The Portal – November 2015

This month’s The Portal Magazine is now accessible online. Just click on the front page picture below or, throughout the month, on the similar icon in the right-hand column of this page. (This will also bring you to The Portal‘s archive, where you can read past numbers.)

The Portal Nov 2015This month there are some very good arfticles, which are well worth reading.

With the upcoming publication and worldwide introduction of Daily Worship – The Missal, the Ordinariates’ own mass book, there is a very informative and encouraging article on this subject by Mgr Andrew Burnham.

It would be amiss of me, as a member of the board of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, not to give prominent mention to President Steve Cavanaugh’s interesting article on the ACS. (I encourage you all to seriously consider joining!)

This month’s group visit is to St. Anselm’s in Pembury and the report differs favourably from most of the articles in this series by being 100% upbeat, without all the fears and reservations we have become used to.

The report on the first meeting of the Ordinariate’s Pastoral Council bodes well for the future.

David Murphy

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21 Responses to The Portal – November 2015

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    David,

    You wrote (emphasis in original): This month’s The Portal Magazine is now accessible online.

    For some time now, it seems that there has been a struggle to identify the spectrum of “Anglican patrimony” that the ordinariates can preserve and share with the larger church. Stephen Cavanaugh’s article on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society provides a very insightful contribution to this discussion, saying that the society seeks to promote “the entire span of the received patrimony: liturgical, intellectual, pastoral, literary, and social” (boldface mine). This is in stark contrast to the usual pondering and head-scratching that have permeated many blog posts and comments as to what, other than a distinct liturgical tradition/use, the Anglican “patrimony” of the ordinariates might encompass.

    Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    Listing the possible areas where we might look for recognisable Anglican content is not the same as finding it.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Listing the possible areas where we might look for recognisable Anglican content is not the same as finding it.

      Mr. Cavanaugh has been a member of the St. Athanasius Community, established under the so-called “pastoral provision” a couple decades ago here in the Archdiocese of Boston, for some period of time. Thus, it seems more likely that he listed areas in which he and his community have already found valuable elements of Anglican patrimony that they already retain within the Catholic Church.

      Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    Any thoughts on why St Athanasius has chosen not to enter the OCSP?

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You asked: Any thoughts on why St Athanasius has chosen not to enter the OCSP?

      I have no contact with anybody from St. Athanasius, so anything that I say would be pure speculation. At this point, I’m not sure that speculation is in any way constructive.

      There is, however, a clear pattern: several of the communities that were canonically erected under the so-called “pastoral provision” here in the States have moved to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter around the time of, and apparently in conjunction with, the retirement of their founding pastors or chaplains, with their founding pastors or chaplains remaining incardinated in the respective dioceses to which the communities previously belonged. It seems pretty clear that the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter does not have the resources to provide decent pensions to retiring clergy yet, so that obviously is one possible issue.

      That said, Steve Cavanaugh, the president of the newly renamed Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, is an active member of the St. Athanasius Community. Perhaps he can share some insights if he sees this discussion.

      Norm.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        Yes, St Thomas More Scranton came into the OCSP from the Pastoral Provision with its founding pastor, but this is a large and self-sustaining parish. St Athanasius, which entered the Church with 29 members in 1996, has about 50 now, according to its website. Finding a successor to their current chaplain from the OCSP could be a challenge.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: St Athanasius, which entered the Church with 29 members in 1996, has about 50 now, according to its website. Finding a successor to their current chaplain from the OCSP could be a challenge.

        The exploration of options and laying of groundwork for a prospective merger at some time in the future may well be, at least in part, why the parish has been meeting with St. Gregory the Great for joint activities and such. It may also be, at least in part, why St. Gregory the Great originally moved from Beverly to Stoneham — about fifteen miles closer to St. Athanasius.

        Still, a merger will not be trivial. The two communities are still about ten miles apart as the crow flies, but it’s more like twenty miles by car and not at all convenient by public transportation.

        Norm.

  4. EPMS says:

    I would also point out that the Church does not pay clergy pensions, per se. Should a priest decide to leave the Church for another denomination after thirty years of ministry he will walk away with nothing, unlike his Episcopalian counterparts who will receive monthly payments for the rest of their lives. Of course retired Catholic priests are assured of housing, medical care, and other necessities. As long as possible they assist at parishes and receive honoraria. I am not sure, however, that these arrangements will be suitable for retired married clergy without other resources.

