Byzantine chant: Lament for Constantinople: Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη/ “O Lord the heathen are come” | YouTube

Source: Byzantine chant: Lament for Constantinople – Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη / “O Lord the heathen are come” | YouTube (performed by Alexander Lingas/ Liturgica)

“Fall of Constantinople, (29 May 1453). After ten centuries of wars, defeats, and victories, the Byzantine Empire came to an end when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453. The city’s fall sent shock waves throughout Christendom. It is widely quoted as the event that marked the end of the European Middle Ages. Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη translated as ‘O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance’. Manuel Chrysaphes, the composer of this marvellous historical piece, which has been discovered at the beginning of the first world war, did not find more eloquent words than those of Psalm 78 [Psalm 79] in order to mourn in it the church of Aghia Sophia [Hagia Sophia].”

 

“The British Church” – George Herbert (with some reflections thereupon)

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“A Distant View of Hythe Village and Church, Kent” – Arthur Nelson (c. 1767).

The British Church

~ by George Herbert (1633)

I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
When she doth write.
A fine aspect in fit array,
Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare,
For all they either painted are,
Or else undress’d.
She on the hills which wantonly
Allureth all, in hope to be
By her preferr’d,
Hath kiss’d so long her painted shrines,
That ev’n her face by kissing shines,
For her reward.
She in the valley is so shy
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
About her ears;
While she avoids her neighbour’s pride,
She wholly goes on th’ other side,
And nothing wears.
But, dearest mother, what those miss,
The mean, thy praise and glory is
And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace,
And none but thee.

 

Nota Bene: Herbert is referring, of course, to the Anglican via media (“middle way”), which is perhaps best thought of in Aristotelian terms as the “Golden Mean” between the extremes of surfeit (too much of something) and deficit (too little). Indeed, “via media” is itself a 19th-century term for this phenomenon; earlier centuries expressed it as the mean (cf. Herbert, above) between extremes, or even, as we shall see below, a “virtuous mediocrity.” But all can be understood in fundamentally the same sense.

Herbert’s view in this poem is expressed in rather more extreme language by Bishop Simon Patrick of Ely (1625-1707), who wrote of “that virtuous mediocrity which our Church observes between the meretricious gaudiness of the Church of Rome and the squalid slattery of fanatic conventicles” – though it should be noted that, as one scholarly commentator has pointed out, “squalid slattery” fits the sectaries of the Civil War and Commonwealth period better than the sober demeanor of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the Continent, the products of the magisterial Reformation.

And indeed, it was within that context – the era of the English Civil War and Interregnum, and the eventual Restoration, that Bishop Patrick was writing.

In any case, a love of order, seemliness, and good taste (cf. I Corinthians 14:40 – “Let all things be done decently and in order”) has led the Anglican Church along a middle path between these two extremes. And as it has furthermore been elsewhere noted, the via media meant positioning the English Church such that it could recognize not only its affinity with the medieval catholic tradition, on the one hand, but with the enduring legacy of the Reformation, on the other: a position of both-and, not either-or.

Indeed, I would submit that the Anglican via media represents the point where several axes come together, if one can visualize a multi-dimensional graph: the legacy of the medieval Catholic tradition and that of the magisterial Reformation, as noted above; “High Church” and “Low Church” liturgy and churchmanship; Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical theology; and indeed Eastern and Western forms of catholic orthodoxy.

I believe that, as a contemporary Collect for that great 16th-century Anglican divine, Richard Hooker, has put it, the Anglican via media is to be understood

“not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth.”

The challenge, and the sadness, of course, is that humans have a tendency to want to hive off into our own little enclaves, and to declare our understanding of the “truth” to be the only one that is acceptable. Anglicans are no less guilty of this than are others!

 

Inside the World’s Only Surviving Tattoo Shop For Medieval Pilgrims | Atlas Obscura

The Razzouk family has been inking religious pilgrims in the Middle East for 700 years.

