“An Act Concerning Religion”

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A later (18th C.?) printed broadside of the Maryland Toleration Act.

“An Act Concerning Religion.” That was the original title of what is colloquially known as the “Maryland Toleration Act of 1649,” the same year in which King Charles I (known by many Anglicans of an Anglo-Catholic and Royalist bent as King Charles the Martyr, or simply The Royal Martyr) was shamefully executed in an act of regicide by the so-called “Rump Parliament,” under the despicable Oliver Cromwell.

An attempt (only partly successful) to assure protection for Catholics in the proprietary Colony of Maryland in the wake of this act of regicide and England’s subsequent interregnum under the Puritan Parliament, later Protectorate, the Act – passed by the General Assembly of the Maryland Colony – sought to provide equal protection under law for all Trinitarian Christians, and at the same time, provide legal protection for Trinitarian Christianity (*) itself.

As such, it might, in retrospect, have been a better model (with some adjustments, discussed below) for our national view on the subject than the relevant clause of the First Amendment, which has since been stretched beyond all intention of the Founders, through what I cannot help but see as a perverse and willful misconstrual of Jefferson’s “wall of separation” comment. That appeared in a letter to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptists, and was originally intended to assure religious people of their protection from the government, not the other way ’round.

The full text of the Maryland Toleration Act, in the original (rather archaic) form of English in which it was originally written, appears below. Its most salient section is reproduced here, in slightly updated language:

“That whatsoever person or persons within this Province and the Islands thereunto belonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity [to be] the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost, or [who shall deny] the Godhead of any of the said Three persons of the Trinity or the Unity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachful speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three Persons thereof, shall be punished with death [yes, it really does say that!] and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heirs.”

In other words, anyone who publicly blasphemes or denies either the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity (*) or any portion thereof is to suffer both the death penalty, himself, and the seizure of his property and assets! There is also a clause prohibiting, basically, “talking smack” about a) the beliefs and practices of any particular branch of Christianity, or b) insulting practitioners of any form of Christianity not one’s own.

In other words, to put it in relatively simple and modern terms, you will not publicly denigrate Christianity, Christians, or Christian doctrine, and you will – at least publicly – be nice to other Christians. It is, frankly, hard for me to argue with either of those.

[The Act also includes a section prohibiting the profanation of the Christian Sabbath (Sunday, a.k.a. the Lord’s Day) “by frequent swearing, drunkenness or by any uncivil or disorderly recreation, or by working on that day when absolute necessity doth not require it.” I am old enough to remember the days of the “Blue Laws,” as they were called, when most places of business were closed on Sundays and other restrictions on secular activities (including sales of alcohol) were in place; and although at the time, I found it frustrating, as I have gotten older – and hopefully, more mature – I have come to realize the wisdom, both spiritually and practically, of keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest.]

Now, mind you, I am not suggesting the death penalty for anyone who fails to hold to or publicly confess the Trinitarian Christian faith! Not at all. In particular, what people believe in private is precisely that: private, and it is not the business of government to be snooping behind closed doors.

But under this system, you are not allowed to publicly assert that Christianity is a crock of bull, whatever your private opinions may be, and you must accept the basically Christian character of the society of which you are a member, if you wish to remain a member of that society. That seems entirely reasonable to me. Continue reading ““An Act Concerning Religion””

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Gavin Ashenden on Rod Liddle on ++Justin Welby, Archbishop of Cant… er… Canterbury

 

 

Bishop Gavin Ashenden, a former Queen’s Chaplain who resigned from the Church of England in 2017 to be able to more freely defend Christian orthodoxy and Western civilization – both primary concerns of The Anglophilic Anglican – posted this on his Facebook page, commenting:

The C of E is in serious trouble when The Sunday Times call out “The Archbishop of Cant.”

Rod Liddle on Justin Welby: “There is a touch of the Frank Spencer about Welby, the ++ of Cant; he looks really,really stupid, as well as hypocritical. He is his own satire.”

Tragic & true.

The quote is part of a longer passage of Liddle’s which is worth quoting more fully, in my opinion:

“And so Justin [Welby, the present Archbishop of Canterbury] looks really, really stupid, as well as hypocritical. He is his own satire. But his ineptitude is not the main problem. Nor are his views on taxation and employment, many of which I agree with. It is that the [Church of England] has shelved God and replaced Him with the vapid narrative and fraudulent virtue-signalling of the liberal elite. And we can get all that stuff elsewhere, thank you.

