Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Patriarchal Allocution - Christmas 2018

PATRIARCHAL SEE 25 December 2018 (ORCNS) - The following is the transcript of the allocution given by HIRH the Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen, Christmas 2018. 

From the Florentine Household to the Christian faithful throughout the world and especially to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, grace, peace, and Our Apostolic Blessing on this joyous celebration of the two thousand eighteenth Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. When Christ came into the world, He came to fulfill the Hebrew prophecies – yet He came for all mankind without regard to ethnic background or national origin. It is perhaps the one thing that knows no border, and as the national borders of the world change and move over time, membership in the Kingdom of God is something that unites all of the faithful around the world. It is indeed the greatest hope for mankind and at times the only thing that unite disparate peoples.

Remembering again the unity in the Corporate Body of Christ, We call again for unity among the Christian faithful of the world. That is often seen as an elusive goal, particularly given not only the political issues separating the faithful, but also the sincerely held religious beliefs. Yet, we must never abandon hope. Let Us call again upon that principal which We have invoked as the ecumenical motto of Our Patriarchate – Cooperation without Compromise. Can we as the Christian faithful truly find nothing on which to agree with those of other Christian jurisdictions and communities? Shall we truly allow the presence of disagreements – even at times significant ones – to prevent us from displaying Christian brotherhood and cooperation? If we will not seek what common ground we can find, how can we truly hope for unity? If we will not work with our brethren despite disagreements, how can we look to our Saviour and say that we have done all that we humanly can do from brotherhood? Furthermore, if we not only do not seek cooperation and brotherhood without compromise, but add to the flames of discontent by hurling petards of arrogant insults and hate, can we even truly call ourselves authentic practitioners of the Christian faith? That is not, of course, to say that we cannot and should not speak out against what is truly wrong and not merely wrong in our opinion, but rather that there are many words that are best kept to ourselves. If we truly believe others to be wrong, we will not so easily win them over by vitriol – even if we are indeed right according to the Doctrine of the Faith.

Now, as we have start a new liturgical year, which is, in the Imperial Patriarchate, dedicated to the Faith of Imperial Italy, it is an excellent time to resolve to grow in Christian brotherhood and cooperation. We do not serve our purpose by yielding on that which cannot be yielded, but neither must we seek war where there need be none.

Let Us furthermore remind you all, dear brethren, the reason that we maintain with great determination the traditions of the Imperial Patriarchate of St. Stephen. It is, first, in our blood and our faith. Yet, the majority of the world, for better or worse, is no longer as it once was. In Christian tolerance and charity, we do not actively seek others to change to suit us. Our goal is not to achieve any particular temporal outcome, for ultimately the kingdom we represent on earth is not of this world. Nonetheless, by perpetuating the great and glorious legacy that is our sacred duty to maintain, of a society flawed in humanity, but centred on Christ and His Holy Church, we serve as an example to all people and all governments of the world today, no matter their form. In that way we serve in the best way we possibly can. Seek in this coming year to increase your service in the mission that we all share.

Now, therefore, prepare yourselves to receive God's blessing.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris+, et Filii+, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

On the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice

Rutherford Cardinal Johnson, PhD, FPRS, FRGS
Count of Sainte Animie, Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen

The Cardinal Count of Sainte Animie
in a uniform of the Walsingham Guard,
the humanitarian wing of the Imperial
Patriarchate of St. Stephen with
military heritage dating back to the
Crusades and early years of the
Holy Roman Empire. Aspects of the
Guard's heritage are shared with
both sides of the Great War.
As we raise our swords and dip the colours in salute to the millions who died in the Great War (World War I) on this hundredth anniversary of the Armistice, it is interesting to note that the causes of the war are still being debated. It was a spark that snowballed into a global conflict. Fingers pointed, and blame was passed faster than a game of hot potato. Being of an ethno-religious Catholic minority that shares ancient heritage with both sides of the war, I especially believe in a cautious approach to the analysis of cause. Of course, growing up in the United States, I heard and indeed believed the rhetoric common to the Allied countries that it was Germany and especially Wilhelm II who was entirely to blame. Yet, particularly when the start was considered the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, some things did not quite seem logical. How did Austria putting down a Serbian rebellion lead to a global conflict, much less blame being placed on Germany? Has blame been mislaid? Have we been misled over the last century? 