Source: Inside the World’s Only Surviving Tattoo Shop For Medieval Pilgrims – Atlas Obscura

I am not, as a rule, fond of tattoos – either on myself, or on others. The contemporary drive to get “inked” is one which is largely lost on me; indeed, The Anglophilic Anglican has posted previously in an attempt to discourage that urge: especially on young women, but young men as well. As I commented at the time,

“I have never really liked tattoos. That some of them can be artistically interesting is beside the point: that artistry could have been expressed in a different medium. And I especially don’t care for them on girls and young women – or women in general, for that matter. Now, I’m not necessarily opposed to a small, tasteful, and discretely-placed tattoo on a woman. But anything more reminds me, frankly, of someone spray-painting graffiti all over the Sistine Chapel.”

But I am no longer a young man, and every rule has its exception. This might well be one, should I ever – by God’s grace – be fortunate enough to make it to the Holy Land. Although done in modern fashion for reasons of health and safety, the history, tradition, symbolism, and heritage expressed here is worlds away from the tattoo parlor down the street inking you with your favorite band, an ostensibly “tribal” design from who-knows-what tribe, or even the name of your girlfriend:

“For 700 years the Razzouk family has been tattooing marks of faith. Coptic Christians who settled in Jerusalem four generations ago, the family had learned the craft of tattooing in Egypt, where the devout wear similar inscriptions. Evidence of such tattoos dates back at least as far as the 8th century in Egypt and the 6th century in the Holy Land, where Procopius of Gaza wrote of tattooed Christians bearing designs of crosses and Christ’s name. Early tattoos self-identified indigenous Christians in the Middle East and Egypt. Later, as the faithful came to the Holy Land on pilgrimage, the practice expanded to offer these travelers permanent evidence of their devotion and peregrination…

“Family lore dates the Razzouk’s involvement in this cultural practice to 1300, starting first in Egypt among Coptic (Orthodox) Christians and later in the Holy Land for Christians from a variety of backgrounds… [Pilgrims’ accounts dating to the late 16th century] report designs that have become enduring pilgrimage tattoos, such as the Jerusalem cross—a motif consisting of a central, equal-arm symbol flanked by four smaller versions—along with images of Christ, Latin mottoes, dates in banners, and more.”

I have not changed my generalized views on tattooing, as expressed in that earlier post. But every rule has its exception; and if, as I say, by God’s grace I am ever able to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, this may be the one exception to my personal “no tattoos” rule. A family which has been engaged in the practice for 700 years, since the 1300s? A direct, lineal link with medieval pilgrims, of Chaucer’s age? Using designs – and stencil blocks into which those designs have been carved – known to date back at least to 1749 (one block, for the Jerusalem cross, they say is known to date back 500 years)? Yes. I could do that.

If I did, what design would I choose? Well, I’d take a look at what was available, of course. But I have a feeling I already know: the very one pictured above: the Jerusalem pilgrim’s cross – which was also the sigil of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem – and very likely, the “IHS,” with it. “In Hoc Signo.” In This Sign… Conquer.

Yeah.

Screenshot_2020-03-29 Since 1300 ( razzouktattoo) • Instagram photos and videos


Razzouk Tattoos has a website, of course. Everyone does, these days! Even tattooers to medieval pilgrims, with a 700 year history. Perhaps especially them!

There is also a CNN video about them:

https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/06/middleeast/jerusalem-tattoos-lee/index.html

Separation is in the United Methodist DNA | Mitchell Lewis

John Wesley & Charles Wesley,   Hymns Ancient & Modern , Historical Edition (1909).

If any act of ecclesiastical separation renders a church invalid, the United Methodist Church is in a world of trouble.

Source: Separation in the United Methodist DNA – Mitchell Lewis

As a former Methodist, baptized by my maternal grandfather who was a Methodist minister, I found this a most interesting essay!

Among other things, I did not know about this:

“In 1784, at the same time John Wesley was performing his irregular ordinations, [newly consecrated Episcopal bishop Samuel] Seabury met with Charles Wesley in London and the two developed a plan by which Seabury would ordain Methodist preachers when he returned to America. John’s actions put an end to that.”

Again, as I say… interesting!

I also didn’t realize quite how much on the outs John’s actions put him with Charles. The latter’s verses on the subject are rather stinging!

