“more fraternal than authoritative”: an epistle to the Corinthians

When we hear of an Epistle to the Corinthians, most people will instinctively think of the St Paul the Apostle’s Epistles that are in the Canon of the New Testament, however epistles were being sent from many early Christian leaders to each other all over the known Christian world. This continues to this day, in each diocese all over the world, bishops can and do send pastoral letters to their flocks.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Clement I, Bishop of Rome and Martyr. While many will regard a letter issued by him to be a letter with the authority of a Pope as the Roman Church understands that authority now, this may not be the case. It has been suggested by some scholars that St Clement’s epistle was “more fraternal than authoritative” – that is that he was not necessarily claiming that Rome was anything other than primus inter pares (first among equals). This is often the position that those of us who are independent Catholics find ourselves adopting or believing. We acknowledge the position of the Holy Father, Benedict ⅩⅥ, but we take his words as we would take the words of another bishop.  Continue reading

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How could I say ‘No’, when Our Lady said ‘Yes’?

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Fr Charles FSDM said in his meditation on yesterday’s readings at Mass, ‘we know not the hour, nor the day’ when the Lord will come. We must live everyday as though it is our last, and prepare to meet our Maker each night before we take our sleep. This is the reason that during Compline there is time for recollection of events from the day past and confession for those.

As was stated on our Fraternity’s website, on Friday evening, the Fraternity was inspired by the Holy Spirit to elect me as their first Ordinary for a term of three years. This is a new beginning. When elected, I was asked, ‘Do you accept election?’ I could have said ‘No.’, but would how would that have been saying ‘Yes’ to God? Our Fraternity is under the Protection of Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God. If she, as a young woman could say ‘Yes’ to the message of the angel, then could I refuse the question raised by my confrères. I believed then, as now, that I could not. And so, somewhat surprisedly I said,

If that be the will of God and of this Fraternity, I accept election. I will be at the service of the Fraternity, I am not to be served, but to serve.

I ask that you pray for me as I begin my term of office that I may carry out my duties as our Ordinary with care, diligence, humility and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother, the Queen of All Creation.

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