Patriarchal Address on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

25 December A.D. 2011

Rutherford Card. Johnson

  To the Bishops, regular clergy, and faithful of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, greetings and Apostolic Blessings on this Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Year of Our Lord 2011. Today as we celebrate the coming of Christ, the second Adam, into the world, we reflect on the gift we were given, and we reflect on the hope that is brought by the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Mankind in its fallen state was sent the Messiah. The world chose to reject the Messiah, for he was not of the world, but of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet, the Apostles and the followers of our Lord believed. They chose to reject the world and the devil and embrace the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Through all her trials and attacks against her, the Church still stands more than two thousand years after Christ came into the world for thirty-three brief years.

  Each person has the option of embracing Christ and accepting the Christian Faith or rejecting Christ and following the ways of the world. Even many of those who call themselves Christian struggle with this decision, preferring to live in a middle grey area that is neither completely secular nor completely Christian. In a misguided attempt to have the best of both worlds, they fail to realize that in this instance there is no middle ground. One cannot be part Christian, for it is a binary choice. One must either choose Christ or the world. One must either choose the giver of life and light or the bringer of death and darkness. There is no middle ground.

  Truly, there are many secular, modernist, and worldly influences that have permeated the walls of the Church. They have crept in subtly and silently, working their poisonous influence delicately to foster complacency and weakness. This complacency and weakness in turn makes it easier for more and more damaging influences to penetrate the Church. The result is not difficult to imagine, and it is what has long been seen. The Sacred Traditions of the Christian Faith that safeguard our doctrine, safeguard our theology, and indeed safeguard the very Faith itself are being eroded. In some local churches they have all but disappeared, allowing for atrocious innovations in theology. Complacency and weakness permit this to happen. Complacency and weakness allow this to flourish. Complacency and weakness can no longer be tolerated. They must not be tolerated. No longer can we simply state that different entities or different individuals have different theologies, both of which must be considered, under the modernist paradigm, to be acceptable and of equal value. No longer can we idly stand by as proponents of liberal theology attack without mercy those who uphold the traditions of the Church and the traditional theology of the Faith. Theology is not something that can be reinvented to suit the ever-changing whims of society, political correctness, or other worldly concerns. Rather, it must always and everywhere be consistent. Even evolution of theological understanding must be consistent across time, for our Faith knows neither time nor place. There is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, and ultimately one Church. All that is not of the traditions of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, but rather is of modernist innovation is inherently against the Faith and hence loses all ability to be called Christian.

  Furthermore this complacency and weakness has resulted in the Faith being marginalized in society in general. Christians may very well be put in the position in which upholding the tenets of their Faith may have significant and negative social, employment, or legal consequences. In some cases this has already happened.

  On this Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, we extend our arms to all who call themselves Christians and ask that each person makes a choice to be fully Christian. We ask that all take a stand, rising up to proclaim the strength of their Faith, living it in their daily lives, glorifying God in all that they do. People are not merely Christian because they say so. Rather, people are Christian because they make a conscious decision to allow Christ in their hearts and order their lives first and foremost according to the Laws of Christ. One may face opposition for this choice. Certainly the many Holy Martyrs faced great opposition and made the ultimate sacrifice for the Faith. A Christian, strong in the Faith, must never, ever give up, lose hope, or compromise on matter of the Faith. The ultimate victory has already been won. It is ours for the taking if we only truly follow Christ.

  We in the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church have a special spiritual heritage to uphold. Though our mother diocese, the Archdiocese of the Southwest, was once part of the continuing Anglican movement, we have long since accepted the fullness of the Catholic Faith. Indeed, our Apostolic origin is both Anglican and Roman Catholic, and we openly embrace the Anglican Rite and the Roman Rite in our theology, doctrine, practice, and liturgy. Sadly, the continuing Anglican movement is largely plagued with strong protestant influence and a refusal to accept the primacy of the Roman Pontiff in any way. Though we maintain the burdens and responsibilities of an independent ecclesiastical government, we nevertheless always honor the Holy Father, as our distinct tradition that extends prior to the time of our Patriarchate is as much Roman Catholic as it is Anglican. It is that dual nature of our Particular Church that allows us to embrace the fullness of the Catholic Faith that existed even before that unhappy political split of the Anglican Church from Rome. As the beauty of the Anglican expression of the Catholic Faith combines with Roman strength in our Particular Church, we have taken a momentous step towards healing the wounds of the past and moving towards meaningful unity in the future.

  This year in the United States has seen much protest and conflict over the issues of immigration and economics. We lament extreme actions such as the various Occupy movements that promote anarchy or Marxist ideals. Furthermore, while we must ensure continued humanitarian aid to all persons, regardless of status, we regret that illegal immigration in the United States has been touted by some as acceptable and moral Christian behavior. Unfortunately, the fact that many Americans or their ancestors came to the United States as immigrants has been used as justification for tolerance towards illegal immigration. It must be remembered, though, that the ancestors in question came through legal immigration processes. Human dignity must always be preserved. Yet, a nation has a duty to its people. Part of that duty is to ensure national security, which includes a secure border with reasonable immigration processes. To force completely open borders would typically require a nation to fail in its duty to its citizens, which would be a failure to live up to its responsibilities under the laws of God. There also is no inherent right to enter another nation in contravention of its laws, for unless it is done for just cause, such as in legitimate refugee situations, such would be an immoral and dishonest act. The situation of immigration in the United States, though, has reached an intolerable condition. It is the duty of all national and state leaders to act in a rational, logical, and moral manner in order to reach a practicable solution. Such a solution cannot be expected immediately, but it nevertheless must be the goal.

  In addition, the threat of the growth of Islam continues in the world, and especially within Europe and the United States. It must be remembered that Islam by its very nature seeks domination of the entire world under itself. Islam seeks negotiation and equivocation only when needed for strategic purposes, but its ultimate goal of domination remains the same. The Christian Faith, on the other hand, seeks and promotes the freedom of all individuals, for it is in this state of personal freedom that the fullest opportunity for individual salvation lies. The rights of Christians and of all freedom-loving people must be defended. The Islamists stand ready to deprive all non-Muslims of their liberty. If we do not stand up for our rights and our freedom, we will surely lose it.

  Lastly, we also extend our special greetings to the Anglican Ordinariate of the Roman Communion. While our Particular Church is distinct from the Ordinariate, we nevertheless offer our best wishes, prayers, and blessings to those Anglicans who have been moved by the Holy Spirit to enter into the Anglican Ordinariate. We also extend our best wishes to the Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the USA and the entire Anglican Communion.

  Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life. R. Amen.

  The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, + absolution, and remission of all your sins, time for a true and fruitful penance, an always repentant heart and amendment of life, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit, and final perseverance in good works. R. Amen.

  And the Blessing of Almighty God, + Father, + Son, and Holy + Ghost, be upon you and remain with you always. R. Amen.

 

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