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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ordinariate Buzz

It is being noised Jeffrey Steenson, the former Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande in the Episcopal Church, who was received into the Catholic Church in 2007 and is now a priest, will be named Ordinary of the American Anglican Ordinariate on January 1, 2012.

Should the buzzings be true, Fr. Steenson would make an excellent choice; his credentials are solid.


Anonymous said...

There are many who are very close to the situation that feel that another person who is more in touch with those entering the Ordinariate and has had many years of experience and excellent credentials to lead the Ordinariate, would be the best choice to see the Ordinariate grow.

Anonymous said...

Whomever the Holy Father provides will be fine. Of course, the one alluded to in the previous comment is a fine man as well and will continue to lead through his example and wise counsel. Dean of the Council of Clergy by acclamation would be great.

Anonymous said...

In fact, this bit of "news" is an open secret in Ordinariate circles, the result of an incredible lack of indiscretion on the part of the representative for the Ordinariate in the Archdiocese of Washington, the presumed Ordinary himself, and his would-be handlers. The lack of discretion alone should make the Holy Father think twice, if indeed the news of this appointment is true.

Those of us closest to situation, most dependent upon the Ordinariate's success, now fear a crippled, weak Ordinariate, nominally led by a puppet of a certain Honored Priest of The Work who has long labored to undermine the Anglican Use and Pastoral Provision and certain American bishops who seek to contain -- and then smother -- the new structure before it can get off of the ground.

While the priest in question (the presumed Ordinary) is unquestionably Catholic and a good man, does it make sense that one who has been Catholic but a few years, has almost no pastoral experience in the Catholic Church (having no parish or community), and immediately prior to his conversion was a bishop in the Episcopal Church of the '00s, complete with women "bishops" and sanctified sodomy, should be selected over several other excellent candidates who have long been Catholics and committed to the preservation of the Anglican Patrimony in the Church?

There is strong reason to believe that the Archdiocese of Washington and the CDF have not provided to the Pope all of the information necessary to make the best decision in this matter. Indeed, it is starting to look rigged: an Ordinariate tailored to suit the tastes of the American bishops and not the needs of incoming Anglicans.

Thousands of souls hang in the balance and the situation looks dire. All who desire the success of the Ordinariate in the USA should redouble their prayers.

I regret that the likelihood of unjust retaliation and the jeopardization of fragile Anglican communities forces me to sign as Anonymous, but I trust the content of this comment will stand on its own.

Woody said...

I must add a few things here, in view of the previous comments from one, who, I suspect, is a person whom I know and greatly respect and admire.

Nevertheless, that said, I have to testify that I have come to know the Honored Priest of The Work who is referred to, and have found him to be a fine man of broad culture, a great spiritual director and father confessor, and one who in fact has spent a lifetime working hard for the good of the Church and the souls with whom he has come in contact. While I might originally have shared the speculations expressed in the previous post, after getting to know him, I no longer do so. I discussed things with him at some length on more than one occasion, and found that he always acted for the best of the people involved and the Anglican Usage, as he understood it to be.

Speaking only for myself, and certainly not for him, I would just note that to begin with, the AU was defined in a rather narrow manner, so that especially those with a canon law background could very easily, in the best of good faith, conclude that it was to be a rather circumscribed situation, meant only for, strictly speaking, those of former Anglican background. The particular situations that I have heard about also suggest to me that what was foremost in mind was the good of the person involved, including perhaps an assessment of the particular person that suggested that he could do a lot for the larger Church than just staying in the, let's face it, rather small world of the AU.

In fact, if memory serves, that was exactly the view taken with respect to Fr. Steenson: that he had so much to offer to the broader ecclesial body such that it seemed (and here I especially use my own phrase) a little suboptimal for him to dedicate himself to the Ordinariate. I seriously doubt that Fr. Steenson is anyone's pawn, but if he does keep in contact with our Honored Priest (something that I have no knowledge of), it would, I am sure, be to his benefit.

