dotCommonweal

A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors

.

Swimming the Thames?

Planning to return to the Big Apple, once grading is finished, I consulted the current New Yorker for musical events during the Christmas season. I found this intriguing notice:

Harold Rosenberg's Canticum Novum Singers team up with Parthenia, New York's invaluable consort of viols, to offer "A Renaissance Advent," a program of works by such composers as Josquin, Palestrina, and Handel, in the High Anglican ambience of St. Ignatius Loyola Church.

When pressed to comment, Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., only muttered that he's checking it out with his Superiors on the Borgo Santo Spirito.

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

17 comments
Close

17 comments

Commenting Guidelines

  • All

See? Can't trust those Jebbies.

One thing about swimmers. They tend to go with as well as against the current.

Good heavens. And it's modeled on the Gesu, no less! Oh dear.

The Episcopalians are coming!! Here's another heads-up from today's WSJ:Trinity Church Wall Street (Episcopalian) musicians will soon perform in the Church of St. Jean Baptiste (still Catholic as of this writing - but for how long?)."Note: Trinity is sponsoring a lavish Twelfth Night Festival of early music at various venues, including Ms. Greenleaf and her Green Mountain Project's third annual Monteverdi Vespers of 1640, a work similar in scale and drama to "Messiah," on Jan. 3 and 4 at St. John Baptiste Church. See Trinity's website for details."http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020351840457709634195624325... that the diabolically clever Episcopalian have already anglicized the church's name, substituting "John" for "Jean." They will stop at nothing.

Reports streaming in that the Dominicans at Saint Vincent Ferrer are piling sandbags against the expected assault and are in desperate contact with Archbishop DiNoia, O.P., at CDW, as to whether precious chalices can be camouflaged as ordinary cups.The crucial issue, however, is whether Saint Thomas More, manning the northern line at 92nd Street, will hold firm or will the offer of Wales prove too strong even for the intrepid martyr to resist.

The New Yorker and Commonweal Catholics should be pleased as punch at the implications of that notice: Real Catholics don't have anything to do with bells and smells - they threw out all that trash fifty years ago. St. Ignatius Loyola is just channeling this Anglican-only stuff for its quaint artistic value.

New York does have an Episcopal church named for St. Ignatius of Antioch - maybe this was just an innocent mistake, or a person who conflated the two churches?

We were planning to to to Saint Ignatius for Christmas Eve Mass - thanks for the warning. I will wear garlic around my neck and clutch Grandma's old crucifix!

In Marshfield, Vermont (where one of my daughters lives) is to be found the Christ Covenant Anglican Catholic Church. According to said daughter, it is a strict and narrow sect, where women and children know their places and keep to them. Where the name came from, I haven't the foggiest. Their website, which gives little information, carries the normal coat of arms of the Episcopal Church and those of the Missionary Diocese of New England, A.D. 1978. The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont does not list Marshfield as one of its churches. Someone more familiar with the ins and outs of Anglican ecclesiastical politicking may know more than I. My knowledge stops pretty much with Anthony Trollope, and Mrs. Bishop Proudie.But then I don't know where the Green Mountain Project got its name, either; certainly not from Vermont. Presumably it comes from Monteverdi (a speciality), but it seems to be a New York group plagiarizing what locals around here consider to be their property. In any case, I wish I could hear them; they've been performing at St. Mary the Virgin in NY, as well as St. Ignatius.

As KR suggested, it is St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Episcopal church on West End Avenue at 87th St. http://canticumnovumsingers.org/The architecture is High Anglican - complete with rood screen. See the picture at the link.

Nicholas Clifford, looks as if it is part of the Anglican Catholic Church, which describes itself this way:The 20th century has seen the rise of utilitarian education, mass consumerism and an insatiable quest for novelty. Much of world Anglicanism has responded suicidally by abandoning its Catholic heritage and actually adopting, rather than seeking to transform, the secular spirit of the age (Zeitgeist). By contrast, the ANGLICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH stands fully restored in the constant tradition of the undivided Church: the only sure basis for Christian unity.http://www.anglicancatholic.org/main/brochure/The church in Marshfield Vt. Is listed on the website of the Anglican Catholic diocese:http://www.mdne.org/index.htmHere's the international web page of the Anglican Catholic Church.http://www.anglicancatholic.org/

