Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

A gift has arrived


Yesterday, thanks to the generosity of a benefactor,  a confessional arrived in church in time for Lent. This is the perfect addition to any worship space in this Year of Mercy. For there can be no true or lasting mercy without justice.


Awareness of sin, repentance, amendment of life; these are crucial aspects on the road to discovering God’s mercy. Remove them and all you have left is a culture of permissiveness; the refusal to accept the reality of sin and its terrible effect. And that was the laissez-faire approach to mercy that lay at the heart of the shockingly poor handling of the abuse crisis in the 70’s and 80’s. We need to do much better in this year of mercy reminding people that confession is it’s corner stone.


The new confessional, tucked away in a secluded corner of the Sacred Heart Chapel, ensures that the sacrament of reconciliation now has a physical presence in this church. A solid reminder of our need to embrace  weaknesses in life and bring them to God for healing. A place where sins can be nailed to the cross that we might receive the mercy that comes from the Lord. There is nothing as joyfully liberating in this life as the experience of a good confession sincerely made.

Members of the congregation are reminded that this  item of ecclesial furniture is not for decoration! Confessions take place from 6-7pm every Wednesday evening and by appointment.

What a great day for our church. Once again a gift, lovingly given and no longer needed elsewhere, fits perfectly in with the style of our renovation. It is almost as if the hand of God is with us as we continue to move forward in faith! We have much to be thankful for.

Pope Francis is for the Ordinariate!

The opening remarks of +Lopes, the new bishop for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in America and Canada, during his consecration as bishop, reveal his firm belief that the Ordinariate is not the work of man but of God.

In his warm and encouraging address to the gathered clergy he noted the sacrifice made by those who have joined the Ordinariates, and he rejoiced in all that is being achieved through them.

Finally he shared with the gathered brethren the good wishes of Pope Francis, who is apparently well informed about our mission and firmly behind all that we are doing. What wonderful news to encourage and affirm us as we continue to discern our vocation as Catholics and establish this new ecumenical vision together.

The Ordinariate has a bishop!

God is good. And so the Ordinariate continues to blossom; to the point that it now has its very own bishop! Not here in the UK, where Mgr. Newton continues to serve as our Ordinary, but in America where Stephen Lopes was ordained last night.

Prior to his election as bishop +Stephen Lopes was working for the CDF (the congregation for the doctrine of faith) in the Vatican. In that role he was heavily involved with erecting the Ordinariates in the first place. He is therefore an expert who has many useful connections in Rome.

I have a feeling he will prove a real asset, not only to the development of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in America, but also to the global significance and development of the Ordinariates. Please pray for him.

In seriousness because he needs our prayers to serve this role in fidelity to God. In humour because he has the misfortune, my Facebook friends all tell me, of being the doppelgänger of ousted Labour leader…Ed Miliband!


If I were pope for the day…


As a child I sometimes played ‘kings and queens’ with my sister. The game entailed taking turns sitting on a throne of power, the coal scuttle made do, whilst the other person played at servant; bowing low and taking account of the laws you arbitrarily passed. “Run to that tree and back you plebeian!” Or to gain approval from the plebs, “No more over cooked vegetables in school dinners- actually no more school at all! Hurrah!”. You get the drift.

Even as adults the thought of possessing such power as to enact real change is an intoxicating fantasy. These days I would move on from my cares regarding soggy over cooked vegetables to banning lorries from overtaking unless on three lane carriageways etc…

But what if you could take charge of the church for a spell? What changes would you enact to bring forth good? An equally fun game to play for ecclesial minded folk. And thank goodness it is a game;  I would make a disastrous Pope, not only because of poor holiness of life but also due to my habit of speaking frankly. A pope, like a monarch, needs to be predictable, even dull. A figurehead of utter constancy who serves the faith in strictest fidelity to the magisterium and with great tact and wisdom. Smile for photos, kiss babies, underline church teaching and leave the speaking off the cuff to others.

Nevertheless I want to play – so here is my list of reforms: As a firm believer in Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi – you are what you pray- liturgical reform would be at the corner stone of my papacy. From this would all other things flow… in one sentence then I would continue the reform of the reform started by Pope Benedict XVI. Only I would love to see it rolled out with more urgency so as to include:

A) Altar rails return to every sanctuary and are to be used for the administration of the Sacrament. Kneeling, to encourage reverence and humility before God, would become mandatory with dispensation only given to the elderly and infirm.

