Dominicans: AD Questions – Chapter Two

Chapter Two

  • Why did Dominic found the Order of Preachers?

Heresies within the Christian faith have existed since the time soon after the death Christ and the Church has employed various means to rid itself of them.  For Dominc’s part, he would have likely remained a cloistered monk, but while traveling through Languedoc, in the south of France, he encountered the Albigensian (Cathari / “pure ones”) heresy, which held to the belief that the physical world was the world of Satan and therefore, all physical matter was evil, thus leading them to deny the Incarnation, baptism by water, the Real Presence, etc.  Additionally, the Albigensian priest led very austere lives, quite the opposite of their Roman Catholic counterparts who enjoyed much of the fineries of life.  Once encountered, Dominic felt compelled to preach against the heresy, following the practices of a more apostolic way as witnessed in the first disciples.  Ten years afterwards, in 1215, Dominic would officially establish the first house  for the Order of Preachers in Toulouse, France.

  • What happened to the religious orders in England during the reign of Henry VIII?

In 1534, the Act of Supremacy was passed in the English Parliament, which established Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church of England, thus resting control of the Church from Rome.  Henry, desiring the wealth of the monasteries would pass the First Act of Suppression, which closed all monasteries with income of less than £200.  Following the closure, the lands and gold would be confiscated by the Crown.  In 1539, the Second Act of Suppression was passed, allowing for the forced closure of all remaining monasteries (by 1540, over 50 monasteries a month were closed.)  A few religious remained (those who failed to comply were martyred), but these actions effectively brought the monastic life to an end in England until the revival in the 19th century.

  • Of the historical figures cited that embody an Anglican Dominican way, which do you find most appealing?

Jackson Kemper (If I say any other, I will likely be stripped of my degrees from Nashotah House!)  I pray this is an acceptable way to answer the question.  It is a sermon I preached last year on his feast day, and demonstrates my reasoning: 

The Apostle of the Western Church, Jackson Kemper, was born on Christmas Eve 1789 and in 1835 he was consecrated bishop.  At the consecration, the Bishop of New Jersey began his sermon: “Brethren, we are assembled, under the protection of Almighty God, to partake in, or to witness, the consecration of a missionary bishop. It is a new office in this Church. The event has not occurred before. What we are now to do will go on record, as a precedent…”  Toward the end of that sermon, the bishop gave Kemper a charge: “Beloved brother, from the work to which the Lord, we trust, has called you, I may keep you back no longer. You are to go out, in the Saviour’s name, the first Missionary Bishop of this Church. Going with the office, go in the spirit, of an Apostle! You are to preach the gospel of salvation to a ruined world. You are to bear ‘the ministry of reconciliation’ to sinful men, the enemies of God, and of their own souls, by wicked works. Like the Apostle Paul, preach to them ‘Christ crucified.’” 

His missionary diocese was small, it only consisted of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and part of Indiana, 450,000 square miles (by comparison, Oklahoma is 70,000 square miles).  Fortunately he had some help—one priest.  However, he did not let the size of his missionary territory nor the lack of help daunt him.  Instead, he went about the business of establishing churches and to solve the problem of so few priest, he began a seminary.  And not just any seminary, but (to this day) the finest seminary in the Episcopal Church: Nashotah House.

His passion for mission was evident in his work and his words.  In 1841, he was given the opportunity to preach on mission at the General Convention.  “Constrained by the undying love of Christ to love the immortal souls of our fellow beings—let us be ready for the privilege, if it is ever conferred, to scatter the precious seed on every field—to erect the banner of the cross on every mountain. Let us at least hasten the time—by our prayers, our exertions, and our sacrifices—when the joyous sound shall burst from every heart, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.’”

At the end of his missionary work he had organized seven different diocese, consecrated over 100 churches, ordained more than 200 priests and deacons, and confirmed more than 10,000 individuals.  His last words: “I hope I have been faithful; I hope I have kept the faith.”

Going back to his consecration, the Bishop of New Jersey concluded his sermon to Kemper by saying, “Go, bear, before a ruined world, the Saviour’s bleeding Cross. Go, feed, with bread from heaven, the Saviour’s hungering Church. Go, thrice beloved, go, and God the Lord go with you!”  From our Gospel reading today, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”  

Jackson Kemper heard the message to “Go” and he went.  I pray that we will all hear this message, feel the passion of the missionary, and go out in the mission field that God has set before each of us… even if that mission field only extends to our next door neighbor.

