Sunday, October 13, 2019

More Big Plans In Woodlands, TX!

Browsing farther on the web site of the Presentation group in Woodlands, TX, I found a page on their plans. Just so someone in Houston doesn't get an idea of taking the page down once I link it here, I'm including a page image below. Click on the image for a larger view.
Where to start? As we saw yesterday on the About Us page, there is no mention of Anglicanorum coetibus, Anglicans, or anything called an ordinariate. Instead,
The heart of every Catholic parish is the church itself. It is a place awesome beyond compare, the very dwelling place of God and the gate of heaven on earth. We are, therefore, going to build a church and campus that reflects, reinforces, and teaches these realities.
I've got to assume the sketch of a gothic style church on the page is just clip art, as farther down, actual planning of the church itself is left to Phase II in the indefinite future. Normal truth in advertising would, of course, require that some sort of statement be made that would reflect this. And the building depicted in the sketch would probably cost more than the Our Lady of Walsingham cathedral itself, since that has a definite air of cheapness about it. Compare the Episcopalian Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York:
With the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston:
The proposal that's being made in Woodlands, TX is so unrealistic that I think it verges on fraud. Yet I have a sense that what's being sold with the North American ordinariate is that you can go to someone's front parlor, the basement chapel, a school auditorium, or even a dilapidated diocesan building, and if you squint, you'll see St Thomas Fifth Avenue or even St Thomas Hollywood -- and if the wind is right, you'll hear the strains of a magnificent Aeolian Skinner organ. I'm just not sure if this is healthy.

There's another issue that's just as important, which is that Houston simply doesn't have the staff resources to supervise a project like this. The two church building projects that were built new under the Pastoral Provision, Walsingham and Our Lady of the Atonement, were supervised by dioceses that had building departments and other staff who could make sure the project was done properly. This would certainly include approved consulting firms that could ensure fundraising was properly handled and that the area population justified projects of such a size.

And it's worth pointing out that Our Lady of the Atonement currently faces financial disaster, paying for school expansion that was never justified and with a shrinking parish. And in fact, this goes to another question, Houston's apparent reliance on the Phillips model of church expansion, when Houston is simultaneously forcing Fr Phillips into the distant background himself.

What's taking place is a continuing attempt to poach diocesan Catholics with conservative liturgy, which was justifiable when Our Lady of the Atonement was a diocesan parish. But now diocesan Catholics are being told that a new "Catholic church" is going create "a place worthy of the mysteries with which we’ve been entrusted", not like St Whoosis that has Mexicans and Filipinos and such riff-raff. But the proposal in Woodlands conceals that they and their sacrificial giving are not going to their bishop or diocese. Indeed, if the smarter ones see this, they're being told with a wink and a nudge that it's OK to bypass their bishop.

My regular correspondent notes,

Somebody really wants a Catholic alternative in The Woodlands, TX. Original spin was that these are current OLW parishioners but cannot see any OCSP benefit in splitting their most successful parish unless it would enable them to poach Catholics in the new location.
I think the problem we overwhelmingly see is that even the Phillips "beauty of holiness" poaching model works only mildly well when it works at all, with the Holy Martyrs Murrieta parish still stuck with a brutalist interior with HVAC ducts showing on the ceiling in a rented former health club. Other full parishes like Our Lady of the Atonement and St Luke's are clearly shrinking, while yet others are barely holding on. As they say about insanity, it's trying to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Woodlands, TX Group Buys A Big Expensive Rectory

My regular correspondent sent me this update:
As you can see here this start-up will officially start celebrating in its new location this Sunday, having raised considerably more than the initial $160,000 required to purchase a house and property in the area.
UPDATE: Although the link to the real estate listing in my correspondent's note was up when I checked before posting this morning, I'm told it's since been taken down. A photo of this extravagant rectory, taken from a screen shot of the listing in July, is still at the July post in the link below. Good to know Houston reads this blog!