It is true enough that Wilhelm II encouraged the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef to put down the social-democrat rebellion that involved the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. The Allied countries also demonstrated their willingness in history to do the same thing. Also, Austria asked for and received Germany’s assurance of support in the event of need, as there was a possibility that the Russian Empire might oppose Austria since the Serbs are Slavs. Wilhelm II contact Tsar Nicholas II to try to dissuade him from war with Austria (and hence also with Germany), but to no avail. The war happened. 

And why did Germany invade France? The French and Russians had a long-standing treaty. War with Russia brought France into the war. Germany chose a strategic move of declaring war and striking first rather than waiting to be squeezed from both sides (which ultimately is what happened as the war dragged on). 

Belgium declared neutrality, but Germany invaded Belgium in order to outflank the French. I rather expect the Allied nations in a similar situation would do the same. However, Britain used that as a justification for entering the war – placing them, ironically, on the side of France, with whom they had centuries of wars. The British royal family, Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha, even changed its name to the now-familiar “Windsor,” after one of their castles. Britain was understandably concerned about German domination on the continent, but now the entire conflict had exploded to almost the entirety of Europe, with Germany and Austria fighting on two fronts. 

Then enter the United States in 1917. The sinking of the British liner Lusitania by German U-boats (submarines), which had a good number of American passengers, was used as a partial justification for entering the war. The Germans said she was a legitimate military target for carrying arms, which the British denied. However, it has since been shown that the Lusitania likely was carrying ammunition for small arms in compartments designed especially for that purpose. The unrestricted submarine warfare, coupled with a communique from Germany to Mexico asking for their support in the event that the United States entered the war (in return for reclaiming parts of the U.S.) actually caused Woodrow Wilson’s request to Congress for a declaration of war to be granted – even though no actual attack against American soil had taken place. Wilson gave as part of his justification his belief that the U.S. should spread American-style democracy around the globe, much as is discussed in present U.S. conflicts. 

So, where is the blame to be laid? It all started with a Serbian terrorist group. Why not there? Or why not Austria-Hungary, who sought to put down the rebellion in Serbia, rather than blaming Germany? Or how about with the Russian Empire, whose entry couple with the Franco-Russian Treaty caused the opening of the Western Front? Was Britain justified in entering the war simply because Belgium had been invaded for strategic military purposes, or was Britain’s action merely out of fear? Was the United States really justified in entering the war, or was it a “strike first” approach like Germany used? It is truly difficult to pinpoint one culprit, though propagandists find no trouble doing so. 

The reality is that the Great War was a tragedy that had been brewing at least since the Franco-Prussian War, but still did not need to happen. A simple rebellion sparked an inferno that engulfed much of the world and changed the face of Europe. The terms of the armistice were also so punitive towards Germany that it opened the gates for Hitler to take over. Indeed, the seeds for the Second World War were sewn in part by the Allies in the terms of the treaty at the end of the First World War. The Great War was a tragedy that spanned not only the four years of its direct conflict, but for decades after, even into the death and destruction of the Second World War. If we want to know the culprit for the Great War, like in so many tragedies in history, we humans, no matter our flag, need only look in the mirror. Ultimately the blame game is unhealthy and a detriment to true healing and harmony.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Patriarchal Comments on Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

PATRIARCHAL SEE 28 October 2018 (ORCNS) - The Imperial Patriarch of St. Stephen spoke today regarding the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on Saturday. The Cardinal Father joined other religious and civic leaders in condemning the violent and brutal attack. He stated, "History has shown that there are those who are filled with hatred towards others and are willing to do violence to others because of that hate. The synagogue shooting appears to be yet another sad manifestation of that."

The Cardinal Father also said, "Even in the worst of tragedies, we should always hope for and work for something positive to come out of it. Let us hope that this tragic, senseless, and needless event may bring diverse peoples together in a lasting peace." 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Counts of the Patriarchate

The title of Count is of particular importance to the Patriarchate of St. Stephen. It is an old title dating back to the Roman Empire, and today it comes in many forms. It can be a middle or high level of nobility. When held by a royal person, it usually is among the highest of all titles. Count translates as Comes in Latin, meaning companion and was common to high officials of the imperial court and for provincial rulers as "companions of the Emperor." In the time of the early Holy Roman Empire, it was a common title for many rulers. In Italy, where some of the independent states were ruled by Counts, the last ruler of Tuscany in the ancient Holy Roman Empire was Countess Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany. She was a princess of the houses of Canossa, Lorraine, and Bar. (See also Les Comtes Royales.)

