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Post Post-Script: The Aftermath and the Confirmation

Tuesday, 17th June, 2003

Well, I am home at last. I have crossed the Jordan and arrived in the promised land—the land that, like Moses, I had until now only been able to see, but not enter. And I have tasted the milk and honey that flows from this land—the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been a long wait. At the beginning, I never had any assurance that I would be able to enter full communicant membership of the Church. But what I hoped and prayed for has finally come to pass, and all the faith that I put in God and in his Church has been vindicated.

Yesterday, at a Mass celebrated at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Ringwood at 7:00pm, I was received by Father Anthony Fisher into the full communion of the Catholic Church. I had been to confession earlier in the day, to Fr Paul Grant at St Mary Star of the Sea in West Melbourne, and during the mass I received Confirmation and the Eucharist. Peter Holmes was my sponsor.

To tell the truth, I was feeling so unwell, I almost asked for a fourth sacrament: anointing of the sick!!!

The mass was attended by a goodly number of both Catholics and Lutherans. Still there is the thought with which I opened this journal:

You may think how lonely I am. ‘Obliviscere populum tuum et domum patris tui,’ has been in my ears for the last twelve hours. I realise more that we are leaving Littlemore, and it is like going on the open sea.

I have now crossed that open sea. The two intervening years between this entry and the last has given me time to travel. I have come to know the land at which I have arrived, and it has become my home in the meantime. There is still loneliness, though. Other than Cathy and the girls, not one member of my family (or Cathy’s) was present at my reception. It rubbed in the fact that this was something I was doing on my own. In time though, and already now, new relationships will grow.

But I need to fill in a lot of gaps. The last two years have contained ups and downs. We are still living in the unit to which we moved two years ago on 18th May. We attempted to buy a home, but our loan fell through the first time, and prices have soared in the meantime. The girls are growing up — Maddy will be five in October, and Mia will turn three at the same time. We have been looking at the local Catholic schools, and Maddy will go to one or the other next year. Mia has become an imp.

I worked for five terms at Thomas Mitchell Primary School, and to tell the truth, it was the best working environment and the most challenging work I have ever done. My efforts there were appreciated, and I got along with the staff famously. Sadly, I had to give it up, because I received another offer that I couldn’t refuse: the position of Executive Officer of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission of the Melbourne Archdiocese. In July last year, I began work in my office in the Cardinal Knox Centre adjacent to St Patrick’s Cathedral three day’s a week.

I have continued to work at Our Lady’s as music director. This job has been cut down to one day a week—mainly because the parish budget couldn’t afford any more and the primary school didn’t like the direction I was taking the children’s singing, but it continues to be a very fulfilling part of my life. Many of those who attended the mass last night were members of the music teams. Work there has kept me in touch with parish life from the grass roots point of view. Fr Greg has been a real friend and pastor. I regularly have lunch with him when I am there at work.

I have attended mass regularly—whenever I was rostered to provide music, which was three weekends out of four a month. The other Sunday, I would go with Cathy and the girls to St Paul’s. About once a month, they would come to mass with me at Our Lady’s. Of course, I was always aware that once I was received, I would be under the obligation to attend Mass every Sunday, but I will continue to worship with the girls whenever I can.

I adopted all sorts of odd customs to handle the fact that I couldn’t commune. At every mass, I would beat my breast three times while saying “Lord, I am not worthy; but only say the word and I shall be healed.” I would sometimes go up for a blessing, arms crossed, but less often towards the end. At the 1pm mass at the Cathedral during the week, I would sit in my self-designated “penitents corner”, behind the glass panel under the organ in the south wing. At the elevation, the words “The days are surely coming, saith the Lord” would be my spiritual communion. I never lost hope that those days would come soon.

I looked every night in the letter box as I came home, waiting for news from the tribunal. In fact, my news came relatively early. On 29th October 2001, I received notice that my annulment application had passed the “first instance” hearing, and was going on to the second. On the 13th of December 2001, Father Kerin of the Tribunal wrote to me that my first marriage had been annulled on the grounds of “grave lack of discretion of judgement”. Until this time I had held off asking Cathy to act to get her own marriage investigated, as I felt that there was no reason to put her to this trouble if my own first marriage was not declared null and void.

At some stage during 2001 we received the sudden and unexpected news that Rome had revised its judgement of the validity of Mormon baptism in the negative. Because Cathy's first husband had only ever been baptised as a Mormon, this opened up once again the possibility of Cathy receiving a dissolution rather than a annulment. So in February of 2002, Cathy began the process preparing for a dissolution application. Thankfully, her first husband was fully cooperative in this investigation. Just before Christmas 2002, we came home to find a letter from the tribunal in the letter box. Eagerly we opened it only to find that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith had looked at Cathy’s file and decided there was not enough information on which to make a decision. So in January, we had to find two more witnesses who both agreed to be interviewed with regard to the case, and the case was resubmitted. Then the wait resumed.

This final time, from February on, became very difficult for me. I knew that the case was close to conclusion, but I had no way of knowing whether the file was being dealt with immediately, or whether it had gone to the bottom of the pile on the Vatican shelves again. Lent began, and so, in faith and hope, I began to prepare myself for a possible reception at Easter.

[continued 20th June 2003]

This meant preparing for first confession. I had been given permission via Anthony Fisher (presumably from the Archbishop) to begin going to confession around September last year (2002), and had long been intending to make a retreat and my first confession in connection with it. For whatever reason — whether because I just couldn’t make the time, or for the simple reason of attachment to sin — I didn’t make the retreat, and put off my confession. But with the arrival of Lent I realised that now was the time to bite the bullet and begin preparation in earnest. Another reason why I perhaps postponed my first confession is that I had not found a confessor. I had toyed with the idea of going out to Tarrawarra Abbey overnight and then using one of the monks for my confessor the next day (it seemed “safe” having a confessor who was locked away). Eventually though I found my confessor under my nose.

Father Paul Grant, of Opus Dei, came out regularly to help Father Pritchard with the confessions of school children, and stayed on for lunch afterwards. After several lunches together, I realised that here was a priest who was likely to be straight down the line and no nonsense, and also who was not a part of my social or work circle, nor a diocesan priest. I asked him and he was happy to take on the role (he said he would consult with Anthony first) and we set a date of Monday in Holy Week, the 14th of April.

I prepared for confession by reading through the moral theology section of the Catechism twice. The second time I wrote down my failings accordingly, onto a computer document which I saved on a passworded file. It ended up being many pages long. I worked on it, and edited it, trying to be as complete and as truthful as possible. Cathy was a little sceptical about the length that I was going to. During this time, she talked to Fraser about the whole business of confession, and he gave her several books on the topic, which in fact I found very helpful myself.

Lent was a struggle in many ways. In general, I learnt new strategies for dealing with sin, and I discovered that the most useful weapon in fighting sin was will-power. It won’t do it all on its own, but without it, there can never be any success in battle.

On the day after Palm Sunday (the second anniversary of the last day I served as a Lutheran Pastor), I fronted up at St Mary’s presbytery. Father Grant showed me into the front room, where he began by asking me to tell him a little about myself. After an hour of talking, we began the confession. I read from my written confession (which I later shredded). We were still at it at 12:30pm when I had to hurriedly bring my confession to a close because Father had to say Mass. I have since learnt that in confession, St Jose Maria Esciva’s advice is good: be contrite, complete and concise. Also, one should not leave one’s major sins till last.

In any case, Father Grant had to say mass at 12:30pm so we had to stop. He absolved me and imposed upon me a penance which was very pastoral and very appropriate. Since it was Holy Week, he suggested that I should consciously offer up to God everything I did for the rest of the week. The beauty of this penance is that it is impossible to allow oneself to slip back into mortal sin, when one knows that the sacrament depends upon the faithful fulfilment of such a penance.

I attended Mass afterwards, and then drove back to the office at the Cardinal Knox Centre. As I was driving back, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was now “cleaner” than I had ever been since the day of my baptism. I had told Father Grant things that I thought I would never tell another living soul, things that I thought I would carry to the grave with me, and now they had all be dealt with. It was as a “newborn babe” that I went into the rest of the week.

Easter was, of course, a busy time. I cantored for Maundy Thursday, directed a small choir for the Vigil, and cantored again on Easter Sunday. But all this passed without any news from the Tribunal. Then, several weeks later, just before Pentecost, I received an email at work from Fr Fisher enquiring as to whether I heard anything about the dissolution. No, I replied; I was just patiently waiting. He then suggested that we should enquire directly of the Tribunal. I replied “What good would it do?”. He replied, “Take my hint and ask.”

So I told Cathy to follow it up. She rang one Monday, but of course, this was Fr Kerin’s day off. In the mean time, I attended the graduation Mass at the Thomas Carr Centre for Catholic Adult Education Melbourne (CAEM). Afterwards, I took a few minutes with Anthony. He looked at me with his knowing smile, and said, “So, how are you?”. I replied non-committally. He asked if we had heard from the tribunal, and again I replied “Not yet”. Then he said, without “telling me anything”, “How long would you need to prepare for a reception?” The implication was that there was something in the pipeline and he knew about it and he wanted me to find out for myself.

