Sunday, December 3, 2017

What's The Formula?

Regarding yesterday's post, my regular correspondent comments,
I have no magic secret for managing a diocese in such a way as to ensure that charismatic leaders are matched up with appropriate local resources. But the administrator of St Thomas More, Toronto announced his retirement last June. Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and the local Anglican diocese is one of the largest in North America. The Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto was the Episcopal Delegate from the Holy See in the formation of the Ordinariate in Canada. Why has no replacement been found to take over STM?
This raises at least two worthwhile questions. The first is, irrespective of whether there's a secret to linking leaders with resources, success seems to breed success. Our diocesan parish, over 100 years old, seems to have maintained this tradition -- the Los Angeles area began to expand beyond its core only after about 1900, and this community was one of the earliest. As far as I can tell, it's had a succession of strong pastors over that time, and I would assume that the archdiocese knows from long experience where to put good resources.

A factor that I've begun to glimpse is the ingredient of having a "good rectory", referring to the quality, interaction, and mutual support of the priests who live there. In this case, it appears that not only parish staff, but retired priests and those in diocesan staff positions also prefer to live there. These men take masses and contribute to the general atmosphere. Married priests, with the evidence of what happened in Stockport in mind, showing the need to empty a rectory to accommodate a family, could well eradicate the possibility of a "good rectory" helping a parish.

But second, you can't put good resources anywhere if they don't exist. The OCSP is incongruously in the position of having a surplus of priests but a dire shortage of deployable men. One issue is that the bishop must often move not just the priest but his family, including the need to find work for his wife. Add to that the fact that most OCSP communities can't support a priest and are unlikely to grow to the point where they might in the future. This in turn means that, after the initial optimism of 2010-11, few men have seen desirable career opportunities in the OCSP, and for the few good positions, there's clearly a waiting list where the good candidates have long since taken numbers. So what you get is the rag-tag second tier of latecomer opportunists and wannabes that we see, who are unlikely to grow a community.

So Bp Lopes can't move anyone to Toronto unless the diocese can offer him (and probably his wife) a day job. And let's keep in mind that Cardinal Collins's attitude toward Anglicanorum coetibus cooled distinctly in late 2011, to the point that he apparently vetoed the idea of a separate Canadian ordinariate. I'm not sure if the OCSP is in a position to ask him for any favors. But if the STM group showed actual promise, these obstacles could probably be surmounted. The problem is that, like the great majority of OCSP communities, it is unlikely to grow. But then, the Toronto area apparently hasn't been able to turn up even a Bayles or a Baaten.

You need resources even to build a Potemkin village, after all. If there's no budget for false-front buildings, and no ready-made ones on the distress market, you can't even have those.