B) The Catholic edition of the RSV would replace the Jerusalem bible in all Catholic lectionaries. (Fortunately this is said to be on the way!).

C) Parish priests would be expected to deliver the actual teachings of the Second Vatican council with zero tolerance shown to dissent. The bible, the catechism and the missal- these are all a priest needs and fidelity should be shown to them. Do the red and say the black. At all times. In all places.

D) The use of plainsong and polyphony to be strongly encouraged and use of secular music strongly discouraged. The reason being that liturgy needs to be reverent and timeless not something falling prey to passing fashions of the world.

E) Extra-ordinary ministers to be made truly extra-ordinary and not the norm. If a priest can do it, a priest should do it . After all to celebrate the sacraments is his vocation. This includes visits to the sick and the performing of the ablutions etc..

F) Ad Orientem celebration to be strongly encouraged within the Novus Ordo and not just the Extra-ordinary form. The liturgy should be encouraging a sense of mystery and awe with emphasis on encounter with the divine, not a celebration of the gathered community.

G) A banning of those dire cheap looking cassock-albs worn by so many clergy and servers today! Often worn with trainers (eek) they flap open and become grubby all too quickly. There never was anything wrong with cassock and cotta for servers and cassock, amice and alb for clergy. To be worn with shoes not trainers. Never trainers in the sanctuary. Never. Got that. No trainers in the sanctuary!!!

H) Art and architecture are important. If we are to show the world that we truly love God then we need an end to those ugly houses of worship that were built on the cheap throughout the 20th Century.  Funds would be released from the treasury to assist with the beautification of churches in poor areas, with prosperous areas encouraged to play their part. We need church buildings that lift the soul to God.

I think that would do it. Such reform, if encouraged, would surely ensure that parishes grew in holiness and reverence; returning people to a focus on God and not on themselves or the political landscape. A re-oreintation to bring forth fruit as a blessing to the the world. We would move from this type of thing…


Back to this sort of thing (which is perfectly suitable for a reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo)


I know which leads me closer to the divine.  You are what you pray… and it strikes me that the problem we have today is that many of the wrongheaded reforms- that occurred illegally in the wake of the second vatican council- have left parishes and people spiritually impoverished; to the point of their having secularised altogether and deviated from Catholic teaching and practice in the worst cases.

Now of course I could keep going beyond the liturgy. So allow me just one more reform…

I) Bishops and priests must drop all but the most essential bureaucratic tasks and focus instead on vocational work. Meetings are rarely needed. Bishops should visit parishes in person and encourage the priests in their care. Priests should pray and visit and administer the sacraments- allowing an informed laity to get on with the work of evangelisation, mission and meetings!

We do so desperately need men of God; holy pastors not business managers or politicians, to lead us into the future. There. You can have the papal tiara back now. Who wants it next?

Your liberation is at hand!


We have entered the ‘Year of Mercy’ – a Jubilee year. A tradition with ancient roots. By the time of Christ it was long established. The Jews would celebrate a Jubilee every 50 years, and for 12 months all kinds of extraordinary things occurred. No crops were sown or harvested. Slaves were set free. Land lost through debt was returned. Bad debts cancelled. It was an important time for the whole community. The acceptable year of the Lord; whose high point was ‘the day of liberation’. Unless we understand this we cannot make much sense of today’s gospel reading- for it took place on the day of liberation in the year of the Lord.

Crowds would  gather before the tabernacle. The High Priest placed his hands on a goat, which was then offered in sacrifice for the sins of the people. Its blood was taken into the holy of holies where a second goat was waiting. This one had the blood of the first smeared onto it and was then driven out into the wilderness, to take the sins away from the people. A literal scape-goat, from where we get the phrase, as depicted in the famous painting by Holman Hunt (above).

Only when the atonement was made, only when the sacramental act of forgiveness had taken place, could the priest nod approval. And then all the men, many standing in the hills waiting for this moment, would proclaim the year of the Lord with a trumpet blast- the message going out to the nation. Slaves were free.