I first covered this story in July under the title, "Who Are They Trying To Kid?". To recap, this is a 3,000 square foot house on ten acres, on the market at $895,000, that will be used as a rectory, and we can only assume the front parlor will be the location for Sunday mass. It's worth repeating my correspondent's comment from that post:

Fr Fletcher doesn't have a diocesan day job; he's a Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Walsingham, which given its membership (ASA 1000+) and mass schedule (Saturday Vigil and four Sunday masses, plus daily mass) needs more than one priest, I assume. Initially there were three priests-in-residence besides the Pastor, now Dean, but they seem to have faded out of the picture. Presumably someone put up significant cash for this Woodlands spin-off, which wasn't necessarily the Ordinariate's first priority.
Houston issues no statistics on this or any other community, but the assumption we might reasonably make is that a group of two dozen or so will come up with a monthly payment well into four figures from its weekly pledges. Well, I guess.

This simply confirms my continuing impression that some people in the ordinariate travel first class, others in coach, and it would seem there's a definite club within a club. (If you think about it, the Presentation Woodlands group has a priest present and owns its facility. Maybe it's not quite up to 30 families yet, but it's not all that far from becoming a full parish, wouldn't you say?)

There's another issue here, too. Let's look at the announcement in the link above:

Click here to learn more and join in if you'd like to:
  • be a part of our growing community
  • help start a new Catholic parish in Montgomery County
  • have a place to participate in the sacraments
  • or just find out more about what it means to be Catholic.
Nothing about Anglicans at all. It says, "We are a Roman Catholic community", trading on the diocesan Catholic brand, but anyone who gets involved isn't going to get diocesan Catholic. No mention of the precious treasures, no mention of the ordinariate. No music, no adoration, no Bible study, no daily mass, as far as I can see.

Some of the clergy ride in first, some in second, but it looks as if the laity ride in the baggage compartment with the pets.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Canon Albert DuBois: Famous For Being Well-Known?

Fr Barker's latest account brings up Canon Albert J duBois yet again as a leader of the movement in which a small group of Episcopalian parishes seceded from the denomination in 1977. Belatedly, though this saga has had plenty of other obscure figures to research, I decided to find more complete information on duBois, his career, and his positions. Fr Barker says,
From the beginning at St. Mary’s he became involved with the American Church Union (ACU) which was under the direction of its famous Executive Director Rev. Canon Albert Julius DuBois, affectionately known as “Mr. Catholic” in the Episcopal Church.
The puzzling thing is how very little comes up in web searches about the famous Mr Catholic, Canon duBois, prior to the TEC 1976 General Convention. There's no Wikipedia entry, although there's one for Barker's other mentor, Edward Crowther, even though Crowther himself is largely forgotten. The fullest discussion of his career is in a TEC press release issued at the time of his death, which probably came from an ally, possibly Barker:
Long Beach, Calif. -- The Rev. Canon Albert Julius duBois, who served as Executive Director of the American Church Union from 1950 until he retired in 1974, died at the Memorial Hospital Medical Center here on June 6 after a long illness.

Canon duBois, who was well known throughout the entire Anglican Communion as well as the Episcopal Church, served as the editor of the American Church News during the 24 years he headed the Church Union, an organization which endeavors to maintain the catholic and apostolic heritage of Anglicanism. In 1973 he was named Honorary President for Life of the Church Union.

For three years following his retirement in 1974, he served as professor of liturgies and church history at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Kentucky at Lexington. In 1975 he became national coordinator of Episcopalians United and edited its newspaper. In 1977 he founded Anglicans United and became its first president and editor of its newspaper.

Canon duBois left the Episcopal Church following its General Convention of 1976. From that time until his death he was actively working through Anglicans United and the Pro-Diocese of St. Augustine of Canterbury, of which he was an organizer, for the reunion of some Episcopalians and former Episcopalians with the Roman Catholic Church.

Canon duBois completed his seminary training in 1931 at General Theological Seminary in New York City. He was ordained deacon and priest that same year in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He served parishes in Wisconsin, and during the years just before and after World War II, he was rector of Ascension and St. Agnes Parish in Washington, D. C. During the war he served as a army chaplain with the rank of lieutenant colonel, including time in General Patton's Corps.

Canon duBois, whose death came three days before his 74th birthday, was buried in Neenah, Wis., where he was born in 1906. A memorial fund has been established in his honor.

There is an entry in in the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church that describes him as an "Influential opponent of the ordination of women and a leader of splinter groups", but although it gives somewhat more detail on his parish assignments, it mainly repeats the material in the obituary, and it stresses his post-1976 activities.