So, as soon as I arrived home, I asked Cathy to follow it up once more. This time, she sent an email enquiry. Within a day we had received a reply:

Dear Cathy,
I think I have good news but I am a little confused because I have received a memo dated 3 May 2003 sent by Fax to the Archbishop which says the rescript for the case was granted on 14 April 2003 but we have still not received the document here in Melbourne. I have been holdng off contacting you because I felt that its arrival is imminent, but so far it has not turned up here. Yet we have this document faxed to the Archbishop that tells us of its existence. The thing is, there may be one or two conditions or instructions attached to the notification of it so until we see the actual rescript I can't predict what it will say. Sorry I cannot be an more definite about it than that.

Fr Tony Kerin

It didn’t take much to realise that this "fax" was what prompted Anthony to think something would be in the offing soon. I interpreted "rescript...granted" to mean the application for dissolution of Cathy's former marriage has been granted. I had no way of knowing what sort of "conditions" or "instructions" could be attached to such a rescript.

I must say that I felt a little disquieted by this news. The 14th of April was the day of my first confession, and had I had this news then, I would probably have applied to the Archbishop to be received at Easter, which would have been the third anniversary of my interior conversion and the second of my external conversion.

As it was, I wondered why in these days of electronic communication something could not have been done immediately to obtain a copy of the documentation in all its detail. If the Archbishop could be informed by fax that the rescript had been granted, why could they not fax a copy of the document through as well?

I told Anthony that it was all getting to be a bit much for me, and begged him to hurry the process along in any way that he could. I was almost on the verge of writing to the Archbishop and imploring some action on behalf of my poor benighted soul. Despite the fact that I had endured two years for this result, still, every day seemed to tax my faith just that little more. Anthony advised me to sit tight and wait. He would do all he could do.

Some days passed. The Queen’s birthday long weekend came and we went down to Philip Island for the first time since last October. I had a strong sense that I had returned once again to the scene at which so many decisions had been made, and I wondered if this were in some sense a portent of the things soon to come.

Sure enough, on Friday 14th of June (two months after the documentation was said to have been dispatched to us “in the usual manner”) Anthony rang me from his car phone on the way to work to say that he had a fax in his hands that would allow the whole thing to go ahead. Within half an hour I was in his office, holding a three page fax from Fr Gus Di Noia, the Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The second two pages were a copy of the Dissolution (in Latin). The first page stated that in answer to Anthony’s enquiries, the Undersecretary could confirm that the dissolution had been granted on the 11th of April and that papers we now had were a true copy of the document. The conditions were all straight forward and normal fine print.

Then began a frenzy of trying to find a date on which I could be received. Anthony was to go away in a week’s time, Peter Holmes (whom I had asked to be my sponsor) would then be away for two weeks after that, after which Father Pritchard would have the Guild of St Stephen conference, after which I would have the National Ecumenical Conference. The writing on the wall seemed to say (as Pritchard reminded me that our Lord said to Judas) “What you must do, do quickly!” So we set the date for Monday 16th of June at 7pm. Some could not be present that night—sadly and most notably, Denis Stanley and Helen Granowski—never-the-less, we went ahead with our plans.

The next few days were hectic, as I worked on invitations, service orders, the retrospective validation of our marriage, cooking cakes and buying drinks for the party. When Monday came, I was exhausted. I had not been well for about a week and a half, having caught a virus that was affecting my hearing and general energy level.

[21st June 2003]

I had arranged to meet Father Grant for confession at 4pm at St Mary’s. I arrived half an hour early and said both the Joyful Mysteries and the Mysteries of Light in the church before crossing to the presbytery. Again, we met in the front room (where it was quite warm). After a short chat and catch up, we began the sacrament. This time it was quite a short period, only about 20 minutes all told. We talked further and then, after completing my penance in the church, I went straight to Our Lady’s. Cathy had given me leave not to return home, so that I would be spared being a part of the hectic rush to get to the church. I had coffee with Fr Pritchard and then went into the church at about 6pm, just as Paul Taylor arrived to practice on the organ. John Nowakowski came with his violin, and before long Melissa had arrived as well.

The guests began arriving at about 6:45pm. I was a little surprised by those who came. Many parishioners of Our Lady’s, which was gratifying; and several work colleagues. Also, Pastors [A.], [D.] and [P.], and the Senior Pastor from St Paul's. A goodly number from our Lutheran small group, and another family from St Paul's as well made up the Lutheran contingent. Father Anthony was running late, arriving at 7:05pm, but Cathy and the girls only arrived at 7:10.

Then mass got going. We sat in the front pew, where Maddy and Jonny Westhorpe had fun trying to catch the clouds of incense (it was “mass with smoke”). I had the “white garment” on my shoulders — in reality, just a short white tassled stole that looked a bit like a Jewish prayer shawl! Father had also prepared a candle for me. Peter Holmes read the readings and acted as my sponsor. David Ducket read the intercessions. Melissa Batalla and Edmund Lobo cantored, and Paul and John played a Berthier arrangement of the Veni Creator Spiritus after the Homily. Fr Anthony preached well — it was a bit of a tight rope walk, I reckon, given that there were Lutherans in the congregation as well as Catholics.

When the time came for me to be received, the whole congregation joined in the profession of faith in the words of the Nicene Creed. I then made the following personal profession:

“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

This was followed by an act of reception:

David, the Lord receives you into the Catholic Church.
His loving kindness has led you here,
so that in the unity of the Holy Spirit
you may have full communion with us
in the faith that you have professed in the presence of his family.

I then knelt to receive the sacrament of confirmation. Fr Anthony laid his hands on my head and said:

All-powerful god, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your son from sin and gave him new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon him to be his helper and guide.
Give him the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgement and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill him with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Following this, Peter placed his right hand on my shoulder as Anthony dipped his thumb in the chrism and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. As he did this, he used my confirmation name and said:

Joseph-Michael, be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

And so I was made a Catholic. All that remained was for me to receive the crowing joy of communion. When the time came for this, I was so distracted trying to remember to genuflect, say amen, close my eyes and stick out my tongue, that before I knew it I had consumed the host, and was being offered the chalice. Again, I did not have time to think about what I was doing. I can clearly remember being a little surprised to see something floating in the chalice - and then I remembered the ceremony of co-mingling.

It was strange going through an action that I had been awaiting for so very long. After returning to the pew, Cathy and I took one girl each in our arms, and took them up for a blessing. I think Mia ended going up twice — as she went up again with a friend.

I can remember feeling as I watched my Catholic brothers and sisters communing: this is now my family. And since then, I have begun to think of the Lutheran Church as my “Church-in-law”.

There was good singing at the Mass. We sang “Tell out my Soul” at the beginning, “In you is gladness” at the Offertory, and “The day you gave us” at the close. The readings were from Jeremiah 31, Ephesians 4 and John 6. At the end of his homily, Father Anthony pointed out that the second reading contained the motto that John Henry Newman took as Cardinal: “Always speaking the truth in love”, and commended the same motto to me. At the end of Mass, Anthony acknowledged that the occasion was one of joy for me and for many others that night, but also an occasion for grief for some. He said, however, that anything that brought us (Catholics and Lutherans) closer together was a “good thing”. Kate Cleary commented later when she heard about the mass that “it was probably the most authentically ecumenical thing to have happened in Melbourne all year.”

After Mass it was all smiles on my part. Except when [D.] came out, he gave me a hug and said “Bye bye.” I thought at first that he was “farewelling” me as a member of the Lutheran Church, but then he explained that he had to be going home because of the kids. Afterwards though, I reflected that he may have meant me to take it both ways, as Cathy said he left with a tear in his eyes. So I rang up the next day, and we have made a time to get together next Tuesday. He admitted then that he was pretty cut up about it all.

Many stayed on for the supper in the presbytery, including many members of the choir and music team and other parishioners. The crowd thinned out noticeably after a couple of hours, but a small group stayed on and chatted until about 10:30pm. The girls were still awake at this stage and well into their “fifth wind”, as Cathy put it.

Since Monday night, I attended mass every day until today. Tuesday, I went to the lunch time mass in the Cathedral. Wednesday to the 8am mass also in the Cathedral. Thursday I communed at Our Lady’s, and again on Friday. Today, due to the Lutheran gathering, I was unable to do so, but I am looking forward to tomorrow morning which will be the first time that I will be communing at a Sunday Parish mass. Appropriately, it is the festival of the Body and Blood of Christ.

So, for now, that is the end of the story. There are sure to be other “trials and tribulations” still to come. In fact, Anthony explicitly warned me in his homily that this would be so. But this trial has been faced and over come. I began this diary three years ago. It was at least three and a half years ago that I began once again to contemplate conversion to the Catholic Church. It has been a lesson of patience and trust. It has been a hard time, and a time of blessing. Now, the past is behind me. I have crossed the Jordan but I have not yet settled in the land. My Grandparents wedding text applies to me now too—the words of Joshua as he declared his service for the Lord at the edge of the Jordan. “Hitherto hath the Lord helped me. So for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Post Script and Official Letters of Resignation

I began this journal by talking about Newmans' quotation of God's words to Abraham: "Leave your father's home and your country and go to a place where I will show you."

Have I arrived at that place? I think the answer is yes and no, much as it was for Abraham himself. Abraham arrived at the promised land but never had any permanent abode there. He was a wandering Aramean. Maybe it will not be me, or my children, or even my children's children who finally find a permanent abode in the Catholic Church. I might be a wanderer in the Church, a wayfarer for the rest of my life, just as Abraham was. Yet I have glimpsed the promised, I have seen the land, I have benefited from its fruits, and I will never leave there.


