Friday, July 31, 2015

More Community Dissatisfaction

with Mrs Bush and the appointed vestry. ("Bishop:" Williams is nowhere to be seen.) Based on references in the July 27 Ledger piece, I went looking for other news and found an earlier article from May 28, "With Citibank Move Will Community Space Be Gone?"
LOS FELIZ—At the red brick Citibank building on Hillhurst Avenue at Finley Street, community meetings have regularly been held for 20 years on the second floor. Now, with a shift in tenants looming, the future of the meeting space is uncertain.

Due to a recent downsize, as more banking is done online or via mobile apps, Citibank is moving its Los Feliz branch to a smaller space currently under construction just down the road at Russell Street. A hearing regarding the possible demolition of two homes near the site, to be used for bank parking, is scheduled for [the] first week of June.

A number of local groups use the second floor space, as well as the LAPD, which uses it for a community policing center. It is not entirely clear how this arrangement arose, but any agreement was based on handshakes, and the St Mary's rector, wardens, and vestry own the building and have final say on its use. Mrs Bush, head of the occupying force, is currently the person to see.
According to St. Mary’s church governing board member Marilyn Bush, negotiations are underway for a new lessee of the building. It remains unclear what will happen to the upstairs community room, she said.

Bush is currently heavily involved in negotiations between prospective tenants and the church. She said juggling the partitioning of the space and the church’s fiscal needs has become a challenge.

Citibank will move into the new smaller branch in October. According to Bush, the transition to a new tenant for the old Citibank location will likely be immediate. She said she would not rule out a second lessee renting the second floor space.

Anything other than that, she said, is “fiscally not responsible.”

With BevMo! pulling out of the deal, though, it's unlikely that transition to a new tenant (if one can be found) will be "immediate".

It's worth noting that the May 28 story makes no mention of the pending legal issues, currently likely to go to trial this coming September. In the view of informed observers, with a new trial following the reversal of Judge Linfield's original ruling, legal precedent makes it likely that the property will be returned to the control of the elected vestry.

We're talking about a lease with over $20,000 monthly rent. Nobody is going to commit to something like this with control of the property up in the air, which is why BevMo! suddenly pulled out after belatedly learning of the lawsuits. But Mrs Bush and the appointed vestry appear to be desperate for money -- so desperate that they'll play games with the liquor license process and, apparently, conceal the facts of the legal situation from the prospective tenant.

As a fan of true-crime TV shows, I've simply got to wonder what else is going to come to light here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

St Mary Of The Angels Back In The News

The latest issue of the Los Feliz Ledger carries the story Church Schism Spills BevMo!, which is the next step in the process I mentioned two months ago, in which the Citibank branch that had paid the parish $20,833.33 in monthly rent, the income that kept it afloat, planned to vacate the premises and move down the street.

The story is remarkable for what it reveals about Mrs Bush and the other dissidents -- for starters, they kept their negotiations with BevMo!, a chain discount liquor store, under wraps. Nothing new there, but the community is unhappy.

LOS FELIZ—Within the space of a couple of weeks, a chain liquor store has applied for and pulled an application for a license to sell liquor on the site of the soon-to-be vacated Citibank branch at Hillhurst and Finley avenues.

Due to numerous complications, BevMo is no longer seeking the commercial space, which it had been in negotiations for during the past several months.

As local property owners ourselves, my wife and I feel the last thing the area needs is yet another liquor store. Mrs Bush, long a key member and sometime President of the Los Feliz Improvement Associaiton, nevertheless appears to have been behind an effort to get the store's liquor license approved on a hush-hush, fast-track basis.
Some local business owners, including Kamy Azizi, the owner of Hillhurst Liquors [about a block away from the Citibank site], questioned when BevMo had applied for the license as he only learned of its intent to move into the Citibank space after a notice for its application for liquor licenses was posted July 1st on the bank’s window.

According to Carr [an official with the state alcohol beverage control board], when an applicant files for a liquor license a city’s police department, planning department and city council are notified. Sarah Dusseault, Chief of Staff for Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu said the council office, to date, has not received such a notification. Ryu was sworn into office July 1st.