As an aside, part of my duties while at Nashotah was to keep up the mowing of the grounds.  Each week, not only did I mow the lawn around Bishopstead, Kemper’s residence, but also the cemetery where he is buried, making sure to greet him kindly each time I passed his grave.

  • When did the first known efforts at founding a non-Roman Catholic Dominican Order take place?

The Dominican Priory of Christ the King, founded around the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) in Coos Bay, Oregon.

  • Who was the founder and first Master of the Anglican Order of Preachers?  Did you find anything interesting about the initial beginnings of the Anglican Dominicans?

The Very Rev. Dr Jeffery Mackey, O.P.A. was the first Master of the Anglican Order of Preachers. 

I did find it interesting that the order was founded so recently.  It is such a beautiful expression of the Catholic nature of the Church.  Then again, there have been many in the Anglo-Catholic tradition who have been living out the Dominican life, just not naming themselves as such.  It is good to have a home and a community.

  • As you learn more about the Anglican Dominicans, could you imagine yourself being one?  Why or why not?

Yes!  As a priest, the study, prayer, preaching, Marian devotion, etc. have always been a part of my life, but what I’m discovering is that the more I practice the rule, the more I want / need to practice the rule.  In addition, the more I see of the community online, the more I desire to be a part of it.  For my life with God, this ‘feels’ like a very natural next step.

Dominicans: AD Questions – Chapter One

Chapter One

  • Is the concept of a denomination other than the Roman Catholic Church being “Catholic” new or familiar to you?

Twenty years ago, this was a new idea other than, “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.”  As one of the four notes of the Church, I simply understood the word “catholic” to mean universal.  Following my studies, I understood the concept in a much broader sense, not only in the way we practice our faith through ritual, but also our understanding of a more ancient church.

  • What is the argument Anglican Dominicans make in claiming that their Church is an expression of Catholic Christianity?

Anglican Dominicans argue that there was “the existence a primitive or early Catholicism (distinct from Roman Catholicism) that existed for the first one thousand years of Christianity,” (p. 5) which was later folded into the Anglican Church.  John Henry Newman, one of the Tractarians would fully support this argument.  “In his tracts on the Church of England he claimed that it was truly and purely catholic, based on the customs of the Apostolic Church and the teaching of the Fathers, and corrupted neither by Romanism nor by Protestantism.” (The History of the Church in England, p. 341)

  • While drawing upon the Catholic tradition of Christianity, the Anglican Dominicans also draw upon the Protestant tradition. What elements of the Protestant Reformation are particularly important to Anglican Dominicans?

St. Paul says to Timothy, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1–4)  Preach the word: “The Protestant Reformation… brought back into the mainstream of Christian life and practice: evangelization, preaching, and the centrality of the Word of God as found in the pages of Holy Scripture…. [which] began to shift the emphasis of priestly office away from the altar and toward the pulpit.” (p. 6, 7)  

The state of preaching today is lacking.  Mark Galli (Christianity Today), recently wrote a series of articles under the title, “The Elusive Presence” (they are brilliant).  In “The Elusive Presence: And Now, the Star of the Show…,” Galli writes, “Preaching is one time in the week when we have the opportunity to hear about something other than ourselves, other than the horizontal. It’s the time to hear about God and the wonder and mysteries of his love, of what he’s done for us in Christ. But more and more, evangelical preaching has become another way we talk about ourselves, and in this case, to learn about the preacher.” (Source)  This is one of the great appeals of the Anglican Dominicans, they understand the significance of sound and learned preaching and teaching that is focused not on self, but on the Word.  The Reformers got this one right.

  • How is Anglican Christianity a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism?

G.K. Chesterton is reported to have said/written, “The Reformer is always right about what’s wrong. However, he’s often wrong about what is right.”  As was noted in Anglican Dominicans, the reformers threw the baby out with the bath water; however, in pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism, the priest had become a poorly educated sacramentalist, with little or no emphasis placed on the Word of God.  It was about the ritual and not the Person behind it all.  As was noted above in answer #3, the reformers brought back the Word, the Tractarians (answer #2) brought back the theology/understanding of the ancient Church, and later the ritual, and from this, the Via Media was born: the “bridge” Church, being both Catholic and Protestant.

  • What period of church history is particularly important for Anglicans in determining acceptable beliefs and practices?

The 19th century and the Oxford Movement, that I attempted to describe in answer #4.  This was a time of accepting some of the corrections of the reformers, without destroying the practices and piety of the Catholic Church, in the process, creating a reformed Anglican expression of the Catholic Church.