I'd say that calling something "high Anglican" would be a compliment to its good taste. Certainly, the language would be soaring but clear, the music would be divine, and there would be no bongo drums, geetars, or happy clappy hand-holding.Highever, let me clear up some misinformation here: The Anglican Cathholic Church is NOT in communion with the See of Canterbury (the Anglican Church worldwide). It is a schismatic sect in the Anglican tradition. You can find out who's "in" and who's "out" here.http://anglicansonline.org/communion/index.htmlPlease note, however, that no baptized Christian is turned away from the Eucharist, so not being in "communion" with the See of Canturbury does not mean that any Anglican church would refuse table service of an Anglican Catholic.Not being in communion means that the Anglican Catholics may not participate in the Lambeth Conference and they are not part of nor do they contribute in any way to any official Anglican diocese.The Anglican Catholics tried to start up a church hereabouts, trying to pull in those against ordination of women and gays. Most of those disaffected Episcopalians went over to the Catholics (cuz nobody THERE argues about these things ...) More misinfo like this and I'll have to sic Mrs. Proudie on alla yez.

Rec: Most of those disaffected Episcopalians went over to the ROMAN Catholics ...Too many people calling themselves Catholics ...

Id say that calling something high Anglican would be a compliment to its good taste. Certainly, the language would be soaring but clear, the music would be divine, and there would be no bongo drums, geetars, or happy clappy hand-holding.

Sounds lovely, Jean. Mostly elderly folk, or is there a young contingent?

"Mostly elderly folk, or is there a young contingent?"Who would know? High Anglicans are all usually Country Club Republicans and look like Tucker Carlson. You can't really tell their ages. I always enjoyed going under cover in heels, understated jewelry, and a black suit for a spikey Anglican Mass. Part of the allure of Catholicism is being able to dust off your pants and rush off to Saturday night mass after you get your casserole in the oven.

I have attended Sunday liturgy at St. Ignatius of Antioch several times. It seemed like a wonderful parish, unless you really longed for bongo drums. On the first occasion, I couldn't help but waste my time thinking about what then-Cardinal Ratzinger would make of the liturgy. It was in English, of course, but there was more sung Latin from the choir than I had heard in ages. The liturgy was celebrated facing the altar, not the congregation. The priest, deacon, and subdeacon, all in "I formation," were vested in chasubles of a style I had not seen in decades. One point would have proved interesting for the Cardinal, however: the celebrant was a woman. Besides its high Anglican character, St. Ignatius of Antioch, at least as of that date, had a very active social ministry including assistance to those with AIDS. In fact, the second time I attended it was because St. Ignatius had funded a well in one of the South African communities whose water had been cut off by the apartheid government. A black South African Anglican priest had brought water from that well back to Manhattan (would be difficult today because of post-9/11 security) to be blessed and used in St. Ignatius's baptismal font. A very moving ceremony, and I wrote about it in The Times. A third time I went for the funeral of the wonderfully contrarian columnist Murray Kempton. The church was packed and I mostly remember the time I spent outside on the sidewalk. On one of the earlier visits, I recall learning that the contemporary composer Charles Wuorinen was a congregant. Was I introduced to him at the coffee hour, or was I simply told this? Churches like this are a serious temptation to Catholics whose souls are wearied by mediocre leadership and ecclesiastical feuds -- until we look at the leadership (Rowan Williams and N.T. Wright and some others excepted) and feuds of the Episcopal church and the Anglican Communion.

I dunno, I've swum both Thames and Tiber. Seems to me that both groups have a whole lot of leadership problems and squabbles at the lower levels about who should leave to make the faith purer or more pleasing to God.At heart, it's not about the leaders (Cardinal Law or Bishop Tutu? Please! No contest!) or who's got the better liturgical show (spikey Anglicans win hands-down every time). It's about healing the broken Body of Christ. I don't feel comfy in the Catholic Church, and I'm not sure Catholics feel comfy with me (so I spare them my presence at the Table), but that's where the teachings of Jesus Christ and the traditions of the early church have lived and thrived the longest, and if my standing there uncomfortably, struggling with those teachings, living them even in my very imperfect way, helps maintain that, then I that's where I belong.

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment