Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mary is my homegirl

This is just way too cool! (Hattip to Amy Welborn)

Christians wear hip Mary gear.

They're wearing "Mary Is My Homegirl" T-shirts and bracelets, and not all of them are Roman Catholic.

Once mainly a devotional figure for Catholics, Mary and her role as a woman of God are now studied by Anglicans and other Christian denominations.


Some Protestant churches, especially Episcopal and United Methodist, in recent years have offered Bible studies and classes that focus on the Virgin Mary as a model for Christian women.
Biega, who regularly uses the Rosary as a means of devotion, thinks more Protestants are becoming interested in learning about Mary because she offers a symbol of what women can become through the love of God.

"What attracts women is the need to understand the significance of our mother Mary as the child who said yes to God." Biega said.
Interesting that they've interviewed two local Episcopal clergy. Fr. Lyon at Good Shepherd leads the most Anglo-Catholic Episcopal Parish I've come across. More smells and bells than any Roman parish I've seen round here ... :) (And one that embodies the works of mercy most powerfully, as I witnessed with their care for a former neighbor, an elderly lady, quite indigent, and somewhat mentally challenged. The congregation's care and support for her was truly inspiring.) Interestingly, I think it was in the 80s, a part of the congregation crossed the Tiber, and now forms Good Shepherd Catholic, an Anglican-use parish, with a married Catholic priest.

Incidentally, soon after our current Bishop was ordained, he accepted an invitation to an ecumenical Vespers service at Good Shepherd Episcopal. I think this was the first time that a Roman Bishop had come to the parish after the "split." What caused several eyebrows to rise was the fact that the Vespers included Eucharistic adoration and Benediction (lead by the Episcopal bishop)! Perhaps they were trying to show just how Catholic they were. Still, most .... unusual, given the vexed question of the validity of Anglican orders. Local wags had a field day. (Yours truly included. Sheepish look.)

Anyway, those digressions aside, I think it's just wonderful that our Protestant sisters and brothers are rediscovering that devotion to Mary actually leads one closer to her Son.

Oh yes, I want that tee-shirt. :)


assiniboine said...

Hmmm...Methodists? Which Methodists?

When the Anglican and United Churches of Canada were briefly a-courtin' and a-sparkin' 30 years ago they produced a now-entirely disparaged joint hymnal. ("That awful United Church hymn book"/"That awful Anglican hymn book." Their counterparts in Australia together with the RCs came up with what was effectively a second, Australian edition, now in a "third" edition which goes from strength to strength and is to my mind the finest hymnal currently in existence anywhere).

There were some extremely infelicitous compromises, including the thoroughly outre expurgating of Fr Roland Ford Palmer's "Sing of Mary, pure and lowly, virgin mother undefiled" to the Presbyterian/Methodist/Congregational-acceptable (but ridiculous) "maiden mother wise and mild." Evangelical Protestants, however broad-minded, have a lot of trouble with virginity, it seems. When I was organist at a Canadian Baptist church (and, being Canadian, a "credal" one, to use American terminology I have only just discovered: I had no idea that American Baptists eschew the Creeds!) I found that "A great and mighty wonder" aka "Lo how a rose e'er blooming" was only acceptable for inclusion among the Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve if "The Virgin bears an infant, with virgin honour pure" was deleted from the text. Silly me -- I figured that being "Bible-believing Protestants," if it was in the Bible it was OK.

And when brides suggested Schubert's "Ave Maria" as a wedding solo? Not on your life! I somehow doubt that even your Methodists will be introducing the Angelus anytime soon.

assiniboine said...

But as for Benediction at Good Shepherd Episcopal, they were indeed showing how Catholic they are but they would have done it without the RC bishop on hand as well; it's themselves they are showing how Catholic they are. No doubt they sang "Tantum ergo," chanted Psalm 117 to Gregorian chant with faux bourdons and carried the reserved sacrament to the altar of repose under a humeral veil to the strains of downright orgiastic organ music too. With PRODIGIOUS quantities of incense. (My Mum and aunt went to St Thomas's in Manhattan one time and my Mum whispered during the motet, "Aren't the acoustics astonishing!" To which my aunt responded, "How should I know? You can't see them for the smoke!")

No, no, long-established High Church Anglican practice, but they would be most indignant if you characterised them as Protestant!

(And lest my mildly facetious tone mislead you, for my own part I find Benediction entirely transporting and wonderful.)

Gashwin said...

Good night! You've been organist everywhere it seems ... :) I am heartened to hear that a hymna produced with RC participation can be considered the finest. Given the state of RC hymnody in the US, that is remarkable. Well, "Worship" (good traditional Protestant hymnody) does it, and the Adoremus Hymnal tries as well but is regarded as a right-wing nut-job group (rather unfairly, I think) and is ignored. Would it be possible to procure a copy of said hymnal?