The use of the title of Count by certain princes in the Imperial Patriarchate of St. Stephen follows these ancient customs. Certain princes of the Patriarchate hold comital titles, mostly quite ancient in origin. It is the custom for the personal title of those princes to be Count, used with their forename, surname, or title name -- all are equally correct. The title applies also to their children and heirs. This is similar not only ancient Italian and French usage, but also to the Spanish and Italian use of "Don" for all nobles, including the King, as well as the international ecclesiastical custom of addressing all prelates as "Monsignor," regardless of rank. It is also similar to the British custom of using "Lord" for all peers, regardless of rank (excepting Dukes). The usage within the Patriarchate reflects its ancient, rich, and diverse heritage. 

Today this usage in the Patriarchate is common currently to five heads of houses within the Imperial Patriarchate -- the Counts of Marmande, Sainte Animie, Valais, Römerberg, and Coberly -- as well as to the members of their individual houses. 


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Patriarchal Allocution on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2018

Allocuzione Patriarcale del Festo del Sacratissimo Corpo di Nostro Signore

Patriarchal Address on the Feast of Corpus Christi
31 May A.D. 2018

DALLA Casa Fiorentina al mondo, come sempre, grazia e pace in questo festo del Sacratissimo Corpo di Nostro Signore Jesu Christo, nel anno 2018. Oggi e’ una celebrazione dell’unita’ di tutti in Cristo. In verita’ siamo unificati per il corpo di Cristo. Non esiste nessun politico chi puo’ unificare il mondo o, certo, neanche una nazione. L’unico chi puo’ unificare il popolo del mondo e’ Cristo. Carissimi, vi ammoniamo ricordare bene questo punto.

Oggi soffre il mondo per che’ il mondo si manca l’unita’. La vera unita’ venga solo da Cristo. Quindi, il clero cattolico ed i cristifideli devono pensarne. Non possiamo continuare definire noi stessi in tutto il mondo come “liberali” o “conservatori,” o per qualunche partito politico. Non possiamo usare quelli nomini e quelle idee come un esame di verita’ o come una ragione per amare o odiare qualcuno. Anzi, vi ammoniamo ancora usare solo la verita’ della santa fede di nostro Signore Jesu Christo per determinare la verita’ nel mondo. Non dire che tutte le idee dei conservatori, o dei liberali, o di qualcun politico sono buone o cattive. Se una idea politica fosse in accordo colla dottrina della fede, quella idea sarebbe buona. Se una idea politica non fosse in accordo colla dottrina della fede, quella idea sarebbe cattiva. Questa e’ l’unico esame autentico della verita’.

Quindi, non parlare delle cose politiche senza pensare della fede. Se un argomento politico fosse politico solo e non fa parte della dottrina della fede, non parlare mai di questa cosa. Non contribuare alla discordia nel mondo moderno. Essere una luce della pace.

Nel mondo moderno, non c’e’ nessun paese cristiano. E’ un grandissimo peccato, ma, carissimi, dobbiamo ricordare questa realta’. Non pensare mai che servire il stato e’ servire Cristo. Anzi, servire il stato e’ servire Cristo solo quando un regolo particolare o una situazione particolare e’ in accordo della dottrina della santa fede. Parlo e parlaro’ solo per la Chiesa, non per nessun stato, ecceto nostro sovrano patriarcato, e non per nessun partito politico. Dovete, carissimi, anche parlare solo per la Santa Chiesa e non essere un pedone di qualsiasi stato o di qualsiasi partito politico.

Allora, nostro patriarcato e’ forte e robusto per la grazia di Dio e per il Vostro lavoro, per cui vi ringraziamo di buon cuore. Il patriarcato è allo stesso tempo storico e modern – antico e nuovo. È sia distinti nel suo patrimonio e diversi nel suo lavoro in servizio a Dio ed agli altri. Ha una storia profonda di lavoro parrocchiale, ma oggi si concentra solo sul lavoro di missione. È del Regno del cielo di Cristo, ma saldamente piantato nel mondo. Il suo passato è radicato nella guida di diverse nazioni, ma oggi è una nazione senza frontiere. Il suo popolo è devoto e pio, compassionevole in servizio, feroce in difesa. È forse singolare nella storia moderna del mondo e la relativa gente è giustamente fiero di esso.


FROM the Florentine Household to the world, as always, grace and peace on this Feast of Corpus Christi, in the year of our Lord 2018. Today is a celebration of the unity of all mankind in Christ. Indeed we are unified through the Body of Christ. There is no politician who can unify the world or, in fact, not even a nation. The only One who can unify the people of the world is Christ. Carissimi, we admonish you to remember this point well.

