Guest blogger, Duane Mandible is a contributing editor to The Truth Hurts, a bi-monthly journal of politics, economics and opinion. He also contributes regularly to Freedom Monthly; Illuminations and The Sojourner. Duane is the author of Guns and Knives will Save Your Children’s Lives. He is Vice President of the Sacred Society of St Philibustre, and enjoys hunting rattlesnakes, square dancing and watching re runs of comedy classics. He is unmarried.

I hope readers will forgive the irregularity of my contributions here, but I have had to turn an increasing amount of attention to the affairs of the Sacred Society of St Philibustre. As you, no doubt, are aware, the Holy and Divine Liturgy of the SSSP is celebrated according to the  Western Ambrosianic Rite (non collegian). Women wear the magdalen and most importantly, we have retained the ancient custom of the be-ribboned maniple which has been discarded by most of our Eastern Orthodox brethren, and been replaced by the modern innovation of the buttoned maniple by those of the Roman persuasion.

In a spirit of ecumenism (there is to be one flock one shepherd) The Holy Father Pope Linus authorized us from his home in Bishop’s Storford in England to engage in discreet, but important ecumenical discussions. These were held in June at our proto Cathedral  (dedicated to St Euphemia of the Five Wounds) which is located in the basement of the home of our Archpriest, the Most Reverend Fr. Desiderata Arnaz, at 147a Magnolia Grove, Rocky Creek, Tennessee. Most Rev. Desi Arnaz and his lovely wife Lucille (nee Ball) hosted an international gathering of clergy not only from the SSSP, but also from ecclesial communities that are not yet in full communion with us.

The objective of our meeting was to encourage fraternal fellowship, celebrate the liturgy and find common ground. Pope Linus confided to the Conclave that he also wished for us to explore the question of his primacy amongst the separated brethren, with the hope that we might move forward to a position where he might be considered primate inter parrots. The other participants tabled other topics for discussion–among them the proper use of the term “Holy and Most Reverend” and the wearing of the rochet and chimera at non Eucharistic events.

The Most Rev. Archbishop Donald Rickles, Metropolitan of the Anglican Orthodox Church of the Northern Alliance was in attendance with his wife Noreen. Also in attendance were The Rt. Rev.Dr. Edwin Murphy, Archbishop of the Catholic Church of Unity in Nigeria. Dr. Murphy  is in this country completing his doctoral work on the benefits of the Book of Common Prayer in West African churching of women ceremonies. The Most Rev. Gerald Lewis, Archdeacon of the West, Orthodox Anglo Catholic Communion attended the symposium and The Rt Rev. James Carrey, Metropolitan and Proto nunciary of the Reformed Eastern Episcopal Church presided from the Runcible Chair.  We also welcomed ecumenical representatives from the Celtic Orthodox Church of James of Arimathea, the Clandestine Catholic Uniate Church (Seventh Conciliar), three monks and a sister from the Sacred Society of St Euthanasia the Anchorite and a Lutheran.

I am sorry to report that what was meant to be a fraternal gathering in the Spirit of unity and Christian charity did not conclude as positively as we would have hoped. It was our intention to gently but persuasively re-introduce the proper use of the be-ribboned maniple. Liturgies were, of course, held in Syro-Chaldean as is the usual custom with the Sacred Society of St Philibustre, and there did not seem to be disagreements among the brethren over this usage (missals with translations were used) However, when Archpriest Arnaz appeared at the opening Holy and Divine Liturgy wearing what was a small be-ribboned maniple our ecumenical partners excused themselves.

Nevertheless, once liturgy was concluded, the party re-convened for breakfast. (I would like to take an opportunity here to thank Staggers, Nashotah and all the team at the local Waffle House for splendid catering) Some progress was made, but I fear the cause of unity has been set back. While cordial words were shared and all of the members of the symposium were polite, we all agreed that further discussions–especially on the delicate question of the primacy of Pope Linus–would have to be postponed.

I have some other difficult news to announce. Unbeknown to myself, Archpriest Arnaz and his wife Lucille entered into unilateral discussions with the representative from the Celtic Orthodox Church of St James of Arimathea. In private conversation with myself and the other members of the Conclave they informed us that they had become convinced that Most Rev. Rowan Atkinson, the Arch Druid Emeritus and Metropolitan Archbishop of Glastonbury Tor–the present patriarch of the Celtic Orthodox Church–was the true successor of Peter, that the White Dove rested on him and that he was the true bearer of the Holy Thorn. Consequently they will be moving to England to become part of the COC.

It is with saddened heart that I therefore announce the decree from Pope Linus of the immediate excommunication of Desiderata Arnaz. He is no longer a priest forever in the order of Hezekiah, he may no longer wear the Stone of Hortense nor the tunicle of honor. His wife is banned from serving as sacristan at the sacred liturgy, nor may she wear the magdalen. Anathema sit!

Allow me to end on an encouraging note. Despite the disappointing results of our ecumenical council, and the departure of Archpriest Arnaz and his wife, I am pleased to announce that we have two new members to our little band of pilgrims! Dr.Carole Burnette will be joining our staff as a sacristan while a former member of the Worldwide Charismatic Anglican Mission has enquired about  ordination in the Sacred Society of St Philibustre.  Robert Hope was educated at Buckboard Bible College. He has been awarded a certificate in elder care (third class) and holds a full driver’s license. I hope to announce the date for his ordination at the hands of Pope Linus in our next newsletter. Deo Gratias!

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