I don’t agree with everything in this essay, but it’s definitely worth a read, in my opinion.

Follow the link to read the whole thing (Charles’ verses included).


P.S. There was a time when I would have been thrilled and excited by the prospect of a reunion between the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church! But sadly, that time is past. The Episcopal Church is off the rails, and the majority of the UMC seems determined to follow them into the ditch. It’s more than a shame. I wonder what my Methodist minister grandfather would have thought of what’s going on, these days? I can’t imagine he would have been particularly happy.

Granddad Reamer
The Rev. Dr. Carl Wheaton Reamer, my maternal grandfather and an ordained Methodist minister. He left school after the sixth grade to work in the Wheaton Glass Factory in Millville, NJ, to help support his family. Later, he earned what we would now call a GED, and went on to graduate from college, seminary, and to earn the only doctorate in our family so far: a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) from Rutgers University. A devoted, compassionate, and highly respected pastor, preacher, and family man, who died of cancer when I was nine years old. I have hated that disease with a passion ever since.

 

The feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea | Holy Smokes

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/86a7a01ec7dc9cadd7fad878edcb4555.jpg

 August 1st is the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea in the United states (July 31 in the east). His story is one of mystery and tradition…

Source: Holy Smokes: The feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

— William Blake, “And did those feet in ancient time? (Jerusalem)

Today is the commemoration of St. Joseph of Arimathea (as found in “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1963,” approved for use in the UECNA), who is best known from the Gospel accounts as the one who gave his tomb to be the burial place of our Lord, Jesus Christ, following his crucifixion. The Collect for this day reads:

O MERCIFUL God, by whose servant Joseph the body of our Lord and Saviour was committed to the grave with reverence and godly fear: Grant, we beseech thee, to thy faithful people grace and courage to serve and love Jesus with unfeigned devotion all the days of their life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

He – Joseph of Armimathea – may have another significance, too, especially for those of us who are of the English tradition. There is a persistent legend that Joseph was not only the recoverer of Jesus’ body, but his uncle, and a tin-merchant with trading contacts as far afield as Cornwall, in what was then the Roman Province of Britannia; and that he took the young Jesus with him on a trip there during the so-called “lost years” of Jesus’ life.

There is even a tradition that when Joseph thrust his thornwood staff into the ground, it took root, flowered, and blossomed, becoming the famous Glastonbury Thorn that survives to this day near the old Abbey of Glastonbury. It is, at any rate, this legendary trip (which cannot be conclusively proven – nor for that matter, disproven) which serves as the inspiration for the lines from the poet William Blake, quoted above, which became the well-known hymn, “Jerusalem”:

Personally, I tend to believe this pious legend – or at least give it the benefit of the doubt – and to consider that there is at least a good chance that “those feet in ancient times” did indeed “walk upon England’s mountains green”! Britain was in ancient and medieval times known as a particularly holy island, and what better reason for that, than that our Saviour did indeed grace “England’s green and pleasant land” with His sacred footsteps?

In any case, wishing you a blessed Feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea!

Ember Days | For All the Saints

The Ember Days are four groups each of three days in the Church year that have been observed as days of fasting in the Churches of the West.

Source: Ember Days | For All the Saints

Today is Ember Saturday in Lent: the last day of Lenten Embertide, which runs from Wednesday through today (although Thursday is not not considered an Ember Day. But it’s a question worth asking: what are Ember Days, exactly, and what’s their significance? For All the Saints has a typically good and interesting treatment of these days, but here is some additional information on the subject: Continue reading “Ember Days | For All the Saints”

Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, 604 | For All Saints

One of the most important bishops of Rome and most influential writers of the Middle Ages, Gregory the First is one of only two popes (the other being Leo the First), to have been given the epithet “the Great.”