Today the world is suffering for a lack of unity. The true unity comes only from Christ. Therefore, the Catholic clergy and the faithful in Christ must think on this. We cannot continue to define ourselves all around the world as "liberals" or "conservatives," or for some particular political party. We cannot use those labels and those ideas as an examination of truth or as a reason to love or hate someone. Indeed, we admonish you again to use only the truth of the Holy Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ to determine the truth in the world. Do not say that all the ideas of the conservatives, or of the liberals, or some particular political are good or bad. If a political idea were to be in agreement with the doctrine of the faith, that idea would be good. If a political idea were not to be in agreement with the doctrine of the faith, then that idea would be bad. This is the only authentic examination of the truth.

So, do not talk about political things without thinking about faith. If a political argument were to be political only and not part of the doctrine of the faith, never talk about this thing. Do not contribute to discord in the modern world. Be a light of peace.

In the modern world, there is no Christian country. It is a great shame, but, carissimi, we must remember this reality. Never think that serving the state is serving Christ. Indeed, to serve the state is to serve Christ only when a particular rule or a particular situation is in agreement with the doctrine of the Holy Faith. I speak and will speak only for the Church, not for any state, excepting our sovereign Patriarchate, and not for any political party. You must, carissimi, also speak only for the Holy Church and not be a pawn of any state or any political party.

Now, our Patriarchate is strong and robust by the grace of God and also by your work – so we thank you sincerely. The Patriarchate is at once historical and modern — ancient and new. It is both distinct in its heritage and diverse in its work in service to God and others. It has a deep history of parochial work, but today focuses only on mission work. It is of Christ's Kingdom of Heaven, but firmly planted in the world. It past is rooted in the rule of nations, yet today it is a nation without borders. Its people are devoted and pious, compassionate in service, fierce in defense. It is perhaps singular in modern world history, and its people are rightly proud of it.

Allora, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di Dio.

Now, prepare yourselves to receive God's blessing.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris +, et Filii +, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Rolling Parish - ARRCC Priest, Walsingham Guard Chaplain Serves Firefighters

LEXINGTON, S.C., USA 12 May 2018 (ORCNS) - Fire trucks are a well-known sight that indicates help is on the way. For Msgr. Abbot Anthony Giunta, TOR Mar, PhD, JCD, fire trucks are also a parish on wheels. As a fire chaplain, he not only helps the public he encounters, but serves those who serve. Firefighters and other first responders often are unable to attend church regularly and receive pastoral counseling, so Abbot Anthony brings the church to them. 

Msgr. Giunta leads worship on Sundays and also conducts scriptural studies on Wednesdays. Holy Week rites were also provided -- a much-needed opportunity for those who give up so much of their time in service to others. 

This sort of missionary service is nothing new to the Abbot. He is a long-time hospital chaplain who is frequently requested by name by patients. He also is a police chaplain and has served as a chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol. 

Abbot Anthony Giunta in uniform as a fire chaplain.

Abbot Anthony is the Superior General of the Franciscan Third Order Regular of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious order within the Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate of St. Stephen (Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church). He also holds the rank of Colonel in the Walsingham Guard, the humanitarian organisation of the Patriarchate with a military heritage dating back to the Crusades, and is the Commandant of the Regiment of Chaplains.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Sacred Merovingian Dynasty in DNA - Haplogroup G2A

Amidst the chaos that followed the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, a new power arose -- the Merovingian Dynasty. They were the predecessors to the Carolingians (the family of Charlemagne) that formed the Holy Roman Empire, and indeed the Carolingian Dynasty descended from the Merovingians. Their blood remains in some families today. 

Merovingian King Clothair I

The Merovingians were Franks and so are an important part of the history of what eventually became Germany and France (France takes its name from the Franks). They have even been the subject of fiction, such as the highly fanciful version of the Merovingians portrayed in The DaVinci Code. The real Merovingians, however, laid the groundwork for the structure of Medieval Europe and eventually the modern western world. At its greatest extent, the lands of the Merovingians covered much of Europe, from western Germany to the Spanish border, and from the north of France to the northern border of Italy. Charlemagne added Italy (formerly ruled by the Lombards), Bavaria, and other territories to the empire. 

As science and technology have progressed, DNA evidence has helped to provide more insight into the Merovingians. Based on DNA found in a gravesite linked to the dynasty, their Y-DNA haplogroup (that's the direct male line) is G2A with a likely subclade (subdivision) of P140. That haplogroup is rare and of Latin origin, with a particular concentration in central Italy. It is sometimes known as the "Merovingian Haplogroup."