Certain things stand out. First the jubilee, the joy, began with redemption. Trumpets were silent until forgiveness occurred. A metaphor for Christian life where we cannot know the joy of the Lord until we come to him for forgiveness.

Second, during the 49 previous years, and the 49 following years, law took precedent over grace. It demanded slaves remain in bondage, debts be paid, agreements honoured. But then came this window in which grace supersedes law. So laws were abrogated and underserving men found forgiveness.

Thirdly no crops were planted. Why? Because people had to learn to trust in God alone. Not in economic systems or governments or their own strength. Another valuable lesson which we also need to learn in our journey of faith.

Fourthly this was a time of great opportunity. Slaves could lay a foundation for a new life. But such opportunity was reliant on the generosity of others. Masters had to agree to the liberation, creditors had to accept the wiping away of debts. There was cost involved. There always is where mercy is concerned.

Finally there was risk. If men spurned the opportunity given, and mounted new debt, they fell back into bondage. Just as we, if we do not make use of this transitory life to embrace God’s mercy, will face the eternal consequences of our decisions and actions. And so we need to be wise and determined to make the most of this life God has given; to love neighbour as self and God above all things.

This then is the background, not only to our Gospel reading but to the Year of Mercy which we celebrate. It was the Sabbath -the synagogue was packed. Every eye focussed on the presiding Rabbi- this was his moment of glory….when suddenly his thunder was stolen. A young man stood up and filled the temple with the beauty of his teaching. People were transfixed, despite the break in protocol. They heard him say ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath appointed me to preach…THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD. He then added, “today in your hearing this text has come true.’

After 2000 years of Christian teaching we get it. But sympathise with the Pharisees. They did not know of the resurrection or ascension. They did not know Jesus came to fulfil what the Year of Jubilee foreshadowed. That he would accomplish on the cross freedom for his people. Offering a break from the slavery of sin to a new life of grace and opportunity. Little wonder they turfed him out and tried to chuck him down the hill. Imagine a member of the public standing up during a coronation and claiming the crown for himself. He too would be strongarmed out! Nevertheless he warned them; this opportunity being offered would not last forever.

Redemption; it is a big word meaning more than mere forgiveness of sins. Reconciliation was obtained through the goats, but the liberation was felt in the whole land. Similarly the redemption obtained by the blood of Christ and present in the sacraments of the church, must reach into every part of our life. Which is to say body and soul must be given to him. But as the newly released slaves often discovered that is easier said than done. For in spite of our redemption, we remain in bondage. Alas our bodies are not yet free from the limitations of the flesh. And so the spiritual battle begins for the believer. It is against the body that the battle so often must be won. We cannot only believe in him we must learn to overcome the weakness of the flesh. The healing of a man’s soul is glorious but his body must also know the transforming touch of God if he is to be fully conformed to the image of Christ. Which, when it occurs, we recognise as Sainthood.

So we have this Year of Mercy and Lent approaches. Never has the need for confession been greater than now! Now is the time to get control of life- and learn the virtue necessary to offer body and soul to God. We must mark our own need for mercy if we are to celebrate the Year of mercy.

It is fitting then that, thanks to the generosity of another,I have acquired for St. Anselm’s a new confessional. It is to be placed in the coming days within the Sacred Heart chapel. Understand it is not there for decoration! Make use of it. For this is the year of the Lord and our liberation really is at hand.

And if we use it well, if we confess and ask for mercy from God, then the very trumpets of heaven will sound our liberation, its gates opened to us, but only if we accept the freedom offered. Only if we take seriously this year of the Lord and remove the shackles of sin that we may truly become a liberated people.

Sexagesima Sunday

Tomorrow is Sexagesima Sunday, which we will be celebrating during our 9:15am Mass. Being part of the ancient season of pre-Lent there will be no Gloria, the vestments will be purple and there will be a focus on our need for redemption and forgiveness and amendment of life before we can truly know joy in the Lord. At the 11am Mass, kept according to the Novus Ordo, the vestments remain green and we observe the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time instead. But the pre-Lent themes remain. For all of us need to be getting ready to keep a good Lent.

On Tuesday of next week falls Candlemas, the feast also known as the Presentation of the Lord. At St. Anselm’s we will not be observing the  modern custom of  translating the feast to the nearest Sunday but keeping it on its proper day; that is 40 days after Christmas. Keeping feasts on their actual day is a practice encouraged within the Ordinariate where it is allowed. It is hoped that as many parishioners as possible will be present to support the Mass which begins at 8pm. Let us celebrate as we mark the end of the Christmas and Epiphany season.

Surface ecumenism vs. lasting ecumenism


There are two different approaches to ecumenism floating around the church today. Both have the same good intention at heart; the bringing together of the fractured body of Christ. But that is where similarity ends. Let us examine.

‘Papering the cracks’ approach: 

The first approach is to brush historic difficulty under the carpet. This allows for a rosy picture of imagined harmony to emerge. The press photo of Catholic and Anglican counterparts is made possible. They grin from ear to ear, looking like the greatest of chums… even though they are not actually in communion at all, remaining deeply divided on any number of fundamental issues of doctrine.

The benefit of the approach is that it is profoundly easy. Little demand is being made. You share sandwiches, clap each other on the back but can then retreat to the safety of your comfort zone; delighting in a mutually convenient fantasy- that unity  somehow occurred. And the bonus is that, because you didn’t bring up the pain of the past or present, nobody gets hurt or need face up to uncomfortable truth.

The weakness of the approach is obvious then. Any gain is very slight in concrete terms. Friendship may emerge, and that is good, but no actual reconciliation of differences can occur. It is a triumph for political relations and good manners but so often a complete failure on all other counts. And those are the ones that matter if we are to reconcile our differences.

Deep down I suspect the approach- which is reliant on watered down liturgy and inoffensive teaching- is based on fear. Hence the desire to ever remain in the shallows; a search for surface gloss not lasting walks of unity. A more timid approach because its adherents do not actually believe unity is possible or desirable. The hope is not to bring people into one fold so much as to celebrate one another’s closed doors- presented as ‘a celebration of diversity’- but of course…

Only that is NOT what Jesus called for. He he said- we should be one as the Father and He are one. So whilst it may prove a useful approach for the FIRST stage of creating unity- the building of friendship- it is deficient as the ultimate means.

‘Widening the doors’ approach:

The other approach, favoured by Pope Benedict when he launched the Ordinariate, is to move things to a deeper but more challenging level. But one that at least has a realistic hope of achieving the unity people desire.

Now if the first approach is akin to expecting a separated couple to get on at a daughter’s wedding, this approach is more like getting them to sit down before a marriage guidance counsellor to reconcile differences and save the broken marriage. A more frightening request certainly but a vital one if friendship is restored and authentic reconciliation is actually hoped for.

So instead of brushing difficulty under the carpet you confront it; but in the most generous way possible. A call to unity is actually made but a celebration of differences is also present. We see immediately why those entering the Ordinariate had to sign up to the catechism- the necessary demand- but were gifted their own liturgy- the celebration of healthy difference. The right sort of diversity.

This serious approach to unity rests, as it must, on shared proclamation of truth. Gesture and appearance is not enough here. There must be a working out of house rules. A doctrinal base must emerge on which to build a common future. It is a riskier approach then. Because bluffs will be called when a real call to unity is issued. The fakes are soon spotted. Those who only ever wanted the photo opportunity and who were perfectly happy to exist apart for personal and corporate reasons. For them the first approach must continue but not at a cost to the second. For the Ordinariates are proving daily- this more meaningful approach really does create unity. No longer is it all talk, talk; one also witnesses genuine walk, walk.

A final thought

All of this has been on my mind because it is being reported that Pope Francis wishes to be present at a Lutheran celebration of the reformation. This does not sit at all comfortably with me. Not because it is a very clear example of the first approach. As stated that approach has uses. But because it could seriously send out the wrong message and thereby damage the second, more meaningful approach.

