Saturday, December 2, 2017

Msgr Steenson's Status

My wish for a tell-all (or something similar) from Msgr Steenson yesterday prompted this update on his status from my regular correspondent:
The Ordinary Emeritus has been quite banished from the scene, moving from Houston to St Paul, MN where as "Priest Scholar in Residence at " he has a small teaching load at the St Paul Seminary and no connection with a local parish that I can ferret out. (He is leading an Advent meditation at the Cathedral today; bio omits any mention of OCSP). Nor with the small OCSP group in Minneapolis led by Fr Treco. Even if the long-term plan was always to have Steven Lopes take over as Bishop Ordinary I think that Steenson was expected to lay a far firmer foundation than he was able to do. The Davises, as we explored, were encouraged to pour considerable resources into his administration and got very little for their money, IMHO. Presumably it was difficult for those outside TEC/ACC/"Continuing" Anglican culture to assess what a motley collection they would be dealing with and how little relevance Steenson's experience would have to the challenges he faced. As a result I think his tenure was brought to a premature close and Lopes was forced to take over a struggling operation that has yet to achieve stability. . . . And while Bp Lopes seems to be slowly getting out to visit some of the smaller and more far-flung groups, he does not seem to be developing any vision for either growing them to sustainable size or rationalising his clergy deployment to create communities with potential to become sustainable.
As time has gone on, my sympathy for Msgr Steenson has increased, especially as what we see under Bp Lopes shows little change. I think this goes to the basic miscalculations behind Anglicanorum coetibus, and there's only so much Bp Lopes can do.

UPDATE: A visitor adds,

I’m not sure how much the leadership of the OCSP can do to whip things up, if your contentions that it was based on way overblown popularity estimates are correct. I’m saying this because it seems to me the most vibrant Catholic parishes achieve that due to a capable, charismatic pastor and a well-managed laity team, without much help from the diocese. It seems to me there are always “going places” parishes and less active ones in town.

As it is with the OCSP: you have a very few, active and probably growing parishes—OLA, OLW, SMV, couple others, arguably good leadership there, and then you have the rest. Hard to see how Bp. Lopes can do a lot to change that.

I think that Catholic parishes vary widely is something that certainly argues for this. But the impossibly small size of most OCSP groups pretty much keeps them from even making a credible start.