Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The St Mary's Annual Meeting on February 3

wasn't all that big a deal, to my way of thinking, because it was going to be predictable. Based on what I've heard, it was: a number of former parishioners and continuing friends of the parish tried to get in and were not allowed. A security guard had a list of those approved to enter, and anyone else was barred. This does confirm that, although at least nine people received formal letters of excommunication, a larger number had been excommunicated de facto by not being allowed into the parish's annual meeting, since of those who were barred, only a few had been formally excommunicated.

As I said the other day, I didn't think it was worth the stress and frustration to go down there only to be turned away. The only reason I can think for those de facto excommunications would be that the angry core of dissidents now running the place felt these people were undesirable for reasons not worth specifying. Those reasons might include a likelihood that they would raise legitimate legal and procedural questions in the meeting, such as how vestry members could be appointed without a parish election.

Those who did try to get in report that the security guard had a list about two pages long of people who were specifically approved to attend the meeting. An 8-1/2 by 11 page has 55 lines of normal print, which suggests that the ACA feels that there are somehow still more than 55 members of the parish in good standing, despite at least nine formal excommunications and an additional non-trivial number of de facto excommunications. This is hard to believe, since as of February 2012, there were 64 members in good standing, a number of those had left prior to the April takeover, no one transferred in who was already confirmed, there was no 2012 confirmation class, and no 2012 episcopal visit for confirmations. Talk about elections in Chicago! Or for that matter, 90,000 TAC communicants in India!

This is especially important, because the charges in the presentment against Fr Kelley included

  • Calling and conducting parish meetings not in accordance with the parish bylaws
  • Removing members of the vestry and appointing replacements not eligible to serve
  • Excommunicating members of the parish due to simple disagreements.
Whatever the allegations against Kelley -- and in my view and the view of nearly all the elected 2012 vestry, they were false -- they pale against what the ACA, its "bishops", and its "priests" in charge have done with impunity since taking over the parish. In fact, in an e-mail he mistakenly sent to me, "Bishop" Strawn acknowledged that he'd supervised the uncanonical removal of vestry members, reminding his Canon to the Ordinary to find a way to smooth it over in some subsequent meeting.

This is the most blatant hypocrisy. The few remaining ACA clergy who've been to an accredited seminary won't need scriptural citations. The ACA and the TAC are small organizations. Every "bishop", active or retired, is clearly complicit in this action simply by remaining silent. I have a feeling that the good and sincere priests that had been in the ACA and by and large the TAC got out of Dodge in the circumstances surrounding the Patrimony. If there are any left, this should make them very uncomfortable. If it were me, I'd be, so to speak, hot under the collar.