Hear, hear!

Pope Francis: the Great Accuser is trying to uncover sins to cause scandal – with a response from the Order of Lepanto

“In these times, it seems like the Great Accuser has been unchained and is attacking bishops,” the Pope said.

Source: Pope Francis: the Great Accuser is trying to uncover sins to cause scandal | CatholicHerald.co.uk

I have said little about the sexual assault scandals that continue to rock the Mother Church of Western Christendom – that is, the Church of Rome – because I do not like to draw attention to scandals in other branches of Christendom. It rarely does any good, and frequently tends to result in more heat than light being generated.

It is also likely to cause additional scandal, in that it can lead some to judge the Roman Church as a whole in a bad light, when in fact the majority of its people, its clergy, and undoubtedly its bishops are (while being human like the rest of us, and so prone to faults, foibles, and failings) basically godly Christian folk, trying to do the best they can.

But when none other than Il Papa himself – the Holy Father, Pontifex Maximus, the Bishop of Rome, the Pope – goes so far as to all but defend scandal, as he does in this piece, or attempt to explain it away, appearing to care more for the reputations of bishops than the trauma to the victims, it becomes hard to completely ignore it.

In this case, I am aided by this very excellent response from a “trad” (traditional, orthodox) Catholic organization, The Order of Lepanto. I do not have to critique the Holy See, because some of its own people have done a better job of that than I could have – and it is far more appropriate coming from them than me, anyway.

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Posting on Facebook, the Order writes,

“We had been hopeful with yesterday’s reports of answers coming from the Vatican on the abuse/cover-up scandal. However, the Pope’s homily today was an exercise in counter-attack and not one of pastoral care: “It seems like the Great Accuser has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.”

Let’s look at the errors with this line of thinking –

1. Thinking that Satan wants to expose criminals to justice instead of continuing to hide them and destroy more young lives.
2. Punishing bishops who are
guilty of crimes is not the work of Satan – it is the virtue of Justice and the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. Saying “we bishops are all sinners” falsely compares the smaller sins we all commit with truly heinous sins like rape, sacrilege, etc. which deserve severe punishment.
4. Uncovering sins is
not the biggest scandal we face as a Church. It’s the scandal of the coverup, of being lied to by our shepherds.

It is unfortunate to receive the message from Pope Francis that he thinks his job is to “cover” the sins of the bishops so they don’t “scandalize” the laity.

We will continue to pray for the Pope and for the victims, but we also need to have full disclosure. Nothing else will suffice to begin the healing process.

As I say, I could not possibly have said it better – or even as well – and so I will let that stand without further comment. May God bless us all. Pray for me, a sinner.


Nota Bene – On the Order of Lepanto: “The Order of Lepanto is a lay apostolate dedicated to outreach to Catholic men through a unique combination of martial arts and faith” (from the website). The Order

“seeks to tap the masculine spirit that God has endowed men with, giving them a masculine activity to engage in together – learning the fighting styles of the Knights of the Medieval and Renaissance time periods. In much the same way as Asian martial arts tend to dovetail well into Eastern spirituality, these skills (Western Martial Arts or WMA) were honed by people who were committed Catholic or Christian men, which caused this fighting style to fit well with Catholic theology and practice.”

Definitely interesting! Sadly, they are (almost) exclusively in Texas, and I am in Maryland… also, I don’t know how they’d feel about an Anglican! But a most interesting and, I think, admirable project.

Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West

Image result for siege of vienna 1683

We are approaching the anniversary, later this month, of the Battle of Vienna, 1683, in which the army of the Holy League, lead by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland and his Winged Hussars, broke the siege of the Imperial City by the Ottoman Turks – ending, for several centuries, the Muslim threat to Europe.

It is, perhaps, especially fitting, between now and 12 September (the anniversary of the breaking of the siege) that we pray for the awakening both of the Church and of Europe to the danger posed by Islam to Christianity and the West in this century: an Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West.

Here is a suggested form which might be used each day between today, September 5th, and the 12th, which comprise eight days, or an octave:

An Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West

Minister. O God, make speed to save us:

Answer. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Minister. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Minister. Praise ye the Lord.
Answer. The Lord’s Name be praised.

Psalm 2. Quare fremuerunt gentes?

