It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired. I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue. I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe. I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great.....
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Ordinariate Rumour Mill
At the centre of the controversy is a concern that 'dark forces' have infiltrated the ordinariate structure (which as far as I know consists of only two people right now) and are conspiring to thwart the work of the Holy Father by keeping admission to the ordinariate limited so as to insure its failure. The main concern right now seems to be the notion that the nominated Ordinary and his assistant will not allow Anglican Use Pastoral Provision parishes into the ordinariate.
Okay, I know I may have oversimplified things here, but I think I captured the essence of people's concerns. So let's break this down and analyse it a bit in a logical and dispassionate way.
First and foremost, the fears are understandable. I will not sit here at my keyboard and disparage those who come up with such worries. Considering the history from which many of these people came, their paranoia is justified. Many of the Anglo Catholics entering the Church through the ordinariate have been traumatised by liberal Modernism in the Anglican Communion. In addition, some have dealt with endless politics, division and strife following their exit from the Communion and their stay in the Anglican Continuum bodies. Anglicans have been fighting a long, hard and losing battle that has lasted a generation. They are shell shocked. It is what I can only compare to a type of spiritual post-traumatic stress syndrome. They need healing. That is not going to come until they've been safe within the Catholic Church for a number of years. In addition to that, we have those Anglicans who entered the Catholic Church some years back. They too still carry some scars left over from their experience in Anglicanism, plus some minor battles with Roman bishops hostile to the Anglican patrimony. As the creation of the U.S. ordinariate for Anglicans gets under way, it is understandable that tensions would arise. There is a lot at stake here, everyone knows it, and above all, people just want to make sure this thing works! So it only makes sense that this period of silence might be interpreted in a negative way, especially when some have been told to remain silent, and others have been told to wait on their local bishop.
Second, let us accurately assess the situation. Both Father Jeffrey Steenson (the nominated Ordinary) and Father Scott Hurd are former Episcopalian priests who entered the Catholic Church through the Pastoral Provision. Granted, neither of them adopted the Anglican Use as their speciality, but neither of them were ever required to. That doesn't mean they have a problem with the Anglican Use. It only means that it didn't suit the type of ministry they pursued. It should be noted however, that both men were nevertheless Pastoral Provision priests, and that alone PROVES that the ordinariate is open to priests from the Pastoral Provision. It proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt actually. For if the ordinariate is not open to Pastoral Provision priests, than neither Father Steenson nor Father Hurd can be a part of it. Thus the ordinariate does not exist! In fact, however, it does exist, because Pope Benedict XVI says so. Therefore we must conclude that the notion that Pastoral Provision priests cannot be part of the ordinariate must be false. The very existence of Father Steenson and Father Hurd in the ordinariate demonstrates this beyond any shadow of a doubt. Furthermore, by nominating a Pastoral Provision priest as Ordinary, the Holy Father has himself set the precedence of admitting Pastoral Provision priests to the ordinariate first, before all others, and demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that the ordinariate is open to them.
Third, the headquarters for the U.S. Anglo Catholic Ordinariate has been selected. It is Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church in Houston Texas. What is this parish? Why it's an Anglican Use Pastoral Provision parish of course! So if it is true, as some have suggested, that Anglican Use parishes will not be permitted into the ordinariate, are we then supposed to believe that the Ordinary has decided to set up headquarters in a parish that he cannot admit to the ordinariate? Are we supposed to believe that the Ordinary will set up his cathedral in a parish not even owned or controlled by him? Are we mad!?! Of course Our Lady of Walsingham parish will become part of the ordinariate! To think otherwise is insane! Yet once again we have a precedence here. The very first parish admitted to the ordinariate will be -- are you ready? -- an Anglican Use parish of course! If this is the precedence, indeed if this is the pattern already established, than it looks to me like the Anglican Use parishes are first in line.
Fourth, based on the rumours that I have heard, and I am open to correction here, it sounds as if the nominated ordinary is simply trying to engage in proper episcopal protocol. Currently, Anglican Use parishes, missions and societies are owned by the bishops of the respective dioceses they find themselves in. Therefore, the bishops of those dioceses are in control. That means they must ask permission to become part of the ordinariate, and wait until such permission is given and the Ordinary (Father Steenson) invites them to become part of it. This is nothing more than showing respect to those with authority, and it is a central part of being Catholic. If you don't like episcopal authority than go be a Baptist! This is how it works in the Catholic Church. One need not worry about those bishops being unfriendly to Anglican Use groups, because if they were, such groups would not exist in their dioceses. They would have forbidden them. So here is the good news. Cheer up! If you're part of an Anglican Use parish, mission or society in your area, than chances are you already have a bishop who is friendly to the Anglican Use tradition and is more than likely willing to cooperate with the pope's Anglican ordinariate vision. If you're a member of a traditional Anglican parish seeking the ordinariate, than have no fear, you were who this ordinariate was designed for. As for those of you who have nothing, but have been 'watching from afar' as they say, than you might have to wait until an ordinariate mission is available in your area, or else you can apply to the ordinariate and request one.
Now while we are waiting is the time to talk to your pastors. If you're part of an Anglican Use parish, mission or society, ask him to petition your bishop to be transferred to the ordinariate, assuming that's what you want. That's really all there is to it. Once the petition is made, you need to give a little time for episcopal procedures to take place. Then wait and see what happens.
For now, let's put aside the rumour mill. It hasn't even been a month since Fr. Steenson was named Ordinary. He's still trying to put things together I'm sure. He probably hasn't even finished moving his office yet. Relax. Give things a little time to work.