With the rise of the mendicant orders, Dominican and Franciscan at the same time as the expansion of the Teutonic Order's state along the southern Baltic coast, the question arises re the possibility of the region's conversion to Western Christianity by more peaceful means by the mendicant orders alone?
The first baptisms were usually of a local population en masse with little explanation of the Faith. This led to constant returns to paganism and subsequent resorts to violence by the military orders to reimpose Christianity. The earliest phases of the Northern Crusades are replete in recounts of bloodshed, massacre and retaliation by both the local population and the Orders and by outside involvement eg Denmark, especially in N Estonia.
The Cistercians were the first to establish a monastery in Daugavgriva, Livonia [Latvia] in 1205/07. Several key figures in Livonia’s Christianization, like the bishop of Livonia, Bertold, and Bishop Theoderich in Estonia, also belonged to the Cistercian order. Other older orders, e.g. the Benedictines, never reached there.
Throughout the Middle Ages, orders of mendicant friars, especially the Dominicans, played a significant part in Livonian religious life and reached Livonia only a dozen or so years after the founding of the order, largely due to the efforts of Guillelmus, bishop of Modena. He had met Saint Dominic, and was an especially ardent supporter of the Dominicans.
Both the Tallinn and Riga Dominican monasteries were founded in the late 1220s /early 1230s mainly on the bishop of Modena's initiative. Although these first monasteries did not survive, the order did not abandon its missionary activities in Livonia. Starting from the mid-13th century, the Dominican monasteries in both Tallinn and Riga were flourishing. Around 1300, Dominicans opened the first monastery in Tartu.
The aim of the Dominician Order was to convert pagans and heretics (thus the Order's official name — Ordo Fratur Praedicatorum — The Order of the Preaching Friars), The friars usually learned the local language and were busy preaching and administering the sacraments. The mendicant friars (both the Dominicans and later the Franciscans) were popular among the people also because of their principle of apostolic poverty. The Rule of St Augustine adpoted by the order in 1216 outlines the emphases on preaching, charity and care for the sick and education, which were for the most part absent in the military monasticism of the Teutonic Order.
Although centered in the towns now established or expanded by the military Order or the Baltic kingdoms [Denmark and Sweden in Finland], the friars went out into the countryside to preach and to minister.
Their commitment to preaching and poverty set them apart from the richer and more secularly vested interests and involvements of the Teutonic Order.
The work of the mendicant orders contined up to the eve of the Reformation with a planned Dominican house in Narva  and discussions for a Franciscan monastery in Tallinn.
The success of military moansticism was its establishment of a stable political and economic base upon with the medieval state could expand. This by the early 16thC also provided the base for its fall through dynastic involvement to events in Central Europe and trade routes as means of rapid communications of ideas into the towns, and in the 1520s, the ideas of church Reformation.
The pressure for reform was from the towns, while the religious orders and landed aristocracy favored the retention of the old.
Lutheran preachers started their regular activities in Tallinn and Tartu in 1523. Their agitation culminated in outbreaks of iconoclasm in the fall 1524 in Tallinn, and followed in Tartu in early 1525 where in addition to the parish churches and monasteries, the residences of the canons were also looted.
These cannot be regarded as a serious expression of religious dissatisfaction, rather they provided an emotional outlet for the masses and the younger, more zealous merchants who suported Church reform.
Overall the ideological basis for the Reformation in Livonia was weak and the main reasons for church changes, as in other states accepting the religious changes in the early 16thC were primarily of economic nature coupled with expansion of secular power in society which saw an independent Church as political rival and threat and source of wealth.
It is doubtful that a handful of mendicant friars landing a hostile environment that was the Baltic of the early 13thC could have made real progress in converting the indigenous population. This can be compared to the Swedish experience in medieval Finland where without the imposition of a vigorous military monasticism, the Christian monasteries and missions remained sparse, vulerable and remote.
Military monasticism has to be seen and understood in the context of its time, a time when the medieval Church was intertwined into the very expression of Western European civilization and culture. In our more pluralistic and secular age, we see militant religion as something less enlightened and cruelly fanatic bursting out of deserts and mountains in the MidEast or from sub-Saharan savannas. We forget that we have 'been there, seen that, and done it' ourselves. Perhaps by studying our own religious past, we may better understand other cultures' presents.
