Friday, December 19, 2014



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Robert Baldwin - The Great Reformer - A forerunner of the Ordinariate?

Could we say that Robert Baldwin, the nineteenth century architect of the union between colonies in British North American in what became the united Province of Canada, was a forerunner of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter as well as of the Confederation of Canada?
Portrait of the Hon. Robert Baldwin, the Reformer,
a 1st Co-Premier of the united Province of Canada

Were Baldwin's religious views such that he was moving towards unity in religious matters as well as political? 

These intriguing questions have their roots in the life of the Honourable Robert Baldwin (1804 - 1858). Born in Toronto (York) he was a contemporary of John Henry Newman and was, by his own admission, a high church Anglican who was conversant with the ideas of the Oxford Movement as they became known in the British colonies.

Certainly Robert Baldwin, was a lifelong Anglican (technically a member of what was known as the Church of England in Canada at the time). His family had emigrated to North American in 1799 when his father, William Warren Baldwin and grandfather, known as Robert the Emigrant, left County Cork in Ireland.  

The Baldwin family  had long experience co-operating with Catholics in the politics of Ireland. In fact, it was this experience of the Baldwins, many of whom were lawyers and involved in the administration of the Ireland, which moved them to promote what they termed "Responsible Government" i.e. government that was responsible to and/or elected by the population that it served. In the case of Ireland, the vast majority of these folk were Catholics.

The idea of Responsible Government was not pure democracy (if there is such a thing) but it did give the franchise initially to men who owned property and had a material stake in the welfare of their community.  

The closure of the Irish Parliament and the concentration of power at Westminster in England at the close of the 18th Century was the last straw for Robert's grandfather, Robert the Emigrant.  He picked up with his son William Warren Baldwin (The Reformer's father)  and made for Upper Canada (later to become Ontario).  There they hoped to work in the new world for Responsible Government still loyal to the British Crown.

Statue on Parliament Hill, Ottawa:
Robert Baldwin and Louis Lafontaine,
Co-premiers of the Province of Canada 1843 - 1848

Long an opponent of aggressive Protestantism, Baldwin's Secret Societies Bill, sought to outlaw the Orange Order and its political violence. His alliance with Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine was more than simply political. They were close friends and because Baldwin did not speak French, he saw to it that his children were all educated in French in Québec. His daughter Marie was reconciled to the Catholic Church following her education at the Ursuline Convent in Québec. She did not marry and nursed Baldwin in his final illness until his death.

Robert Baldwin had become, he told John Ross in December 1853, “rather a High Churchman as I understand the distinction between High and Low Churchman, though I trust without bigotry or intolerance.” (Dictionary of Canadian Biography). His concern was with maintaining the traditional internal government of the church and his views on the separation of Church from the power of the state was, he had argued, necessary to prevent the Church from becoming a political football. 

He did not approve of any democratization of the church believing, in line with the what the Oxford Movement held. The Church should be governed according to her own apostolic principles and governance. He advocated for the right to Catholic Education against Protestant prejudice and the Orange Order. 

Baldwin worked with both high and low churchmen as president of the Upper Canada Bible Society until 1856.  
Statue of Robert Baldwin
outside the Legislature in 
Québec City.

All of this and much more Baldwin and his colleagues accomplished with virtually no bloodshed, unlike the American, French and other republican movement. Truly Baldwin was a man of unity and would likely see the Ordinariate and its witness to unity as a development which he and Newman could support. 

STM Children's Choir to sing for the first time at Sunday Mass - December 21, 1:45 P.M.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our Lady of Guadaloupe, Blessed John Henry Newman and Untying Knots

This Friday is the Feast of the Queen of the Americas. Catholic churches from the North Pole to the tip of South America will celebrate their Queen and ask for her prayers.
Our Lady of Guadaloupe in Mexico
I will be offering Mass for the intentions of a boy and a man with whom I have been working.  

First, the youngest of the two, who turns thirteen this weekend; I will call him Guillermo (to preserve his confidentiality).  Guillermo (pronounced GEE-AIR-MO with a hard G - Spanish for William) is suffering from advanced stage cancer.  His family is from South America and is very supportive and prayerful. His mother, who is at his side most of the time, goes to daily Mass at noon when she can.