Several community boards, including the Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District and the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, apparently kept the application quiet and deferred action.
“It’s just mind-boggling that they kept this so quiet,” said Azizi. “If you were smart, you would talk to the neighborhood first, get them satisfied, explaining to them what was going to happen. Maybe then you have a chance. But when you go behind the scenes and you do this kind of thing, everybody is against you.”
Mrs Bush is an extremely influential person in the Los Feliz area, not just among the dissident group at St Mary's.
Azizi is equally upset with St. Mary’s of the Angels senior warden and Los Feliz resident Marilyn Bush.

Bush has been the key person in charge of securing a new lessee when Citibank vacates the site Oct. 16th for a smaller location on Hillhurst at Russell Avenue. She has repeatedly told the news media and others the church’s financial interests come first regarding who it leases the building to.

Wait a moment. The church owns an adjacent commercial property and decides to lease it to -- a liquor store? Indeed, the BevMo! application suggested some type of tasting room or bar might also have been involved. But according to Mrs Bush, the church's financial interests come first. (I suspect Andy Bartus would cry "Amen!")
The area in which BevMo wanted to locate, according to the data, is allowed two licenses for businesses to sell liquor to take away, like a liquor store or supermarket and one license for consumption on site, meaning a restaurant, bar or tavern, for example. In the area in question, there are currently four approved licensed liquor stores or supermarkets and 20 restaurants, bars or taverns.

Additionally, liquor licenses can be fought, and successfully denied, if they are within close proximity of a school or church. BevMo’s store would have been directly next door to St. Mary’s and in a building on property the church owns.

However, it appears that the community is not the only group Mrs Bush kept in the dark:
According to sources, representatives from Bev Mo, only became aware of the church’s complex and outstanding litigation late in the process.
Welcome to the club!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reasons For The Disappointment of Anglicanorum Coetibus

Here's what I think I've learned over the nearly three years I've done this blog:
  • Anglicanism is a Protestant denomination, although as the knowledgeable ex-insider Frederick Kinsman said, it's less a set of beliefs than a policy (of wide toleration). Anglican toleration has resulted in three strains, High Church, Low Church, and Broad Church. The differences are wide enough that it's nearly meaningless to give "Anglicanism" a concrete definition. Although there have been limited defections from the dominant Broad Church strain along the existing fracture lines since the 1970s, these haven't changed the nature of the mainstream denomination. In addition, it has been a miscalculation to believe that any of the groups that defected would wish to become Catholic in any significant numbers. Whatever Anglicans are, and however dissatisfied smaller breakaway factions may have been with the Church of England or The Episcopal Church, they have mostly remained Protestant. Even self-identified Anglo-Catholics or Anglo-Papalists, tolerated within the Anglican scheme, have tended not to become Catholic via any path.
  • At the same time, as I've begun to look more closely at the Ordinariates, I've come to realize that, small as they are, they are individual entities. Thus it's incorrect to say, as Mr Murphy recently did, that "The Ordinariate responds to now-bishop Philip North". He quotes the comments of two priests in the UK Ordinariate, neither of whom claims, as far as I can tell, to be speaking on behalf of Msgr Newton. This sort of linguistic imprecision is typical and reflects the tendency to reify an "Ordinariate", which is actually a collection of three jurisdictions that are widely scattered, small in membership, and disparate in their makeup.
  • It can't help that people like Mr Murphy (who has taken on the role of de facto public relations flak for the Ordinariates, much in the way that Stephen Smuts used to be for the TAC) seem to regard membership in the Ordinariates as a sort of exclusive club. Today he asks plaintively, "Is there really no way for a “regular” Cradle Catholic to join the Ordinariate?" He goes on,
    It is not evident whether and under which conditions a person who has taken part in the activities of the Ordinariate for a longer period can apply for a transfer. So it would seem almost always to be the case that “once a cradle Catholic, always a diocesan Catholic”. This may seem unfair, even ludicrous to you, but that is the legal canonical position, as far as I can make out.
    It's not fair! I'm not sure what the not fair part of this is. Our current political leadership insists it's not fair that some are wealthy and some are not -- that's understandable; we can imagine that many wish to be wealthy who are not. But how many wish to be members of the Ordinariate if they aren't eligible under the complementary norms? There's an implication that membership is something to be desired like, say, rushing Phi Sig. This may be the case in the minds of Mr Murphy and a small number of other initiates. I don't see it otherwise. It reminds me of Frederick Kinsman's characterization of High-Church Anglicanism as "a chronic fastidiousness which spent its energy in pointing out how everyone else was more or less wrong -- the superciliousness of schism -- and in a willfulness to follow individual whims."
Eligible for membership in an Ordinariate group or not, as a good Marxist, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Liturgy And Agenda