By Fr. Richard Sorfleet
The history and development of the Teutonic Order and its transformation into a state covering the southern Baltic litoral raises three questions; how a successful state firmly tied to the Roman Catholic Church could accept the Reformation so quickly , what the broader implications are for us in other ways to evangelize and convert other than at the point of a sword, and when is any war justifiable.
Given the highest ranks of State and Church in the medieval period were open only to the highest and most powerful families in society, the grand mastership of the Teutonic in the late 15thC was no exception.
Abert of the House of Hohenzollern [which would be the ruling house of the German Empire 1871 until the end of WWI] became Grand Master of the Order in 1510. With his family's dynastic ties across the Empire and with neighboring Poland and with no settlement to a war with Poland, the solution was to have him abandon the order, marry and establish himself as Duke of Prussia .
In the meantime Albert had met with leading members of the Lutheran Reform including Martin Luther himself. Even though he as grand master had assured the Pope [Adrian VI] of his intentions to reform the order and punish knights accepting Lutheran ideas, the main objective was securing a power-base and position for himself with his own dukedom [February 10th., 1525] and as a fief of the Polish Crown from his uncle Sigismund the Old.
The ducal capital at Koenigsberg [now Kaliningrad] became a center of learning and the expanding Lutheran Reform.
The Order remained but centered after the secularization of its Baltic holdings in Germany itself and after 1555 with the religious settlements accepted Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed members into its ranks.
The Teutonic Order had incorporated  a previous military monastic order already operating in the Baltic States [renamed the Livonian Order 1237] and with the secularization in 1525, reasserted its own independence in the Duchy of Livonia [until 1561] comprising present-day Latvia and Estonia. It was a patchwork of both religious and secular holdings with its capital at the oldest point of Christian entry  into the region at Riga
The primary source for the earliest Northern Crusades is Livonian Chronicle of Henry [of Latvia] covering 1180 to 1227 and recounts the events into which the Teutonic Order was called.
Thomas Hobbes' quote of 'continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short' [Leviathan 1651] summarizes life in the medieval world, and the association of monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience together with work and prayer to putting unbelievers to the sword with religious zeal and justification requires little leap in understanding.
Do not murder.
Ex 20: 13 CEV
Forms the basis of the Catholic view of war in teaching against the intentional destruction of human life and the call to avoid war.
It examines the strict parameters for legitimate defense which in part reflects St Bernard of Clairvaux's thesis in the call to establish an organized military monasticism in the 12thC.
Those being lasting damage by the aggressor, all other ways to avoid conflict have proven ineffective or impractical, serious prospects at success, and the end result not producing situations of even worse conditions and disorders.
In addition humane treatment and respect is to be given to civilians, the wounded and prisoners.
We are called to overcome the causes of war citing injustice, excessive economic and social inequality, envy, distrust and pride and build peace.
He will settle arguments
They will pound their swords
and their spears
into rakes and shovels;
they will never make war
or attack one another.
Isa 2: 4 CEV
The other medieval dynamic was the forgiveness of one's sins by taking up the crusader's cross as St Bernard of Clairvaux preached March 31st., 1146 at Vézalay south of Paris to whip up enthusiasm fior a second crusade to Palestine.
The din of arms, the danger, the labors, the fatigues of war, are the penances that God now imposes upon you. Hasten then to expiate your sins by victories over the Infidels, and let the deliverance of the holy places be the reward of your repentance....Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood. Dieu le veult.
To his credit, Bernard traveled to the Rhineland to prevent attacks on Jews who were targeted for not contributing to the cause and thereby preventing massacres as had been the case in the First Crusade, again justifying his call for a focused professional and organized monastic military instead of chivalrous efforts degenerating into predatory armed mobs eg Constantinople 1204 and débâcles in the desert. eg Egypt 1249
The whole premise of military monasticism studying St Bernard of Clairvaux's sermon in 1149 is based on a theology of works for the forgiveness of sin.
Does an individual waging war in what may be seen as just, however closely adhering to the parameters as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, forgive sins?
Satisfaction for sins calls for, among others, prayer,offerings, works of mercy, service to one's neighbor, self-denial and accepting the cross we must bear. Forced conversions and holy wars are not on the list.
Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.
Mt 28: 19- 20 CEV
Christ sent forth the apostles whom he had chosen, commissioning them [and now us] to proclaim the Gospel.
The issue we face is how and from the lessons learned from the past, how not.
by Fr. Richard Sorfleet
Sergei Eisenstein's climax to his epic 1938 film Alexander Nevsky is undoubtably the battle of frozen Lake Peipus on the Estonian/Russian border in 1242, foreshadowing the monumental horror to come between Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia in 1941. The German knights are portrayed with an inherent evil that the black and white of the film even further serves to accentuate.