King Richard III (Plantagenet) of England
A part of the Merovingian DNA Haplogroup

When the body of King Richard III was discovered and tested, the haplogroup was the same -- G2A. Blood on a handkerchief believed to have been soaked in the blood of King Louis XVI at his execution was likewise the same haplogroup. However, other tests on living male-line descendants of the Bourbon family suggest that Louis was of a different haplotype, R1b-U106. 

King Louis XVI (Bourbon) of France
It is unclear if he is of the Merovingian Haplogroup of not.
However, as a king, he succeeded them in rule of France.

The legacy of the Merovingian Dynasty and its successor, the Holy Roman Empire, persists to this day around the globe. In the monarchies and even in the republics of the modern world, their blood runs through the veins of several noble families and distinguished lineages.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Imperial Distinguished Scout and Sea Scout Leader Passes Away

JENKINTOWN, PENNA. 29 March 2018 (ORCNS) - Robert Gabage, a long-time and well-respected leader with Boy Scouts of America, passed away late this month. He was a strong supporter of the Imperial Scout of the Holy Roman Empire religious awards programme of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen. He helped several Scouts, Sea Scouts, and leaders earn the Imperial Distinguished Scout of the Holy Roman Empire Award. He was approved for the award, but it had not yet been presented. It will be presented posthumously at an event of his Sea Scout Ship in May 2018. 

In addition, he was the Chair for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Catholic Committee on Scouting and Scoutmaster of Troop 201 in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA. In Sea Scouting, he was Skipper of Ship 201 and Council Commodore for the Cradle of Liberty Council. He also served as Course Director for Wood Badge.

Mr. Gabage was a long-serving crew member of the tall ship Kalamar Nyckel. His Sea Scouts were also crew members, and it was the official vessel of their Sea Scout unit. 

He is survived by his wife, Margaret (Margie) (nee Quinn), and his children, Robert Jr., Melanie (Patrick) Gibbons, Michael, Robin, and Raegan.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Patriarchal Encyclical on the Ongoing Military Tension in Syria


Cum Cura Gravi 

Patriarchal Encyclical on the Ongoing Military Tension in Syria 

With grave concern we write on the matter of continued military conflict in Syria. The United States of America has indicated its apparent intent to launch missile strikes against the current Syrian regime, in continuation of ongoing military action there and in further continuation of global military action led by the United States for seventeen years. However, as the Bishop of Aleppo has pointed out in his fervent pleas, action against the Assad government causes further instability and strengthens extremists, further placing the Christian population of Syria, one of the oldest in the world, in grave, mortal peril. To further confound the situation, the United States and the Russian Federation appear to be on opposite sides of the conflict, making military threats against each other over Syria and further destabilizing the region. 

American interference in Iraq, and in particular the ill-advised withdrawal of troops from Iraq without an insurance of complete stability following their military conquest of that state, created a power vacuum that permitted the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to take power. ISIS being nothing more than murderous Islamic extremists, that resulted in a holocaust of Iraqi Christians, who were given the choice of death or exile. Many went into exodus. Others died. Priceless sacred architecture was destroyed – architecture that belongs to the treasure of heritage of all Christian people, for the Christians of Iraq and Syria are among the oldest Christian populations in the world. Yet, the United States said nothing. Actions against Muslims and Jews are historically met with American outcry and even American military action, yet when the Christians were in peril, and indeed place in peril by the United States, America responded with an eerie, stony, deafening silence. 

Now the American administration seeks further military action in Syria, with wild, senseless, and even incomprehensible public commentary made by the U.S. President regarding action to be taken and weapons to be used. Missiles, apparently, are the weapon of choice. It permits them to harm others without endangering their own people – regardless of the collateral damage (for many Christians live in areas of military strategic importance). That is nothing short of cowardly. It is unworthy of the honour of true warriors that they would even be asked to do such a thing. 

American military action in Syria does not meet the qualifications of a just war under the doctrine thereof. No legitimate casus belli has been put forth. Rather, the apparent method is simply to claim that it is what the United States wants, using the vague “national security” or “national interest” as a broad umbrella rationalization, and that is deemed justification enough, no matter the cost – in this case to the persecuted Christian population of Syria that is begging America not to interfere. What is additionally unfortunate is that the American military leadership appears all too ready and eager to comply with such orders. Yet, one must not become brainwashed with notions of “American exceptionalism” or a perceived right and/or duty to spread American-style democracy to the world. Neither must one become arrogant and drunk on power. A war that does not meet the qualifications of just war doctrine is nothing more than a war crime and its leaders and fully-informed, willing participants nothing more than war criminals. At some point the good and decent Christians, the faithful warriors of the American military must lay down their arms and say that they shall no longer participate in wars of questionable or no justification, wars that endanger people for no legitimate purpose, wars that create a holocaust of the faithful in Christ. 