Ordinariate News links to an article by Herr Prof Dr Hans-Jürgen Feulner on the Ordinariate liturgy (full text here). My first reaction is that it reads like a clumsy translation from stilted academic German, which is unfortunate, since given the subject, it ought to be more accessible to an Anglophone audience. The whole thing is heavy going indeed:
October 2011 saw the convocation of the international commission Anglicanae Traditiones: Interdicasterial Working Group, at first organized only by the CDF, which has been responsible for preparing a liturgical order for all the Personal Ordinariates according to the requirements of AC III and in due consideration of the Book of Divine Worship, of Sacrosanctum Concilium, and of what is meant by “Anglican Patrimony.”
Even so, it says very little. It boils down to saying, with footnotes, that Anglicanorum coetibus provides for an Anglican liturgy, to be determined. There are ins and outs. We've made progress.

It doesn't answer the question I've had for several months now, how a hybrid liturgy that, as far as we know, was the project of a small group of Church of England clergy in 1905 made it to official status through the intricate bureaucratic process (komplizierter bürokratischer Prozess) Herr Prof Dr Feulner refers to (aufbezieht).

Nor does it answer the question of why, particularly in the UK, this liturgy has been disastrously unpopular (unbeliebt). It has been so unpopular that the Vatican, in the person of Msgr Lopes, has taken note of it:

He added that it was ironic that many Anglo-Catholics who have joined the Ordinariate did not use Anglican prayer books as Anglicans but the Roman rite.

“We have many people in the Ordinariate who are unfamiliar with some of that wider tradition, the depth of tradition, in Prayer Book forms and Anglican Missal forms of worship. In a certain sense it’s an irony because here’s this wonderful liturgical patrimony and we have Ordinariate communities saying ‘wait a minute, that’s actually quite new’,” he said .

Mgr Lopes added that if an Ordinariate community simply uses the Roman Rite it becomes “indistinguishable.”

The issue, though, is not that it's unaccustomed (ungewöhnlich), rather that it is tedious (langweilig) and contains affected archaism (künstlicher Archaismus). As far as I can see, it reflects the private agenda of an in-group, which in various ways has been a feature of both the US and UK Ordinariates.

Lack of transparency (Not von Durchsichtigkeit) is simply one cause of the disappointing outcome of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Language Changes

Exhibit A, part of the lyrics to "A Secretary Is Not A Toy" from the Broadway show How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1961):
A secretary is not a pet
Nor an e-rector set.
It happened to Charlie McCoy, boy:
They fired him like a shot
The day the fellow forgot
A secretary is not a toy.
The usage giving rise to the double-entendre presumably entered the language well after AC Gilbert first marketed his product in 1913. The same with "Anglo-Papalism". I have heard that uninstructed Americans are incapable of understanding that Anglo-Papalists can only be members of a particular movement in the Church of England, not The Episcopal Church or the "Continuum". The Wikipedia entry I cited yesterday notes that it, in contrast to "Anglican Papalism", is a locution of US origin, and, per the contexts I cited yesterday (and could no doubt continue to cite) is at root a vague and confusing term.