Source: Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, 604 | For All Saints

Perhaps best known for being credited with the compilation of the canon of what is now known (after him) as “Gregorian chant” – that is to say, monastic plainchant, for the Holy Eucharist (the Mass) and the Daily Office – as well as reforms to the Roman liturgy; although as this account notes,

“His role in the development of the Roman liturgy and its chant was considerable, though disputed. He certainly modified various minor features and composed a number of prayers which formed the nucleus of the Gregorian Sacramentary, though this work reached its final form after his death. Many prayers in the sacramentary, if not actually written by him, were inspired by his through and phraseology. Since the tenth century his name has been associated with ‘Gregorian’ chant: while the chant bearing his name arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Gallican and Roman chant, he probably played a role in the gradual codification and adaptation of several preexisting forms of plainsong.”

Not only chant is known by his name: Gregory’s influence on the Roman liturgy is such that the traditional Roman Catholic Eucharistic canon is frequently known as the “Gregorian Canon,” and our Western Rite Orthodox brothers and sisters call the form of their liturgy based on it “the Liturgy of St. Gregory.”

His primary significance for Anglicans, however, lies in his role as “Apostle to the English”:

“Apparently convinced that the future of Christianity lay with monasticism and not with the declining Eastern Roman Empire, he hoped to lead a group of missionaries in taking the Gospel to the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, after seeing English children or youth on sale as slaves in the Roman market around the year 573. He is said to have remarked on their beauty as being like that of angels, whereupon he was told that they were in fact Angles – causing him to say, Non Angli, sed angeli: “Not Angles, but angels.” But this was not to be his ministry…

Nevertheless, “One of Gregory’s most notable achievements was the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons. He personally took the lead in the whole process, sending Augustine, prior of his own monastery of Saint Andrew’s on the Caelian Hill, and a number of fellow monks to southeastern Britain, to the Jutish kingdom of Kent, where they achieved within a few years the conversion of the people and of their king, Ethelbert. Gregory continue personally to guide the mission in matters that perplexed Augustine by sending a supporting group of missionaries, along with liturgical vessels, books, and vestments, in 601; and by writing to Ethelbert and his Christian queen, Bertha on various matters.

“The close relationship between Rome and the English Church was continued by Gregory’s successors, and in many ways the Church in England was closer to the papacy than the Church in Gaul was. The first Life of Gregory was written in England, and from the biographies written by the Venerable Bede, Aldhelm, and the anonymous biographer of Whitby come eulogies of Gregory as ‘the apostle of the English,’ ‘our father and apostle in Christ,’ and ‘he from whom we have received the Christian faith, he who will present the English people to the Lord on the Day of Judgment as their teacher and apostle.'”

Celtic Spirituality Revisited | The Touchstone Archives

Columbanus (543–615) was an Irish monk, originally associated with the abbey at Bangor in modern-day County Down… Three practices from his rule that might benefit the modern church are mortification, simplicity, and moderation.

Source: Celtic Spirituality Revisited: The Touchstone Archives

These are good and apt thoughts, and particularly so for Lent.

It is certainly the case that some of our popular ideas of what constitutes “Celtic Christianity” or “Celtic spirituality” are a bit off from the historic reality. Sometimes, far off. I learned that while studying ancient and medieval Irish history and archaeology at University College, Galway, in 1990! Celtic Christians were not (however appealing the image may be) 4th to 9th century hippies, flower-children or “freaks for Jesus” cruising through the early medieval period in the first-millennium equivalent of a VW Microbus.

However, that is how they’re often portrayed. The author aptly notes,

“a search at a popular online retailer reveals over 900 books for sale on the topic. However, most of these books do not engage with actual Celtic Christian writings or the archaeology of the early medieval period; instead, a few ‘facts’ are used to build an elaborate yet largely fanciful reconstruction of an alternative Christian spirituality. Most of these reconstructions portray the ancient Celtic Christians as creative, peaceful, nature-loving free spirits (the casual reader would be forgiven for assuming that the ancient Celts spent most of their time climbing trees and hugging animals).”

He goes on to observe that this “Celtic Christianity” is “then re-appropriated as a modern alternative for persons disillusioned with mainstream Christianity.” I confess, I have been guilty of a like desire, and even a like re-appropriation, myself, at various times in my own spiritual journey (even post-1990). The reality, however, is rather different: quite a bit more orthodox – and quite a bit more strenuous!