We demand and insist that the American government cease its currently-planned military action in Syria. It is both our right and our duty to say this. We implore the leadership of the American military to resist global interferism and military action that does not meet the criteria under just war doctrine. The souls of all involved are at stake. The lives of Christians in Syria and Iraq suffering a holocaust are at stake. The possession of a powerful military is not a license to be an aggressor, intimidating others to bend to one’s will for its own sake, but a grave and tremendous responsibility. Indeed, no man may serve two masters. We, the faithful in Christ, must be Christian first. Any loyalty to any earthly state must be secondary. Christ first and Christ above all. 

Given at the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham in the House of St. Stephen, this 13th Day of April in the two thousand eighteenth year of the Incarnation of Our Lord.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Holy Thursday Letter to Priests - Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen

Letter from the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen to the Priests of the Patriarchate on Holy Thursday

29 MARTII A.D. 2018

To Our Venerable Brethren and Dearest Sons the Priests of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen, and to our future priests,

the peace of the Lord be with each of you on this Holy Thursday, 2018. Today, as you know, we celebrate and live the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the establishment of Christ’s Holy Priesthood. The mass celebrated this morning is indeed oriented entirely towards what happened so long ago when Christ gathered the Twelve together – but though it was so long ago, through the mystery and the power of the mass, we do not see it through the ages as through a glass and darkly, but experience it truly and in a living way.

The liturgy of Holy Thursday celebrated this morning contains with it several unique aspects that connect us to the very moment in which the Eucharist was established. This, of course, being priests and those studying for the priesthood, you know. Yet, it is good for each of us to review annually and reflect. We consume all the reserved hosts, so that all is consecrated fresh at the Easter Vigil. We reserve one consecrated host, however, taken with great reverence to the Altar of Repose, where it remains until it is used in the Mass of the Presanctified. Christ indeed remains with us, yet taken away by the authorities of the earth – and at the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday, He is taken from us, from earthly life to the grave, only to conquer death and rise again at Easter, when the host, the living Body of Our Lord, is again consecrated. In each of these details is contained a specific aspect of the Truth of our Faith. The manner in which we the priests celebrate them is of the utmost importance, for it is, as you know, never mere entertainment. We worship the Truth, not ratings or popularity.

Following the translation of the Most Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose, we return from white vestments to purple and strip the altar. It is laid completely bare. Then, similar to the silencing of bells and instruments after the Gloria of the mass, after which is only used a wooden instrument, the office of Vespers is said without chant in choir. Then follows an important ritual that is often misunderstood in modern times – the Mandatum, or the Maundy. It is a direct experience of Christ washing the feet of the Apostles, establishing the sort of servant leadership that Christ expected. Understood in that context, then, it should be easy to see why it is not a “participatory rite” in which all the faithful who wish can or should take part. It must be limited, by Sacred Tradition, moral theology, and the ceremonial regulations, to no more than twelve men, generally clerics, though some may be drawn from the laity if need be. Once the Celebrant of the Mass has demonstrated the servant leadership of Christ through the Mandatum, Compline is said without chant, and the liturgy of Holy Thursday ends.

That Most Blessed Sacrament which was established by Our Lord as His earthly ministry was drawing to a close, each of us who share in the Holy and Royal Priesthood of Christ continue each time we celebrate the Holy Mass. Christ did not leave humanity alone. The Holy Spirit was sent, empowering the Church, and the priests, the first of whom were the Apostles, continue the sacrificial ministry of our Lord. For those who have been chosen to be blessed with this ministry, no matter what else you do, the priestly ministry is the most important and must always take precedence over everything else.

The priesthood is, as you know, an indelible mark on your soul. Were you to try to deny your ministry as Peter denied our Lord, it would be in vain. The mark remains permanently, for it places you in a separate state in life. But, to whom much is given, much is expected – a phrase that We often use, for it is wise to remind ourselves of that truth. All that we do must begin at and flow from the altar of Christ. When others brag about all that they do, let your answer simply be to say: “We celebrate the liturgy.” Indeed, nothing else is of as much importance, and nothing is as powerful. All the armies of the world that have ever existed do not have as much power as one priest devoutly saying a single mass. It is the greatest weapon in the world, and it is a weapon of peace. Nothing that does not originate from it has any meaning whatsoever.

