Sunday, May 27, 2018

Here's The Rub

A May 1 report in the Inland Catholic Byte goes into detail on the April 5 joint letter from Bps Barnes and Lopes on the Murrieta OCSP "mission".
Holy Martyrs of England and Wales Catholic Mission has established a presence in Temecula Valley and will begin holding Mass in a Murrieta gymnasium on Pentecost Sunday, May 20. This faith community was formed by several families in the Temecula Valley that had been traveling to Irvine to attend Mass at Blessed John Henry Newman Parish.

That parish community falls under the jurisdiction of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a non-territorial diocese that allows communities of former Anglicans in the United States and Canada to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. It is under the episcopal leadership of Bishop Steven Lopes. . . .

Efforts by Holy Martyrs of England and Wales to market itself in the local communities initially created some confusion among some Catholic parishioners and priests. . . .

Bishop Lopes and Father Andrew Bartus, pastor of the new community, met with Bishop Barnes and priests and parish leadership from the Hemet Vicariate of the Diocese on Jan. 29. It was an occasion to learn more about the plans of the Ordinariate and more clearly define jurisdictional relationships.

I suspect "some confusion among some Catholic parishioners and priests" is a nice way of putting things. The impression I have is that most bishops don't seem to mind too much if a dozen or two ex-Anglicans get together for a 1 PM mass in a basement chapel. On the other hand, if a potential major donor like Mr Truax starts to put big money into a new parish facility not under the bishop's jurisdiction, that's a horse of a different color.

Let's note the outline of circumstances as we see it in the report, which echoes the bishops' April 5 letter, vs what we're coming to learn:

  • The report mentions "several families in the Temecula Valley that had been traveling to Irvine" as the reason for the startup.
  • However, it seems increasingly likely that Bernie Truax II is funding an effort to remodel a facility that must be 10,000 square feet and is meant to attract hundreds.
  • The report is calling the Holy Martyrs project a "mission". However, a visitor notes
    The Codex Juris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) defines only “parishes” (Canon 515) and “quasi-parishes” (Canon 516), although Canon 516 also allows the bishop to provide for the pastoral care of communities that cannot be erected as the latter in another way (for example, by appointment of a chaplain per Canon 564). Although not formally recognized in the Codex Juris Canonici, the term “mission” is commonly used in the Catholic Church for a segment of a parish that worships in another location, often where there’s intent to split the parish when the segment becomes self-sustaining.
    Nor, as we've noted, is the term "mission" used as one of the formal categories in the OCSP's Guide to Parish Development.
  • There can be little question that the Holy Martyrs facility is many times the size, and has attracted many times the financial support, of the BJHN chapel. However, BJHN is not a "parish" that would normally be "split", and at this point it is probably less self-sustaining than Holy Martyrs, though the Holy Martyrs future is uncertain.
  • This has almost certainly been well known to Bp Barnes for many months; the actual scale of the project appears to have been outlined in the fall 2017 information meeting in the Truax Building.
  • It seems to me that this would raise legitimate concerns for Bp Barnes and others in his diocese as to whether the expressed intentions of Mr Truax, Bp Lopes, and Fr Bartus are completely sincere,
On the other hand, the source I linked yesterday gives a size comparison for the actual growth occurring in the Diocese of San Bernardino:

The growth of the Catholic church is evident in the region. In April, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta parish moved from its decade-long home in a French Valley Moose Lodge to its $6.5 million sanctuary a short distance away.

That church dedication, which was led by Barnes, attracted an overflow crowd of more than 1,500 worshippers and onlookers.

On one hand, Holy Martyrs Murrieta is just a pinprick, and one suspects that Mr Truax's potenbtial donations to the diocese would not be of much overall consequence, considering a real new parish in this case gets a multimillion-dollar permanent facility.

On the other hand, especially if Mr Truax has had a history of being an irritant, the possibility of competing and overlapping jurisdictions in the Church here may not be completely remote, and especially since a bishop's job is to be worrying as well as cheerleading, this matter should have Bp Barnes's attention -- and I would guess that his colleagues in the USCCB are paying attention as well.