7th May 2001

President, LCA--Victoria District

Dear Pastor,

Please accept my resignation from the public ministry and membership of the Lutheran Church of Australia, effective from the receipt of this letter.

I am endeavouring to sell my car so that I may be able to repay my LLL car loan in full as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

David Schütz


7th May 2001

President, Lutheran Church of Australia

Dear Pastor,

It is with regret and sadness that I forward to you a copy of a letter that I have today posted to the president of the Victorian District. I understand it to be correct procedure to send the resignation to the district president. He is and has been fully aware over the last year of the events that have led to this decision, but I wish to fill you in a little more personally.

In my early years at the seminary, some 15 years ago, I underwent (what I have come to call) my first “catholic conversion”. At that time, I became convinced that it was essential for me not only to be a Christian, but to hold and practice the “true catholic faith”, without which I could not be saved (as the Athanasian Creed reminds us).

Although at first this conversion manifested itself in a strong desire to join the Catholic Church, I came to believe that I could fulfill my obligation to the catholic faith by being an “evangelical catholic” in the Lutheran Church. I also decided that the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” of the Nicene Creed was an article of faith rather than a visible society upon earth.

With greater or lesser success, I lived by this creed until last year. The intervening decade had seen two great changes within the LCA: the introduction of Church Growth theology and methodologies, and the movement for the ordination of women. The former has undermined the liturgical life of the church, and the latter has eventually come to pose a real threat to the doctrine and authority structures of the LCA. These issues were enough to make me re-examine my thoughts on catholicity. Two pastors especially challenged my ecclesiology, and I found that it just did not stand up. The way in which the Augsburg Accord was (or, more to the point, was not) received by the Lutheran Church also made an impression. With regard to women’s ordination, by Easter 2000 I had serious questions about a church in which it was possible to repudiate former binding doctrine and replace it with an entirely new teaching and practice on the basis of a Synodical vote.

I wish to make it clear that I asked these questions “as a Lutheran pastor”, and not as one already consciously converted to Rome. But as I re-read all the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue material from both the local and US dialogues, I found myself agreeing more and more with the Catholics than the Lutherans. Before long, I began to suspect that I was, in reality, a Catholic, and that my Lutheranism was in fact nothing other than an inherited context.

After the Tanunda Synod last year, I began to actively explore the Catholic faith by seeking direct dialogue with Catholic priests. Despite his own claims to the contrary, I did not do this without the District President's knowledge. Doubts about the Lutheran confession of faith grew--and concerns about the supposed “errors” of the Catholic church dwindled. I found myself asking the question “Why am I not a Catholic?” rather than “Why should I be a Catholic?”.

Yet it was not until I received the call to Hope Valley in January, that I realised that I was unable to accept this call, and, conversely, that I was unable to reaffirm my call to the Knox parish. My only alternative was to resign, and I took this step immeadiately. To do anything else would have been to place my integrity in question.

Still, some have questioned my integrity. Although I have resigned my parish, it is clear that some believe that I am being duplicitous (or trying to “have a bet both ways”) by holding on to my identity as a Lutheran pastor while actively exploring becoming a Roman Catholic. I will not have my integrity questioned, especially on the basis of lack of information or mis-information. Nor can I accept the stricture of the Victorian District Church Council banning me from giving an account of my catholic faith to any member of the LCA (including, one presumes, my own immeadiate family).

Therefore, I am tendering my resignation. There is grief at this decision, to be sure. I have benifited so much from my life-long fellowship in the LCA and within the pastorate. I have regarded many pastors as friends, not just as colleagues in the ministry. I hope that where there has been friendship, my decision will not alter these relationships. At the same time, I wish you and all the pastors of the LCA every blessing for the future as you minister to one another and to the flocks in your care.

Some have asked whether it is my intention to seek ordination as a priest in the Catholic church. Let me simply say that this is a very distant (if not non-existant) possibility, and that I would rather just take one step at a time. My marital situation (divorced and remarried to a divorcee) makes even full communicant membership in the Roman Church impossible without two annulments. However, I have been graciously welcomed into the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ringwood, where I am employed as their liturgical music coordinator, and I have placed myself under the pastoral direction of the parish priest, Fr Gregory Pritchard, who has acted very pastorally toward me in this time. I am living as much as a Catholic as possible now, and I pray for the day when I may be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome.

I give you my thanks for your ministry as President, and I pray for the future of the LCA.

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20,21)

Yours in Christ,

David Schütz

Tuesday, 24th April, 2001: I start my new life... and the letter of resignation I wrote to the Pastors Conference

Just heading off to my second day of work at Thomas Mitchel Primary School in Endeavour Hills. I had my first day yesterday, and I must say it was an enjoyable event. A good atmosphere to work with. There were times when I thought "Good Lord, how am I going to be able to manage this?", but I don't think that there is anything that is actually beyond me, it is a challenging job, it is an interesting job working with interesting people doing interesting things. Probably exactly what I need. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being a librarian, almost unbelievably how much, an experience I have never had before. I once dreamed I would have this experience with the Seminary library. I enjoy the thought "This is my Library", "I am librarian of this library". It is a scarry thought in some ways, but in other ways, as I said to Cathy when I got home, it is a huge ego boost. I just love being able to say to people "Hi! I'm David Schütz, I'm the librarian." I don't think the workload will be too taxing, and I will be able to come home without bringing any work home with me. I feel very good about it. Probably famous last words, it is only the second day after one day's experience there after all, but time flew yesterday and I barely noticed it. It was that good.

Tomorrow is Anzac Day, and Fr Greg has me cantoring for the Anzac Day mass, and this Sunday coming will be the first time that I cantor for the Sunday Masses at Our Lady's.

So really, things are turning out fairly well. I know that both of these jobs, my music coordinator job is going to be reviewed in October and there is not an endless pit of money there to pay me forever, and my Thomas Mitchell job is only a contract until the 21st of December, so by Christmas I might not have either of them, but both of them will set me in a good place to be by the time I get there. This is invaluable experience I am receiving in the library in Thomas Mitchell.

And on the other hand, this job at Our Lady's has given me a place in the Catholic Church even before I ever suspected I have a place in the Catholic Church. And that's a really wonderful thing, and I think that has led me to the position where I can say "I am Catholic, I am no longer a Lutheran".

Today the Pastors Retreat begins out at Sacred Heart. I won't be there. Peter won't be there. We will never be there again. I've written a letter to the Pastor's Conference. It will be interesting to see whether it gets read. "I bet they won't read this letter at the conference" [Sung to Monty Python tune about singing "this song" on the radio] , but I hope it will, and a number of people know that I HAVE written it, so I will know if it is not read.


[The text of this letter is given here, although it was not in my original journal:]

To the Pastors of the Lutheran Church of Australia--Victoria District (including Tasmania) assembled at Sacred Heart, Croydon:

I am writing to give you my greetings as you meet together. I am very sorry that I am not able to join you in this retreat, but it would be inappropriate, under the circumstances, for me to do so.

I am also writing say goodbye, and to briefly give my reasons for leaving your fellowship. Many things will no doubt be said about me, but I feel that some last word from me to you is required. Good manners, let alone the debt of love to brothers with whom I have shared so much for so long, would require me to do something by way of saying “farewell”.

In my early years at the seminary, some 15 years ago, I underwent (what I have come to call) my first “catholic conversion”. At that time, I became convinced that it was essential for me not only to be a Christian, but to hold and practice the “true catholic faith”, without which I could not be saved (as the Athanasian Creed reminds us).

Although at first this conversion manifested itself in a strong desire to join the Catholic Church, I came to believe that I could fulfill my obligation to the catholic faith by being an “evangelical catholic” in the Lutheran Church. I also decided that the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” of the Nicene Creed was an article of faith rather than a visible society upon earth.

With greater or lesser success, I lived by this creed until last year. The intervening decade had seen two great changes within the LCA: the introduction of Church Growth theology and methodologies, and the movement for the ordination of women. The former undermined the liturgical life of the church, and the latter eventually posed (and continues to pose) a real threat to the doctrine and authority structures of the LCA. These issues were enough to make me re-examine my thoughts on catholicity. Two pastors especially challenged my ecclesiology, and I found that it just did not stand up. The way in which the Augsburg Accord was (or, more to the point, was not) received by the Lutheran Church also made an impression. With regard to women’s ordination, by Easter 2000 I had serious questions about a church in which it was possible to repudiate former binding doctrine and replace it with an entirely new teaching and practice on the basis of a Synodical vote.

I wish to make it clear that I asked these questions “as a Lutheran pastor”--what else was I? But as I re-read all the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue material from both the local and US dialogues, I found myself agreeing more and more with the Catholics than the Lutherans. Before long, I began to suspect that I was, in reality, a Catholic, and that my Lutheranism was in fact nothing other than an inherited context.

After the Tanunda Synod last year, I began to actively explore the Catholic faith by seeking direct dialogue with Catholic priests, in particular Fr Anthony Fisher (who spoke to this conference last year). I did not do this without Dr Stolz’s knowledge. Doubts about the Lutheran confession of faith grew--and concerns about the supposed “errors” of the Catholic church dwindled. Yet it was not until I received the call to Hope Valley in January, that I realised that I was unable to accept this call, and, conversely, that I was unable to reaffirm my call to the Knox parish. My only alternative was to resign, and I took this step immeadiately. To do anything else would have been to place my integrity in question.

