Message from Bishop David Moyer – April 23rd 2014

Following the news about Bishop Moyer and the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman from the Pennsylvania Ordinariate group we should perhaps read Bishop Moyer’s own words in an excerpt from his midweek message to his parishioners:

My dear people and friends of the Newman Fellowship,

Moyer Fr David… Most of you knew that today was my final Easter Mass as a priest/bishop. When I climbed into bed last night, I obviously thought of the day to come and feared that I wouldn’t make it through the Mass; but God provided an abundance of grace for me to stay focused and joyful. It was only after the Mass that the finality of it hit, as I sat in a front pew listening to the Postlude and watching the acolytes and others remove our particular Anglo-Catholic sacramentals from the sanctuary. My oldest daughter, Rachel, saw what was happening to her father and came to me with a hug and words of comfort.

During “The Watch” on Maundy Thursday, I did what I said I would do – in giving to our Lady (as Father Jay Hughes did) my priesthood. Whether I can resume it is up to God in Christ who called me to it many years ago. But in the reality of the present (and I don’t mean this to be some form of theological gymnastics for my benefit), “priesthood,” when a man is called to it, manifests itself in many ways – not just in liturgical ways, and in a designated position of parochial oversight for a particular parish church.

Priesthood is about (among other things) being the intermediary between God and man so that man is brought to God.

Since I cannot go forward in preparation for the Catholic priesthood, I have been applying to many agencies and institutions that seek “mental health” assistance. Many of you know that in the Providence of God, I did earn a Master’s degree in marriage and family counseling after seminary, and then a Doctorate in ministry which was focused upon pastoral counseling.

I pray that God will use me in some way to assist individuals, couples, and families who seek help in their particular distress with ingredients for healing, and for a new or renewed connection to the living Lord.

My final Sunday as Pastor of the Newman Fellowship will be on the Solemnity of the Feast of Corpus Christi, Sunday, June 22nd. I do believe that by that time (or much before), the Newman Fellowship will know what is unfolding for its journey forward to Eucharistic communion with the See of Peter.

… (On Sunday May 4th) Father David Ousley, Pastor of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Mount Airy, will speak to us about the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Rita and I will absent ourselves from this meeting, as we did with the meeting with Monsignor Steenson in February of 2012. We will be on the property praying.

I know, at least as much as you do, that this is a time of both grief and hope, of endings and beginnings.

I have said it in many different ways because it repeatedly needs to be said, that when things don’t work out; when what we hoped for doesn’t happen; when what has happened seems unfair; and when (going to the theological depths of things), God allows people who will not be reconciled, and who will not forgive in order to retain power over others who seek reconciliation and forgiveness…there is absolutely nothing we can do, but to pray…pray…pray. Whether others on the “other side” of conflicts see what has been going on is way beyond our control. Again, pray…pray…pray.

What you and I know is that Christ is risen! The human forces of power and authority did their best against Him. The dark forces of Satan put a full court press upon Him. But Jesus did what He came to do as the Incarnate Son of God – to take the hits and to absorb the sins, and to basically remain silent, and just do what He was to do. And what He did, in obedience to the Father, ushered in a new reality for all mankind. The new reality (in part) is that Christ desires forward movement and thinking, while Satan desires old stuff, old hurts, old thoughts and judgments to determine the day. Lord, have mercy.

A favorite hymn of mine is “God moves in a mysterious way” (#310 in the 1940 Hymnal). Each of its stanzas are rich, but the fourth very much speaks to me (and possibly to you) at this time: Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust him for his grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

Christ is Risen!

+David L. Moyer

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14 Responses to Message from Bishop David Moyer – April 23rd 2014

  1. EPMS says:

    I applaud your persistence in reading, even unto the midweek message. I was surprised to see no reference to the pastor’s departure or Fr Ousley’s upcoming visit when I went to this site; clearly I gave up too quickly.

  2. Matthew the Wayfaring Pilgrim says:

    Sad. 😦 I liked Father/Bishop David Moyer. I have a copy of the ANGLICAN SERVICE BOOK which he assembled. Way better than the 79 BCP. Hope that his people will remain on the trajectory they embarked on and not waver. I imagine without their shepherd the sheep will scatter depending on their situations. There will be some who will suffer the indignity of entering the Catholic Church with its ‘protestant’ “Mass”; others may embrace a ‘continuing’ church; still others will just give up and either sit out the church wars or find a dull, boring Sunday liberal protestant church. The comfort seekers will return to TEC with their tails between their legs.

    • Dear Matthew,

      I find the expression “suffer the indignity of entering the Catholic Church with its ‘protestant’ “Mass”” with all its quotation marks unacceptable on a Catholic site. That the Mass has experienced a reform or renewal in continuity (Pope Benedict XVI’s term) is undisputed but it is undoubtedly THE CATHOLIC MASS.