    • This is indeed a question that I too have been asking myself: Does excardination from a diocese and incardination into the Ordinariate really mean a loss of all pension rights? I should be interested to know whether Fr. Allan Hawkins of Arlington, Texas (formerly pastor of St Mary the Virgin, then a diocesan parish) and Fr. Jack Barker (retired diocesan priest and now working at Blessed John Henry Newman, Irvine) are still diocesan priests and whether they have not become Ordinariate priests for the said reason.

      David Murphy

      • EPMS says:

        On further investigation I see I was wrong about clergy pensions. Each American diocese is individually responsible for its clergy’s retirement arrangements, but they virtually all have pension plans of some sort. However, 121 of the 176 American dioceses do not provide “portability” ie you cannot move your contributions from your current diocesan plan into that of a new diocese. So even if the OCSP had a pension plan, which seems unlikely at this point, most currently working priests would not be able to transfer funds into it. Presumably once a priest is retired his pension is guaranteed, even if he is serving in another diocese, but no doubt there are perks such as housing and access to additional funds from charities that are only available to priests incardinated in a particular diocese.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You asked: Does excardination from a diocese and incardination into the Ordinariate really mean a loss of all pension rights?

        In some cases, yes. It varies from diocese to diocese, since each diocese operates its own retirement plan for its clergy. Under the Codex Juris Canonici, the receiving jurisdiction (diocese, religious order, or equivalent) assumes responsibility to provide for the retirement of a cleric who transfers from one jurisdiction to another.

        You asked: I should be interested to know whether Fr. Allan Hawkins of Arlington, Texas (formerly pastor of St Mary the Virgin, then a diocesan parish) and Fr. Jack Barker (retired diocesan priest and now working at Blessed John Henry Newman, Irvine) are still diocesan priests and whether they have not become Ordinariate priests for the said reason.

        Both Fr. Allan Hawkins, formerly diocesan pastor of the parish of St. Mary the Virgin in Arlington, Texas, and Fr. James Ramsey, formerly diocesan pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Texas, remained incardinated in their respective dioceses in their retirement when the parishes moved into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The circumstances were slightly different, as Fr. Ramsey retired several months during which he was technically “on loan” to the ordinariate after Our Lady of Walsingham became the principle church of the ordinariate while St Mary the Virgin formally moved into the ordinariate a considerable time after Fr. Hawkins retired due to the vacancy in the diocesan see, during which an ordinariate pastor, who also served as chaplain to the ordinariate’s community of St. Peter, was formally “on loan” to the diocese. There was a de facto merger of the two communities during this period, with the formal merger occurring after the formal transfer of the parish. The fact that the ordinariate simply did not have the means to provide for their retirement probably was a major factor, if not the governing factor, in this decision.

        The situation with Fr. Jack Barker seems to be different. He came into the Catholic Church without a congregation and thus served normal parishes of the local diocese before his retirement. The local bishop, recognizing that he is more familiar with the Anglican style of worship that is the basis of the Divine Worship liturgy, probably asked him to serve community of John Henry Newman in Irvine, California, in response to a request from Msgr. Steenson for the diocese to assist in the reception and pastoral care of a community to which the ordinariate could not supply its own clergy immediately. Thus, he is “on loan” to the ordinariate in this capacity. I don’t see any basis to expect that he would transfer to the ordinariate since he came into the Catholic Church solely to serve his present local diocese.

        Norm.

  5. EPMS says:

    Regarding a merger, like the joining of the two Philadelphia communities, this would seem to make sense, at least to an outsider. But Fr Liias is himself of (secular) retirement age, so the longer-term question of staffing will still be a potential issue.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Regarding a merger, like the joining of the two Philadelphia communities, this would seem to make sense, at least to an outsider. But Fr Liias is himself of (secular) retirement age, so the longer-term question of staffing will still be a potential issue.