Not that I am surprised. This pontificate has been all about photo opportunity and political gesture at the cost of doctrinal certainty. Hence the use of ambiguous messages and media pleasing; a rescuing of a battered reputation, one suspects, in the wake of the abuse crisis. Be that as it may- THIS photo opportunity seems one too many. For whilst it would be fitting for the Pope to celebrate aspects of Lutherism, how can he possibly celebrate the moment of schism itself given that it caused so much death and division? Given that it stopped the church speaking clearly to the world which, in turn, led to the rise of secularisation.

The Pope is of a generation who only tend to endorse the first approach to ecumenism. But too much will be swept under the carpet here if Rome is not careful. If Francis is seen to ‘celebrate’ the reformation…what does this say about the deeper reality of disunity? What does it say about the sacrifice of reformation martyrs? Are they to be forgotten? More importantly, is what they stood for and died for to be ignored and downplayed?

I have no doubt the intention is good. But what if disunity is blessed and not challenged? So that the world imagines God delights in diversity of a fractured  body, though he called us to be one via shared proclamation of the faith he revealed.

Lent reading…


Last Sunday was Septuagesima Sunday meaning that we have entered pre-Lent. Now is the time for the faithful to plan their Lent disciplines. How much money should be set aside for almsgiving? When will I make my confession and how will I ensure I make a good one? When will I attend the Stations of the Cross or make time for extra prayer and devotion? And, of course, there is devotional reading which is to be encouraged in Lent that we grow in our knowledge of Christ. After all it was St. Anselm himself who taught that we cannot love what we do not know!

So I thought it might be good to open this post and allow you, the readers, to recommend good devotional material for this coming Lent. My own suggestions would be:

Jesus of Nazareth:Pope Benedict XVI  From the brain of the greatest living theologian comes this work which is a great choice for those who like a little bit of academic weight to go with the devotional inspiration.

Journey to Easter:Pope Benedict XVI Another might work from my favourite Pope this was the result of a Lent retreat which a younger Joseph Ratzinger delivered for JPII. It is good.

The Priest is not his own: Fulton Sheen An absolute classic and especially good as a reminder to priests of the nature of their vocation. Fulton Sheen had a deep intellect and wisdom that belied his television personality. A gem.

Lent with St. Benedict: Bede Frost. A good book for Lent because it breaks the reading down into daily chunks. It is full of Benedictine insight to delight the soul.

The interior Castle: Teresa of Avila Many people will have read this incredible work full of spiritual insight. But if you have not….do so!

7 secrets of confession: Vinny Flynn A brilliant choice for those nervous about confession, or who have drifted from it. It is a best seller and an easy read. It really helped several people I know.

There are a few from me. And what I have ordered for myself this year is

He leadeth me: Walter Ciszek This autobiographical account of the author’s wrongful imprisonment in Russia has been recommended to me as a powerful and worthwhile read. I will have to let you know…

Do add your own suggestions in the comments…

Who was Melchizedek?


Any regular and attentive attender of Mass will notice that the name of Melchizedek arises often, in biblical readings and the Canon of the Mass. A parishioner recently asked, therefore, an obvious but rare question. Who is Melchizedek? The answer is steeped in mystery….so let us explore it a little.

Melchizedek is first mentioned in Genesis 14. During a war between Cana and Mesopotamia Abraham’s nephew Lot is captured. He and his family are then taken hostage but one escapes and brings the news to Abraham, who bravely pursues the invaders and rescues his family. On Abraham’s return we are introduced to the mysterious priestly figure of Melchizedek. Who, scripture informs us, was ‘the prophet of God.’ Whatever that may mean at this time?

Melchizedek then ministers to Abraham and, fascinatingly, not only blesses him but feeds him with bread and wine. The symbolism of this act cannot be lost on any Christian audience. What on earth is going on here?

“Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him [Abraham] and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything” 

Melchizedek is next mentioned in Psalm 110:4; where David is speaking prophetically about the Christ who is to come. The psalmist states: “The Eternal hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

And finally he is presented to us with great significance in the New Testament. Where, in the letter to the Hebrews, Jesus  is named our eternal High Priest… “after the order of Melchizedek.” A third time then a very clear link is being drawn between Melchizedek and Christ. Curious and curiouser…

Alas we do not have enough historic fact to ever really know who Melchizedek was. Why, even if there was a bloke called Melchizedek who performed some sort of priestly function for Abraham, a problem arises. Because, within  the scriptural narrative, he is being presented to us as so much more than that. Unlike any other Old Testament figure, Melchizedek seems to be a sort of archetype of perfect priesthood. We have before us then a very mysterious figure whose role in scripture makes a lot more sense spiritually than it does historically.