Still, some have questioned my integrity. Although I have resigned my parish, it is clear that some believe that I am being duplicitous (or trying to “have a bet both ways”) by holding on to my identity as a Lutheran pastor while actively exploring becoming a Roman Catholic. I will not have my integrity questioned, especially on the basis of lack of information or mis-information. Nor can I accept the stricture of the DCC banning me from giving an account of my catholic faith to any member of the LCA (including, one presumes, my own immeadiate family). Therefore, I have determined that I will tender my resignation from the ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and membership in the LCA to the District Church Council at its next sitting, to be effective from the end of June this year.

There is grief at this decision, to be sure. I have benifited so much from our fellowship together. I have regarded many of you as friends, not just as colleagues in the ministry. I hope that where there has been friendship, my decision will not alter these relationships. At the same time, I wish you all well for the future as you minister to one another and to the flocks in your care.

Some have asked whether it is my intention to seek ordination as a priest in the Catholic church. Let me simply say that this is a very distant (if not non-existant) possibility, and that I would rather just take one step at a time. I have been graciously welcomed into the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ringwood as their new liturgical music coordinator, and I have placed myself under the pastoral direction of the parish priest, Fr Gregory Pritchard. And so it is my earnest desire to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20,21)

David Schütz

[As it turned out, this letter was not read out to the Conference in the end. It was blocked by the District President at the planning committee stage on two grounds: 1) that it was effectively a letter of resignation, and that the proper process of resignation is an official letter to him, and 2) that the gathering was a spiritual retreat and not a gathering of the Pastors Conference.]


Last night Cathy and I and the kids went around to [A.]'s home. [D.] and his family were there and the another pastor and his family as well, and so we ate drank and talked late into the night. It became one of those "giving a testimony of the faith in which you believe" situations for me. They honed in on the usual things: you know, Mary, her immaculate conception, her assumption, purgatory, the usual things, these are the things that are really beyond them. They look at me and wonder how the hell he could believe such stupid nonsense. They don't see how it fits in the wider faith, and the categories in which they think of it, no wonder they reject it, because the categories are all wrong.

[D.] at one point said: "Aw, look, this will change for you, you change all the time, I mean you never stick at the one thing", and they were making the same accusations about Peter as well. But Cathy piped up, and said: "No, I think that is unfair. You can see quite clearly that this has been a development for them, and they have taken as much as they can when they can." And in the same sense, I made it clear to them that my true conversion to the Catholic Church took place 15 years ago. And everything since then has been more or less consistent.

[D.] cited times when I had more or less supported women's ordination, and yet I think I had to be there before I could get here. I had to go through a phase of that, and yet it's interesting, we've just completed the second National Music in Worship conference this weekend, because at the last National Music conference, I remember bailing up my Seminary mentor and saying to him: I don't understand your argument against women being ordained. You have the responsibility of making your arguments clear so to everybody so that they can understand you." And he replied: "No, I don't have that responsibility. My own responsibility is to witness to the truth. I am not in charge of making other people believe one thing or another." But I can remember bailing him up and saying that I really don't understand what he was on about. And yet the thing is that from that point (what? Three years ago now?) I can clearly remember now coming back and nutting it out in my head. "How is this so? Why would God not have women be pastors?" And following through the whole doctrine of ministry, the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine that the Father sent the Son and that the Son sends his apostles in the power of the Holy Spirit, and this authorisation that takes place there, and the succession of authorization that takes place there. I can see precisely now my growing arguments and that paper I wrote on why women cannot be pastors, was all preliminary to my acceptance of the authority of the Catholic Church. Without any of that I couldn't have then built upon this. It is a little bit like the doctrine of Mary's immaculate conception. It couldn’t have been phrased in those terms until the doctrine of original sin had been worked out.

So I think there is enough in my writings to show that since those early years in the seminary when I first came under the influence of Catholic theology, that since those times right through to my vicarage years and my conflicts there, even through the years when I flirted a little with liberalism, and at that time the monastic ideal was strong, its always been that strong Catholic undercurrent. I don't think anybody looking at it objectively could really honestly say to me that this is not a consistant path for me. Of course, there will always be people who attack ones integrity. It is amazing how many say: "It won't last, etc. etc.". But where do you go from Rome? If you lose faith in Rome, you lose faith in Christ! No I can't see it.

The LCA had, as I mentioned, its National Music in Worship Conference at St Paul's Lutheran Church. I went along with Father Greg and two other cantors from Our Lady's. And that was good, for I was for the first time being Catholic in the presence of my Lutheran brothers and sisters. It was actually at the Easter Vigil Saturday week ago that I realised that I can no longer identify myself with being Lutheran. I must now say that I am a Catholic. Even if I am not received into the communion of the Church, that's who I am, that the Church I must be identified with.

Now, there are a lot of people, and they said it again last night, who would say, "But you decided to become Catholic ages ago, and you have been doing something you don't believe in since then." Yes, it is far too easy to discount the process, to think that these things should be instantaneous. On this level, I think my Spiritual Director has been better than any, where he has been able to say "Take it easy, take time." You know the amazing thing is that they criticize Peter Holmes for doing what they said that I should have done, namely the moment he realised he couldn't do it any more, he stopped, even though people had little warning. People have had ample warning of what I have done. I've been so open about it that they have questioned my integrity. It's all a bit funny.

Cathy just finished reading the "There We Stood" book last night. And she said that it has really helped to understand what I am doing. She is interested in reading a book that compares Lutheran and Catholic theology so that she can see it written out. She enjoyed reading the stories. The stories told her more than it would have been in a dogmatic book. She also said that it had helped her understand my reasons for not taking communion any more. I don't know what she meant by that. We need to talk more about that.

Anyway the fact of the matter is that we are now here. It is the Tuesday of the octave after Easter, and I am precisely at the time of the year where I was one year ago, and yet the cycle has moved on. And I am now, within 12 months - and I can hardly believe that this is the case - within twelve months of making that decision at Cowes - at the other end of that journey. It has been a "Year of Grace".

I am, and God willing, I always will be, a Catholic.

Solo Dei Gloria. Amen.

Tuesday, 17th April, 2001: I finally decide to act and resign from the Lutheran Ministry

It must be a good place for making decisions down here. We are about to leave from Cowes, just packing up at the moment, thought I'd add this note. Today I made the decision that I will write a letter to the Pastor's conference that is meeting next week to tell them that I am giving notice of my resignation as of the end of June from the ministry entirely.

I think it is important for my integrity, and because now I am in a different position from what I was three months ago when I tendered my resignation from the parish. Especially now that I have a new spiritual home, and I have a new pastor.

I want to be identified as being a Catholic, I've got a place to go to. I won't be returning to the Lutheran Church, not a hope of it. Certainly not as a Lutehran pastor (they wouldn't have me, I don't think!). This letter I'm going to write to the Pastors Conference will bypass the Distrit President and will give me the chance to defend my integrity to them, explain why I am doing this, express my grief and my sadness, and that I don't have to go through his filter.

Monday 16th April, 2001: Communion for the last time as a Lutheran

I am, of today, officially unemployed. Thankfully it is only for a week and then I start on my other jobs. I've just completed my first Easter in perhaps 14 or 15 years (I can't remember when I first took an Easter Vigil service out at St Marks at Underdale, but it was either 1986 or 1987) and I have just completed my first Easter since then without taking any services whatsoever. Mind you, yesterday, after getting back after drinks after the Vigil at Father Pritchard's parish in Ringwood, I got to sleep at about two in the morning. Then we woke up at quarter past four with Mia wide awake, so we stayed up and went to the 6:30am dawn service at St Paul's. Fraser was preaching.

I communed this morning for the last time as a Lutheran. At the door coming out, I said to [P.], who had communed me with the chalice, "You will commune me again. This is a prophecy. One way or another it will happen." I think I would describe it a little more as a prayer. Or a hope.

So after hot-cross buns we went home and packed, and got down here to the family's holiday house at Cowes on Philip Island at about two o'clock. And so the wheel comes full circle. This is where I was a year ago. This journal has come full circle too. For it was here that I made the fateful decision one year ago which has now been fulfilled. Funny how the patterns work out.

I am now no longer a communicant member of the Lutheran Church, and now I am seriously considering resigning from the ministry very soon. I think that will be a hard decision. I feel I belong to Our Lady's at Ringwood but to let go of the fact that I have been ordained aand the signficance of that even if it was only a Lutheran ordination that's going to be hard. I have to work it through. If I can make some decision within the next week (and I will talk to Cathy and others about it), then I will tender my resignation not to the District President but to the Pastors conference. I think it makes very little sense any more to hold my place on the Role of Pastors.

I would have liked to have gone to Mass today, and tomorrow morning, but there is no mass on Monday or Tuesday down here at Cowes. It's only on Wednesday and Fridays so that is unfortuneatly out of the quesiton. I did try to talk to my mother-in-law last night, and explain that I am no longer receiving communion in the Lutheran Church, and she reacted just the same as every other Lutheran has reacted: "How can you cut yourself of from Holy Communion?", with little understanding not only of the contradiction to my own integrity and my own profession of faith if I was proporting to be a Catholic and still receiving communion in the Lutheran Church. If it didn't do damage to others in the church, it would at least do damage to me.

My mother-in-law said "I think you're leaving God out of the equation." I don't think I am. I think I am quite seriously believing that God is in the equation. And whether I commune or not is not my decision. I don't take something by my own right. I don't claim the right to do that.

I think the right place for me to receive communion will be at the altar at Our Lady's, a Catholic altar if that becomes possible. If it never becomes possible I live with that. It is hard to explain to a Lutheran the grace of being in the presence of the true Eucharist, the true mass. I am not yet at a point where I am able to say that Lutherans do not have the real presence (despite the fact that they believe and confess it). Maybe one day I will think that, I don't think I do though, not at the moment. I have to develop my theology a little bit more, still at this point I know that to be in the presence of the Eucharist at Our Lady's even when I cannot commune is quite a different expereince from receiving communion in the Lutheran Church.

Strangely, I felt less sad about communing for the last time in the Lutheran Church than I did celebrating the Eucharist for the last time in the Lutheran Church. What is sad is that I can't celebrate and receive that with Cathy. That really is a great sadness for me, and I actually pray that one day it will be possible, that we will again receive communion together. One day. But if there is division in our own marriage which reflects the division that is actually within the Bride of Christ itself, my prayer now, my ecumenical work now is as much for the reunion of the Christians in the One Church.

Friday 13th April, 2001: Good Friday

This is now Good Friday, Friday the 13th of April, and I have just got back from the ceremonies at the St Dominic's in Riversdale Road in Camberwell, at the priory where Fr Anthony lives and works.

A wonderful liturgy. Anthony was an assistant along with his prior and the man I take to be their provincial who celebrated today. It was a great ceremony, went for an hour and a half, much longer than I thought it would, 3:00-4:30, the sermon given by the celebrant was wonderful. One of the images he used was that of a moth, or three moths, talking to an old moth about what love was and what it meant, and he used the image of a candle and the three moths are asking the old moth what the candle was, and the old moth says, "go and find out". And the first moth flies off and gets close to the flame and flies around it, but the heat is too much and it repels him and he comes back. And tells them of his experiences. And the old moth says, "Yes, well you have experienced something of the candle but you don't know the whole of it. You only have a small experience of it." Then the second moth heads off and gets a bit closer close enough to singe the hairs on his back and on his wings, and then goes back and tells them of his experiences. And the old Moth says "Yes, well you know something by your experience fo the nature of the candle, but you still don't know its true essence and what it really is. " And finally the third young moth flys off, flies around and gets very close, and closer and closer and feels the heat singing his back and his wings, and then in one mighty swoop trhows himself at the flame. And from the distance the Old Moth, speaking to the two young moths sees for a moment the candle light flicker and then flare up as the moth is burned. And the Old Moth says to the younger moth "He knows what the candle is, what love is, but he will never actually be able to return and speak to us of it."

The priest didn't go on to say what it meant, but there is a lot there to meditate on. Espeically how Christ threw himself totally into death, totally into love for us. Secondly, how we are called, And actually I should say, returned to speak to us of it, but the priest didn't elaborate on that fact. And then indicated that this too is how we are to experience love, by completely imolating ourselves on it, and then only will we know its true essence.

Following that there was the adoration of the cross, the corss brought in in procession, veiled up, and then slowly unveiled with the three "Behold the wood of the Cross: O come let us worship." And then something that I hadn't experienced before, which was each of the priests and one of their assistants, so that there was four of them, held a crucifix, and the congregation went up as for communion and reverenced the cross, by either touching it, kneeling, or, as most did, by actually kissing the feet of the cross, and that was quite a moving experience doing that as well.

Then finally at communion time, I went forward, and Anthony was luckily on my side, so I went to Anthony and asked for his blessing, and rather than putting the wafer, the host, that he was holding back into the ciborium and using his hand just to bless me, he actually used the wafer, holding onto the wafer, the host, he held it up to my forehed and used the hand holding the host to bless me, saying "May the body of Christ bless you and keep you". I don't remember all the words that he said, but it was a true blessing and it really touched me that he used the host itself to bless me. It was almost, almost as good as being able to receive communion itself.

There was a father sitting in front of me, four children, a boy who must have been no more than six or seven and two girls and then another boy about two. And that father on his own coped with those children marvellously for the whole hour and a half. They were getting a bit restless toward the end, but that was wonderful to see that actually, I think my book was taken by one of the girls during the sermon and he had collected them and put them back on the shelf, So that when I went to look for the book it wasn't there anymore, and I had to go and get it again, but that was just a small incident.

This morning it was good to be able to worship with Cathy, and Madeline, and Mia…

I think it is time to back track a little bit. Cathy and I went to the communion service at St Paul's on Palm Sunday evening. This was after the concert down at Our Saviour's. The concert included not only some good classics by Handel and Brahms and others but also a threnody on Good Friday, which was just beautiful and then some interesting other little bits, especially Arthur Sullivan's "The long day closes" which was quite apposite to me, ending my ministry, and finishing off with "The Holy City" by Stephen Adams, with everyone joining in the chorus "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" which weas just wonderful.

Then we went to the evening service at St Paul's at six O'clock and I went to communion with Cathy, and there was a passion play by Karen Dymke with music by Susan Westhorp. Very good, very moving. Home to accept a visit from Father Greg, came around and stayed until about 11:30, we talked about all sort of things, the conversation however eventually got to the point where we were dragging out various hymn books and saying "Do you know this song", "do you know this music?", and varying bits and pieces. At one stage I asked about the good Friday liturgy and the music for that, and I asked "do you sing the reproaches" and he answered "Well, we haven't and we're not this year, but I have a feeling we are going to next year", refering to me, of course.

Monday and Tuesday I took off fairly well, Wednesday I worked on getting things to do with the congregations in order, membership lists and those sort of things. Tuesday I went into the Chrism mass at 11:30 at the Cathedral and then spent some time knocking about in the book shops, St Francis bookshop. At the Chrism mass, I saw in the procession: Anthony (but he didn't see me), Fr Greg was being MC, so I saw him, and caught his eye at one point, as with Denis Stanley on his way out, just a nod and a smile, but of course the priests were all busy afterwards, so I didn't get to speak to them then.

Wednesday I did a whole lot of work getting stuff together about the congregations. Thursday, I spent the day packing up stuff down at Our Saviour's. Its half finished, I've got a lot of work there still packing books up and bringing them home. But I have brought some home already, and they are littered around my office here. Then I did my last devotion at Knoxville Hostel, which was my very last pastoral act of all, now I have finished. Interestingly that day I got the minutes of the latest District Church Council meeting, which in some ways are as interesting as David's pastoral letter that he sent out to all pastors and congregations, minus a few, such a me and Peter, and in that I saw the resolution regarding us. I will just read out from the minutes:

Pastor David Schütz requests a leave of absence. Resolved: to recommend to GCC that Pastor Schütz be granted leave of absence for twelve months, with the proviso that a) he not engage in any preaching or teaching in the LCA and b) that he does not seek to influence others in the LCA with his Roman Catholic views during such leave of absense.
Then there is a note saying that Pastor Schütz's resignation from the Knox/Frankston/Casey Parish is effective from the 9th of April, 2001. Then it's got:
Pastor Peter Holmes: Resignation
Resolved: that the resignation of Pastor Peter Holmes from the Doncaster Parish and from the ministry of the LCA to be effective no later than the 30th of April 2001 be accepted with regret and that the church president be informed.
And next:

Pastor [P.}: Situation is different from that of both Pastors Schütz and Holmes. Resolved that the papers of Pastors Schütz, Holmes and [P.] and the responses of their respective pastor counsellors and the seven questions that have been asked (I wonder what that is? Because, of course, they both proposed one and I proposed ten!) be refered to the CTICR for further consideration and response. The president of the district reported that he has arranged for Pastor [P.] to attend Luther Seminary for two or three weeks for further discussion and study with faculty members. The president also reported that a pastoral statement has been prepared and it will be emailed or mailed to all pastors in the district today. It is addressed to pastors and congregations and is for sharing with the laity.

Now the interesting thing here is that I have agreed to the first clause about not engaging in any preaching or teaching in the LCA, in fact, not engaging in any pastoral functions, I also agreed not to attend any pastoral conferences.

But the second thing about not seeking to influence others in the LCA with Roman Catholic views during such leave of absense, this is completely new to me, and in fact makes me stop and wonder what on earth are they talking about.

Does this mean my wife and my children - who remain members of the Lutheran Church? Does it mean people who are my friends, such as Pastors [A.] and [D.] and others who want to know what's going on, and what I'm thinking and what my ideas and beliefs are? Really, I ask you.

Maybe it means that I can't any longer participate in any of the chat lists on the internet, or maybe I can't dialogue with Pastor [N.] as I was recently with regard to Chemnitz's list of the Fathers in the Examen. Again, I ask you.

But secondly, "with his Roman Catholic views". What do they mean by that? What is a "Roman Catholic view"? This is an interesting question. For instance, the Trinity, is that a Roman Catholic view? The Real presence, is that a Roman Catholic view? Good Lord.

I know what they mean, but what a crazy thing to say. They certainly didn't ask me whether I would agree to such a proviso. So, its this sort of stuff that makes me think…

And on the other hand, the real irony here with "he does not seek to influence others with his Roman Catholic views during his absense" you can contrast that to where it says "Pastor [P.]: situation is different to that of Pastors Schütz and Holmes" Well! Have they got the wrong bloke or what? I mean there would have been no Schütz or Holmes situation if there was no [P.] in the first place to raise the questions. Well, okay, we would have got there eventually on our own, but the point being that [P.] was actually very much the catalyst in all this, as Anthony Fisher put it: "ushering us in, but not going through the door himself." Now [P.] has been very prudent, of course, he's very much continued always to be submissive to the District President's "guidance", and so the District President can't see what is happening for [P.] under his very nose.

I was thinking to myself today as [P.] was leading the liturgy, it wouldn't be unlike him, when and if he makes the decision, to go without any warning at all, not even the slightest.

And then there is that Pastoral Statement addressed to "all pastors and congregations", the one that didn't go to my congregations, didn't go to me, or Peter Holmes, and which contains false information about us.

Actually I just noticed that there were only twelve months leave granted in those district office minutes, and not the two years that I reauested. It is probably immaterial, given the fact that I will probably be resigning from the ministry long before that.

Sunday, 8th April, 2001: Palm Sunday - My Farewell Sermon

FINAL SERMON, Palm Sunday Year C
Our Saviour’s, Knox; St Peter’s Frankston. 8th April 2001
Text: Luke 23:35-38 and John 18:33-38

You may have wondered why on crucifixes the letters “INRI” are often written on the bit at the top.

The reasons for this is that these four letters are the first letters of the four latin words “Iesus Nazerenus, Rex Iudiorum”, or, in English, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.

When the Romans crucified someone they wrote the crime with which they were accused on a noticeboard and nailed it to the top of the cross for everyone to see.

So, when Luke tells us that the inscription nailed above the cross of Jesus read: “This is the King of the Jews”, he is telling us that Jesus was condemned to death because he claimed to be the King of the Jews.

Jesus was a king. When the crowds welcomed him into the capital city of Jerusalem, the city of King David, they hailed him as “the king who comes in the name of the Lord”.

Just five days later, they handed their King over to the Romans to be crucified.
But according to the Gospel of John, the crucifixion was not so much seen as Jesus’ defeat, as his enthronement as the true “King of the Jews”.

Earlier in the story, we are told that he was crowned by the Roman soldiers. Yet what a strange coronation this was: Not a crown of laurel leaves--like the emperor in Rome wore, but a crown of thorns.

Not a throne of ivory--like the throne of the emperor in Rome, but a throne of wood and nails.

The Hebrew word “Messiah” and the greek word “Christ”, both mean “the anointed one”. Jesus was anointed as King when he was baptised in the river Jordon. He was crowned by Roman soldiers, and enthroned as King on the cross.

How little the passers-by understood all this.

They shouted out: “If you are the Messiah of God, his chosen one, come down from the cross!”

And the Roman soldiers said: “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

How little they understood that this was the very purpose for which Christ came into the world: to be enthroned as King upon the wood of the cross.

This was his “hour”. This was his “triumph”. This--his suffering and death--was his “glory”.

This is why Jesus was born, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. This is why he came into the world--for us men and for our salvation.

John’s gospel--from which we will hear on Good Friday--gives us a greater insight into what it means to say that Jesus was “King of the Jews”.

There we read:

33 Then Pilate summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

In this short conversation with Pontius Pilate we learn so much about what it means to say that Jesus is “King of the Jews”.

He says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He says, that it is not “from here”. Then where is it from?

Jesus’ Kingship and his Kingdom does not come from earth, from the authority of human beings and nations. It comes from God, as he said after his resurrection: “All Authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”.

Given by whom? Not by Pilate or by Caesar or even by the Jews themselves, but by God and by God alone.

Because his kingdom is “not of this world”, Jesus says that his followers “do not fight to keep him from being handed over to the Jews.”

His followers understand that his crucifixion was not the defeat of God’s plan for his King, but the completion and triumph of all his work.

It is upon the cross that Christ says “It is finished”.

So if Jesus’ followers do not fight to keep him from being crucified, what do his followers do?

Jesus says: “They listen to my voice.”

The followers of the Crucified King listen to the voice of their King, and they do what he tells them.

And what he tells them is “The Truth”.

All he ever said and did was to reveal the “Truth” to the world. In fact, he was “The Truth”, as he once said “I am the way, the Truth, and the life”.

And so Jesus says: “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

He is the King of God’s Kingdom of Truth. He has God’s authority to command all who seek the Truth. All who seek the Truth belong to his Kingdom.

So his followers listen to him. If we cast our minds back, we will recall the day of his transfiguration,when, instead of two criminals either side of him, Moses and Elijah stood talking to him, and when God said: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.”

As the followers of the Crucified King, we are given one command: “Listen to the Truth.”

Listen to him speaking from his throne, from the throne of the cross. Listen to him,
and obey him, for he is your King.

St Paul tells us that God "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth": that is, that they come to know Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and all individuals, so that this Truth may reach to the ends of the earth: For it is the duty of every man, woman and child to listen to the Truth, and to do everything in their power
to conform their whole lives to the Truth in so far as they have come to know it.

Today we admit four young people to first communion. To you, Emily, Melinda, Alex, and Jessica, I say: / Today we confirm three young people in their faith. To you, Simon, Lindsay and Melissa, I say:

In a short while I will ask you to make a statement of your faith.

Three times I will ask the question “Do you believe”, and three times you will answer: “Yes, I do”.

To say that you “believe” means two things: first, you believe the person you are saying you believe in. You believe in the Father, you believe in the Son, you believe in the Holy Spirit.

But secondly you are saying that you believe the truth that these persons have revealed to us.

And in saying that you believe this Truth, you say that you will live by this Truth.

It is the same for all of us, who Sunday after Sunday, year after year, have stood in this church and confessed the Creed together.

Everytime we have said together “We believe in one God...” we have committed ourselves again and again to living a life that is in total conformity with the Truth we have confessed.

Because Truth is not an inconsequential thing.

If we have come to know that such and such is true, then we are obligated by our very conscience to live according to it.

We cannot do as Pilate did, when he asked Jesus “What is Truth?”

He asked the question, but he did not wait to listen to the answer.

Was he even interested in the answer?

I cannot help but feel that Pilate was a bit skeptical about the hope that anything here on earth could be called “True”.

In fact, Pilate could be the patron saint of our post-modern age, an age that believes in “relative” truth, an age that says: “What is true for you isn’t true for me.”

My friends, if my ministry here has helped you to realise anything, I pray that it has helped you to realise the danger of that attitude toward the Truth.

Sunday after Sunday I have stood in this pulpit and proclaimed the Truth to you.
I have not proclaimed “A truth”.

I have proclaimed “the Truth”, the one who said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, apart from me, you cannot come to the Father.”

When Jesus said: “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”, he faced Pilate with the inescapable fact that there is only one Truth, and that the Truth matters.

My friends, it matters how you live your lives. It matters that you listen to the voice of your King. It matters that you listen to the Truth. And it matters that you do everything in your life to conform to the Truth.

For Christ has said to us: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Do not fear the Truth. If you run from it, if you turn away from it because you fear its consequences, you will never know the freedom that Christ promises you.

About 15 years ago, I wrote five words in my journal. Five words which have changed the direction of my life. These five words are simply: “Follow truth where it leads”.
Follow the truth, even if it means that you have to sacrifice your career, your home, your friends, your family connections, your status, your income, your fringe benefits, and everything else that belongs to your current way of life, if that is the price that the Truth asks of you.

Yet it promises so much more. For the one who said “I am the Truth”, also said: “I am the Way” and “I am the Life”.

Our King, Jesus, died for the sake of the Truth. He died because he had come to bear witness to the Truth. He died so that by listening to the Truth and by following the Truth we might find the way to our heavenly Father, to salvation, and to eternal Life.

Sunday 8th of April, 2001. Palm Sunday - I Exercise the Lutheran Ministry for the Last Time

(From an audio tape recording, 10:40am)

I have just left our Saviour’s at Knoxfield where I had first communions and I am rushing down to St Peter’s at Frankston for my last service there. I’ve got confirmations there this morning.

Well, I must say that I got through that service without a great deal of emotion until during the last hymn. Maddy came running up to me at the chair and, as I picked her up, I turned to see Cathy with Mia, and I saw that Cathy was crying, and well, that did it for me too. I think it was particularly sad for her. It was a very different path to that which we thought we were taking when we were married four years ago.

Pastor D.B. came with his wife - that was very kind of him. And of course a lot of guests for the first communion as well, but also interestingly, a woman who told me she is a practicing Roman Catholic. She had come to communion for a blessing (she didn’t take communion, as a good Catholic should not have, of course) and then at the door she said quietly to me “You’ve made the right choice”. Well, I’m glad. I believe I have. That’s what I need now, some positive reinforcement from my Catholic brothers and sisters, to help me on the next leg of the journey.

A grandfather of one of the first-communicant's , from Cathy's parish, said at the door that he had enjoyed the sermon and that if I ever become a preacher in the Catholic Church that they will get a “good man”. One of the elders said she wanted a copy of the sermon.