Given his longtime position as editor of the American Church News, almost nothing written by him during that period can be found on the web. A web search on "American Church News" brings up no hits.

The American Church Union survives as "the publisher for the Anglican Province of Christ the King", one of numerous "continuing" Anglican groups (duBois associated with it following the failure of his effort to bring the first Anglican Church of North America into the Catholic Church), but it makes no mention of duBois himself. References to it prior to the 1976 TEC General Convention in web searches are almost non-existent.

Among the few extant references to duBois prior to the 1976 convention are one in The Living Church July 23, 1954, in which he discusses something called the Chicago Anglo-Catholic Congress 1954:

Preaching the third (July 11th) in a series of sermons at the Church of the Ascension in Chicago, in preparation for the [1954 Anglo] Catholic Congress, The Rev Canon Albert J DuBois of New York said that the witness of the [1954 Anglo] Catholic Congress was a necessity in the face of the narrow outlook as expressed by Chicago Cardinal Stritch's Pastorl Letter.

Fr DuBois said that the Chicago Congress will show that exclusiveness of the Roman position is not in accord with the facts: it will bring together Anglicans, Polish National Catholics, and Old Catholics from Holland, Germany, and Switzerland, together with representatives of most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, to show forth the unity and fellowship that exists among them as Catholics, and to make it quite clear that the claim of Rome, to be the only Catholic body in the world is entirely false.

. . . Canon DuBois criticized the retired Suffragan Bishop of Chicago, the Rt Rev Edwin J Randall, for a public statement made in the Episcopal Church press last week in which Bishop Randall deplored the scheduling of the Catholic Congress as an unwise and divisive thing.

The Chicago Anglo Catholic congress did take place, but although it seems to have wanted to borrow the prestige of a series of Anglo Catholic Congresses held in London in the 1920s and 30s, it doesn't seem to have been authorized by the same people. (The London congresses seem to have been primarily gay pride events). The Chicago version seems to be in roughly the same league as the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society's upcoming conference.

More interesting, if mostly from an antiquarian standpoint, is his use of the term "Catholicity", which I don't believe I've ever seen outside Mrs Brandt's television appearances as the St Mary of the Angels parish spokeswoman at the time of the 1977 break. Here's a use of the term from duBois in The Living Church November 30, 1958 This referrred to a controversy over the Church of South India and involved a resolution by the Council of the American Church Union endorsing an editorial written by Canon DuBois saying in part,

The Catholicity of the Church does not depend upon resolutions of General Convention, nor can that Catholicity be altered or abolished by resolutions of General Convention. Our Catholic heritage is firmly written in the Constitution of our Church, of which the Book of Common Prayer is a part.
Canon duBois appears to represent views consistent with later figures like Louis Falk and John Hepworth, that Rome is somehow obligated to recognize groups who identify as Catholic, whatever Rome thinks of them. Obviously this didn't start with the "continuing" movement, and clearly it was rejected by the Catholic Church when such views were expressed in the 1950s. The use of "Catholicity" by Mrs Brandt in 1977 must certainly have come from duBois via Fr Barker, but it basically seems to mean you're Catholic if you say you are, and nobody can say you aren't especially if you use the Book of Common Prayer. Or something.

This gives an insight into the intellectual level of the Anglo-Catholic movement, which I've come to see has been pretty consistently low from the early 20th century through the optimistic reaction of Anglo-Catholics to Anglicanorum coetibus. What we see in duBois is a view that groups over the centuries may have left the Catholic Church for one or another reason, but now both they and Rome should simply overlook any of those issues, and with no other conditions, Rome should accept them back, Anglicans, PNCC, Old Catholic, Orthodox, whatever, without any other questions or conditions. (I'm sure a big part of what Rome should overlook will always be the Church's teachings on sexuality.) The part of Catholic these people want to accept for their own prestige becomes "Catholicity". And I'm a T-Rex if I say I am as well.