The second man, Miguel, is at the end of a very long bureaucratic process which has required him to leave Canada for two and a half years as the machinery of Immigration grinds on.  His application is to return to Canada to take up a job which he was doing when he first came to Toronto seeking asylum from extortion in Mexico, a situation which saw his brother, a businessman, murdered by criminals.

Miguel was so valued by his employer that this employer has footed his legal costs to return.  Why it has taken more than twice the expected time is a mystery and a knot that needs to be untied.

Guillermo and Miguel have agreed to be prayer partners. We are asking that as many people as can join them, attend Mass this Friday (and as many of the following nine days as you can) and offer prayers for Guillermo and Miguel with Our Lady Untier of Knots (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) and Blessed John Henry Newman. 

In the case of Guillermo we are asking for healing -- a miracle from the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman with Our Lady which would be for his canonization. 

We know that all this is possible with God and though we do not have a relic of Blessed John Henry Newman (if anyone can loan us one we would be grateful) we will be invoking his name and prayers for both our friends.

Pope Francis has been one of the chief promoters of “Our Lady Undoer of Knots.”  As a young man, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was studying in Germany. He was very taken by a Bavarian painting of “Holy Mary, Our Lady Untier of Knots.” He acquired a copy of the painting and brought it to Argentina with him. He promoted devotion to Mary under this title and  apparently it has caught on with the faithful of Argentina. It is interesting that this Marian devotion of Pope Francis is rooted in Bavaria –  a bridge between the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and that of Pope Francis. Some time ago, Cardinal Bergoglio had an image of Our Lady Undoer of Knots engraved into a chalice and presented it to Pope Benedict XVI.

Something about the theology surrounding this Marian Devotion, thanks to Dr. Taylor Marshall:
The theology of Mary untying knots goes back to the second century – less than one hundred years after the death of the Apostles. Saint Irenaeus of Lyons wrote “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the Blessed Virgin Mary set free through faith.” (Adversus haereses, 3, 22) This is one of the earliest examples of describing Mary as the “New Eve.” Eve, standing next to Adam, is the “co-peccatrix” (co-sinner) Mary, standing next to Christ crucified, is the “co-redemptrix” (co-redemptress). This does not mean that Mary directly saves or redeems us. It means that Mary consents and participates in the redemptive action of Christ. Her role is congruent and relative to the condign and absolute role of Christ.
Our Lady Undoer of Knots is Patristic and may be the way forward for establishing and expanding Marian theology. The doctrine of Mary’s universal mediation and her subordinate role to Christ in human salvation is beautifully summed up in this saying of Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. The fact that it goes back to the second century reveals that this is not a medieval accretion. It’s a doctrine deriving from the Apostles themselves.

You can share in the Novena to Our Lady Untier of Knots. One form is found here which is easily modified for your own intentions:
Novena: Our Lady Untier of Knots


We know that Blessed JHN had a deep and abiding devotion to Our Lady under her many titles. He was a patristic scholar and prayed for the untying of many knots in his very rough journey of faith into the light of unity in the Catholic Church.

The second phase of our partnership in prayer is to offer the following prayer invoking the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman at Mass and daily prayer for nine days:

God our Father, who granted to thy servant Blessed John Henry Newman wonderful gifts of nature and of grace, that he should be a spiritual light in the darkness of this world, an eloquent herald of the Gospel, and a devoted servant of the one Church of Christ.
With confidence in his heavenly intercession, we make the following petition: [here make your petition]
For his insight into the mysteries of the kingdom, his zealous defence of the teachings of the Church, and his priestly love for each of thy children, we pray that he may soon be numbered among the Saints.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  AMEN.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dale Vree's review of a new edition of Anglican Difficulties

Excerpts from Dale Vree's review of a new edition of  Anglican Difficulties by John Henry Newman in New Oxford Review: 

It is most timely that Newman's Anglican Difficulties has just been reissued, and it is a welcome bonus that it comes with notes and a new introduction by the distinguished philosopher of science Fr. Stanley L. Jaki. The Church of England (C. of E.), which was so formidable when yoked with a Britain that ruled the waves and upon whose Empire the sun never set, is now going through another of its death rattles, so perceptively predicted by Newman in 1850, when this book was originally published.