Finally, given the way Rome dealt with the Anglicans in the UK, it would seem to me to be altogether in line with that for Fr. Steenson to be the ordinary, for the reasons stated in the previous post, but with a more optimistic reading: as a former Episcopal bishop, he would represent the kind of stability and achievement in the largest Anglican pond in the US, that Rome seems to look for. The parallel with Msgr Newton would be almost exact. I also know Fr. Steenson a little bit, and am sure that he will be a great Ordiary if he feels compelled to accept the position.

Matthew M said...

Bovina Bloviator - You have an udderly discudsting blog title!
All this aside, Back in the summer I put forth the possibility that former Episcopal Bishop jeffrey Steenson would be the Pope's man for the U.S. Ordinariate. Realizing that the overwhelming majority of interested parties would hope that it would be the priest who has been at the forefront of the Anglican Use in America. On a personal level I agree and understand this but I think in the larger picture this is what is best. I think said Priest would agree.

Anonymous said...

If the ordinary is indeed Fr. Steenson, there are many who will stay away from the ordinariate like the plague.

Western Rite Orthodoxy may be the only choice for many if Steenson is selected.

Anonymous said...

This entire "development", besides reaffirming (if anyone doubted!) that invidia clericorum is a vice far more rampant amongst the clergy than any other, confirms an ancient axiom: you can be popular, as long as you are incompetent; or competent, as long as you are unpopular. But if you are both popular AND competent, you're a dead man in Catholic hierarchical circles. A college friend of mine once worked at a major market Top 40 radio station. Visiting him, I was struck by the sign over the DJ's control board: "TRITE. BRIGHT. INOFFENSIVE." OK for a Top 40 station, but not exactly what one looks for in a church; and a far cry, indeed, from "Go ye forth, therefore, and make disciples of all nations ...." God bless the poor Holy Father, who has such wonderful inspirations and good intentions, and has to rely on such a mediocre - if not outrightly hostile - bureaucracy to implement them.

Anonymous said...

It is often the case that the cleric who many think will be the ordinary is in fact not the Holy Father's choice for the U.S. ordinariate. No matter the speculation, the ordinary-elect will be revealed in January 2012. It will benefit the U.S. Ordinariate if the ordinary-elect is a celibate priest who can be elevated to the episcopacy and lead the U.S. Ordinariate into the vision set out for it in the Apostolic Constitution to receive groups of Anglicans and their clergy.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Holy Father is both popular and competent. I'm pretty sure that our new ordinary will be too. I hope that all of us will leave reflexive dissent and disobedience behind us in TEC, ACA, TAC, or wherever. That is a part of Anglican patrimony we can all do.without.

Anonymous said...

The Holy Father is indeed competent. If you think his decision to establish Anglican Ordinariates is universally popular, however, then in the interests of maintaining a grasp on reality, you'd best disabuse yourself of that fantasy.

Just as Blessed John Paul II's decision to establish the Pastoral Provision was not received with delerious joy by the US bishops - I know, I'm a cradle Roman who was very much involved with the Pastoral Provision's implementation - so Pope Benedict XVI's decision is a source of annoyance to many of them who 1) don't want more "conservative" / "traditionalists" coming in; 2) don't want to offend The Episcopal Church; 3) don't want married clergy (or at least married conservative clergy; 4) distrust any variation in liturgy as "divisive" (that's a quote, by the way).

God blessed and prospered the work of the Pastoral Provision; but the "cost of discipleship" for those coming into the Roman Catholic Church in the United States was not insignificant. I have no doubt that God will prosper the Anglican Ordinariate, but - please - remember that, in the Roman Church, though ordination (consecration) does make men bishops, it does NOT make them angels or even saints. Part of your extraordinary patrimony is Dom Gregory Dix. Remember his salutary words about those whose coat-of-arms feature the double cross and the crook! Through humor he coped with those who wore the mitre and cope! Keep a sense of holy humor, but for mercy's sake be realistic. Expect too much of cradle Romans in the episcopacy and you may be sorely disappointed. Expect nothing, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

And the Ordinariate has been decreed by Peter ... Against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail; far less a few less than extraordinary American bishops ....