I've got to wonder how seriously anyone in Rome took either duBois or the combination of Barker and Brown on their various journeys there. DuBois comes off as little more than a self-promoter who was mainly a legend in his own mind, and among the few people he was ever able to con completely was Jack Barker.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fr Barker And Animal House

Fr Jack Barker's upcoming keynote at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society's November conference has made me reflect further on the central event of his career, his taking St Mary of the Angels out of The Episcopal Church, which is characterized succinctly in that great 1978 film Animal House:

Fr Barker finesses his own 1977 futile and stupid gesture, in which he led a small group of dissident Episcopalian parishes out of TEC following the 1976 General Conventionm, in his latest account of himself at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society blog:
Following the Minneapolis General Convention of 1976 [Canon Albert DuBois] and Fathers Barker and Brown formed “Anglicans United” to lead the way in finding a new home for catholic minded Episcopalians.
So naturally, the first thing you do in finding a new home is to make an impolite gesture to the landlord and just move out, living out of your car for the next several years while the landlord chases you down with process servers, is that it? I don't see any other way to extend that metaphor. Maybe it was a 70s thing, like disco or the Pinto.

It's also a little puzzling that, while he mentions Fr W T S Brown in passing, he doesn't mention Fr Tea by name at all, when Fr Tea was the only member of that group ever to become a Pastoral Provision priest, and indeed, while Fr Barker says of himself that he "went on to run Catholic Charities in Nevada for two years" (presumably after being terminated by the St Mary of the Angels vestry in 1986, according to its minutes), this would have been under the good offices of Fr Tea, who had become a Pastoral Provision priest in Las Vegas.

We must also assume Fr Tea was the priest who, by Fr Barker's account, received a small group of stalwarts from the St Mary of the Angels and St Matthias parishes into the Church after the 1986 fiasco, fully nine years after Fr Barker's futile and stupid gesture:

Finally in 1986 many members of St. Mary of the Angels together with 100% of St Matthias formed a new combined parish and where all were received into the Catholic Church at a single Mass celebrated by a Roman Catholic priest who was part of what was known then as the Pastoral Provision.
I question the accuracy of this statement on several grounds, besides its pusillanimity in not mentioning Fr Tea. The implication that only a few members remained at St Mary of the Angels in 1986 is incorrect; its vestry was still in charge and was the body that fired Fr Barker, a fully justified move considering what he'd put the parish through with no result. In addition, the St Matthias parish remained in Sun Valley for about another 15 years as a "continuing" mission of the St Mary of the Angels parish, at the end of its existence under the ACA associate Fr Scott Kingsbury.

UPDATE: I'm told by Fr Kelley that the St Matthias TEC parish or mission (its exact status is unclear) in Sun Valley, CA was closed by the Diocese of Los Angeles when it won its legal action after 1977, and those members then went to St Mary of the Angels. A separate ACA mission, St Barnabas, was begun later in Sun Valley, but it is not clear if any original members of St Matthias ever joined the St Barnabas mission.

Unless someone can add additional information to correct me, neither a St Mary of the Angels rump nor the St Matthias mission actually became Catholic in any significant numbers in 1986. I think Fr Barker is trying to airbrush history here to make his position as a "pioneer of the Pastoral Provision" more significant than it was. The actual Pastoral Provision was not established until 1981, four years after Fr Barker's futile and stupid gesture, and the record of Barker himself and the St Mary of the Angels parish clearly made them unsuitable for admission to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles -- Abp Mahony's reply was characterized as "not just no, but hell, no".

How on earth was Fr Barker's version of a 1970s futile and stupid gesture in any way "catholic minded"? It owes much more to the James Pike-Edward Crowther Ich kann nicht anders school of Episcopalianism under which Barker received his early formation. Indeed, it owes something to the provocation Crowther staged to get himself thrown out of South Africa, in which a putative attempt to deliver relief supplies to homeless Africans did no good to the Africans themselves, but allowed Crowther to hitchhike on their victim status.

Barker pretty clearly misled an Episcopalian parish, convincing it it was somehow "catholic minded", and subjected it to nine years of division and trauma, in the end to be able to promote himself as some sort of pioneering hero. In a no-brainer, the Catholics saw right through it.

The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society. not so much.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Let's Take A Closer Look At Fr Barker's Anglican Mentor, Bp Crowther

From the start, based on the sketchy and incomplete Wikipedia entry, I found something strange about Bp C Edward Crowther, the Church of England priest who, at the start of his career, had a "preaching tour" of the US that led to his becoming UCLA's chaplain -- but that was just a way station in his seemingly foreordained progress toward greater things.