Death rattle? Why, today the C. of E., the Established Church, has only two or three percent of the English population in its churches on Sundays, and there are now more Roman Catholics in church on Sundays in England than Anglicans.

"Time and again, at crucial junctures," notes Jaki, the C. of E. "acted in a decisively Protestant way." Anglican Difficulties is Newman's response to one of those actions -- viz., when the Queen's Privy Council declared that the (Catholic) doctrine that baptism imparts spiritual regenera­tion, or sanctifying grace, is not necessary to Anglicanism and need not be adhered to by Anglicans. A group of prominent Anglo-Catho­lics protested the decision, saying that because of it the C. of E. would become "formally separated from the Catholic body [i.e., the invisible Catholic church] and can no more assure to its members the grace of the Sacraments and the Remission of Sins." As Jaki asks, "What could be more fatal for a Church allegedly Catholic?" While protesters Henry Manning and Robert Wilberforce would go over to Rome, other pro­testers, such as John Keble and Ed­ward Pusey, would -- strangely -- find a way to buckle under to the decision.

Anglican Difficulties is ad­dressed specifically to Anglo­-Catholics to show them that if they would remain true to their principles -- specifically, those of the Oxford Movement, born in 1833 -- they would have to go over to Rome.

Newman knew all the Anglo-Catholic arguments for not going to Rome, and he knocked them over one by one. What is truly pro­phetic about this book, though, is that Newman, understanding the debilitating weakness of the Anglo-Catholic position, foresaw how the position of Anglo-Catholics in the C. of E. could only get more and more precarious -- and preposter­ous -- over time.

Of course, because of the C. of E.'s patently anti-apostolic and anti-Catholic decision, in Novem­ber 1992, to ordain women, many Anglo-Catholics have now become [Catholic]

 . . .  And yet, all the ratio­nalizations offered by Anglo-Catho­lics in Newman's day for sticking with Anglicanism can still be heard in England today by many other Anglo-Catholics. Which is why stranded and still bewildered Anglo-­Catholics in England -- not to mention elsewhere -- should get this book, gird up their loins, and read it (again, if necessary).

Newman contended that the C. of E. had no real identity and no future. It was not beholden to Christ or Catholic doctrine or the universal Church (either the actual one centered in Rome or the one imagined by Anglo-Catholics), but to the nation, public opinion, and the Spirit of the Age. It could only move further and further away from its "mimic Catholicism." For Anglo-Catholics to remain in the C. of E. could not alter this destiny, only slow it down for a time. Re­garding the Spirit of the Age, and with reference to the Privy Council decision, Newman exclaimed elo­quently: "The giant ocean has sud­denly swelled and heaved, and ma­jestically yet masterfully snaps the cables of smaller craft...and strands them upon the beach.... One vessel alone can ride those waves; it is the boat of Peter, the ark of God."

Newman saw that if the doc­trine of baptismal regeneration could be reduced to a mere matter of opinion, then any doctrine could be so reduced. Today the apostolic priesthood has been so reduced, and Anglican bishops who deny the Virgin Birth, the Trinity, the Sec­ond Coming, Hell, and other doc­trines go undisciplined. Indeed, the C. of E. seems unable to insist on any point of doctrine.

Newman noted in 1850 that the Catholic principles of the Ox­ford Movement had been repudi­ated (though tolerated, after a fash­ion) by the Anglican bishops, and he understood that those principles were "foreign" to, and could not be grafted onto, the C. of E. Newman implored: "If your Church rejects your principles, it rejects you.... [Your Church] is what it is, and you have no means of [changing] it.... Oh, my brethren! Life is short, waste it not in vanities...."

One vanity of the Anglo­-Catholics derived from the undeni­able fact -- affirmed by Newman himself -- that they had experi­enced God's grace as Anglicans. But as an argument for staying in the C. of E., this proved too much. 

. . .  But while grace can be found among pagans, that does not prove the truth of paganism, and the question before Newman and the Anglo-Catholics was whether the C. of E. was (or was a part of) the true Church of Christ.