Military monasticism rises in the age of the crusades. The most well known is that of the Knights Templar which combined the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to that of defending and protecting the Holy Places in recently retaken Palestine [post 1099] The second order was that of the Knights Hospitaller. The smaller Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem was founded in Acre in 1191 following the unsuccessful outcomes for two further crusades as a German-led organization by merchants from Luebeck and Bremen.
In the 1120s Saint Bernard of Clairvaux had already seen the usefulness of a small group of knights who combined monastic vows with the addition of labor to serve in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in his treatise De Laude Novae Militiae.
Violence and religion have had a long association and Christianity has not been immune. Saint Paul speaks about the good soldier in Christ
As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering.
2 Tim 2: 3 CEV
Fighting for God and for the protection and expansion of Christianity in the feudal age can be exemplified in lines from Le Chanson de Roland 1040/1115
se vos murez, esterez seinz martirs, sieges avrez el greignor pareis. Franceis descendent a tere se sunt mis, e l'arcevesque de Deu les beneist
The orders' focus, discipline, and morale were key elements that the crusades for the most part completely lacked.
With land grants in Germany and elsewhere in part thanks to the Hohenstaufen emperors in particular Frederick II, and strong financial backing the smaller order survived. With the fall of the last Crusader city [Acre] in 1291, the Teutonic Order became involved in the expansion into Baltic coast between East Prussia, Latvia and Estonia.
The first 'crusades' against the pagan tribes of the area [Prussians, Latvians and Estonians] centered intially on Riga were disorganized raids, settlements and haphazard attempts at conversion.
What was required was a permanent, professional and organized presence. The Teutonic Knights were seen as the solution.
The Order's main recruitment remained German and its fundamentals kept their Templar roots.
Geoffery Chaucer writing 1384/1400 mentions the knight in his Canterbury Tales as having gone on crusade in the Baltic and combines the ideals of chivalry and war for the cross.
A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man, That fro the tyme that he first bigan To riden out, he loved chivalrie, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie. Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre, And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre, As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse, And evere honoured for his worthynesse.....Aboven alle nacions in Pruce; In Lettow hadde he reysed, and in Ruce, No Cristen man so ofte of his degree....
Admission to the Order reflect these ideals in the five NO's:
member of another order?
any hidden physical infirmity?
And the five expected YES'es
prepared to fight in Palestine?
care for the sick?
practice your skill/trade when requested?
obey The Rule?
A copy of the The Rule was kept in every commandery and read in full three times a year, besides a section being expounded at each Sunday. Mass was celebrated in the ealry morning with the consecration timed with sunrise so the day's labors of work and warfare were freer of religious ceremonials.
Fasting in Lent and Advent, with no meat on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as 20 other days meant the staple diet was based on eggs, milk, porridge and water. One assumes in addition to the basic medieval food: bread.
The knight was issued 2 shirts, 1 pair of breeches, 2 pairs of boots, 1 surcoat, 1 sleeping bag, 1 blanket, 1 breviary and 1 knife. His horse and sword remained the property of the Order. There was to be no lock on his chest. He was to observe silence, at meals, on the march, and as pastime wood-carving. His own crest was forbidden and all wore the Order's black cross on white emblem. Jousting was prohibited.
He could hunt bears and wolves but without hounds and his hair was to be kept short; however beards were allowed.
Daily life in the order was not the chivalric freedoms and courtly ideals of Chaucer's knight, but a hard life in the rigors of the medieval Baltic.
One wonders how much George RR Martin's Wall in Game of Thrones was influenced by the Teutonic Order
The members of the Order were expected to kill, intimidate and rule, reconciled with the belief they were spreading Christianity. They were aided in their endeavors by priest-brothers, and half-brothers and sisters who ran their hospitals, charities, educational facilities and in preaching.
Their military monasticism's skill at building castles in Palestine was transferred to the Baltic. Today their ruins are found everywhere throughout their former territories. With the castles came expansion in agriculture, crafts and industries, trade and cultural and commercial integration of the region into the Western medieval world. The working language was German and it remained the language of the landed and educated elite and cities until the 20thC.
The history of the Teutonic Order and the Northern Crusades is for historians to examine; the study of religious dynamics of military monasticism in the medieval period are for the Church to reflect upon today, in a time when once more religion and war are in confluence and conjoined in conflict.