It's hard to avoid thinking there were people who had greater things in mind for him from the start, with a remarkably choreographed series of career moves for a 15-year period between his ordination in 1956 and his installation as an assistant bishop in 1971. But by early middle age, Crowther seems to have gone off the rails. All that in turn makes me wonder how Fr Barker fits into the story.

My regular correspondent has this to say about the parish where Crowther began his Anglican career, St. Philip and St. James' Church, Oxford:

This rang a late bell, as this is the church C. S. Lewis attended, usually referred to by him as “Pip and Jim.” Although there were and are a number of Anglo-Catholic destinations in Oxford, Lewis was a firm advocate of attending one’s local parish church rather than shopping for a more congenial one elsewhere. The implication was that “Pip and Jim” would not otherwise have been a draw, and I see that it eventually became redundant. A curacy there even in the late fifties was probably a sinecure.
It appears that soon after he left his position as UCLA chaplain, he was well-connected enough in the media to get a mention in TIME. A January 14, 1966 story entitled "Anglicans: Angry Young Bishop" says,
Episcopal Father C. Edward Crowther, who got his rookie training in civil rights by picketing against racial discrimination in fraternities at U.C.L.A. , is now battling in the big league: South Africa. Two years ago in Los Angeles, Crowther, an English-born U.S. citizen, was just a campus chaplain, but a fast rise in the Anglican hierarchy has made him Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman and, at 36, the church's youngest bishop. His office in Kimberley has a picture of Martin Luther King on the wall. . .
A TEC press release gives the most detail we currently have on what putatively led to Crowther's expulsion from South Africa:
Bishop Crowther went to South Africa as Dean of St. Cyprian's Cathedral in Kimberley and was elected Bishop in 1965. He was visited many times by the special branch of the South African Police, incurring their wrath by his steadfast opposition to apartheid. When he was banned from the African reserves in his diocese, he defied the order and personally delivered truckloads of food to starving Africans who had been dispossessed of their homes.
While in South Africa, Crowther was clearly connected with international bien pensant elites. A meeting, which can only have been orchestrated, took place with then-Sen Robert Kennedy on Kennedy's South African visit on June 5, 1966.
Kennedy, who was invited to South Africa by the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), was en route to Cape Town to deliver an important speech. Instead of using a special airport room provided by officials, Kennedy and Crowther walked back and forth on the airstrip to converse for 20 minutes while reporters and members of the Special Branch stood at a distance. Kennedy used the trip to express support for the struggle against apartheid.
This account of Crowther's election and tenure in South Africa is also suggestive:
Bishop Crowther, who was born and raised in England, received worldwide notice when he was arrested by South African police in June, 1967, and told that he would have to leave the country in two weeks. He had upset the South African government since he went to the Country in 1964. He had been elected to the post of Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman by the Anglican Cathedral Council. At the time of his election he was the Episcopal Chaplain at UCLA and had been active in civil rights in the United States.
In other words, apparently soon after naturalization as a US citizen, and apparently without setting foot in South Africa, he was suddenly elected Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman. This is a thumbnail written probably by Crowther himself for a speaking engagement, and it may not be reliable. But if it's true, and parts of it certainly are, how'd that happen?

But by May, 1967, prior to his expulsion Crowther was already associated with the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, headlining a conference in Geneva. A possible extrapolation might be that he'd been inserted into South Africa as some type of provocateur, and plans for his extraction already existed before his final confrontation with police. As a globetrottting do-gooder, he made no sacrifice.

On February 2, 1968, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly with Dudley Do-Right good looks:


It's hard to avoid thinking that Crowther, like our contemporary Greta Thunberg, had well-connected handlers with an agenda of their own.

When a reorganization at the Center for Democratic Institutions apparently ended his fellowship there, Crowther was appointed by John Hines, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, as Executive Director of something called Operation Connection in Washington, an ecumenical non-profit that was going to heal the cities. An indication of where this job stood on the food chain was that Crowther replaced Paul Moore, Jr, who was moving up the ladder himself to become the socially impeccable Bishop of New York.