More specifically, Anglo­-Catholics appealed to the fact that they felt Christ's presence in the Anglican sacraments. But Newman invoked Catholic theology: Grace is given in a sacrament in two ways: "Grace is given ex opere operato, when, the proper dispositions be­ing supposed in the recipient, it is given through the ordinance [sac­rament] itself; it is given ex opere operantis, when, whether there be outward sign or no, the inward en­ergetic act of the recipient is the in­strument of it." Added Newman, "Let me grant you, then, that the reception of your ordinances brings peace and joy to the soul [ex opere operantis]..." but "there is nothing to show that the effects would not have been precisely the same on condition of the same inward dis­positions, though another ordi­nance, a love-feast or a washing of the feet, with no pretense to the name of a Sacrament, had been in good faith adopted."

Newman knew that any argu­ment for the truth of Anglo-Ca­tholicism based on subjective reli­gious experience would fail, for, he noted, the Methodists, for example, could point to more dramatic reli­gious experiences than could the Anglo-Catholics. Ironically, the Anglo-Catholic appeal to religious experience could validate the apos­tolic authority of Methodism, which Anglo-Catholics are bound to deny.

Anglo-Catholics also con­tended that Anglo-Catholicism could hang on as a "part" in the C. of E. Newman objected that the Oxford Movement intended to Ca­tholicize the whole C. of E., not just part of it. Since that goal proved impossible, Anglo-Catholics could not remain in the C. of E. Said Newman: "A movement is a thing that moves; you cannot be true to it and remain still." Since the Ox­ford Movement could no longer move forward, Anglo-Catholics must exit.

Furthermore, said Newman, the Oxford Movement was founded on opposition to the Protestant principle of private judgment. To settle for being a mere "party" in a smorgasbord church would be to make peace with the principle of private judgment -- which would be logically self-defeating.

For Anglo-Catholics to remain isolated in the C. of E. -- isolated from the Catholic Church -- would, for Newman, be an "intoler­able paradox." It necessarily in­volved the devising of an "eclectic" religion of one's own -- itself a speculative act of private judgment. Anglo-Catholics would be coming forth with a "new edition of the Catholic faith, different from that held in any existing body of Chris­tians anywhere." This was an im­possible arrogance to Newman -- and implausible on the face of it, for Anglo-Catholics constituted only "a drop in the ocean of professing Christians."

Newman, going up against the "branch" theory of Catholicism, warned Anglo-Catholics not to go from one "branch" to another; "af­ter all, a branch is a branch, and no branch is a tree."

A "branch" church is, said Newman, virtually synonymous with a national church. A branch church "tends to nationality as its perfect idea; till it is national it is defective, and when it is national it is all it can be...." A national church "ever will be and must be" Erastian -- i.e., acutely vulnerable, as history has shown, to its national government and to public opinion. A national church is "strictly part of the Nation...and therefore as the Nation changes, so will the Na­tional Church change." Because the Catholic Church is universal in reach and jurisdiction, only she is independent enough to transcend such pressures.

Finally, should the Anglo-­Catholics (like the Non-jurors) leave the C. of E. to form an Anglo­-Catholic "sect"? For Newman, this would be worse than being a mem­ber of an Erastian church, for "setting up for one's self" would be to make oneself one's own pope. Such a venture could not endure, pre­dicted Newman. Moreover, new sects would break off from the original sect. Such a course, said Newman, "excites no respect, it cre­ates no confidence, it inspires no hope."

Newman's logic is peerless -- and it has worn very well. Still, the reader may wish to add to all this the caution that Christian fidelity involves more than getting an "A" in Ecclesiology 101. There have been and are many Anglo-Catholics -- not to mention members of other "branch" churches, and various "sectarians" -- whose holiness and charity and love of the Lord put many a Roman Catholic to shame. Yes, we must keep ever fixed before our hearts and minds that Christ founded one Church, has only one Bride, and wills that all people who claim His name submit to her. But, as Newman well knew, God's grace is abundant in this world. Grace re­ceived ex opere operantis, even if not sacramental, is truly grace. That's but one reason why grace is so amazing.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Former Bishop of Rochester Endorses the Ordinariate

Following are excerpts from an article by Damian Thompson.
Bishop Nazir-Ali said that with the growth of Islamic militancy and the persecution of Christians worldwide, many people were now looking to Rome as the voice that could stem the tide. He said these people included many Evangelicals who never, in the past, would have thought about Rome. ‘So the Catholic Church has both a great opportunity and also a great responsibility.’

