Friday, June 1, 2018

But Wait! It's On Facebook!

Strictly speaking, my regular correspondent's remarks yesterday that there was no publicity on the forthcoming ordinations of four opportunists wannabes priests in Houston were correct, although there was publicity afterward.
I eat my words. If you have two hours and three minutes on your hands, you can go to the OCSP website and be linked to the FB video of the entire ordination service. Provided you're on FB, I guess. Otherwise, you can read the one sentence (plus "Ad multos annos!" ) descriptor.
There are many things one can say about Facebook. I had to get on it to do something or other on the web maybe half a dozen years ago, but I've even forgotten how to log on and what my password may have been, so I'm not tempted. In general, I would say that it's one of the worst venues for abusive social media that are out there, and as a medium, it's at best passé and certainly not thought of as serious. Yes, if you want your Aunt Matilda to see the photos, I guess it works, but is it something that will impress upscale Episcopalians on the brink of coming over? I don't think so.

But let's look at the men who were ordained yesterday. My regular correspondent has done the usual thorough research:

As I have said before these candidates are the second tier. Two (Joseph Reffner and Matthew Whitehead) are military chaplains who will not be associated with DW or an Ordinariate group until they retire, probably decades from now. If ever, that is---at least one former military chaplain ordained for the OCSP is now in full-time diocesan ministry. One of the other two is the administrator-in-waiting of Our Lady of Grace, Pasadena, a group started by Fr Bartus apparently entirely as a make-work project for then-Mr Bayles. Now Fr B has turned his attention to Holy Martyrs, Murrieta -- of the 472 Facebook friends of OLG, exactly one has been added since January, 2018---and OLG has not held a service for several months. It was drawing 20 or 30 people under Fr Bartus' leadership; although it is moving to a larger room in the high school for its Sunday morning celebrations I do not see Fr Bayles drawing a significantly larger crowd. In any event, the venue will not be available during the week, presumably, limiting parish activity. School chapels have not been a recipe for success at St Augustine, San Diego or St Anselm, Greenville (now closed) although two others are still meeting.

The other is Ed Wills, former CEC colleague of Fr Randy Sly, later a lay assistant at a Catholic church in the diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph. This article from two years ago describes the denominational merry-go-round in greater detail. Our Lady of Hope, Kansas City was a Pastoral Provision parish whose priest subsequently went into full-time diocesan ministry. Now Fr Sly combines his leadership of the group with being the pastor of the host parish and an associate pastor at another parish. The Ordinariate group has limped along for four years under two successive priests, as it limped along in the PP for the previous four (story here) and I do not foresee any new influx of energy from the future Fr Wills in his priestly ministry. Fr Davis was a lifelong Episcopalian before his conversion but the current OLH leadership has no real Anglican connection and seems to have treated the Ordinariate merely as a stepping-stone to ordination.

Unless someone else can find some serious coverage of the Pentecost mass at Holy Martyrs Murrieta, this event, probably the most significant for the OCSP in recent months, remains unmentioned. Yesterday's ordinations, on the other hand, represent just more of the same.