If there is one thing that is characteristic of Celts, it’s that they have historically tended to go at things full-tilt (visualize Iron Age Celtic warriors, their bodies blue with woad and their hair bleached and spiked with lime, howling as they charge naked into battle – or a millennium-and-a-half later, Scots Highlanders doing much the same thing, only in great-kilts).

The Celtic approach to Christianity was, in many ways, no different! “Go big or go home” could have been a Celtic maxim. But this tendency was not un-moderated by wisdom, common sense, or awareness of proportion, as the author likewise points out.

Sometimes their practices could seem, by our 21st-century lights, a bit “over the top.” But that does not mean we might not have things to learn from them. After discussing St. Columbanus’ strictness with respect to “mortification” (the elimination of sin and self-will from our lives – literally, “killing” these tendencies within us, or at least seeking to), he adds,

“This may strike the modern reader as harsh, and undoubtedly it is; I would not suggest that this strict asceticism should be adopted in modern life without hesitation or qualification. But in a world where ease and luxury have become virtues, we might do well to place ourselves in circumstances that stretch us, that break us out of our comfort zones, and that force us to do things we might not enjoy. A bit of mortification would not hurt any of us.”

Very true. Aristotle asserted that virtue is found in the “mean” between surfeit (excess) and deficit, and that is true both of pursuing our desires and mortifying them. And so one of the characteristics the author ascribes to the Celts is moderation:

“Celtic monasticism was harsher than most contemporary forms of spirituality. The monks were unrelentingly hard on sin, and they sought to weed out immorality as few people in the Christian tradition have. Yet, paradoxically, there was also a strong tendency toward moderation. Columbanus counsels his followers to always seek a middle path: ‘Thus between the little and the excessive there is a reasonable measure in the middle, which always calls us back from every excess on either side, and in every case provides what is needed and spurns the unreasonable demand of unnecessary desire’ (chapter 8).”

Columbanus’ was “a very nuanced view of the Christian life, and it often seems out of keeping with our age of sound bites and superficiality. Celtic spirituality contains a thoughtful moderation that can help us steer between the extremes our culture pulls us toward.”

Indeed, moderation does not seem to be much of a current virtue, at all! We are counseled on the one hand to frantically climb the corporate ladder, eschewing vacations to get ahead, and keeping our smart-phones constantly by our sides so that we may not miss an opportunity – and on the other to lose ourselves in electronic stimulation and hedonistic “pleasures of the flesh.” Celtic Christians, I feel sure, would have counseled us to cast a disapproving eye on both!

As the author concludes,

“In a culture that demands that we seek immediate gratification of our every impulse, the ancient Celtic Christians remind us of self-denial and mortification. In a world of excess, we might learn from their satisfaction with simplicity. In a culture of extremism, they counsel us to embrace moderation. The real Celtic Christians may not be as trendy as the pop-culture ones, but if we engage them on their own terms, we might be surprised at how relevant their faith remains for our modern world.”

Indeed.

Defining Anglicanism – by ACC Archbishop Mark David Haverland

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Source: Defining Anglicanism | Anglican Catholic Liturgy and Theology

What I would describe as an absolute tour de force by The Right Reverend Mark David Haverland, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church (a Continuing Anglican jurisdiction with which the UECNA is in communion). He writes, inter alia,

“Anglicanism is not a distinctive and finished system, but an approach, a method, and a temper. Anglicanism is not doctrines that distinguish it from those of other Churches, because Anglicans assert that what they believe is plainly founded in the Scriptures believed by those other Churches and in the first millennium of those Churches. That same faith of the first millennium is or should be decisive in all Churches for interpreting the Scriptural deposit.

“That which distinguishes Anglicans in doctrinal terms, then, is a kind of restraint concerning doctrinal commitment flowing from an unwillingness to innovate or even to receive older teachings that go far beyond Scripture and the consensus of the Churches. It is precisely this self-limitation which makes possible an openness to the great Churches of the East and the West. We assert and press nothing as essential, so far as we can see, that they do not themselves affirm, only questioning their differences from each other which seem to have no strong foundation in the Fathers or in the consensus of the first millennium.”