There’s not a lot else to say at the moment. I am just running late for my last service. It is a unique feeling at this moment and it just has to sink in a little bit.

You know, eight and half years ago, or a period spaning ten years, almost a decade, this ministry has gone on, and now it’s the end, and I took off for the last time the stoles that my first wife made for me when I was ordained. Hung 'em up. Maybe at some stage I will have a chance to wear them again. I have no idea. If I ever do, it will be absolutely just by the grace of God. Just entirely by the grace of God. Any way, enough for now. "Gotta run", as they say.

I should just say that the service was packed, but that's probably got more to do with the fact that there were a lot of visitors there for first communions and everything else. But it certainly was good to go out on a full service.

[later that same morning on the way back from Frankston.]

Well there it is, that's that, I've just completed the Eucharist at St Peter's, now I'm on my way home. I stopped to have coffee with the Tiptons, just shortly. There were a lot of people there again for the confirmations, far more visitors than members. It made it hard again shaking hands at the door. I was crying my eyes out after having said goodbye to a group of parishioners, and then I would have to be smiles and welcomes for the visitors who was next in line.

How did I feel? I don't know. I wasn't really conscious of the fact that I was doing this for the last time. I wasn't really conscious of that while I was at the altar or in the pulpit. I think was conscious of it when I was doing the consecration, and realising that I would never again be saying those words over the bread and wine.

The question that was uppermost in my mind at the moment - the ultimate question is: Is this the last time that I will be doing this? Will I never return to ministry? I think I can confidently say at this time that I will never return to ministry in the Lutheran Church. With caution. I mean, "never say never" people say, but I would have to change a lot I think for that to be possible, because I know the Lutheran Church (the Lutheran Church of Australia, at least) will never change to the point that I can really be satisfied with it from the point of view of the theological questions I have been asking of Lutheranism up till now. A leopard can't change its spots, and this one isn't about to. And I think that is the point that I am simply feeling right now.

Now, I can change my thoughts, my ideas, my beliefs. That has happened before, and yet even this, I mean my real conversion, as I keep on saying to people, took place in '86 and '87, there back when we were messing about with "the ecumenical society" at the Seminary. Through people like Fr John Fleming and attendance at Good Shepherd church. That converted me to the catholic faith there and then, and it simply was a matter of some remaining questions. Now that didn't change, but I was presented with a new thing, and that new thing I instantly recognised as true.

I don't think that I could now, knowing the lie of the land, find myself convinced otherwise. It would take a new thing, something completely new. Otherwise it has just been a long, long working out of this whole business of whether or not I can be both Catholic and Lutheran at the same time. And I think the answer to that is as plain as anything to anybody.

How do I feel? I don't feel frightened. I feel fairly confident about the coming future. Cathy keeps on saying that I keep on going on about the financial challenges - I know that I am not going to have the income that I currently do have, that we're going to be a little worse off than we are now, not by much, but by some. And Cathy says, Why do you keep on saying that? You're going to be doing what you enjoy."

But I guess that as I compare, my quality of living has been important. But I'm looking forward to the challenge of the school job, I'm looking forward to the challenge of the job at Ringwood. I'm not looking forward to packing up and finalising everything here. Because I would really like a fortnight's holiday now, but I'm not going to get it. I'm going to have a lot of things that still need to be done to undo, to completely untie all the knots, or tie up all the knots or all the loose ends, in the parishes before Easter, and after Easter, I'm going to be fairly focused on moving into my new positions. So I don't think I'm going to have much time to reflect on all this.

I'm going home now. Cathy is at her parent's place with the kids for lunch. There is an Organ and Choral concert at Our Saviour's at 2:30 which is in just an hour's time. I wasn't going to go, but I am finding myself thinking now that I will. That maybe just to sit and listen some music might be exactly what my soul needs at this point in time. Father Greg is coming around tonight at about 8:30pm. We've got the Passion play thingy at St Pauls at 6:30 which we will all go to and we'll come home and Greg will be there to meet us and I will have a chat with him.

Yeah, anyway, that's it for the moment. We'll see how and where things go to from here.

Friday 6th April, 2001: In Which I Gain Employment and the District President Writes a Public Letter

The phone rang as I was just arriving home today.

“Hullo David, this is John, the principal at Thomas Mitchell Primary School. David, we'd like to offer you the librarian's position.”

Straight away I said "I'll take it” - I didn’t have to hesitate on this one bit.

Not until this moment have I realized that I made the right decision not to take the call to Adelaide. All of the fear of the last three months has gone. There is a certain fear lying ahead with this job - I mean it is one thing to say that you can do a job, and it is another thing to actually do it, but, oh my, what a job -I mean this will offer me the opportunity to actually become a librarian - not just a cataloguer. A real, proper librarian at last. When I stop and think about the time all those years back, when the principal of Luther Seminary first suggested to me that they would pay to train me for the position of Librarian at Luther, I had no idea where it would lead. It has led to this.

This is wonderful, this is beautiful, this is literally a God-send, and I thank God and I thank the intercession of our Lady and of all the saints for this. It is a grace, an undeserved grace. I had already given up on this position because I didn’t get a phone call yesterday, and I thought well, they’d offer the job yesterday and let the one who didn't get the job know today. And when I got the phone call even now, I was expecting that he was going to say “Sorry, but we’ve offered the job to the other person, but thanks for your application anyway,” but then he said “We’d like to offer you the job.”.

So, I go in at 9:40am on Monday the 23rd, and we take it from there. And that will be very interesting week, given that I start the music coordinator's job at Our Lady’s in Ringwood that same week. Unfortunately, this also means that I’ve now got to tell the Worship Resources folk that I will now be off their project after all the work they did to get me back onto it.

This afternoon we were at Pete and Susie’s for what will have been the last "Pastor’s and Wives" meeting. The group will still meet of course, although we will probably have to call it something else. We can’t keep calling it "Pastor’s and Wives" when several of us are no longer pastors. Someone suggested “People Getting Together With Their Children And Partners To Eat Around Food”, which I think is probably an accurate name for it!

Another issue tha has just raised itself, and this was only just mentioned as I was leaving from our meeting. They mentioned a letter that has been sent to all pastors and congregations of the Victorian District except Peter and I. But Peter found a copy - it came from the District President, and this is what it said:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age according to the plans of our God and Father to whom be glory for ever and ever amen.

Some events have happened in our District in recent months that perhaps are causing confusion and may be causing you to lose our trust in the gospel and in those who are called to proclaim it. Maybe some of you are also tempted to lose your trust in the Lutheran church of Australia and in those who are called to be leaders of the church. Four pastors of our district have resigned in recent times: Marco Vervoost has resigned has pastor of Melton in order to join an Anglican Catholic church as a lay person and to pursue a vocation outside the public office of the ministry. David Schütz has resigned from the pastorate of the Knox, Frankston, Casey parish and is seeking employment in his other vocation as a librarian. He is seeking leave of absense from the public office of the ministry while he tests his vocation within the LCA and his confessional position in regard to the Roman Catholic Church. Peter Holmes has resigned as pastor in Doncaster-Ivanhoe in order to join the Roman Catholic church as a lay person and to pursue a vocation outside the public office of the ministry. [N] has resigned as pastor of Hobart and has been granted 12 months leave of absense in order to test his vocation within the public office of the ministry. There is no relationship between the first three resignations and the fourth resignation.

The first three resignations have been triggered in part by the events that the last General Pastor’s Conference and General Synod. They, along with many others, were disappointed and even shocked that the Pastors Conference declined to advise the Synod on the doctrinal matter of the ordination of women. This disappontment and shock was accentuated by the fact that the Synod went ahead without that advice and debated and then voted on this doctrinal matter. The authority of the divinely instituted teaching office of the church was called into question and, some would say, even rejected. Bound up with this issue are other questions: the authority and interpretation of scripture, the authority of synod, the relationship between the public office of the ministry and the ministry of the people of God. These issues are not just Victorian District issues, there are other pastors in other districts who share these concerns. That these issues should surface in this district should not surprise us: whenever and wherever the church tries to maintain a confessional positon, there will be those who will push to the left or to the right that position. Given that the issues are concerns for the whole church, I have taken steps to ensure that the Church, through the appropriate channels, will be engaged in the discussion and in providing the necessary response. Marco Vervoost gave no opportunity to dialogue with him on these questions. I was simply presented with his resignation. David Schütz and Peter Holmes did raise the issues with me and with various public forums within the LCA. They also took their issues outside of the LCA and engaged in dialogue with the Roman Catholic church without my knowledge. A third pastor, [P.], appraised me of his concerns and kept me fully informed of his considerations and sought my comment on any steps he was considering. I appointed pastoral advisors to each of these men. I also took the step of calling a summit so as to enable these men to present their concerns to a select group of persons, and to hear their responses.