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to us the meaning of "Honored Priest of The Work"?? Are you talking about Opus Dei? Something else? Thanks.

Anthony said...

One very telling comment which has stuck in my mind so clearly, was asked by a Catholic Bishop at the U.S. Bishops' Conference back in June. When speaking of future parish communities in the Ordinariate, he asked Cardinal Wuerl, "What if one of my people stumbles into one of these parishes, and likes it?" To which Cardinal Wuerl replied "It hasn't been a problem up until now." This sums up both the stupidity and non-pastoral nature of some of these characters with whom we have to do.

Anonymous said...

Let me say something about the Rev. Dr. Steenson. I do not wish to speculate about whether he will be the ordinary. But I feel the need to say something in his defense. I have know him for 23 years. When we first met he was rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont. He had previously been curate at the Church where I was seminarian, and he was well liked. This was a 1928 prayer book moderately low church kind of place. Rosemont was an Anglo-catholic parish. He then went to St. Andrew's Ft. Worth, another 1928 Prayer book parish, when I was in Fort Worth. He was also friends with Philip Edgecumbe Hughes, whom I greatly admired. He is the best educated of all the possible candidates, and very intelligent and insightful. In my experience he is a devoted family man, and a good and principled pastor. He also has a breadth of experience with conservative Anglicanism and a sympathy for the ordinary laity which has no equal in my experience. I do not think he will be a cypher for anyone, and, if he is chosen, I have no doubt he will be a good pastor to the priests and people and diligent in looking after their patrimony. I also think that he would also be able to deal with the USCCB and the other bishops very well, better in fact than anyone else I can think of.

David Mills said...

Reading most of these comments, petulant, angry, and hysterical as they are, all offered by people hiding behind "anonymous," makes one wonder why Fr. Steenson would take the post. I've known Jeffrey for almost 35 years, and he would make an excellent ordinary. Whether that would be the best use of his great gifts for the wider Church is another question.

Some would-be members of the Ordinariate, like several of the commenters here, should think about how they sound. They speak like people who don't really want to become Catholics unless they get the deal they think they deserve, and are anxious and angry that they might not -- which is to say, they sound as if they don't want to become Catholics.

Lines like "the stupidity and non-pastoral nature of some of these characters with whom we have to do" and "starting to look rigged" are not the words of people who come with proper gratitude to accept the Church's gracious offer -- an offer the Church had no reason to extend other than her care for hurting people outside her borders who needed some help in crossing over. Some of these commenters are snarling because the lifeboat (to mix the metaphor) isn't to their taste.

In any case, the situation isn't so dire. "Thousands of souls hang in the balance"? Hardly. Every single one of them can enter the Church if they need to to save their souls. It's very easy to do.

They will not regret it, even if they have to leave some things they like behind. Lots of us have done so and remain eternally grateful to the Church for taking us in and daily conscious of the extraordinary blessings of being inside and not outside.

Richard Griffith said...

I would link a couple of thoughts...the riches of our Anglican patrimony, our Lord's thoughts on the rich man and the eye of a needle, and "anyone who wishes to save his life will lose it"

The door is open to join Christ's church and Christ's vicar had created a way to do this that allows us to retain much of the wealth of our heritage. Please God we do not turn away because of our inability to be humble.

Anonymous said...

What bemuses me is the fact that he - like most Americans - have no qualms leaving the Anglican Church because of the ordination of gay men and yet he is obviously obese. This is a clear violation of biblical teachings. Why is there one rule for gays and a different one for what used to be called gluttony but is now standard in fat and immoral America?