      I think that a merger of any two communities that are in close geographical proximity is normally very desirable since a larger community has typically greater resources of talent and lower financial and administrative overhead than two smaller communities. A combined community maintains only one physical plant, submits only one set of reports to the ordinary, hires only one choir director and one organist, uses half as many candles and half as much incense in its liturgy, operates only one RCIA and only one spiritual formation program for children, etc., and members with unique pastoral gifts and other talents are available to serve the needs of all of the members. This frees up resources for other programming — bringing in speakers from outside the community, evangelical outreach, etc. Thus, when mergers work, the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts.

      That said, life is not always so simple.

      >> In Anglicanism, one finds a considerable diversity of custom between nearby communities — the spectrum from “high church” to “low church” and from “traditional” to “contemporary” architecture, music, art, etc., and other differences of similar magnitude — that may be too great to bridge. Such communities need time to work toward a common center before a merger can be an option.

      >> Personalities are often a significant factor. When two communities merge, they often have redundant positions that require elimination, and members often are reluctant to give up what has been their exclusive domain.

      >> Geography may be problematic. Two communities may be close enough for their members to wave to each other on the way into or out of church, but the nearest bridge across the river or canyon between them might be twenty or thirty miles away.

      >> Location also may be an issue. By way of example, suppose that one community is in the center of a major city served by outstanding public transportation on which its members rely, but with very little or no parking, and another is in a suburban location with little or no access by public transportation but plenty of free parking on which its members who live in the suburbs rely. The result is that each location is not accessible to the other congregation. A successful merger would require a new location with both adequate free parking and adequate access by public transportation, which often is very costly real estate.

      And there may be other factors that also preclude a successful merger.

      The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter has two communities that are only twenty miles apart just north of the border — the communities in Toronto and Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto — yet I’m not aware of any effort to combine them. The bottom line here is that each circumstance is different, and the leadership of the communities and the ordinariates must do what makes sense in each situation. In the Toronto area, “what makes sense” seems to be for the two communities to remain separate for now. Quite simply, it’s not an ideal world.

      Norm.

  6. EPMS says:

    Toronto was never able to sustain a “continuing” Anglican parish, but some Torontonians made the trip to Oshawa to worship at the ACCC parish there, founded in 1984. It was always small, but it had its own church and a sense of community. About a dozen members were received into the Catholic church in 2012 and one of its two clergymen was ordained the following year. It has not experienced much, if any growth, and the pastor continues on the prayer list of the Canadian Deanery owing to health problems. The congregation in Toronto, on the other hand, is a “gathered” one, most of whose members became Catholic long before AC was proclaimed. Its pastor came directly from the ACC. So its parish culture is quite different. No doubt this is why the two groups have maintained separate identities. The Oshawa group will probably disappear in the fullness of time, and any remaining members will have to decide whether to transfer to St Thomas More, Toronto or worship at a local Catholic parish. But a formal merger seems unlikely.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Toronto was never able to sustain a “continuing” Anglican parish, but some Torontonians made the trip to Oshawa to worship at the ACCC parish there, founded in 1984. It was always small, but it had its own church and a sense of community. About a dozen members were received into the Catholic church in 2012 and one of its two clergymen was ordained the following year. It has not experienced much, if any growth, and the pastor continues on the prayer list of the Canadian Deanery owing to health problems. The congregation in Toronto, on the other hand, is a “gathered” one, most of whose members became Catholic long before AC was proclaimed. Its pastor came directly from the ACC.

      Yes, I’m aware of the heritage of each.

      You continued: So its parish culture is quite different. No doubt this is why the two groups have maintained separate identities.

      I don’t understand in what respect the cultures of the two parishes are so different, but then I have no knowledge of the circumstances of either. In any case, both groups are predominantly people who left the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC) over substantially similar issues. The only real difference is that one group had formed into a community and entered a “Continuing Anglican” holding pattern years ago whereas the other community is newly assembled of those who left the ACC to come into the full communion of the Catholic Church individually.

      You continued: The Oshawa group will probably disappear in the fullness of time, and any remaining members will have to decide whether to transfer to St Thomas More, Toronto or worship at a local Catholic parish. But a formal merger seems unlikely.

      The fact that the Oshawa community’s pastor apparently is ill is very telling. It would be extremely awkward for the ordinary to replace him while there’s still a reasonable chance that he will recover completely.