My venerable brethren and dearest sons, ponder these things as you continue your journey through the Sacred Triduum this year and as you continue to celebrate the Holy Mass in the future. Through your own better understanding of your ministry, you may experience that ministry in a deeper and more complete way, and in so doing, you cannot help but guide those entrusted to your care towards a deeper spiritual journey towards the ultimate Truth of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Cross Under Attack at East Central University, Oklahoma

ADA, OK. 15 MARCH 2018 (ORCNS) - In yet another attempt of secularists, humanists, and atheists to remove Christianity and symbols of Christianity wherever they may be found, East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, USA, may have to remove the cross and other Christian symbolism from their campus chapel. A secularist organisation has apparently contacted the university demanding the cross be removed. Thus far it appears no legal action has yet taken place. 

Boswell Chapel

The secularist group known as Americans United for Separation of Church and State contacted Katricia Pierson, President of East Central University. The group asked the President asking her to remove Christian-specific symbols from permanent display in the chapel. Their argument was that the chapel is located on the campus of a public university. The alleged text of the letter is: 

"We have received a complaint that East Central University’s Kathryn P. Boswell Memorial Chapel has permanent religious iconography on display. These displays include Latin crosses on the top of and inside the building, Bibles, and a Christian altar. While it is legal for a public university to have a space that can be used by students for religious worship so long as that space is not dedicated solely to that purpose, it is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to display religious iconography on government property."

The university responded by removing the Christian altar, a crucifix, and a Bible, as well as hymnals from the pews. However, the university indicated that that would be the end of the removal pending a committee appointed to determine what, if any, future action is needed. The Oklahoma State Attorney General wrote to the Oklahoma University System with the following: 

"I am writing to make it clear that the United States Constitution does not require Oklahoma’s public universities to efface building features or remove other items simply because they are connected to religious expression or heritage. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Establishment Clause does not require government institutions to adopt an attitude of hostility to religion, religious symbols, or religious people …

As the State’s chief legal officer, I am committed to providing all legal resources necessary to represent and vigorously defend ECU and the State of Oklahoma in the event a lawsuit is filed. The highest priority must be placed on ensuring the defense of Oklahomans’ religious freedom under the law."

According to some legal opinions, it is highly likely that, should the matter be adjudicated in a court of law, the university would be forced by the courts the remove the Christian symbolism. This presents a clear and present danger to the Christian faith in the United States of America. A university, even a public one, is a place of free thought and enquiry. It is inconceivable that a university would be forced to silence the free comment of any group of students and/or faculty -- and indeed the display of symbols of any religion is comment that should and ought to be protected on a university campus. If free expression is not protected on a state-funded university campus, then how can the state claim to be doing its job to uphold religious freedom and freedom of expression? At stake is the question of whether or not society is willing to give up free expression in a public facility simply because that expression offends someone else.  If the removal of Christian symbolism at East Central University is forced by the American court system, it will be a government-imposed censorship at the insistence of an activist group. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Patriarchal Address - Ash Wednesday 2018

Allocuzione Patriarcale del Mercoledì delle Cineri
Patriarchal Address on Ash Wednesday
14 February A.D. 2018

(Scroll down for the English language version.)

Dalla Casa Fiorentina ai Cristifideli del Patriarcato Stefaniano in Italia, Erbipolense, Trevia, Westphalia, e Mainz, ed in tutto il mondo, ed alla Corte di Santa Maria di Walsingham, grazia e pace in questo mercoledi delle cineri, l'inizio di quaresima, anno domini 2018. Questo è l'inizio d'una stagione di riflessione, ma anche della penitenza e della preparatione. Prepariamo per la Resurrezione del nostro Signore Gesù Cristo. La luce alla fine di quaresima e la Santa Pasqua. La quaresima viene ogni anno, ed è necessario prepararci per la stagione di rinnovo, cioè la Santa Pasqua. È impossibile capire i misteri della Pasqua senza un gran lavoro -- un gran viaggio di scoperta. I misteri della santa fede di Cristo sono grandissimi i larghi, come la mare. Nessuno può capirli completamente. Quindi, il Signore e la sua Santa Chiesa ci hanno dato un regalo, ed il regalo è le stagioni del calendario liturgico. La quaresima è un tempo di contemplazione della vita di Cristo, la sua Passione, il suo morte, e, finalmente, la cosa più importante nella storia del mondo, la Resurrezione. Questa stagione è veramente un bel regalo.