And just how accurate Sergei Eisenstein's portrayal in and of black and white was.
ST MATTHIAS DAY February 24th
Father Richard Sorfleet, Saint John Fisher Mission, Renfrew, Ontario
The lesson gives scriptural warrant to a section found in the Anglican Rite's Exhortation introducing the penitential preparation to the communuion which for modern ears hearing it, is ponderous Tudor prose, dark and alien to the bright and breezy experiences from today's liturgical compositions, where feeling good rather than theological meaningfulness has become the priority come-away.
...if we receive the same [i.e. the holy Communion of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ] unworthily. For then we be guilty of the body and blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord's body; we kindle God's wrath against us; we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death. Therefore, if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, bewail your sins, and come not to this holy Table; lest, after the taking of that holy Sacrament, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul. Judge therefore yourselves, (brethren) that ye be not judged of the Lord; repent you truly for your sins past; have a lively and stedfast faith in Christ our Saviour; amend your lives, and be in perfect charity with all men; so shall ye be meet partakers of those holy mysteries.'
Peter quotes the Book of Psalms:
"‘Let another take his office.’ So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us (Acts 1 ESV) in preparing for the vote to replace Judas among the Twelve.
Matthias would be fully aware of Jesus' message and the requirements for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. He would have listened to the parables, seen the miracles, heard the words about the betrayal, death and resuurection, and seen the power of God.
The point is are we?
Our point of contact with Christ is in the Word and the Sacrament and it is essential that we listen to the meaning of the message read and preached, and be aware what is required in our approach to His table, and the consequences of being ill- or unprepared, or just taking the whole sacramental experience lightly.
We live in an age when 30 pieces of silver, willingness to betray and lack of commitment abound, and pay little if any attention to what God may think or do. There is an old saying about given enough rope to hang one's self.
Matthias would have known Judas' final experience with ropes.
We kindle God's wrath in many ways and although they might not manifest themselves in a more scientific age as the vivid medieval visions plague and sundry kinds of death thing, yet we need to ask ourselves as we presume to come to that His table, are we well and truly prepared as Matthias to approach it and then go forth as Christ's disciples?
Ours is the Good News
By Father Richard Sorfleet, Saint John Fisher Mission, Renfrew ON
One of the main focuses on the terrorist attack on the Islamic Center in Quebec City has very quickly become, and rightly so, the role of social media in propagating intolerance and disinformation purposely created to further hate and inflame prejudice against minorities.
We need to ask ourselves as a church what influence and example we can play in confronting what can only be described as a growing swamp of evil, for we too are in the business of news. Ours, however, is the Good News, not false news, alternative fact news or spin. Ours is the news of witness for the Gospel.
In the words of Matthew 10: 7- 8 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.
Demons can take many forms and inhabit many ways. They scurry through places such as Facebook, troll on Twitter, and lurk inside media comment boards.
Again Matthew 13: 41- 43
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
The Good News is to cast light in dark places, bring hope to the the lost, to the marginalized, the poor and the oppressed and the stranger within our gates, to comfort those who morn, and to witness to the evils of the age.
Ours is the Good News and it doesn't hide.
COMMEMORATION OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE ATTACK ON THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY CENTER IN QUEBEC CITY JANUARY 29th, 2017
COMMEMORATION OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE ATTACK ON THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY CENTER IN QUEBEC CITY JANUARY 29th., 2017
Saint John Fisher Eucharistic Catholic Mission, Renfrew ON
1 As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help 6 and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?"
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. Amen.
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, and all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord have mercy upon us. [iii]
Christ have mercy upon us.[iii]
Lord have mercy upon us. [iii]
The Lord be with you.
*And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
O Merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesu Christ, who is the resurrection and the life: In whom whosoever believeth shall live though he die: And whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shal not die eternally: who also hath taught us (by his holy Apostle Paul) not to be sorry as men without hope for them that sleep in him: We meeky beseech thee (O Father) to raise us from the death of sin, unto the life of righteousness, that when we shall depart this life, we may sleep in him (as our hope is these our brothers do), and at the general resurrection in the last day, both we and these our brothers departed, receiving again our bodies, and rising again in thy most gracious favor: may with all thine elect Saincts, obtain eternal joy. Grant this, O Lord God, by the means of our advocate Jesus Christ: which with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God for ever. Amen.
A reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians.
4: 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Word of the Lord.
*Tnanks be to God.