WHY do the heathen so furiously rage together? * and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together * against the LORD, and against his Anointed:
3 Let us break their bonds asunder, * and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn: * the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, * and vex them in his sore displeasure:
6 Yet have I set my King * upon my holy hill of Sion.
7 I will rehearse the decree: * the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

The Prayers

In Time of War and Tumults.

ALMIGHTY God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Time of Calamity.

O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Missions.

O GOD, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the whole earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to them that are far off and to them that are nigh; Grant that all men everywhere may seek after thee and find thee. Bring the nations into thy fold, pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten thy kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Conversion of Mohammedans and all who know not Christ.

Let us pray for the conversion of Mohammedans, and all who know not Christ.

V. Let thy way be known upon earth:

R. Thy saving health among all nations.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who in thy goodness hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine in our land: Extend thy mercy, we beseech thee, to the nations of the world that still walk in darkness. Enlighten the Moslems with the knowledge of thy truth; and grant that the Gospel of salvation may be made known in all lands, that the heart of the peoples may be turned unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Family of Nations.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, guide, we beseech thee, the Nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

¶ Then may the Litany be said, or at least this portion thereof:

¶ Minister and People.

O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.

Minister.

O GOD, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them.

Minister and People.

O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thine honour.

Minister.

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.
From our enemies defend us, O Christ.
Graciously look upon our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts.
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favourably with mercy hear our prayers.
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ.
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.

O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us;
As we do put our trust in thee.

The Concluding Collect.

O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Cor. xiii. 14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


Nota Bene: The prayer “For the Conversion of Mohammedans and all who know not Christ” is taken from The Book of Common Prayer of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1929). The “Concluding Collect” is that appointed for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, according to The Book of Common Prayer 1928 (U.S.).

Life with blood and sap in it!

This, from Timothy Jones at his “Old World Swine” blog:

Life in Christ means *real* life… with what C.S. Lewis called “some blood and sap in it.” Not the negation of desire (as the Buddha proclaimed), but the fulfillment of every true and eternal desire of the human spirit.

Every false desire is simply one of these true desires twisted back on itself. The Gospel does not kill desire, but untwists our desires to make them straight and true again (“true” in this sense like a well-planed board, or the path of a well-crafted arrow), so that we may follow them to their source… the creator God, One in Three.

Amen, and amen!

“Tradition is the living river…”

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No, I am not of the Roman observance. But I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Benedict XVI, and I love this statement and agree with it 100%!

Europe’s Christian revolution – and why the UK isn’t part of it | The Conservative Woman

Secular globalism’s chickens are coming home to roost.

Source: Europe’s Christian revolution – and why the UK isn’t part of it | The Conservative Woman

“Secular globalism’s chickens are coming home to roost. Globalism’s anti-cultural, anti-traditional thrust threatens a sense of place, identity and security. Confronted by this, people instinctively tend to resist by re-asserting their traditional identity. Secular globalism’s anti-traditional dynamic has produced a counter dynamic.

“A major plank of European identity is Christianity. As people feel vulnerable and experience anxiety due to the changes surrounding them over which they feel they have no control, it is natural for them to assert their customs, traditions, ethnicity, language and above all their spiritual roots.

“There is one major exception to this European renewal of Christianity: the UK. There are signs of recovery such as an increase in numbers training for ordination, but these are little more than straws in the wind.

“Why? Culture and faith are inseparable, they interact and influence each other.

“In the UK the mainstream denominations have completely bought into the progressivist globalist vision. Instead of leading the cultural conversation, they are frantically scrambling to catch up… Aping the world, they declare themselves irrelevant, and decline in numbers and influence.”

To say that this is a saddening – and also, anger-inducing – situation for The Anglophilic Anglican is to run the risk of understatement. There is, however, a glimmer of hope, albeit a faint one:

“The main areas of church growth in the UK are in churches insisting on teaching and living traditional Christianity. This is no surprise. Research on general social groups has shown that those with a consistent, unified message and clear boundaries which define who are inside the group and who are outside are actually attractive to outsiders.”

But as the article concludes, “Whether the mainstream denominations are prepared to take the risk of teaching a consistent, unified, and biblical message is another matter.” At least there are traditional Anglican jurisdictions that are doing just that. But the complete abdication of so-called “mainstream” Christian churches to the secular culture remains disheartening and frustrating.