Sadly, it became clear on this day that David Schütz and Peter Holmes had made their minds up. Discussions are continuing with [P.], and I am confident about their outcome. I rejoice in the progress already made. These issues are testing our resources to the limit. We have three vacant parishes to serve with word and sacrament, we have deep theological questions to answer, and we have to try and address the variety of pastoral concerns that have emerged. In the midst of such upheavals, it is naturally for people to want to lay the blame somewhere: the church, the seminary, the president, the pastors, Some of you are feeling the testing of your faith severely, some of you are angry, some of you feel sad or disappointed, and some of you are feeling disillusioned. Some of you may even feel that the only possible response is to dump the church and to give up on God. I plead with you, my brothers and sisters, do not be bewitched by your emotions or your reason. Hold firm to the faith which has been given to you in your baptism, and which has been affirmed and attested to in Holy Scripture. Hang onto the cross with which you have been marked forever. These present trials are those which the saints of every time and every place have endured as our Lord himself says....etc.

Victorian District (including Tasmania)
Just to correct one thing in the letter above, which is otherwise accurate. The District President knew full well that we were "dialoguing" with flesh and blood Catholics (in particular, with Fr Anthony Fisher and Fr Greg Pritchard) at the time - because we told him. He was prone to selective memory on these points.

Tuesday, 3rd April, 2001: In Which God Provides

A good day, I had a good interview today for the librarian position down at Thomas Mitchell Primary School in Endeavour Hills. They are going to be interviewing someone else tomorrow, and they should know by Friday to whom they will offer the job.

If I get that job that means taht I will be starting on April the 24th, which will be good because that means that everything will be starting at the same time. Cathy has also been to visit Centrelink, and we got the surprising news just a moment ago that not only will we be getting around $220 a fortnight for the two girls, but we will be backdated payments to the tune of $4,300! Which is staggering! And will really help us along, I can assure you.

The father of the bride from Saturday’s wedding also dropped around and deposited $140 with me so we are certainly being looked after at this point at time. God is very very good indeed, and sometimes I wonder why I don’t trust him more.

Monday 2nd of April, 2001

The following is a transcript of a tape recording I made while travelling in my car. At this time (fifth week of Lent) things were getting busy and I couldn't keep up with my written diary.

It's 6pm and I am on my way to my parents-in-law. The children are there already, Cathy has been at work. Haven’t had the most productive day, I must say that I am feeling rather low at this point. I had a phone call from Peter [Holmes] earlier on today, saying that he was feeling pretty down, but was getting over that as well.

He’d been visiting South Australia for a family wedding, and there had had dinner with the Flemings, and then back again, they had had a rather tumultuous visit to Sue’s family, father and mother, things are not 100% well there, a bit of tension, challenging him as to why he has resigned and not simply taken leave.

Spent a long time today writing a reply to [a fellow pastor] on a Kurt Marquart article on the issue of Papal Infaliibility.

Tomorrow I have an appointment for a [job] interveiw. I put in three job applications last Thursday, one to Vision Australia as their coordinator of volunteers, one to Monash University for document delivery officer hoping to get a job share position, and one to Thomas Mitchell Primary School. They are advertising for a 22.5 hour school librarian’s job, a non teaching position, so the only prerequisite they had was that the applicant was a qualified librarian. So, I popped them in on Thursday.

Actually it was thanks to [a parishioner] that I even knew about the latter one because she rang up and left a message on the phone on Wednesday that she had found this in her local paper, it wasn’t a vacancy that I had found. So, I thought "Awh, what the heck", and I got them to fax through a job description for me, and then I sent off my application. The very next day, Friday, I get a phone call from the principal saying “come in for an interview on Tuesday afternoon”. So that’s all happening tomorrow. I’m not getting my hopes up like I did last time [I had an interview for a position as librarian of a branch of a local public library], I’m not banking one hundred percent on this. I’m glad that I’ve got another interview. I’d be glad to see what comes of it. It would mean that I would be in complete charge of the library there, and one or two technicians who work there as well, so it would be step into library management, even though at a very very low and basic level. It would still be a step ahead of where I have been. It would be nice to get it. 22.5 hours is three days a week which would sit fairly well with my work at our Lady’s. It won’t be a big salary--$10,000 from Our Lady’s and $21 or 22,000 from the this job, but it will put food on the plate, it will pay for rent, Cathy’s also going to Centrelink tomorrow for an interview there, and hopefully with her increased Family Tax benefit [Government payment for families with children] I think that will make a difference to our income over the next period or so, that will be some money extra, even if it is only about $100 a week or so-- that is about $5000 extra, I think, a not inconsiderable amount of money.

We’ve been looking around at houses, setting our sights at around the $160-$180 per week mark max, I don’t think we will be able to afford much more than that, but there aren’t a lot of three-bedroom houses around for that sort of money. Still, as I say, the parish has allowed us to stay in the manse until the end of June. I imagine that if I were to get this job at Thomas Mitchell, that would mean that I would be starting at the begining of 2nd Term, straight after Easter. Of course, it would be embarrasing if that happened, because then I would have to ring up John Kleinig and tell him that after all this hoo-hah that has gone on about the worship resources that I'm not going to be able to do it for them after all, but that was always the original agreement, and if they have changed their minds now, if they hadn’t gone and changed their minds on me we wouldn’t have had to make any fuss. Anyway, we will just have to wait and see what comes of that.

I went to mass last Saturday [at Ringwood], but I didn’t stop to talk to Greg afterward, just in and out. It turned into quite a big day then. Coming home, I still had to get the service order and sermon done for Sunday, then we took the girls swimming, back home we got ready for the wedding, which I did up at Martin Luther Homes, probably my last wedding, and then we came home and went off straight down to Packenham where we had the Casey farewell. I did my last service at Casey yesterday. It wasn’t a highly emotional event for me, but I think that at the end when [one member] got up to say thank you for all the work I had done, that I got close to tears then...

But--oh, I am getting tired of this, I really am, I want it to end, I want the responsibility for it to end. This week of course, first communions at Knox and confirmations at Frankston, service in both places for Palm Sunday, a big event, but afterwards it will be finished, and I will be able to say “Here endeth the lesson.”

Yeah. I think I am looking forward to the time afterwards.

I’m glad, I’m really glad that I’ve got the job at Our Lady’s. It will be chance to settle a bit. And if I don’t get the job at Thomas Mitchell, well, I’ve still got the Worship Resources stuff to go on with. So a little window of opportunity. And [the head elder at Frankston] spoke to me again after church at Frankston on Sunday and re-iterated that any time I needed work just to let him know and they would make some space for me [at his factory], which is really great.

So I’m not worried about it a lot. I rang Dad on Sunday night just to let him know where things were at. Mum has not been 100 percent well following her operation down in Adeliade. There’s no need to worry at this point.

I am a bit worried about the anullment thing. Am I worried? Is that right, or not? I rang the Tribunal on Thursday or Friday just to check up on where things are at--apparently, [a couple of my witnesses] have not done their interview yet. They’ve got an appointment after Easter to do that at Ballarat, and I just asked for an estimate of how much longer it might be, and they said, well, usually another six to eight months after the information has been collected. I have to go back in for another interview. I tell you. Patience!

[Fr] Anthony [Fisher] asked me the other day when I was seeing him how I would feel about seeing Peter received into the fellowship of the church and knowing that I couldn’t be, and I said simply: “I will rejoice for him." And I will. I really will. It would be silly of me to feel jealous and to wish that that was me, because its not me, I am in a very different situation. One thing that all the priests are saying is that in this process they are dealing with me as an individual--that I have my own individual sitation before God, before the church, and its not like anybody else's, everybody has their own unique situation and the uniqueness of my situation is that I have been ordained in a non-Catholic communion and converted to Rome, but I was married before, and I have remarried and I have children by my second marriage.

It is very difffernt situation from Peter’s. Peter’s different from me. He has been on a road of conversion all his life, from the Brethren into Pentacostalism into Evangelicalism and Lutheranism, and finally into the Roman Catholic church. They’re probably in a bit more of a financial difficulty than I am. Why should I want their situation? My own has enough riches.

How thankful I am for the skills that I have which mean that I will have a meaningful role in this parish working closely with a good and competent pastor, who could even be a good friend over time--well, who has been a good friend, at least in so far as a friend is one who stands by another.

So I guess that sums up where we are at at the moment. Anthony sent through a book today to Cathy (she wasn’t home to open it, but I could see what it was through the envelope and recognised it as a book I had seen before) called “So you are married to a Catholic?”: a humourous book explaining the Catholic faith to a non-catholic partner. Actually I had gone into Church Supplies just last Monday where I had seen the book before, hoping to purchase a copy of the book for Cathy, but I couldn’t find it, and now Anthony has gone and bought it for her--I think that is good.

While I was at Church Supplies, I bought a small rosary for Maddy, and a couple of saints cards and pictures of Jesus’ life, to put into a little box of things for Maddy to keep her amused when she is at Mass. I also bought myself a little rosary ring--a “combat rosary”, so-called because it was designed to be taken by soldiers into combat. It is a ring with ten knobs around it and little crucifix at the top. I keep it in my pocket, and it is possible to use it to praying the car or in bed--Cathy has no idea what I am doing, I don’t think she would approve very much. It is very portable. I am tryng to get into praying the rosary a bit more. Trying to do it properly. What I would like to get a hold of is a picture book with nice representations of each of the mysteries, because I am always forgetting what the sorrowful mysteries are (I can remember the joyful and glorious ones).

It is strange to think when I am praying the Hail Mary, that I am actually talking to Mary. I need to talk to Father Anthony a bit more about this, whether prayer to the saints is mediate or intermediate, direct or indirect. It is a strange notion--strangely comforting at times too.