After all, the whole concept, how Anglicans might become Catholic or otherwise place themselves under the authority of the Pope, is subject to numerous interpretations. A uniate liturgy would be just one possibility. In the US, an Anglican can go in via RCIA, via Anglican Use, or via the US-Canadian Ordinariate. Are all, some, or none who go in this way "Anglo-Papalists"? I'm puzzled that anyone would want to insist on a single, exclusive definition for the term -- dictionaries, to deal with multiple meanings, have definitions listed 1, 2, 3, etc.

On the other hand, I heard the story once of an undergraduate who got a paper back from a professor who'd made angry red marks to the effect that he'd misused a certain word. The student took out his dictionary, went to see the prof, and pointed out definition 3, which matched his own usage. The prof, unfazed, took out his pencil, seized the dictionary, and crossed out definition 3.

When dealing with the Ordinariates, sometimes I'm reminded of that mindset.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So What's An Anglo-Papalist?

A visitor pointed me to a post, with comments, on Ordinariate News, in which Mr Murphy makes what appears to be an editorial insertion quoting Church of England Bishop Philip North referring to himself as a "die-hard Anglo-Papalist", with the implied criticism that, despite this self-characterization, Bishop North never became Catholic.

"Anglo-Papalist" appears to be a recent term. Frederick Kinsman, although he discusses the movement among some Anglicans to use the Roman breviary, does not use it in 1936. A web search of the phrase brings up, first,

I think I have a decent idea of what Anglo-Catholicism is, but Anglo-Papalism confuses me.
Second, Wikipedia,
Anglican Papalism, also referred to as Anglo-Papalism, is a subset of Anglo-Catholicism with adherents manifesting a particularly high degree of influence from, and even identification with, the Roman Catholic Church. This position has historically been referred to as Anglican Papalism; the term Anglo-Papalism is an American neologism and it seems not to have appeared in print prior to the 1990s. Anglican Papalists have suggested "that the only way to convert England is by means of an 'English Uniate' rite."
But in a comment at The Continuium, a visitor notes,
Jeffrey Steenson has been an Anglo-Papalist for many years, probably even since before his ordinations in ECUSA in 1979 and 1980.
The best one can say, in this case, is that Msgr Steenson was an Anglo-Papalist in pectore, as he seems to have said nothing on his real intent as an Episcopalian, and his preferred liturgy would have been the 1979 BCP. But, until he made his move, he would presumably have been a coreligionist of his brother Anglican bishop, Philip North. So what's an Anglo-Papalist?

As I've said here before, Anglo-Papalist is a vague term (a definition in the Urban Dictionary would probably make it clearer). It's a term I probably will never use without implied fright quotes. From context in common usage, I would say it's a more extreme version of Anglo-Catholic, itself an imprecise term that probably means someone in the Laudian, Arminian, or High Church strain of Anglicanism.

However, we're in a season of asserting political identity, with Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner setting the pace. So I would say that, following that model, an Anglo-Papalist is someone who identifies as Catholic but hasn't had the operation. After all, if you've been catechized and received, you're Catholic. Why make a big deal over being anything else? This, among other things, makes me skeptical of most of the comments on the Ordinariate News thread.

A better synonym for Anglo-Papalist, as I think about it, might be Anglo-Arbitrageur. According to Wikipedia, arbitrage is

the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices. When used by academics, an arbitrage is a transaction that involves no negative cash flow at any probabilistic or temporal state and a positive cash flow in at least one state; in simple terms, it is the possibility of a risk-free profit after transaction costs.
It seems to me that Anglo-Papalist clergy are arbitraging the difference between the Anglican market for vocations and the Catholic market. In the Anglican market, there is a surplus of candidates; in the Catholic market, there is a shortage. Anglicanorum coetibus eliminated or greatly reduced transaction costs by allowing Anglicans to become candidates for the Catholic priesthood even if married, and in many cases crediting their seminary expense. In addition, female and openly gay candidates are at a premium in the Anglican market, a problem we don't see in the Catholic market.