Crowther appeared, along with Malcolm Boyd, at the usual protest venues during this period, including the 1970 Mass for Peace at the Pentagon though Boyd was the headliner. But something must have changed that year, when Crowther was 41. He was installed as an Assistant Bishop of California, Pike's former diocese, in late 1971.

My regular correspondent thinks an assistant bishop in The Episcopal Church is something of an honorific position, typically given to retired diocesan bishops, who assist at less important episcopal functions. As a result, there's some question how active Crowther was in this role. In any case, he was out of Washington and out of the public eye.

By age 42, when his contemporary Bernard Law had only just begun to rise high in the Catholic Church, Crowther had been shunted into a position normally held only by retired diocesan bishops. We simply don't know what happened in his case, but it does come in the context of other public disintegrations during that period, from James Pike to Benjamin Spock to Bertrand Russell to Timothy Leary, not to mention half a dozen prominent musicians.

By 1975, still identifying himself as an Episcopalian assistant bishop, he was spouting New Age psychobabble to Quakers and Unitarians:

My wholeness as a human being consists of the consummation, the putting together of those three great loves within my own skin, which, analytically speaking, is my life. And so I increasingly accept life as being an ongoing interior journey into the potential wholeness which you and I possess.
California records show two divorces from his first wife, Margaret, in 1977 and 1980. He remarried to Ingrid Schunemann in 1982. He ran for a seat on the Santa Barbara City Council in 1982 but apparently lost. He seems to have lived mainly in Santa Barbara ever since his time at the Center for Democratic Institutions. By 1991, Crowther was apparently working as a therapist, though retaining a title as assistant bishop, now in the Diocese of Los Angeles:
Also asking for leniency was Gabrie’s therapist, C. Edward Crowther of Montecito, who also identified himself as an assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

“This is not your run-of-the-mill criminal person,” Crowther said. “I was very, very impressed by her remorse.

He has had several residences in Santa Barbara, a very swanky place, so apparently he's never been destitute, but there is no information on where the money came from.

There are many unanswered questions in Crowther's biography. Why did he change careers at Oxford to go into the Church of England, when he seemed to be successful as a law professor there? Why did he stay in a holding pattern as a curate for three years, when he suddenly went to the US and fairly quickly became chaplain at UCLA? Why did he become a naturalized US citizen, in the minimum time necessary? Where did the connections come from that allowed him to get the level of press attention he had throughout his time as a bishop?

What was up with that choreographed visit and photo op with Bobby Kennedy, held outside to avoid a potentially bugged conference room? How did he reach the ultra-elite inner circle of the Center for Democratic Institutions and then succeed Paul Moore, Jr as head of an elite Washington non-profit? And what led to his rapid flameout at age 41? My inclination is to see the letters CIA behind this case, but to go much beyond that would be even more speculative.

Where does Jack Barker, his protégé (by Barker's account) from UCLA days, fit in? I have a sense that Crowther was never actually in much of a position to take on a protégé but may not have understood this earlier in his career. The story we have suggests that whoever called the shots was going to send Crowther to South Africa, perhaps to fix the place like a Desmond Tutu 1.0, and he knew this while he was still at UCLA.

But his assignment sounds like it was never going to be more than to fly in, stage some scripted provocations, and get thrown out as a martyr. It was unrealistic to suggest to Barker that he'd have any kind of future as a priest in South Africa under those conditions, when Crowther would hardly be there long enough to ordain anybody, much less look after his career.

I would guess that if Crowther was able to influence Barker's hiring at St Mary of the Angels in 1970, it would have been at the tail end of his effectiveness, and his ability to sponsor Barker any further beyond that would have been minimal. This may have had an effect on Barker's apparent change from a liberal at the Pike-Crowther end of the spectrum to protégé of a new mentor, Mr Catholic.

It's also been suggested to me that Bernard Law, who comes in later in Barker's story, may also have had CIA connections via his father, his activity with the Church in Latin America, and his friendship with the Bush family. Law also rose in his career via civil rights at the same time Crowther was doing the same thing. I can't rule out connections in that direction, with the caveat that the CIA, a creature of the elites and the deep state, has not been a model of competence or effectiveness then or now.

