19 June 2012

Once more with feeling

Oh dear.  Well, here it goes, once more... in four part harmony... with feeling:

Which part of the world is called to mind when one hears "Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham"?  The answer: England  or perhaps Britain or the British Isles.  Self-evident, no?

Which part of the world is brought to mind when one hears "Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross"?  The answer: the Antipodes, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Which part of the world is brought to mind when one hears "Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter"?  The answer: ??? One could be forgiven for saying Italy or Antioch.  Is there anything about it that obviously and clearly says to you "North America"?  No.

Is my point that it is a bad name? No, it is a perfectly fine name, but it lacks the sense of place that is to be found in the names of the other two Ordinariates at this point.  So please consult the faithful before handing down a name, and please take care that the name has local meaning in terms of the Anglican heritage of those coming into the Church.  If one day there were an Ordinariate in East Africa, one can imagine it being named the Ordinariate of the Light of Christ ... the prime image of the East African Revival and thus locating the name with the history of Anglicans in the region.


A word about my Triumvirate post:   I noted the need for the Ordinary as the final voice in taking decisions.  I expressed the considered opinion that the Ordinary needed "brothers" in the mission to share in the responsibilities.  I praised the appointment of two to serve as Assistant to the Ordinary in Britain.  It was a wise move and one that deserves application abroad.  

I referred to Msgr. Newton's organisational plan as a triumvirate though it is not one by way of Roman definition.  What it does is to gather three former bishops to do in the UK what one former bishop is charged with doing in all of North America.  Would it not be wise to expand the leadership base in North America?  Is it not self-evident that what Msgr. Newton began in England is worth applying or replicating in other Ordinariates?

My observation is that the Ordinariate in the USA is simply not furnished with enough staff or provisions and resources.  When I live in Houston and can't get a meeting in person or a phone meeting, there is a problem.  So let's look at the issues beginning with the vast territory of North America that is covered by the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The situation is that there are parishes in Canada who form a deanery.  A Msgr. "Canada" for that deanery makes simple sense.  Perhaps one should consider having one of the two former bishops like Fr. Peter Wilkinson in Victoria and Fr. Carl Reid in Ottawa empowered territorially at an equivalent rank to that held by the Ordinary (even if at this point we are simply talking about honorifics and sort of mitred non-archpriests) .  The Canadian faithful can best explore this, but I feel strongly that they deserve something more than the Deanery alone.  

[Now I don't like making more of the title "Msgr." than it is, but for us -- since our married priests cannot become bishops -- the title Monsignor comes to mean something more.  It now speaks of jurisdiction among us in the ears of the ordinary faithful, and that is why it would be wise simply to run with it till a stronger structure emerges.   But I do wonder, is "archpriest" not appropriate for the Ordinary and those of his rank?  Could the idea not be considered before being batted down by reason of fear of offending Rome?  Fear?  Offending Rome?  Come on, this is a joint effort now or it is nothing at all, and the answers could rise up from the laity... yes, even if one or two come from an annoying lay hermit in Texas.]

 Not all of the North American Anglican diaspora in the Catholic Church is in the U.S. Ordinariate nor will they be.  The Anglican Use parishes will have more members than the U.S. Ordinariate does once the Ordinariate has all of its priests and communities in the door.  North America will have more "Anglican Patrimony" parishioners than the UK.  Will that always be the case?  Perhaps not.  But it is right now, and it would be helpful in a thousand ways to create a Msgr. "Pastoral Use" from the senior priest of the Anglican Use parishes that are not now and do not currently desire to be in the Ordinariate.  

The senior priest as Msgr. "Pastoral Use" could serve as a point of pastoral contact for all of the former Anglican priests who are not in the Ordinariate and are serving in Latin rite dioceses.  It would also lessen the burden upon the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, the marvellous Most Rev. Kevin Vann and would provide for a kind of network for the Pastoral Provision clergy that has never ever existed.  

It is also possible that a senior priest like Fr. Eric Bergman, the great missionary priest, in Scranton, Pennsylvania who brought a parish into the Catholic Church would be a wise choice for a Msgr. "Eastern North America".  He may not feel called to such a thing, but he is one of the best priests in the Church IMHO.  And long before there was an Ordinariate he was travelling the country rallying the troops and encouraging communities to form.

It seems that at the present Fr. Entwistle in Australia has not been made a Monsignor of the Protonotary Apostolic or something like that.  I do not know if that will change or if it is the fault of news releases that news of such an elevation has not been made.  If he has not been, one wonders why?  Perhaps it was seen as too alien a title for Anglicans?  I don't know.  I hope not as it does give a distinction to our Ordinaries that ordinary people need.  The truth is we need them to be bishops but the Holy See could not manage that sort of innovation.  So as priests who are Ordinaries who wear the mitre and carry the crozier -- both of which are dearly important to us ordinary folk -- that little honorific 'Msgr.' means a great deal.

I suggested that the Torres Strait faithful deserved their own Msgr. "Torres Strait".  If you know the wonderful people of the Torres Strait and how badly they have been treated at times, surely their heroic clergy leaders deserve such a distinction and responsibility.  Any ordinary can put together an informal structure, but how much better to have those things come from the Holy See.  And with Fr. Entiwistle on the Western coast of Australia... would it not make sense to have another assistant Msgr. from Victoria or the East of the country?

We only get to the stage of having an Archbishop or Metropolitan once their are bishops, and since we don't even have bishops it makes common sense to treble the numbers with jurisdiction or responsibilities at the top as is the case in the British Isles.  I am a great fan of Msgr. Newton.  And I am likewise enthusiastic about Msgr. Broadhurst and Msgr. Burnham.  How wonderful to have Msgr. Broadhurst to take charge of the Ordinariate financial portfolio and Msgr. Burnham to take some pastoral responsibilities and liturgical responsibility for the Ordinariate. 

The needs in the other Ordinariates at the present moment are various.  They in part have to do with existing communities of the faithful and in part with geography.  If there are better ideas, I am glad to see them come forward.  I think a huge mistake for the USA is to develop assistants for the Ordinary who are former Anglican priests who have only just been ordained as Catholic priests this year It is already an issue for many that Msgr. Steenson only entered the Church in 2007.  Let's not exacerbate bad feelings by making neophytes who did not previously have jurisdiction new assistants to the Ordinary.

PS. I prefer to use "Msgr." for Monsignor in the North American fashion because "Mgr." is used more predominantly to mean "Manager".

+O Sapientia!