      David Murphy

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Matthew,

      You wrote: Sad. 😦 I liked Father/Bishop David Moyer.

      I think that we all share great disappointment that there are covert issues that impede ordination of Bishop David Moyer in the Catholic Church. Not knowing the details of the situation, I can’t even speculate as to any potential to resolve these issues.

      The real tragedy here is that former bishop Louis Campese of the Church of the ordinariate’s Church of the Incarnation in Orlando also came into the ordinariate as a layman (he told the members of his parish that his future was “uncertain” at the time) and Bishop Louis Faulk also has not yet made his way into the ordinariate. So far, none of the former bishops of the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the province of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) here in the States, have received Catholic ordination for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This obviously is NOT a good “visual” — it can only fuel cries of “I told you so!” from those who remained in the ACA. The only silver lining here is that the ACA is unique in this regard. The former bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church in Canada (ACCC) and the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (ACCA) who have joined the ordinariates, excepting John Hepworth, are now Catholic presbyters and all but one are monsignori.

      You wrote: Hope that his people will remain on the trajectory they embarked on and not waver.

      They have met with Msgr. Steenson personally, and subsequently with Fr. David Ousley, pastor of the ordinariate’s Church of St. Michael the Archangel that’s only a few miles away, in Philadelphia, who likely would oversee their preparation and reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

      That said, it’s not clear whether the community is embarked on this trajectory as a body or not. Hopefully, we will know more in the near future. In the interim, we all can join in prayer that they will hear the voice of God clearly, both individually and collectively.

      It’s also not clear what arrangements have been offered to this community within the Catholic Church. One option would be simply to fold into the ordinariate’s Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Philadelphia — and this would be available to individuals if the community does not do so as a body. But if the Newman Fellowship moves into the ordinariate as a community, it’s more likely that they would be offered use facilities of a Catholic parish closer to their current worship site.

      You wrote: I imagine without their shepherd the sheep will scatter depending on their situations. There will be some who will suffer the indignity of entering the Catholic Church with its ‘protestant’ “Mass”; others may embrace a ‘continuing’ church; still others will just give up and either sit out the church wars or find a dull, boring Sunday liberal protestant church. The comfort seekers will return to TEC with their tails between their legs.

      If the Newman Fellowship moves into the Catholic Church as a body, there probably won’t be as much of that as in other TAC communities that have done so. Fundamentally, the Newman Fellowship was formed with the explicit intent of entering the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (OCSP), which was being formed at the time. Thus, it’s not likely to have drawn members who would have difficulty entering into the ordinariate and the scattering will be less.

      The more fundamental question, however, is how many members of the Newman Fellowship were drawn to Bishop Faulk personally rather than to the Newman Fellowship and its intent to enter the Catholic Church as a community of the OCSP. If those drawn to Bishop Faulk personally form a majority, they may seek another shepherd — and the scattering of the sheep will begin, with those who were sincere in their desire to come into the OCSP turning to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. It seems unlikely that there will be very many who will return to the ACA in any case, as Bishop Brian Marsh, the present Presiding Bishop of the ACA, spewed plenty of venom in the direction of those who left the ACA with the intention of joining the ordinariate.

      Also, I don’t get your comment about “some who will suffer the indignity of entering the Catholic Church with its ‘protestant’ ‘Mass.'” Any mass celebrated in full communion with the Bishop of Rome is fully Catholic, and thus is not Protestant.

      Norm.

      • CatholicLeft says:

        You refer to Bishop Faulk – by which I guess you are mixing up Bishop Moyer with Archbishop Falk.
        I have prayed for The Fellowship and hope they will soon enter the Ordinariate as a community. There is no lack of priests in OCSP that could be made available to care for them if the will is there.
        Bihop Moyer has shown personal courage in his actions and, when all the legal messes are sorted out, it may well be that this will lead to his eventaul acceptance into Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church.
        As for former Bishop Campese, I am not sure what his situation is but I do know that some sort of provision had been hoped for but who knows. The real power of the good pastor is that he led his flock, as his final sermon said, to the promised land of unity. He is a paradigm for us all.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        CatholicLeft,

        You wrote: You refer to Bishop Faulk – by which I guess you are mixing up Bishop Moyer with Archbishop Falk.

        No, I meant Archbishop Falk.

        You wrote: There is no lack of priests in OCSP that could be made available to care for them if the will is there.

        It’s certainly true that there’s no lack of clergy in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (OCSP), but it’s not so clear which of them, if any, would be available to care for the Newman Fellowship. The only presbyter of the OCSP who is in the Philadelphia area is Fr. David Ousley, and he already has responsibility for the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. It’s certainly plausible that he could assume collateral responsibility for the Newman Fellowship as well, or that the Newman Fellowship could merge into the Church of St. Michael. It’s certainly possible that another presbyter of the OCSP might be able to relocate, but this is not certain. One of the drawbacks of married clergy is that the circumstances of the cleric’s family become a major consideration in these decisions. If a cleric’s wife can’t transfer or find suitable employment where the cleric is needed, there’s a problem.

