A long Anglican road to Rome

In the fall of 1979, a cluster of Episcopalians made another trip to Rome seeking a haven for Anglo-Catholic believers anxious to exit their increasingly divided church.Vatican officials agreed that it was time to petition their new leader, the young Pope John Paul II. The document was prepared and then signed on the altar of the North American Martyrs at Rome's North American College. In it, members of the Society of St. Augustine of Canterbury and other like-minded clergy made a blunt … [Read more...]

And with your spirit, once again

There is nothing new about church leaders arguing about worship, including whether the rites have become too casual or superficial.Take St. John Chrysostom, for example, who complained about the irreverence he saw in the churches of Constantinople. Back in the old days, he said, people knew what it meant to solemnly observe the holy mysteries. Alas, some believers seemed to be going through the motions -- in the 4th century.The archbishop urged his flock: "When I say, 'Peace be unto you,' … [Read more...]

Fix your ugly Catholic church?

The sanctuary walls are, as a rule, made of flat wood, concrete and glass wrapped in metals with an industrial look -- often matching the furnishings on the stark altar.The windows are frosted or tinted in muted tones of sky blue, lavender, amber or pink. If there are stained-glass images, they are ultramodern in style, to match any art objects that make sense in this kind of space. The floors are covered with carpet, which explains why there are speakers hanging in the rafters.The final … [Read more...]

Quiet Lutheran worship wars

If members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod have heard it once, they've heard their national leaders repeat this mantra a thousand times: "This is not your grandfather's church."That's certainly what musician Phillip Magness experienced when he took a sabbatical at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., and began a research tour after the 2006 release of the Lutheran Service Book. Since he led the committee charged with promoting the new hymnal, Magness wanted to see what was … [Read more...]

Wafer madness

Editor's note: Tmatt did not write a column for Scripps Howard this week, due to last-minute travel to Atlanta for the funeral of my wife Debra's mother, Jeanne Bridges Kuhn. The following is a post written for GetReligion.org, which will interest many of my regular readers. To read the interactive version of this post, click here.* * * *There is no question what the Roman Catholic Church calls the holy bread that is consecrated during the Mass. It is called the “host.” Anyone who knows any … [Read more...]

Beyond Orthodox folk dancing

These were the sad, sobering conversations that priests have when no one else is listening.Father John Peck kept hearing other priests pour out their frustrations on the telephone. Some, like Peck, were part of the Orthodox Church in America, a church with Russian roots that has been rocked by years of high-level scandals. But others were active in churches with "old country" ties back to other Eastern Orthodox lands."These men really felt that their churches weren't getting anywhere," he said. … [Read more...]

Memory eternal, Robert E. Webber

During one of his early visits to London, Billy Graham was confronted by an Anglican leader who causally dismissed the entire crusade effort."Young man," said the priest, "I do not approve of your style of evangelism.""I'm sure that what I'm doing isn't perfect," replied Graham. "But I like the evangelism that I'm doing better than the evangelism that you're not doing."Robert E. Webber knew that collision of styles inside out.The theologian spent most of his career working with people on both … [Read more...]

One man comes home to Orthodoxy

When Peter Maris' father arrived from Greece the U.S. immigration officer couldn't understand his last name and "Margaris" became "Maris."When his mother's Jewish parents arrived from Poland they added "ski" to their name because they thought "Rafalski" sounded Catholic and, thus, would be safer.And when Kathleen Rafalski married Dennis Maris, she immediately joined the St. Demetrios Orthodox Church in Hammond, Ind."They were married in the Greek church," said Peter Maris, 42. "She learned to … [Read more...]


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