If that doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I don’t know what does. He also seems to take a bow to what I describe – approvingly, I might add! – as cultural Anglicanism, an approach which is characterized by defining “Anglican”

“rather non-theologically by emphasizing its cultural or civilizational characteristics, products, and influences. I have myself used this approach on occasions. On this view… Anglicanism is Anglican chant, Vaughan Williams hymns, the King’s College service of Lessons and Carols, and the English musical and choral tradition; the sermons of John Donne and Lancelot Andrewes; the poems of George Herbert, John Keble, W.H. Auden, and T.S. Eliot; the Barsetshire novels and Swift’s satires and Robertson Davies’s Salterton trilogy and the writings of C.S. Lewis; the sons and daughters of Anglican rectories; the prose of Hooker’s Laws and the Authorized Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer; a deeply felt but undemonstrative and unsentimental piety; Wren churches and English country parishes; the moral seriousness that outlawed the slave trade and stopped suttee and beat the Nazis; Evensong of a summer’s afternoon; the Queen’s Christmas address with its consistent, gentle emphasis on our Saviour’s birth.

“This approach might look at first like the ‘kitchen sink’, as it accumulates the stuff of centuries in an apparent gatherum omnium.  In fact, however, there is a good deal of definition and coherence to the list.  There’s no modernism or neo-Pentecostalism in it, for one thing.  For another thing, while a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox Christian might think some important things are missing from it, there’s little or nothing positively in it that he would find objectionable.”

Let me be clear: I love this tradition, deeply and passionately. It is a good bit of what brought me into Anglicanism in the first place, and I would hate to lose it. But – and this is the point I think Archbishop Haverland was getting at – this approach is, by itself, merely (or mainly) cultural, and, I must reluctantly admit, a bit hazy and nostalgic: unless stiffened and given spiritual and theological substance by the first and more rigorous set of criteria Archbishop Haverland delineates above.

There is, in my view, nothing wrong with cultural Anglicanism, if it flows out of and serves as a very fitting and proper cultural expression of theological Anglicanism. If it does not, if it’s expected to stand on its own without the theological and doctrinal substance of the Holy Scriptures, the Patristic Creeds and Councils, and the overall witness of the ancient and undivided Church of the first millennium of the Christian era, it can be a bit of a house built upon sand.

There are plenty of people out there, in the Episcopal Church, the Church of England, and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, who love these things, too; but who also embrace all manner of theological and moral innovation and relativism. Glorious choral music, fine poetry and literature, and pastoral country scenes (as per the picture with which I opened this post), while highly admirable in themselves, are not sufficient.

At any rate: click through the link to Archbishop Haverland’s essay, and “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” it. Spiritual nourishment to start your Lenten observance! And may God indeed bless you with a holy Lent.

 

Shrove Tuesday – its meaning

 

 

While we’re eating our pancakes or doughnuts, let’s not forget that the real reason for Shrove Tuesday is to prepare for a holy celebration of Lent: it’s not only about pancakes, but about penitence for one’s sins! The doughnuts or pancakes were made in order to use up the fat and eggs from which folks would be abstaining during the Lenten Fast (this is also the origin of “Fat Tuesday,” or “Mardi Gras”).

As the images above point out, “shrove” is the past tense of the archaic English verb “to shrive,” meaning to be absolved of and receive pardon from one’s sins through confession and penitence, again in preparation for a holy Lent – the time of penitence and self-examination leading up to Good Friday and Easter, the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Or, as the Prayer Book exhortation puts it,

“… if there be any of you, who by this means [prayerful self-examination, and repentance before God on one’s own] cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other Minister of God’s Word” – another Anglican source refers to “a discrete and understanding priest” – “and open his grief; that he may receive such godly counsel and advice, as may tend to the quieting of his conscience, and the removing of all scruple and doubtfulness.”

The traditional Anglican standard for this sort of private confession to / with a priest is that “all may, some should, none must.” That seems, to me, a good approach.

Wishing everyone a holy, as well as a happy, Shrove Tuesday!