The Holy Gospel according to Saint John.
*Glory be to thee, O Lord.
6: 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day."
The Gospel of the Lord.
*Praise be to thee, O Christ.
I BELIEVE in one God..
The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible: And in one Lord Jesu Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of light, Very God of very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made: Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man, And was crucified also for us under Poncius Pilate, He suffered and was buried, And the third day he arose again according to the Scriptures, And ascended into heaven, And sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the prophets. And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, And I look for the Resurrection of the dead, And the life of the world to come. Amen.
Whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, even so do you unto them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7: 12
Let us pray.
ASSIST us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants toward the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, emong all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy most gracious and ready help; Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE peace of God (which passeth all understanding) keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
AND the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the +Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you alway.
January 31st., 2017
EPIPHANY 4 January 29th., 2017: nor thy stranger that is within thy gates
A homily by Father Richard Sorfleet, Saint John Fisher Eucharistic Catholic Mission, Renfrew ON
There are different translations depending upon the version of Scriptures being used of the term 'stranger' with some using alien and others immigrant. The message however is the same on how to treat people not born in the land.
For a nation constantly invoking God and God's blessing and promoting Christian values as a cornerstone of its world-view, it is shameful that God's Word is so conveniently forgotten when it becomes an inconvenient contradiction to ill-prepared and poorly thought-out policy.
The traditional epistle for Epiphany 4 [Roman 13: 1- 7] is on state authority and our required attitude towards it as God's instruments of social peace and good government; nevertheless, the whole reading is qualified at the outse in verse 1 with 'for there is no power but of God'.
Our rendering unto Caesar does not include our condoning or our approval of things which are clearly contrary to God's words and commandments.
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt
Leviticus 19: 33- 34 ASV
That clearly means showing kindness, respect, generosity and impartiality on immigrants, dual nationals, visitors and residents whether legal or illegal, where bigotry, hate and racism have no place in a godly society that those in authority are called to uphold.
Further Exodus 20 calls out those who indulge in the manufacture of 'alternative facts' and false news [once called disinformation] in the promotion of their fashionable anti-immigrantism, and its dissemination.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Ex 20: 19
It is worth recalling Christ's answer to the lawyer's question in Luke 10: 29
But he, desiring to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?
where Jesus recounts the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and concludes with
36 Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers? 37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him. And Jesus said unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
What sort of godly society are we when we see as our neighbors only those who agree with our racial, social or personal political convictions and are joyful and generous in giving loaves, eggs and fish to our children, yet toss scorpions, stones and serpents to those who are not?
For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
MT 10: 46
Walls also exist in hearts and minds and we construct them always at our own cost. The brick and mortar walls may keep the aliens out of our gates, but those which are erected in minds also keep God out of hearts.
In other words we are banning God each time we use false witness and promote wrong to ban those we do not like who are within or at our gates without just cause or due process with open malice and cheap prejudice expressed on scraps of paper.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
ROM 13: 10
And that should be written in our hearts and reflected in our laws if we truly see and believe ourselves to be a godly people.
The Confession of Saint Peter January 18th
by Father Richard Sorfleet, Saint John Fisher Eucharistic Catholic Mission
One of the important liturgical changes to the Anglican tradition has been the return of the celebration of the feast day of Confession of Saint Peter [January 18th] albeit partially to bracket with the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul [January 25th] the week of Christian prayer, but more importantly as an expression of belief in the unity the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church by recalling the words of the gospel Matthew 16: 13- 19
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." ESV
It is the profession of belief that Jesus is the Christ which leads to the granting of the power of the keys. Too often the emphasis in the Western Church's history and theology it has been on the jurisdictional powers to bind and loose, rather than the actual confession of faith by the Apostle Peter.
It is very appropriate that the ECC newsletter for January 2017 discusses the third characteristic of our church ie Roman Catholic tradition while not under Vatican jurisdiction, and what and how that relation relates on and to the meaning of MT 16 from which the issue flows theologically.
Equally the further expansion of the position with 'our Church admits a variety of practices stemming from the well-established traditions of different Churches recognized to be consistent with Roman Catholic tradition', makes this return of the feast day to the calendar for Catholics from the Anglican tradition a welcome opportunity to celebrate the faith we hold in common.
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
I gave praise to God as I mark the 11th anniversary of my Episcopal consecration as bishop of the Eglise Catholique Eucharistique - Eucharistic Catholic Church which occurred on 10 Dec 2005.
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