Thursday, March 14, 2013

So Let's Recap

Here's what we think we know:

St Mary of the Angels appears to be without a curate, and doesn't even appear to have a supply priest available for Holy Week. There's been no change in the parish home page, which still lists the departed Nicholas Taylor as "celebrant/preacher". A "parish rededication" is still announced for April, although this appears to have been indefinitely postponed following the death of Anthony Morello.

There hasn't been a diocesan bishop in the ACA Diocese of the West since 2010. Stephen Strawn, who had been episcopal visitor, apparently decided he didn't want the job any more and withdrew in late 2012, leaving Anthony Morello as vicar general. However, Morello died suddenly in early 2013, and all diocesan events are still canceled. The diocesan calendar on the web site says, "The office of Vicar General and Bishop Ordinary are currently vacant. The visitation schedule will be determined when oversight is established. Who will attend the House of Bishop meetings is to be determined."

The existence of the ACA Diocese of the West at all is an open question: two key parishes are without priests, St Mary of the Angels and All Saints Fountain Valley. An anomaly has been pointed out with reference to St Columba's Lancaster, whereby Fr William Bower, although apparently restored to the ACA priesthood following the parish's failed attempt to go into the Ordinariate, is still not listed as its rector on either the diocesan or the parish web sites. Fr Bower is probably not regarded as politically reliable within the ACA in any case, especially since he reportedly stopped returning calls from Morello as vicar general.

The bottom line here is that as long as Morello had convinced Bishops Strawn and Marsh that there was a putative adult in charge in the Diocese of the West, they seem to have felt they could safely ignore what was or wasn't going on there. The problem is that Morello was the whole show, and at this point, it appears that there's simply no adult in charge.

Taking the position that we'll figure things out down the road sometime isn't a recipe for success. My guess is that the standing committee doesn't want to face this any more than Marsh does. At some point, they're going to have to.