I think your belief that OLA is trying to boost OCSP numbers by trying to include its schoolchildren (who are children of parents belonging to other parishes) in the rite of confirmation is not credible. I think this is simply something that was not thought through in the desire to leave the San Antonio archdiocese.My regular correspondent points out,
Initially Father Phillips offered the rite of confirmation in a separate mass for parishioners and school children who had already received their first communion. When the church sanctuary was expanded, he changed this and began to offer first communion and confirmation at the same time. Indeed, older adults who never had made their confirmation were included in this quite large celebration at the church, with various bishops of the archdiocese: Flanagan, Zurek, Cantu, Gomez, and of course, Garcia-Siller. Your research into the rite of confirmation within the United States Catholic church demonstrates the "problem" of the sacrament of confirmation--in laymen's terms we don't know quite how to do it or when to do it, as evidenced by the fact that SA archdiocese bishops willingly presided in the past.
It is very odd of you to fault parents of 2nd graders the desire of their children to participate in with other 2nd grade classmates. as if they are somehow lazy to not get sacramental preparation help at their own parish. These parents mostly come from parishes that do not have their own Catholic schools. They are greatly invested in the religious education of their kids, and it has been tradition in all Catholic schools always to have the class receive the sacrament together.
I read your blog and am (mostly) convinced of your general argument that the OCSP will not thrive, and is in fact, destined to fade away. However, you should acknowledge that the archdiocese's relations right now with OLA are very strained, with sometimes the archdiocese being the "villain." I think the archdiocese not allowing schoolchildren to make their First Communion there at OLA is mean-spirited.
If Abp G-S in fact previously confirmed seven year olds at the Academy he has taken age off the table as a valid objection, it would seem to me. As I mentioned, age seven is the preferred choice of many traditionalists, and is still "on the books" despite the change in practice in most American dioceses. Having children confirmed before they receive first communion is consistent with traditional Anglican practice, although this usually takes place at age twelve or thirteen in the Anglican church. Most Catholic parents would not be prepared to have their child defer first communion to that age. I assume that your correspondent is correct in stating that regardless of who performed the confirmation, a seven year-old could/would not independently become a member of the Ordinariate. So Abp G-S's refusal does seem churlish, at least in the face of it.It isn't my intent to adjudicate precisely which side is more or less at fault. It does seem to me that all correspondents here agree that relations with the Archdiocese of San Antonio are not good, and I certainly agree with the OLA member who takes the view that by running to Church Militant, Fr Phillips is contributing to the problem. This is something Bp Lopes is fully capable of addressing. If he is not -- and so far, it appears he is not -- then Abp Garcia-Siller may possibly be excused for thinking Fr Phillips has Bp Lopes's tacit support.
Possibly relevant to this discussion, there have been several reported instances, before the OCSP had an Ordinary in bishop's orders, where a local diocesan came to an OCSP parish to confirm its young candidates. In other cases candidates from an OCSP parish took part in a diocesan confirmation service Since the OCSP has only been around for five years, many or most of these young people were probably also baptised in diocesan parishes. There did not seem to be any suggestion that they were putting their OCSP membership eligibility in danger by being confirmed by the local diocesan.
I would note that the OCSP Guide to Parish Development has a category VITALITY: RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCAL DIOCESE. It is expected that an OCSP parish has a "Supportive" relaitonship with the diocese. A further comment adds,
Notes: A clear indication of an Ordinariate’s community to act in communion is their relationship with the bishop, diocesan administration, and parishes of the territorial Catholic diocese. Ordinariate clergy and communities are urged to participate in common endeavors, including especially penance services and social engagement projects.A second category, VITALITY: DOCILITY TO ORDINARY & PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER carries the note,
Notes: As St. Paul calls us to reconciliation, our communities must be authentic examples of the joy of communion with the Catholic Church and the Christian imperative to be at peace with one another as a witness to the Gospel. Rejecting prior forms of institutionalized animus and embracing Catholic communion is an ongoing mark of spiritual and community health and vitalityIf I were up for an annual job performance appraisal, this is the sort of thing that would be on my appraisal form, and probably my boss's as well. We can certainly cite examples of inconsistency at the archdiocesan level, but the repeated press releases from a faction at OLA to Church Militant are poisoning the atmosphere, and someone in the OCSP ought to be receiving an "improvement needed", if not an "unsatisfactory" if a job-style appraisal were being conducted on those in OCSP responsible for interaction with the archdiocese -- whose ever precise fault is involved.
I recognize that Fr Lewis appears to be doing his best, although he probably doesn't have prior experience with this sort of thing. But he would be entitled to ask Bp Lopes for support in the matter of bringing Fr Phillips (or whoever is sending the press packages to Church Militant) to heel. It is probably Fr Lewis's responsibility to identify those involved and report to Bp Lopes, for that matter.
But from my experience in corporations, this is not a problem that can be resolved at the parish level, and I would say that inevitably, if there is in fact a problem higher in the organization, it will be resolved with a higher-level departure. That will not involve Abp Garcia-Siller. He is the big dog in this fight. I'm not sure if Bp Lopes understands this.