Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Here's The Continuing Problem

with "continuing Anglicanism": it always, always seems to involve a lowering of standards. "Canon" Frederick Rivers is just the most recent example: he thought he might have a vocation, but he decided a vocation didn't involve going to seminary. I'd say normally that ought to end it, huh? Well, no, not in his case, he finally got a renegade ex-Episcopal bishop to ordain him, and poof! all of a sudden he was a rector. In a "continuing Anglican" denomination, of course. Never mind that he'd had a day job with "Capital" Records.

In my day jobs, every time a resume crossed my desk where the guy misspelled the name of a nationally-known company he'd worked for, that took him right off the list of possibles. It worked to my benefit (as well, presumably, as that of my employer): once I had a boss who was determined to hire a jerk, any jerk, just someone who was so bad it would make him look good. He handed me the stack of resumes that had come in, and his top choice was in front. The guy had spelled his current employer "Northrup". I was able to ding him in a hurry. I'm sorry I can never do Frederick Rivers the same favor.

But one thing I can't escape is simply the number of typos and misspellings that reach official statements from the ACA, including the most recent one I cited a few days ago regarding the episcopal "oversite" in the Diocese of the West. I assume the Presiding Bishop either wrote or reviewed that one. A fetish for the 1928 Book of Common Prayer compensates for many, many things. Indeed, the report of the review committee, on which Rivers sat, that issued presentments against Fr Kelley in June 2012 noted how well-educated the complainants (i.e., the usual St Mary's dissidents) were. These were the same well-educated types who put up the new parish web site in December that called the denomination "Angelican", with the priest-in-charge "Cannon" Morello.

Again: nobody knows where Anthony Morello went to college, where he presumably received his MDiv, or where he received his PhD. If his eulogists will contact me with this information, I'll be most happy to publish it here. The best information we have is that he was somehow able to get a bishop in the Philippine Independent Church to ordain him, and since the PIC is in communion with The Episcopal Church, Bishop Borsch had to recognize his orders, to his eventual regret. Frederick Rivers apparently is not the holder of an MDiv degree, which would normally disqualify him for ordination in a real denomination. Stephen Strawn received his MDiv from an unaccredited mail-order seminary. Even Brian Marsh appears to have completed seminary studies, indeed at a prestigious institution, but something else appears to have interrupted his ordination as an Episcopal priest, and the ACA, a couple of years later, became his Plan B.

Leaving the complex marital histories of most listed above aside (and I'm told that Rivers's official bio is by no means the whole story in his case), none of those ACA clerics would remotely qualify for the Ordinariate priesthood. Fr Kelley at least made the attempt, and absent the campaign of character assassination against him, might well have succeeded. The difference between Fr Kelley and the others is that he did in fact qualify for the Episcopal priesthood, he had high expectations of himself, and he had high expectations of his parish.

I think this is the main reason for the bitter vendetta that the ACA "clergy" has pursued against him.