souls in peril, they jeopardize the souls of those in their care. All such clergy by their very actions declare themselves to be excommunicated. We pray for reconciliation of all schismatics and heretics.

Also what must be avoided and cannot be excused or tolerated is one branch of the Church actively or passively seeking harm against or even the destruction of another branch. As but one example, those branches of the Anglican Church that, though they maintain Apostolic lines, have left the Episcopal Church or another branch of the Anglican Communion must not actively seek harm against the communion they left or promote its destruction. This is a grave sin against charity and ultimately in most cases likely stems from the sin of pride.

It is, therefore, policy promulgated by the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham in the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church that all in this Particular Church are called to seek unity with our brother Catholics and indeed with all Christians through cooperation, not compromise. And, we call on all Christians to work for this goal rather than causing further division, even if through good intentions. While we cannot compromise on the doctrine so essential to our belief, we also cannot fail in fraternal love to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Doctrine without love is meaningless, and Christian love without doctrine lack direction and order of purpose.

While, again, we do not and cannot compromise on matters of doctrine and Canon Law of the special heritage of this See that we have been entrusted to shepherd and we all have been entrusted to maintain, we Anglican Rite Catholics nevertheless will not stand in antagonistic opposition to the Episcopal Church or any other body of the Anglican Communion, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or any other body of the Roman Communion. Rather, we openly and actively seek cooperation and creative and active partnerships whenever possible for the benefit of Christ, his Church, and all the faithful. This is the fundamental and essential definition of unity.

Also of joyful importance is to note that the Missale Anglicanum Editio Latina et Anglica, which is in effect the second edition of the altar edition of the 2010 Book of Common Prayer, is now complete. The Pontificale Anglicanum and Rituale Anglicanum third editions are also in print. These three books, coupled with the historic Anglican Breviary, comprise the liturgy and devotion of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church and no doubt will enrich the lives of all who participate in those devotions and liturgy.

Lastly, we remind all the faithful never to despair, for that, too is a sin. We must never give up hope, and our hope must always be in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must constantly do battle against the forces of evil. We must constantly seek to serve God in all that we do every day of our lives.

Further, in accordance with the norms established, we grant a plenary indulgence to all who have participated in this Convocation. We pray that you will all receive the numerous blessings of our Lord, and that God will enrich your lives.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ARCHIVE: Convocation resounding success

SAN ANTONIO 21 September 2011 (ACNS) - The Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham's 2011 Convocation, held at the Hotel Contessa on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, was seen as a definite success. The chief task of the Convocation was to promulgate policy and plans for unity initiatives that have been underway for some time.

The Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham is the Patriarchal household of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church. Its members include much of the leadership of the Curia and the vital support staff of the Patriarchal See. It was due to the tireless efforts and continued devotion of these clerics and laymen that the ARRCC's initiatives for unity have been so successful.
Identifying that the solution to problems faced by the Church today will not be solved through schism or any act that breaks apart the Church or creates factions, the Patriarchal See has made official policy to denounce such division and to work for unity in Christian brotherhood under the guiding principle of cooperation without compromise.
Leaders of the ARRCC have been meeting with leaders of other Catholic jurisdictions for some time and have been successful in achieving agreement that cooperation without compromise is necessary to heal the wounds of the past, prevent further fraction, and build meaningful unity in Christ. While it was realized that problems facing the Church will not likely be solved instantaneously, it was also realized that they will never be solved without proactive efforts in which the members of the corporate Body of Christ move towards each other and not apart.

On Sunday, the Patriarchal Court itself was held at Chapel House, a chapel inside a 1920s Spanish-style house at the Bishop Jones Center of the Diocese of West Texas of the Episcopal Church in San Antonio. In accordance with tradition, the ceremony began with the Solemn Reception of the Patriarch at the church. This was followed by the rite for the court itself, which included an address by the Patriarch outlining the Church's policies and plans for unity efforts.
After the rites of the Court were concluded, Rev. Ryan Lozano was incardinated into the ARRCC and made a member of the Patriarchal Chapter. Msgr. Lozano will serve in the Prefecture of the Liturgy. The rites concluded with the solemn Te Deum.
The ARRCC seeks to build bridges and creative partnerships to make the work of the ministry more effective for everyone. It is the firm belief of the Church that the animosity of the past is counterproductive and must be turned into more positive directions. Schism, factions, and disharmony are not the answer. A true embracing of the Catholic Faith and extending the hand to others in the brotherhood of Christ through cooperation when possible is the answer that the ARRCC promotes.