Friday, July 18, 2008

Defender of the Faith

Archbishop of San Antonio Jose H. Gomez honored us by serving as the celebrant for a solemn high mass on Friday, July 11 during the Anglican Use Conference. Fr. Phillips has has been kind enough to post the text of the sermon here. It is well worth reading.

Archbishop Gomez began his remarks by pointing out a remarkable coincidence: As it happened, July 11 was not only the Feast of St. Benedict but also the 475th anniversary of the excommunication of King Henry VIII by Pope Clement VII, a fact that was news to many of us at the conference. In the Archbishop's words, " This day of infamy marks the day in which England formally fell out of communion with Rome."

He went on to point out that here we are, 475 years later, under a Pope whose patron is St. Benedict, and who has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Church's communio. Archbishop Gomez again:

Our Holy Father reminds us that we must be one in Christ and this union is ratified every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Moreover, our union with one another is further realized when at each Mass, the celebrant invokes the name of the Holy Father in Rome.
In other words, to be in communion with the Holy Father is to be in communion with the whole Church, a church that is big enough to accommodate a number of liturgical variations, including Anglican Use. Another excerpt:
Although we may share liturgical variations, we are united in the Eucharist and we celebrate our communio with one another by being in constant communion with our bishops and, ultimately, with the successor of Peter.
In connection with this sad anniversary of King Henry's (and Thomas Cranmer's) excommunication, a new edition of Henry VIII's Defence of the Seven Sacraments, published in 1521 in response to Martin Luther's "heresy" (the King's own word). A new edition of the book, which earned Henry the title, "Defender of the Faith" from Pope Leo X, has been published by Saint Gabriel Communications. The book is pictured at right. To find out more about the book or to order a copy, click here.

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