Oltretutto, ogni quaresima sempre vorrei parlare della penitenza. Dico sempre la stessa cosa. Non definare la quaresima per ciò che si rinuncia, ma invece per ciò che fa per aiutare gli altri. Veramente, carissimi, è possibile rinunciarsi molto -- carne, dolci, etc. -- ma nonostante essere vuoto nel cuore. Dunque dico ancora, vivete, carissimi, una vita di servizio, in particolare in questa quaresima. Fate atti di carità per gli altri. Quello è la penitenza migliore e la più efficace.

Prego sempre, carissimi, che cresciate continuamente nella santa fede e nella comunione con il Signore, in questa stagione di quaresima ed in tutto l'anno. Adesso, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di Nostro Signore.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, + Patris, et + Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.



From the Florentine Household to the faithful in Christ of the Stephenian Patriarchate in Italy, Wurzburg, Trevia, Westphalia, and Mainz, and all over the world, and also to the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, grace and peace on this Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, in the year of our Lord 2018. This is the beginning of a season of reflection, but also of penance and preparation. We prepare for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The light at the end of Lent is Easter. Lent comes every year, and it is necessary to prepare for the season of renewal, that is, the Paschal season. It is impossible to understand the mysteries of Easter without a great deal of work -- and it is a great journey of discovery. The Mysteries of the Holy Faith of Christ are great and wide, like the sea. No one can understand them completely. Therefore, the Lord and His Holy Church have given us a gift, and the gift is the seasons of the liturgical calendar. Lent is a time of contemplation of the life of Christ, his Passion, his death, and, finally, the most important thing in the history of the world, the Resurrection. This season of Lent is a special gift indeed.

In addition, each lent I always want to mention penance specifically, and I always say the same thing. Do not define Lent by what you give up, but instead by what you do to help others. Truly, carissimi, you can give up many thing -- meat, sweets, etc. -- but in spite of being empty in the heart. So I say again, live, carissimi, a life of service, especially during this Lenten season. Do acts of charity for others. That is the best and most effective penance.

I pray always, dearest, that you continually grow in the Holy Faith and in communion with the Lord, in this season of Lent and throughout the year. Now, prepare yourselves to receive the blessing of our Lord.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, + Patris, et + Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Priest's Son Saves Woman's Life, Receives Commendation

WATERFORD, Penna., 3 February 2018 (ORCNS) - Prc. Brandon Deffenbaugh v. Aschaffenburg, son of the Very Rev. Mgr. Douglas Deffenbaugh, Prc. v. Aschaffenburg and Chancellor of the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham, was at work in late January when a woman in her mid-fifties went into cardiac arrest. Deffenbaugh revived her and, despite her going into cardiac arrest twice, he kept her alive for over an hour until a volunteer ambulance could arrive.

For his exemplary service to humanity in saving a life, the Walsingham Guard awarded Deffenbaugh the Walsingham Guard Commendation Medal with Gold Palm. The medal is only awarded with the gold palm for lifesaving action. He was also recognized with the Life Saving Award from the Waterford, Pennsylvania Fire Department. 

Mgr. Rutherford Johnson, Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen and Captain-General of the Walsingham Guard said that Deffenbaugh's actions were, "...in keeping with the highest traditions of selfless service to others promoted by the Walsingham Guard and highly deserving of recognition."

Walsingham Guard
Commendation Medal
with Gold Palm.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sacred Heart Vestments - A Traditional Vestment and Church Supply Apostolate for Clergy by Clergy

Sacred Heart Vestments, founded 2012, offers traditional clerical vestments and habits, as well as church supplies. Customers speak of the high quality and the affordable prices. Sacred Heart Vestments, however, is more than a clerical supply store. It is actually an apostolate founded and operated by Bishop William Jones in North Carolina - alongside his regular pastoral work. Sacred Heart Vestments makes made-to-order clerical clothing, including items that are difficult to find in today's world, such as episcopal gloves and sandals. They also carry items such as altar appointments and ceremonial items such as ombrellini. 

Devoted to its mission of ensuring that parishes are able to continue the timeless traditions of the Church, the apostolate has contributed much-needed worship supplies to multiple parishes. Currently they are seeking assistance to help establish a store-front and build a new parish facility. For more information, please visit: sacredvesture.blogspot.com/

The Card. Patriarch of St. Stephen in
choral habit with a traditional lace
rochet made by Sacred Heart Vestments.