      Realistically, my guess is that the ordinary will merge the Oshawa and Toronto communities when the pastor of one community or the other dies. It would be very awkward, at best, to replace the pastor of either community before his scheduled retirement.\\

      Norm.

  7. EPMS says:

    The ACCC to which about half of the current OCSP members once belonged was an inward-looking and nostalgic organization, rejecting the innovations of the ACC but dependant on them (innovations) for any new growth. Apparently Canadian Anglicans were more adaptable than the ACCC hoped, because the ACCC never grew beyond a membership of five or six hundred. The OCSP came along as a kind of lifeboat of the “in order for everything to stay the same, everything has to change” variety. By contrast, people who have left the Anglican church directly for the Catholic church are generally not interested in a “holding pattern” and in any event that is not what they found at a Catholic parish. BTW, such new growth as we have been informed of at St Thomas More, Toronto has involved the reception of people who were never any kind of Anglican. I am not saying these cultural differences are insurmountable, just responding to your query about ” what the cultural differences could be “. I agree that there is no point in suppressing a group, no matter how small (St Benedict’s in Edmonton, AB has six or seven members), as long as it is able to make arrangements for its pastoral care. The question of “replacement” is a bit opaque in the OCSP, except in the largest Texas parishes. Many communities remain without a pastor while groups that already have a pastor get a new one. Size does not seem to an issue. We are told that Mr Simington is the “face of the future” but in fact his story cannot be expected to be typical of OCSP ordination candidates going forward. Celibate candidates will have to emerge from OCSP communities.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: The ACCC to which about half of the current OCSP members once belonged was an inward-looking and nostalgic organization, rejecting the innovations of the ACC but dependant on them (innovations) for any new growth.

      That’s not entirely true. Some of its parishes had reasonable growth through outreach and consequent conversions to Christian faith. The communities that understood our common vocation as Christians to evangelize the unchurched as Anglicans or within a “continuing Anglican” body undoubtedly will continue to do so as Catholics, and those communities will grow within the Catholic Church. The rest most likely will fade in due course, unless they get new pastoral leadership with a different perspective.

      You wrote: The OCSP came along as a kind of lifeboat of the “in order for everything to stay the same, everything has to change” variety.

      That may be the misperception of some Anglicans, but it most assuredly is NOT the vision of Pope Benedict XVI or his decision to promulgate the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. Rather, the pope emeritus clearly envisions ordinariates as a means of reconciliation and restoration of full communion for Anglican and mainstream Protestant Christians — that is, a vehicle to heal schisms.

      You wrote: BTW, such new growth as we have been informed of at St Thomas More, Toronto has involved the reception of people who were never any kind of Anglican.

      Excellent! They are living out their vocation as Christians!

      I wish that more diocesan parishes would do so!

      You continued: I am not saying these cultural differences are insurmountable, just responding to your query about ” what the cultural differences could be “.

      So far, I don’t see where you have identified any sort of cultural difference between the Toronto and Oshawa communities.

      You wrote: I agree that there is no point in suppressing a group, no matter how small (St Benedict’s in Edmonton, AB has six or seven members), as long as it is able to make arrangements for its pastoral care.

      Each group is different. Most likely, smaller groups that fail to evangelize will decline, and will be formally suppressed when they fall below critical mass and thus become unsustainable unless they can merge into another nearby group. But groups that evangelize successfully will grow, and thus will not face suppression.

      You wrote: Celibate candidates will have to emerge from OCSP communities.

      That remains to be seen. The present pope has indicated a desire to relax the discipline of celibacy, but he has also indicated that he wants the initiative to come from the episcopal conferences rather than imposing change from the top down — undoubtedly because the conferences of bishops need time to deal with the practical issues involved in such a change.

      Norm.

  8. EPMS says:

    When I said “half the OCSP members” I should have added “in the Canadian Deanery”. My characterization is obviously an opinion, so we will just have to agree to disagree, but I would point out that the only Canadian OCSP congregation which has had any significant growth is St John the Evangelist, Calgary, AB, which came directly from the Anglican Church of Canada. I agree that the discipline of celibacy may be on the way out. But when a celibate candidate is the cover story under the heading “The Face of the Future” we don’t get the idea that the OCSP is going to be in the forefront of pressing for change at the USCCB, strange as that might appear.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: My characterization is obviously an opinion, so we will just have to agree to disagree, but I would point out that the only Canadian OCSP congregation which has had any significant growth is St John the Evangelist, Calgary, AB, which came directly from the Anglican Church of Canada.