I sometimes hear from visitors who have corrections, insights, or new information to add about personalities covered here. I would welcome any such in the case of Bp Crowther, who is still alive. As has been my consistent policy, I will keep any such contacts confidential.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fr Jack Barker's Formation As An Anglican Priest

In his biography, included in this post at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society blog, Fr Barker for the first time goes into detail on his career in Anglican seminaries. A key passage is:
Born in 1941 in South Dakota and raised in southern California. A graduate of Hawthorne High School with highest honors. Bachelor’s in Physics from the College of Letters and Science at U.C.L.A. in 1963. He is trained in classical piano.

Under the sponsorship of a South African Anglican bishop, he attended Anglican Seminary at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield, Yorkshire, England beginning in 1963.

Based on research by my regular correspondent, this "South African bishop" can only be Edward Crowther. According to Wikipedia,
Crowther taught criminal and constitutional law at Exeter College, Oxford, in 1952-55. He was ordained deacon in 1956 and priest the following year, serving as curate at St. Philip and St. James' Church, Oxford, in 1956-58. After a preaching tour in the United States and a period (1959–64) as a college chaplain at the University of California, Los Angeles, he became Dean of St Cyprian’s Cathedral, Kimberley in South Africa in September 1964,[4][5] and then its Diocesan Bishop in 1965. Crowther was consecrated bishop in Cape Town on November 14, and he was formally enthroned in St. Cyprian's Cathedral on November 29, 1965. Two years later he was expelled from the country for his opposition to apartheid. In 1970 he returned to California as Assistant Bishop and obtained a doctorate.
A puzzling start to his career, teaching law at Oxford, then a detour into the priesthood, but after only a few years, he's off to the US on a "preaching tour". Famous for being well known, it would appear, possibly an Oxonian of a certain sort, promoted by the same media networks who promoted his contemporary Malcolm Boyd.

But Crowther would have been college chaplain at UCLA while Barker was an undergraduate there. The Wikipedia article is also incomplete; following his expulsion from South Africa in 1967, this book review places Crowther at California's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in 1968.

James Pike resigned as Episcopal Bishop of California in 1966 under threat of a heresy trial and went to the same Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions that year, remaining until his death in 1969. He and Crowther shared similar very liberal positions regarding the Church. Following a reorganization of the Center in 1969, many associates departed, and In 1969, he was made head of an Episcopalian non-profit, apparently a holding pattern. Crowther was installed as an Assistant Bishop of California, Pike's former diocese, in late 1971.

However, Fr Barker doesn't refer to the controversies Crowther himself stirred up in South Africa, though clearly if Crowther was expelled, Barker wouldn't be able to be ordained to the priesthood there. Barker's version skims over this:

Because of the political realities in South Africa at the time it was recommended that he return to Los Angeles rather than be ordained and work in the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman.
Placed in charge of an Episcopalian non-profit in Washington in 1969, where he replaced Paul Moore Jr, Crowther continued to be well-connected and influential in Episcopal circles. One tantalizing question is whether Bp Crowther was able to influence the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to find a placement for his protégé Barker, though Barker doesn't seem to have made much progress toward an MDiv at Bloy House.

But every indication we have from the time, including the book review linked above for Where Religion Gets Lost in the Church, suggests that Crowther was closely aligned with James Pike, his sometime colleague in Santa Barbara. And Pike continued to have sympathy from the liberal side of TEC.

The 1968 review of Crowther's book linked above concludes, "In his appeal for an emancipated lay apostolate, for another look at Christian teaching on human sexual relationships, and for a pastoral link with the behavioral sciences, Bp Crowther shows us what his hopes and frustrations are." So it's hard to avoid thinking that Fr Barker was mentored throughout his extended and desultory priestly formation by an extremely liberal fellow-traveler and colleague of James Pike, a bête noire of conservative Anglicans, who may well have secured for him his original posting to St Mary of the Angels.

