Saturday, March 3, 2018

More On The 2012 Selection Process

Not long ago I heard from a retired TEC priest who'd been an associate at the parish where I had my TEC confirmation:
I retired in 2003, tried my vocation to the monastic life in the UK and returned to Atlanta where I worked as a public librarian. When the Ordinariate was established, I "enrolled" as a layman but they thought I was applying to be ordained so asked me to complete the stuff for the CDF, which gave its votum. However, Monsignor Steenson did not approve -- I have no idea why, I just got an email from the Chancellor and then a form letter. I was, no doubt, mercifully delivered, and am thankful to be a Catholic layman, currently working as Defender of the Bond in the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and a lay member of the Order of Malta.
Knowing Fr R to the extent I did almost 40 years ago (and I remember him fondly), I have a sense that "I have no idea why" may be tongue in cheek. But this seems to show that at the time, Houston seemed to be going out of its way to recruit applicants only to ding them, perhaps to look good in some way to higher-ups.

My regular correspondent contributed this insight:

It's true that Luke Reese was prominent on The Anglo-Catholic back in the day but so were others who have now disappeared. Did Msgr Steenson like the optics of young men with large families? Is that why Fr Catania was removed from Mt Calvary in favour of Fr Scharbach and his seven children?
This may be closer to the problem -- the difficulty is that a stay-at-home wife and a large brood of children can be a beard. As I've said, TEC went down that road with Bp Paul Moore Jr, though it probably still hasn't learned that lesson. I believe Msgr Steenson and his wife had three children, though for whatever reason he seems to have admired more Stakhanovite efforts. These have proven chimeras in the cases of Reese and Kenyon.

Another visitor notes,

If you go to this site and scroll down, you will see Fr. Reese came from the Anglican Church in America (TAC), and more than likely from St. Margaret Anglican Church in ACA church.

I can only assume he had to take numerous RCC seminary courses because like so many clergy in the ACA, he never attended accredited seminaries. I bet those days are now over under the new bishop.

The difficulty, again, is that men from the 2012 cohort were ordained without MDivs and with only perfunctory remedial coursework. One must assume there were reasons to make Reese a candidate above others much better prepared (like Fr R above, who went to General Theological Seminary) in spite of his minimal preparation.

My regular correspondent has found additional information on Reese's background:

This article is first mention I've noted that Luke Reese's denominational background was Methodist/Presbyterian and he did not have any experience with the Anglican tradition until he became a paid choir member at an Episcopalian church. I am still unclear as to what, if any, academic preparation he had for ordination in the ACA. This article also underlines the conservative outlook of the Reese family. Presumably Holy Rosary attracts others of like mind.
Well, it's plain that Houston had been trying to fly a 30-day build-it-yourself airplane project from the start -- it looks as if Reese wasn't just not fully prepared, though; he was almost completely clueless, and there would have had to be question as to whether he had a vocation at all. But clearly, as 2017 and upcoming 2018 ordinations show, Houston hasn't given up on sketchy candidates, no matter what bitter experience may be trying to teach.

Diocesan vocations directors simply don't work this way.