        You wrote: Bihop Moyer has shown personal courage in his actions and, when all the legal messes are sorted out, it may well be that this will lead to his eventaul acceptance into Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church.

        All that I have heard is that Archbishop Charles Chaput, O. F. M., of Philadelphia — a very gifted preacher with a keen sense of discernment whose judgements I generally trust — stated that he would not grant his votum for the Catholic ordination of Bishop Moyer. His reasons for that decision, to my knowledge, were not published, and I have no knowledge of any circumstances that would motivate this decision. If you are aware of factual details, please enlighten us. Speculation, however, would be destructive.

        You wrote: As for former Bishop Campese, I am not sure what his situation is but I do know that some sort of provision had been hoped for but who knows.

        My understanding is that the gentleman is about eighty years old and that there were major shortcomings in his formal training for ministry, which apparently did not include a normal Anglican program of seminary formation. The study to make up for these shortcomings would take at least a couple years and, in view of his age (and health?), probably is not the most advantageous use of the ordinariate’s limited resources.

        But that said, I do think that some sort of accommodation to permit his ordination as a Catholic presbyter and allow him to preside and preach at the celebration of mass would be beneficial. If necessary (and I don’t know the specifics of his previous formation for ministry), this could be with the stipulation that he would not have full faculties for ministry.

        You continued: The real power of the good pastor is that he led his flock, as his final sermon said, to the promised land of unity. He is a paradigm for us all.

        Yes. Of that, there is no doubt!

        Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    As the former bishop of Rapid City, SD and the archbishop of Denver, it is unlikely that Abp Chaput had ever heard of David Moyer. One is thus tempted to believe that his unusual action in refusing Moyer a votum despite the latter’s reception of a nulla osta, almost immediately after taking over in Philadelphia, relied on the input of someone with local knowledge, and was done with the confidence that Moyer’s potential Ordinary would not be offended by this apparent intrusion into his jurisdiction. Thus we cannot see any reversal occuring as long as Msgr Steenson remains the Ordinary of OCSP. Moyer’s decision to end the standoff reflects well on him. Whether his parishioners can similarly let go of their disappointment remains to be seen. We recall that a number of parishioners left the ACCC parish in Victoria because the rector was committed to taking the parish into the Catholic church, and then another group left the parish when the rector changed his mind and decided to keep the parish in the ACCC. Presumably the group which stayed throughout were loyal primarily to the rector.

    • Terry says:

      Actually, if I remember correctly and it was some time ago so I`ve lost the link, but the reason David Moyer was refused ordination was due to irregularity in his marriage. I think I actually read it on their site so it might still be there. David Moyer even admitted it as much so there was no skullduggery involved. The last thing we want and need is a scandal which the detractors of the Ordinariate would be only too eager to use against the Church.

      And I find the comment from Matthew the Wayfarer, and it`s not the first time, very offensive.

  4. CatholicLeft says:

    I am not so sure EPMS, it would have been very difficult to have issued a Votum whilst Bishop Moyer was in the middle of ongoing and, at that time, expanding litigation. No bishop would accept a candidate for priesthood in normal circumstances that was so embroiled, not least as it might drag the whole church into disrepute.
    Bishop Moyer was perhaps ill-advised to set the lawyers on Msgr Steenson, but that followed the refusal of the votum. A time of quiet should now be embraced and let’s see where this leads us.

    • EPMS says:

      As you say, the votum was refused before the latest lawsuit, which was settled last year, but the previous history of litigation stretched back over a decade. Terry can read all the details at Virtueonline. A period of quiet has now ensued, and Moyer has apparently come to the conclusion that his future in the Church is as a layman.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: As you say, the votum was refused before the latest lawsuit, which was settled last year, but the previous history of litigation stretched back over a decade.

        Pending litigation probably is a factor in the decision, but it might not be the only factor. If the man is quick to sue, that might indicate a major intemperance that would not be desirable in a pastor.

        You wrote: Terry can read all the details at Virtueonline.

        Yes, there is an article about it.

        Of course, this does not preclude his ordination at some time in the future.

        Norm.

  5. Thank you, friends, for these comments, but I should be grateful if we could now cease this discussion, because there is a serious risk that speculation will start to get the upper hand if it hasn’t done so already.

    I think we can all agree that it is now time to pray for a favourable outcome for the Newman Fellowship and that Bishop Moyer will find happiness and blessing.

    David Murphy

  6. I have reluctantly deleted four comments which contained a lot of questions and conjecturing about the current status of (former?) Archbishop John Hepworth of the TAC. I shall willingly allow comments which can provide us with verifiable information about John Hepworth. Until such info is available, I would prefer that we do not use this blog to speculate.

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