As we have discussed previously, Bp Lopes is 40 and I'm sure he doesn't plan to stick around too long in a diocese with fewer members than the average Catholic parish. So his career path depends on whipping the OCSP into some kind of credible shape, and in short order. Given the men he has inherited from the previous regime he cannot hope that anything is going to "take off;" he is lucky that he has seven congregations that are self-sustaining.Comments I hear elsewhere suggest that, on one hand, the original Steenson clique was Anglican but compromised by decades of happily advancing by coexisting with women clergy -- and in 2005, Steenson effectively supported Gene Robinson's consecration in his essay "The New Donatists" (apparently now scrubbed from the web). On the other hand, Bp Lopes now has no Anglican background at all. This suggests that the OCSP has lost any indefinite focus it may earlier have had, which leads other commentators to see a limited life expectancy as well.
But he can introduce structures that produce a stable, if very limited, operation. This probably means building relationships with the dioceses in which the OCSP quasi-parishes and groups-in-formation are located, ie those groups which cannot support a full-time priest. With diocesan jobs and housing, the OCSP can attract younger clergy, including those who may have been ordained under the Pastoral Provision in the first instance, to replace the motley collection of retirees from a wide assortment of jurisdictions with which he now has to deal. Part of this process will require establishing guidelines for compensation and benefits.
He will also need to bring groups into more conspicuous conformity with regard to canon law, both liturgically and administratively. He seems to have got rid of the deadwood in the Chancery, so he is in a better position to identify further areas where head office needs to ride herd. As I have said a number of times, I do not think the part-time Ordinariate, part-time diocesan priest model has much potential to produce self-supporting parishes over time, but in the short term it should ensure survival.
Another visitor makes a worthwhile point in the context of yesterday's post on Methoidsts in the Ordinariate:
[T]here is nothing whatsoever that prevents an ordinariate from receiving a minister with a congregation from any Protestant body and ordaining the former minister as that congregation's pastor.So I'm not entirely sure what the big deal is. To be a "member" of an Ordinariate strikes me as something essentially meaningless, even more ambiguous than parish registration, a little like my late mother's unfulfilled lifelong aspiration to become a Daughter of the American Revolution, which as far as I can see would not have reduced her time in Purgatory even if she'd fulfilled it.
There is indeed a distinction between Methodists and other Protestants with respect to the ordinariates, but it has nothing to do with the possible reception and subsequent ordination of clergy who come from a Methodist body, either with or without congregations. Rather, the fact that Methodism is an offshoot of Anglican Christianity, and thus deemed to be part of the Anglican tradition, means that former Methodists who were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church within the jurisdiction of a diocese may subsequently enroll in the ordinariate in the same manner as former Anglicans, even though they do not receive the sacraments of initiation within the jurisdiction of the ordinariate.
This faculty extends to former Methodist ministers, who may seek ordination for the service of the ordinariate after enrolling therein or, if already ordained as Catholic deacons or presbyters, may seek excardination from their current dioceses and incardination into the ordinariate to become part of the ordinariate's clergy. By contrast, former Baptists or former Presbyterians received into full communion of the Catholic Church in a diocesan parish normally cannot enroll in an ordinariate unless they belong to ordinariate families.
The more I look at the Ordinariates, the more questions I have about purpose and focus.