Sunday, June 2, 2013

Here's A More Complete View Of The Ordinariate's Status

from the mouth of its vicar general, an article in the National Catholic Reporter from January of this year. It cites two matters we looked at yesterday:
As of late December, the ordinariate included 1,600 laypeople, 28 priests and 36 communities. There are 69 additional applications from men who hope to become Catholic priests of the ordinariate.

Deacon Ken Bolin, 38, a West Point graduate and military chaplain who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is among those candidates who have already completed their priestly formation and expect to be ordained as Catholic priests through the ordinariate this March.

Currently stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, he hopes to be ordained in March.

Again, I can find no basis for 36 communities. At best, after a couple of days' search and some input from knowledgeable parties, I think there may be two or three communities eligible for listing on the Ordinariate's web page, such as St Mary the Virgin Arlington, TX (though this would cancel out St Peter the Rock with no net change), the Potomac Falls, VA group, and the Charleston, SC group. But I can find nothing like 36, even being generous about other groups in formation. And if you include wannabes and sorta-kindas, I've got to ask if St Mary of the Angels is still on whatever list is out there.

Also, Fr Bolin is included as sort of a trophy ordination, though the article does not point out that he has no associated group of Ordinariate ex-Anglicans, and that he's unlikely to be saying the Anglican mass much as a military chaplain, if at all. In fact, the article mentions another trophy ordination, Fr Larry Gipson, who had retired as Rector of former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara's Episcopal parish in Houston, and who is now 70 years old. So far, though, I don't find that he has pastoral responsibilities for any Catholic ex-Anglicans anywhere.

In other words, while there are capable and sincere priests who want to serve active groups of sincere Catholic ex-Anglicans, Fr Hurd and Msgr Steenson have been spending time and effort recruiting high-profile priests who will do those real Catholics little good -- and the priests who want to serve them are still waiting for Fr Hurd to return their calls. And Fr Gipson, along with Fr Bolin and Fr Seraiah, is one more exception to the stated policy that an Ordinariate priest must go in with a group. Exceptions are now more than 10% of the total, it would seem.

But there's a cherry on the sundae:

While the ordinariate has spent a lot of energy on establishing a secure foundation, it has been buoyed by many promising developments. Recently, it received an anonymous donation of land to build its first chancery. The donor spent $5 million to purchase five acres adjacent to the ordinariate’s principal church, Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston.

The ordinariate is seeking additional donors for construction of the chancery.

Seems as if a lot of energy is going to go into fundraising for a chancery, whose land alone (five acres?) has cost $5 million. We can argue whether there are 1,000 (my view after some study) or 1,600 (the Ordinariate's official total) souls in Msgr Steenson's see. It's hard for me to imagine how a building on a five-acre site will be needed, now or in the foreseeable future. And that goes to what appears to be Msgr Steenson's sense of priorities.

Something's not right here.