Thursday, April 19, 2018

Yet Again, Why Are We Doing This?

In the context of my recent musings on Cram, Goodhue, and Anglo-Medievalism (or perhaps simply Anglophilia affected in late middle age), my regular correspondent comments,
A recent post on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society blog featured a picture of a woman wearing a brightly-patterned chasuble with the caption "Come back to the Episcopal Church!" The Church of Bad Taste, apparently, and yet this flies in the face of the more frequently iterated message, that the Episcopal Church/Church of England is the repository of taste and tone: architecturally worthy buildings, sacral language, music of artistic quality performed by well-trained choirs and organists.

The Ordinariates are there to shelter Catholics from the polyester vestments, servers in running shoes and "Here I Am, Lord" with guitar accompaniment they would encounter in a typical OF parish. Come experience the Anglican Patrimony of crustless sandwiches and Enid Chadwick. It's really all about money and class.

Here is the architects' description of the OCSP Chancery building. Not sure how the Italian palazzo ties into the gothic revival cathedral, which apparently started out as a "pseudo-Wrightian" style hall, but the point is that no expense has been spared.

I continue to wonder what's going on with the overall pattern in the OCSP. As I've observed, there's the "company China" side of things, the TEC bishop invited to Our Lady of Walsingham to note the liturgy, the music, and the young pastor from Nashotah House -- but then there's the everyday silverware situation, the little groups of a dozen or two meeting in basement chapels for evening prayer, led by a Reformed candidate whose career never quite got going as whatever.

Yet it's the basement chapel types -- an example might well be Mr Coulombe, associsted most closely with the Pasadena group -- who seem to be some of the snobbiest. When I first seriously encountered TEC at St Thomas Fifth Avenue, I thought it was something impressive, and I still think there's something impressive about it. But they did in fact have, and indeed still do have, something to be snobby about, or at least proud of. Not only could they raise the money to build it, they can still raise the money and marshal the talent to maintain and restore it.

But isn't there a sleight-of-hand going on here, especially with the chapel groups and the small quasi-parishes? These folks don't seem to be able to bring together the resources to pay their marginal clergy, or make any serious start at acquiring property, much less build anything in Gothic Revival. It reminds me a little of the petty nobility in 19th-century Naples, who had carriage doors with their coats of arms on them, which they substituted for the plain doors on the carriages they hired like taxis.

My correspondent noted just today,

I did not comment on this aspect of of the picture previously mentioned, of the woman in the chasuble. But now Mr Coulombe has a post on the AC blog where he muses about Queen Elizabeth's views on the ordination of women---not my idea of a burning issue but then I'm not an American member of the Monarchist League or whatever it's called.

In any event, the post is sprinkled with references to "Bishopesses" and "Deanettes." Since from Mr Coulombe's perspective as a lifelong Catholic, Richard Chartres, or indeed the "sainted Graham Leonard," is/was no more a bishop than Sarah Mullally, why waste time with terms that are clearly meant to demean and ridicule?

Anglican orders were no more valid before 1976, or 1982, or 1994, or whatever other day that shall live in infamy is selected, than they have been since. The ordination of women may have been a wake-up call to many, at least in North America, to depart for another denomination but it wasn't the Catholic church. Mixing up discernment of the claims of the Church with misogynistic dog-whistles is depressing to me.

Yeah, I don't understand. Why are these semi-official spokespeople for the OCSP spending all this time and effort spitballing TEC, when the operant Church doctrine stems from Apostolicae Curae of 1896? Wouldn't effort be better directed at soliciting donations for a building fund at some deserving group, for instance? But a key difference between TEC and the OCSP is that TEC is not cheap. Er, how much of this home school co-op fantasy, for instance, comes from a desire not to pay Catholic school tuition?

By the way, where is the OCSP's bishop here? The most I see is a tacit endorsement for a continued strategy of poaching disgruntled cradle Catholics (like Mr Coulombe) from diocesan parishes on some sort of pretext that they'll have real liturgy and a reverent environment -- with no apparent need to give sacrificially to reach this goal, and with leadership from guys who'd been unable to build Potestant careers.

Here's anolther question. Polyester vestments, flip-flops, and halter-tops are a atraw man. Catholic parishes very widely in atmosphere and observance. So St Ipsydipsy down the street is all guitars and tambourines -- has anyone gone to the diocesan website and looked for a parish 15 minutes farther that isn't that way? How much farther do these folks drive to reach their sad little OCSP group in the basement chapel, said DW mass at 5:30?