We might go so far as to suggest Melchizedek is a supernatural figure. Because he does not seem to have existed in the sense that you and I exist. The few facts we have about him being extraordinary. First Genesis says he was  king of Salem (Jerusalem). Yet this seems unlikely, after all Abraham was a nomadic man living in a nomadic time and the Jewish religion was not yet established in any solid sense.

But don’t discard the mention of “Salem” because, in Hebrew, that word means “peace.” So Melchizedek is shown to us as “King of Peace” not just some earthly city. Furthermore his very name -Melchizedek- translates “King of Righteousness”. So we have before us- the King of peace and righteousness. A link is again being forged, we might conclude, between Melchizedek and Christ himself.

“This Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace” (Hebrews 7:1-2).

The mystery of Melchizedek then takes a stranger turn. For the bible also says that he was “without mother, without father, without descent.” Eh? Again we face a reference imbued with supernatural emphasis. What is this telling us of the King of peace and righteousness? The one who fed Abraham with bread and wine…..Was he mortal or not? What is this link with Christ? Why is he presented to us as “having neither beginning of days, nor end of life?”

In conclusion two things seem unarguable. Firstly that Melchizedek of old is a figure intentionally shrouded in mystery. Secondly his is intentionally linked, within sacred scripture, to the figure of Christ himself. Why is this? Who was he really? What would we have witnessed if we were present when Abraham was blessed? Who can say?  Your guess is as good as mine….

But whatever the historic facts might be- Melchizedek performs a very sacred role. His appearing in scripture being some sort of manifestation of God to man; a vision glorious in which we see a foretaste of Christ. Melchizedek stands then- as all priest- in persona Christi. And is thus able to give to Abraham, founder of the Jewish faith, the blessing of God Almighty. Christ present at the start of the story of salvation.

It is mind blowing. That Christ himself was being revealed in and through this ancient priest.  Evidence, I believe, that the Word really was always with God and of God and that nothing came to be without him.

So why stick to 12?


Pope Francis, after careful consideration we are told, has changed the rules for the rite of foot washing so that women as well as men may number amongst the 12. The Pope has clear authority to do this and we must accept the change in good grace. But it does leave me with a question. But first an explanation of the two views that have come to exist within the church surrounding the foot washing ceremony…

The traditional teaching, which I would have strongly emphasised until yesterday, recalls that Jesus did not wash the feet of all his general disciples but specifically chose the apostolic 12. He was thus being an exemplar – teaching them that loving service must always be at the heart of the priesthood. This link to the priesthood makes obvious why the representatives were male.

A more modern understanding, the one which Pope Francis clearly favours,  encourages us to look beyond priesthood to emphasise that this call to loving service exists for all the faithful. Clearly we may, under this understanding, include women as well as men amongst the feet being washed.

I have no real issue with either point because both are obviously true. Priests do need to remember they are called to serve in love in a special way. The faithful also need reminding that this call to loving service does not end in the sanctuary. So no sweat there…

My question is more nuanced. Now the Pope has done away with the former teaching to emphasis the more recent idea…. then why do we still choose 12? A number so clearly pointing us to consideration of the priestly ministry.

It seems a very confusing oversight to me. The risk being that the symbolism and the action are now in conflict with each other resulting in mixed messages being sent out. It doesn’t take a genius to realise it will be jumped on by modernists to push for women priests. If they can represent a man amongst the 12 on Maundy Thursday why not at the altar when celebrating the sacraments themselves?

If we have 12 because Jesus chose 12, it strikes me they should be men as well. For Jesus also did that.  But if the point is not about the 12 then we should presumably wash everyone’s feet or any arbitrary number for practical purposes. But not 12.

Does anyone have a satisfactory answer? Because people in my congregation are going to be unsettled by this change. Our experience of innovations in the Anglican church was not a happy experience that built up our faith. We are therefore, understandably, a little fearful of changes to sacred tradition and biblical witness.

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