He is right on two counts. First, that the persecution of Christians worldwide is overwhelmingly the work of Muslim militants – as the Archbishop of Canterbury has acknowledged, though only the Pakistani-born Bishop Nazir-Ali has spoken with true clarity on this matter.
Second, that many evangelical Protestants now look to Rome as the world’s chief defender of Christian values – values that Dr Nazir-Ali felt that his fellow C of E bishops were failing to uphold. 
. . . What fascinates me is the context in which the bishop made his remarks. He was speaking to members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a group of ex-Anglicans who converted to Rome. Actually, they are more than a group: they are a formal structure set up by Pope Benedict, who gave them their own Mass incorporating sublime passages from the Book of Common Prayer.
I love the Ordinariate, though I despair at the lack of support it has been given by the English Catholic bishops and the sneers directed at them by Anglo-Catholics who have decided to stay put. Fair play to Cardinal Nichols, though: he has lent them one of London’s most beautiful little churches, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street.
A few weeks ago I went to their main Sunday Mass. It was a disorientating experience, but in a good way. Although technically a ‘usage’ of the Roman rite, it’s effectively a rite in itself and the most uplifting English liturgy I’ve ever encountered. As a cradle Catholic I’m shamefully ignorant of the Prayer Book and so was unfamiliar with its jewel, the Prayer of Humble Access:
‘We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.’
How does this relate to Dr Nazir-Ali’s vision of Rome as the bulwark of Christianity? The answer is that, uniquely among Anglican bishops, he welcomes the foundation of the Ordinariate as a step towards the unity that Christ commanded. To quote from the Ordinariate’s account of his talk (with my emphasis in bold):
‘He said that he had watched the establishment and development of the Ordinariates with great and close interest. ‘I applaud their emergence and I hope that the Anglican patrimony which Rome has recognised for the first time will manifest itself more and more. Allowing Anglican patrimony to flourish should not just be taken as an exception, but it could be a charter for the future.’ Bishop Nazir-Ali said that there was now such a variety and diversity of cultures that it was not enough to say that the need to recognise culture was fulfilled by recognising the culture of the eastern churches. ‘The Church must change the approach. It must not capitulate to culture nor must it destroy any culture. Instead it must take heed of Pope Benedict’s point: that the role of the Church is to enable culture to find its true centre.’
This is visionary thinking; and it will not be undermined by Pope Francis who, now that he knows about the Ordinariate and has met its English head, Mgr Keith Newton, a former Church of England bishop, has extended its remit to incorporate a mission towards non-Christians and ex-Catholics.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Support the work of Madonna House missions around the world.

Children's Choir to sing at Sung Mass - Sunday Dec. 21

Welcome Fr. Catania!

Fr Catania at left

Good news!  Father Catania (a North American Ordinariate priest) is arriving in Kitchener-Waterloo to-morrow to serve as priest for the Ordinariate Mission west of Toronto.

He will be residing in the Rectory of St. Mary, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, Kitchener, Ontario.

Fr. Jason's first Mass in the mission will be this Sunday Dec. 7 at St. Mary's - Advent II, at 5:00 p.m.  The plan, initially, is to have a 5:00 p.m. Ordinariate Mass every Sunday at St. Mary's.

Fr. Jason Catania (left) with Fr. Keeler

Tuesday, December 2, 2014



of the Blessed Sacrament

Tuesday, Dec. 23  -  7:00 p.m.

 Music: Victoria, Howells, Lauridsen and Poulenc


Christmas Eve 

Solemn Mass

Wednesday, Dec. 24  -  4:00 p.m.

Missa ad Praesepe by George Malcolm,

Hodie Christus Natus by Willan



Holy Family Sunday

 Sung Mass

 Dec. 28  -  1:45 p.m.

Byrd: Mass for Four Voices, 

O Magnum Mysterium



Mary, Mother of God – Vigil Mass

Wednesday, Dec. 31  -  5:00 p.m.

Victoria, Missa Dixit Maria 

Byrd, Beata Virgo



St. Thomas Mo re Church       

 Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter