Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Some Traddies?"

A visitor pointed me to yesterday's post at Fr Hunwicke's blog, which I normally don't follow. It begins,
Sometimes some Traddies are less than enthusiastic about Anglican clergy who enter into Full Communion and are then fast-tracked at a great rate of knots into the presbyterate of the Catholic Church.

It was not always so unthinkable. After all, in the pontificate of Blessed Pius IX, Mr Archdeacon Manning was not kept hanging around more than a month or two.

In part, I'm not sure what he means by "traddie". At least in the US, I take it to mean a loosely-defined faction of people who are primarily dissatisfied with the Ordinary Form mass and versus populum celebration and use that as an excuse to apply private judgment to a fairly wide variety of other doctrinal issues that, as Fr Ripperger puts it, are above their paygrade. I'm not sure what "traddies" are like in the UK, but from following blogs like Fr Z (who is not a traddie in that sense, nor is Fr Ripperger), I get the impression that US bishops regard "traddies" as a divisive faction that they would prefer not to encourage.

From what I see, based especially on what seems to be going on with the OCSP groups and occasional remarks on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society blog, borne out as well by the blogosphere's reaction to the disputes between Our Lady of the Atonement and Abp Garcia-Siller, "traddies" and ordinariate laity see quite a bit of common ground. They favor ad orientem celebration and general liturgical fuss and feathers, and I'm increasingly convinced they use this stance as reason for exemption from other routine obligations placed on Catholic faithful -- the remarks by Mrs Gyapong that the need to avoid near occasions of sin is not part of the Anglican Patrimony and thus apparently not binding on Ordinariate "catholics" is a very good recent example.

I would call myself a mainstream Catholic doing my best to learn and mature in the faith in a diocesan parish. When, in 2011-13, the option of becoming Catholic appeared realistically before my wife and me, I looked carefully at the Catechism to be as clear as I could on what was actually involved, and I accepted the ordinary obligations placed on the faithful at that time. Thus I'm not a "traddie", as I understand the term. I don't know any "traddies" as I'm aware, but we do know a good many serious and devout Catholics.

But here's what I don't understand about Fr Hunwicke's post. The cradle Catholics who seem drawn to the California groups seem, by comments on social media, in fact to be "traddies" who are happy as bugs with the marginal men who've been ordained to lead them, or are in line for it. Certainly here and among my correspondents, there is in fact concern that such men are "fast-tracked at a great rate of knots" (isn't that a mixed metaphor, Father?), to the extent that most recognize these men would not be a wise choice for confessor. But this objection isn't from "traddies", it's from mainstream Catholics wondering what kind of leadership the people in OCSP groups actually receive. Archdeacon Manning and Pius IX are hardly arguments against this real current concern.

Add to that the egregious case -- I was going to say lugubrious, but it's apparently worse -- of Fr Kenyon, who by all visible indications performed very well as an OCSP priest in Canada for several years but proved completely unsatisfactory in a diocesan UK parish, removed less than a month after his arrival and now functioning under strict supervision. Something was very wrong there.

Or take Msgr Steenson, if anything the Archdeacon Manning of the 21st century, who didn't last five years as ordinary of the OCSP before he was forced into premature retirement and apparently banished from Houston. Or take Fr Phillips, certainly the most prominent ex-Anglican Catholic priest in the US, removed as pastor after long-simmering conflicts with his bishops. If nothing else, this is not Catholic, but there's the remaining puzzle of Dcn Orr, subject of complaints by parents with children in the parish school of inappropriate approaches to boys, forced into early retirement and apparently under effective ban from the property.

Fr Phillips and Dcn Orr built adjoining homes on property that was purchased and split for the purpose. What's up with all that? The "traddies" in the blogosphere are the ones who see Fr Phillips as the martyr here, which is how he continues to portray himself.

Whatever the speed, in kilometers, miles, or knots, on land, sea, or air, at which some of these priests were ordained, it was awfully fast -- and it's the "traddies" who seem to like it best.