But here's a conundrum. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles was at that time and continues to be one of the most liberal in the US. It's hard to avoid thinking the diocese would have been happy with Barker, who must have seemed like a good fit, and indeed, his continued lack of progress toward an MDiv was probably not seen as an impediment if he had someone like Crowther, now again a bishop in the US, on his side. But only six years later, Barker becomes a hotheaded leader of the secessionist, conservative wing of TEC, and his account is that

From the beginning at St. Mary’s he became involved with the American Church Union (ACU) which was under the direction of its famous Executive Director Rev. Canon Albert Julius DuBois, affectionately known as “Mr. Catholic” in the Episcopal Church.
Huh? Barker's been in with guys for whom women's ordination would seem to be the least of a long list of desirable "reforms", but suddenly he's cozied up to Mr Catholic? Something's off here. My regular correspondent offers one theory:
I am not surprised at Fr Barker’s apparent volte-face. My observation is that a certain kind of clergyman can be quite liberal on many questions, but takes a very firm stand against any suggestion that the Church is not at heart a boys’ club. That is personally threatening in a way that other doctrinal questions are not.
I lived in LA in 1977, when the hyped-up St Mary of the Angels drama was a regular feature on the local TV news. The parish spokeswoman, Mrs Brandt, was out in front, insisting that by ordaining women, The Episcopal Church was destroying the parish's "Catholicity". This struck me, a non-churchgoer still a nominal Presbyterian, as problematic at the time. in hindsight, it was utterly meaningless, yet it was apparently the official position of Fr Barker and the parish. Doesn't seem like Barker had made much progress at Bloy House, huh?

I would estimate that it was an incoherent Ich kann nicht anders stance not all that far from the James Pike deny-the-Trinity school of Episcopalianism, and Barker was reveling in his 15 minutes of fame. Thanks to the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, he gets to reprise it now. But there's more to cover in what Barker leaves out of his newest account.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Irvine Newman Group To Become A Full Parish

My regular correspondent has brought to my attention a Facebook post on the Irvine Newman group's site:
Our banner has been updated to reflect the upcoming canonization and the resulting name change, moving from quasi-parish to full parish status, as we are to become established as St John Henry Newman Catholic Church.
A worthwhile question is, what's changed? The ordinariate's Guide to Parish Development gives criteria that must be met to become a full parish. The specific Newman community in Irvine seems to have been hovering somewhere just below the minimum number of families or members -- 30 or 100 -- for some years, and Fr Bartus has turned his attention to the Holy Martyrs group in Murrieta, with only supply priests normally celebrating mass in Irvine. My understanding is that the ordinariate's Pastoral Council had not approved a move to full parish status for some time before now, despite attempts (or perhaps not-quite attempts).

By the same token, I'm not sure if the other criteria, like assets, financial model, and physical location, have changed. The criteria in the Guide are pretty vague: "Assets: Sufficient Debt: Manageable Location: Secured (ownership or long-term agreement)", so they can certainly be fudged. (The asset criterion for quasi-parish is "Assets: Adequate" vs "Sufficient" for a full parish. Big difference!)

Well, pretty clearly Bp Lopes can get what he wants here, although I think the operating philosophy for creating a parish for some time has been "defining deviancy down". Although Fr Bartus will be the titular administrator or pastor of the Newman parish, it doesn't seem as though he'll be "present" if the current arrangement continues, as he's normally celebrating in Murrieta, with supply priests in Irvine.

And the indications are that the Murrieta group is quite a bit larger than the Irvine group. Is it being factored into the size and location of the Irvine group in some way, possibly as a parish mission of Irvine?

And precisely what is the agreement that allows the Irvine group to occupy the oratory chapel at the Busch facility? I've speculated before that the firm could at any time simply find another use for that space as part of a remodel. If this is just an ex gratia arrangement without a specific agreement specifying terms and conditions, it isn't really stable.

And when, by the way, will full parishes anywhere begin to issue annual financials like those Our Lady of the Atonement has begun to produce? Clearly there's room for improvement at OLA, but from most of the other full parishes, we've had nothing.

So far, every indication we have is that the ordinariate's affairs are in some measure just smoke and mirrors.

UPDATE: My regular correspondent refers me to page 2 of the most recent newsletter from St Thomas More Scranton:

While the Parish continues to grow, the gratifying sight of increasingly full pews on Sunday mornings has not yet translated into closing the gap between our income and our expenses. The Parish continues to run on as lean a budget as possible, but expenses beyond our reach to control continue to challenge our ability to keep up.
Not sure how this translates into Assets: Adequate or Assets: Sufficient. Defining deviancy down seems to be the operant principle.