      I think that the Sodality of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Ottawa is growing, albeit not as quickly as we might desire, and my impression is that the Catholic Parish of St. Thomas More in Toronto obviously has shown substantial growth to attain its new status as a parish rather than a mission.

      I don’t have numbers, but I would be surprised if the Fellowship of St. John Henry Newman in Victoria is not also growing at some rate.

      You wrote: But when a celibate candidate is the cover story under the heading “The Face of the Future” we don’t get the idea that the OCSP is going to be in the forefront of pressing for change at the USCCB, strange as that might appear.

      I think that the headline refers to the fact that the ordinariate is starting to produce vocations, and not to the fact that the candidate is celibate.

      There is one thing that is clear. While the Vatican would like the ordinariates to follow the same discipline as the rest of the Roman Catholic Church, at least in each country, the Vatican will NOT insist on this if doing so will cause an ordinariate to fail. What’s at stake here is nothing less than the Vatican’s path for reunification of the whole of western Christendom within the Holy Catholic Church — a goal that is far more important than some matter of ecclesial discipline, such as celibacy. If the ordinariates don’t generate enough vocations to sustain themselves under a discipline of celibacy, the discipline of celibacy will give way long before the survival of the ordinariates.

      Of course, the Vatican would really like each ordinary to receive episcopal ordination, without conferring episcopal ordination on married men. That is the motivation for trying celibacy first.

      Norm.

  9. EPMS says:

    The recap of the article on the OCSP “News” page specifically refers to the “Ordinariate’s first seminarian studying for the celibate priesthood”. As a recent graduate of an Episcopalian seminary I do not think that Mr Simington can be taken as an example of a vocation “produced” by the Ordinaraite. As for numbers, I do not believe that St Thomas More is in fact a parish; at least its elevation to this status has not been announced on the Peregrinations blog maintained by Fr Hodgins. Perhaps it was announced at the clergy retreat and silence was imposed so that we could read about it in the Ordinariate Observer. All the Canadian groups you mention report on receptions and I can attest that none has received more than than five since its initial formation. Meanwhile there have been funerals. Norm’s point about the relaxation of the discipline of celibacy’s being seen as a lesser evil than the demise of the Ordinariates is Interesting. At the moment the problem seems to be the uneven deployment of the OCSP’s sixty-odd clergy rather than an actual shortage (this also seems to be an issue in the UK), and at bottom this is a financial issue, in my view.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: I do not believe that St Thomas More is in fact a parish…

      It is now identified as “The Catholic Parish of St. Thomas More” in both the directory of congregations on the ordinariate’s web site and the community’s web site to which the directory links. Thus, the change of status appears to be official.

      You wrote: At the moment the problem seems to be the uneven deployment of the OCSP’s sixty-odd clergy rather than an actual shortage (this also seems to be an issue in the UK), and at bottom this is a financial issue, in my view.

      Yes, uneven deployment clearly is an issue. For better or worse, married clergy simply cannot uproot and relocate as readily as celibate clergy due to their families.

      Financial considerations certainly do enter into this issue, but they are not the whole story. The cost of moving a family is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg here. The ability of a working spouse to transfer to, or to find suitable new employment in, a new location certainly has financial consequences that would be significantly less substantial if the cleric had a sufficient salary to meet the family’s needs, but the spouse’s motivation for working often is not purely financial. One also needs to consider the disruption to children’s lives and education, especially if the children are in the middle school and high school years when they become involved in various school, church, and other activities, and a relocation could be quite problematic if any of the children are in specialized educational programmes that might not exist at the new locale. There’s also the possibility that the cleric and his spouse might need to remain in a geographical area for some period of time to care for their ailing parents or grandparents or, if some of their own children are older, to assist in the care of grandchildren. All in all, the situation is considerably more complex than for celibate clergy. Greater financial resources certainly would help, but probably would not solve the problem completely.

      Norm.

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