In that context, I actually can't disagree with Bishop North's implied analysis of the market:

My heartfelt fear is that the Ordinariate can offer priests only a diminished ministry, for the majority of us a part-time or voluntary ministry, and for all of us a ministry that lacks the opportunities, the depth and the riches of what we know at present.
However, his estimate of the market prospects of Anglican candidates is correct only if we consider the strongest ones. A good Anglican preferment is always to be valued more highly than a Catholic pastorate -- higher pay, greater prestige, more chance for hanky-pank, whatever. The problem is that the women and openly gay candidates mostly crowd the straight guys, other than the ones best connected, out of the Anglican market.

But for Anglican priests who already have a pension -- Msgr Steenson already had his airplane, after all -- or for those utterly without Anglican prospects (by his own admission, this includes Andy Bartus) the Ordinariate provides a positive flow of rewards (prestige, for instance, even if, as Bishop North anticipated, the job might be part-time or non-stipendiary) without transaction costs in one state of the market.

Bishop North had a point.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Do We Mean When We Say "Anglican Patrimony?" -- V

A visitor whom I greatly respect has referred me to a series of posts at the Fellowship of St Alban site in Rochester, which he feels may be helpful in addressing the "Anglican patrimony" question. These are from 2010 and 2011 and discuss the Ordinariate's prospects in anticipation, and as my visitor acknowledges, show in part the difference between theory and practice. I think, though, that they're instructive concerning some of the contradictions in what we've come to see.

The most interesting so far, as I've worked my way through them, is one by Fr Phillips of the Our Lady of the Atonement parish, specifically entitled Anglican Patrimony. He says in part,

Imagine a family living in a comfortable home, surrounded by all that's been accumulated over the years. . . . If those things were to be destroyed in a fire, would the family's values be destroyed? Would they change their sense of what is beautiful? No. Those sensibilities are within the people themselves, not within the things. The articles simply serve as a means of expression. What can be replaced will be replaced. Other things that express the family's sense of beauty and comfort will be accumulated over time. But that which is being expressed comes from within the members of the family.
But of course, Fr Phillips's use of the word "family" here is figurative, and it's a little harder to transfer the analogy to something like the Anglican Ordinariates. On one hand, depending on our loyalties, we may see ourselves as Trojans, Spartans, Bruins, Cornhuskers, or Longhorns and definitely feel that makes us a family, but other than the occasional tailgate event or fundraising appeal, it doesn't hold us together much. Or we may eagerly anticipate the Schmidlap family reunion, this year in Pittsburgh, but find it's been dominated by the Connecticut Schmidlaps, who are vegan and not much fun, and are surprised to find the Pennsylvania Schmidlaps, with whom we played as children, stayed away.

So in practice, even the family that reveres the things that come from within can be a disappointment. But Fr Phillips continues,

Anglicanorum coetibus has plenty of naysayers, people who are certain that the numbers will be few. Maybe they're right, but so what? I hope hundreds of thousands will flock to the Ordinariates, but if they don't, that doesn't mean it hasn't worked. Let's face it, our Lord's little band of apostles didn't look exactly overwhelming at first.
This characterization of the Apostles as a "little band" has concerned me before, in the context of "continuing Anglicanism", a related question. If we think about the constant reference to crowds in Mark's Gospel, the feedings of the four thousand and the five thousand, the five thousand who create a situation beyond the Sanhedrin's control in Acts 4, or even the implication in Luke 24, verses 17 and 18, in the exchange between our Lord and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus,
And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

clearly implying that the events of Holy Week were widely known among a large group of people, it's harder to think of early Christians as a "little band". If numbers are large in the Gospels, it means something. But let's look at a modern example, the Knights of Columbus:
Michael J. McGivney, an Irish-American Catholic priest, founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut. He gathered a group of men from St. Mary's Parish for an organizational meeting on October 2, 1881, and the Order was incorporated under the laws of the state of Connecticut on March 29, 1882. Although the first councils were all in that state, the Order spread throughout New England and the United States in subsequent years. By 1889, there were 300 councils comprising 40,000 knights. Twenty years later, in 1909, there were 230,000 knights in 1,300 councils.
So far, the Ordinariates haven't taken off at that rate. And for whatever, reason, Fr Phillips and his parish, whatever his original optimism, have chosen themselves to stay out of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.