  • So far, what do you find interesting or appealing about the Anglican Dominicans?

“Anglican Dominicans recognize this trend (the pastoral office centered almost exclusively on sacramental functions) is still dangerously present in the Christian Church today and believe the foundational mission is vigorous Gospel proclamation.” (p.7)  This is very appealing.  With the decline of mainline denominations, we see so many gimmicks being employed to increase attendance and the Gospel is abandoned as “old fashioned.”  In addition, many preachers sound more like CNN/Fox News commentators than they do proclaimers of the Good News.  However, at the ordination of a priest, the bishop asks, “Will you endeavor so to minister the Word of God and the sacraments of the New Covenant, that the reconciling love of Christ may be known and received.” (BCP p.532)  In this, Dominic demonstrated to us how to fulfill this vow: “Wherever the Master was, he always spoke either to God or about God.”

Dominicans: AD Questions – Introduction

OK, blog friends, three posts in a day is a bit excessive… sorry. Just getting things done on a restful ‘non-laboring’ Labor Day.


As part of the postulancy program, I will be reading Anglican Dominicans and answering questions. The plan is to post these by chapter. Below are the questions from the ‘Introduction’ and the answers I submitted. The remaining chapters are where the fun begins.


Introduction

  • Prior to reading this book, had you ever heard of Roman Catholic or Anglican Dominicans?

Yes.  Nashotah House, where I attended seminary, is based on the Benedictine rule.  There were many times in various classes (church history, spiritual theology, etc) that the different orders, including Dominican, were discussed.  In addition, we would have members of various religious orders visit the campus.  I confess, at first, I believed they were Roman and just happened to be visiting.  It was later that I learned of the religious orders within the Anglican Communion and that I began researching the various orders.  As Nashotah is Benedictine, that was my original interest, but the more I learned of the Dominican Order, the more I understood this was perhaps the place for me.

  • Prior to reading this book, were you aware that there are religious orders in the Anglican Communion?

More or less answered this above, however, while in the Diocese of Montana, it was the Anamchara Fellowship that was promoted and supported.  Although a worthy organization, I did not feel a call in that direction.  In my readings on Anglican Dominicans, I was delighted to learn that there is collegiality and friendship with the RC Dominicans.

Dominicans: A Beginning

What’s with the pooch?

Discernment to the priesthood is not something that ends once you’re ordained, and for sometime, I’ve been discerning mine. My conclusion: I need to go deeper. I need to stop playing around and pretending. I need to further commit my life to the Gospel. With that in mind, after prayer and consultation with my Bishop, I have decided to ‘try’ and become a member of the Anglican Order of Preachers (a.k.a. Dominicans). No. I’ve no plans to leave my current church (unless they kick me out). In fact, this calling into the Dominicans seems to be drawing me even closer to them.

Who are the Anglican Dominicans? From their website:

The Anglican Order of Preachers is an apostolic religious community inspired by the spiritual tradition founded by Saint Dominic de Guzman in the thirteenth century. It was not until the last years of the twentieth century that an expression of Dominican spirituality and life could be found outside of the Roman Catholic Church. The Order is composed of men and women from around the world and various provinces of the Anglican Communion and her sister Churches.

The mission of the order is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with a particular emphasis on proclamation ministries of evangelism and discipleship. The brothers and sisters surrender their entire lives to an apostolic lifestyle dedicated to God. This lifestyle, inspired by the lives of the first apostles and Saint Dominic, is lived out within the ordinary challenges of life, so that all people in all places can hear the Gospel.

The community is scattered, with brothers and sisters living across the world; by themselves, with their families or in small groups. They support themselves and the order by their work, either within the Church or the world. Brothers and sisters take vows of marriage or vows of celibacy. In everything members are encouraged to live out the words of Saint Dominic, “to speak with God or about God.” You can learn more here.

I’m currently only in the area of discernment, which is known as postulancy. Following this period of time, if accepted, I will become a novice and the novitiate will last for two years. If all goes well, I will make life vows and become a fully professed member.

The purpose of this new page, “Dominicans”, is to document the journey and post the writings that are required throughout this process and other info and pictures. I ask for your prayers.

O Lord Jesus Christ, you became poor for our sake, that we
might be made rich through your poverty: Guide and sanctify,
we pray, those whom you call to follow you under the vows
of poverty, chastity, and obedience, that by their prayer and
service they may enrich your Church, and by their life and
worship may glorify your Name; for you reign with the Father
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.