A to the Benediction flap: I wasn't quite clear. It wasn't a flap because the Anglo-Catholics were doing Benediction. It was a flap because they included it last minute in an ecumenical prayer service with a Roman Bishop present. Given the vexed question of Anglican orders (invlaid, according to Leo XIII's 1876 bull Apostolicae Curiae, and, apparently, regarded as something to be "definitely held and believed" according to the then Cardinal Ratzinger, in an explanatory not to John Paul's motu proprio of 1998 Ad Tuendadm Fidem, and something generally not mentioned in mixed, i.e. Anglican-Catholic, company), we are all a little surprised that they would involve the Eucharist (and emphasize the tragic Eucharistic division), especially one, to be crude, confected by an invalidly ordained Anglican priest. The wags were carrying on in the vein of, "So, what did the good Bishop kneel to? The monstrance? A piece of bread?" and other such decidedly unecumenicl sentiments.

Gashwin said...

[Whoops, Apostolicae Curae (not Curiae!) was issued in 1896. It's been a long day.

assiniboine said...

Yes, and its excellence lies in its lack of compromise: it isn’t all things to all people, but several things for each of several peoples and all between two covers. So unremittingly Scottish paraphrases from the Hymnary, unaltered Wesleyan hymns, hearty evangelical Anglican and fustian Anglo-Catholic ones, and Roman Catholic ones which take no hostages.

Actually, the first edition, produced as The Australian Hymn Book, 1977, by the Uniting, Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches of Australia, is now into a second edition sub nomine Together in Song, Australian Hymn Book II, 1999 published in Sydney by HarperCollins with the additional participation of the (non-concurring) Presbyterian Church of Australia, the Churches of Christ of Australia (ie the Sandemanians/Glassites – known in the USA as the Disciples of Christ) and the Lutheran Church of Australia. So there are now plenty of stodgy German chorales in the original metre as well. doesn’t seem to have any knowledge of it, and a Google search indicates that it isn’t available outside Australasia, which is probably a matter of the arcane of international copyright conventions. But it’s the first edition I know well anyway, and I have two copies. So how be we strike a deal. Madam Justice Leila Seth (Vikram Seth’s mother) issued her memoirs in January 2005 under the title On Balance in the Penguin India imprint and they aren’t available at all in Australia – can’t even be ordered. However, now that David Davidar has moved from Penguin Australia to head of Penguin Canada, and in view of the huge South Asian population of Canada, it may very well be available there. Perhaps I could send you one of my copies of The Australian Hymn Book and you could organise my getting a copy of On Balance. There could, of course, be an entirely unreasonable disproportion in price – no way of knowing. If so I could either fork over the difference or send you something else as well to even the scales which you might not have access to way down south in Dixie.

Gashwin said...

Hmm -- sounds doable. We could work something out. It might be available in India, and I'll be there in the winter. Let me send you an email and get this transaction off the blog ... :)

assiniboine said...

But yes, your Anglicans were naughty to include Benediction (in the "therefore we before him bending, this great sacrament revere" sense); easily done without. On the other hand, your bishop was unduly thrown off balance -- he could have remained seated with his head bowed or watched on with real or pretended admiration of the presumably competent liturgical choreography. Or perhaps he wasn't thrown off at all, and was simply diplomatically going through the motions with mental reservations as he did, and thereby showing a great deal of class.

I'm a little startled at the continued UN-tactfulness of the vocabulary of RC discountenancing of Anglican orders. Obviously it is the position that they are invalid but surely a measure of courtesy and at least pretended respect is possible -- otherwise one is as guilty as those two Pakistani and Sri Lankan Pentecostals in Melbourne you mentioned of shouting unnecessarily loudly what is already a matter of necessary inference and with no constructive intention but only to be offensive. (Actually those two went way beyond saying that the Bible means what it says about there being no more true prophets and future purported ones being false; they were really being inflammatory and they got no more than they deserved.)

Gashwin said...

Oh, the Bish was informed about it last minute, as in before the service started (maybe even a few days prior). It wasn't sprung on him during the service. Yes, he behaved in a most gentlemanly manner.

I guess one can account for Leo XIII as being of the era when the Roman line on ecumenism was simply "come home to Mama" (and for those wondering, the "ecumenism of return" meaning, most probably, just that, was very clearly eschewed by Pope Benedict in his address to gathered Protestant leaders in Cologne in July). However, it is a little difficult to understand his very same words in the note to Ad Tuendam Fidem, given the years of dialogue with the Anglican communion. I think I'm recalling correctly (and am too tired to Google right now) that the note stated that the invalidity of Anglican orders was of the same order in the hierarchy of truths as the impossibility of ordaining women. I shall have to dig this up.

I've heard that several (if not a significant majority) of Episcopal Bishops trace their apostolic lineage back to (validly ordained, if schismatic, from the RC point of view) Old Catholic or Polish National Catholic Bishops. Which would give one the rather interesting prospect that Anglican sacraments in the US quite possibly (again from the RC perspective; for Anglicans, this isn't an issue of course) are valid.

One should, of course, keep in mind the Apostle's admonition to "build up" and not tear down, which, I think, is quite apposite to the rhetoric in this situation.

Gashwin said...

[Ugh, the lateness of the hour is showing again. I meant "it is difficult to understand the words of the very same person in the note to ... "