26 January 2017

Atonement update

A day or two ago, the word was going around that other diocesan pastors were being told that Fr Phillips met the Archbishop and was asked to resign but he did not; so that the 'canonical clock' was now running on 15 days, after which, if Father did not resign, the Archbishop would remove him. The reason given for this was that when the Atonement was established it was done with the understanding  that it would eventually "become Catholic like the rest of us", but that Fr Phillips had resisted the Archbishop's wishes and now had gone behind the Archbishop's back to try to steal the parish away into the Ordinariate.

As Professor Tighe authoritatively points out on one of the earlier threads (I urge readers to turn his explanation up; it's in two halves), Oriental Rite churches are not under Latin dioceses but, where available, under their own dioceses ('eparchies'). When the Holy See erected the American Ordinariate of the Chair of S Peter, this was analogous to creating a new Oriental eparchy, so it is hardly surprising that the 'Anglican Use' parishes should gravitate to the 'Anglican Patrimony' structures which the Holy See had thus put in place. As a matter of fact, this is what has happened, uncontentiously, elsewhere.

The position of a 'diocesan' Anglican Use parish such as the Atonement is not juridically identical with that of churches of Oriental rite, but, in human, religious, sociological, pastoral, and demographic terms, there are naturally extremely close parallels.


Gil Garza said...

I believe a reason why what is happening at Our Lady of the Atonement has echoed across the globe is because at its core the matter deals with what it means to be Anglican and what it means to be a parish within the Roman Catholic Church. Father Hunwicke addresses both in his post.

From the very start, those Anglicans seeking corporate union with Rome feared that they would be forced to surrender whatever Anglican identity they had in order to become Roman Catholic. This fear has been justified by those Roman Catholic clergy who, more or less, demanded exactly that, either immediately upon entering or by measures.

That however was never the intention from the start as Pope Benedict XVI beautifully wrote in Anglicanorum Coetibus.

"Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared."

This bears repeating that the traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church are a precious gift which nourishes the faith of the members as a treasure to be shared.

The second fear is that what it means to be a stable parish community based on this personal character would lack stability and durability necessary to make a home. What happens to a parish when the first generation of converts becomes the second and third generation of cradle Catholics? There are many who feared (justifiably) that community life was impossible because the community would only last as long as the individual convert and would itself disappear after the initial corporate group of Anglicans who had sought communion had passed unto the heavenly realms.

This too was never the intention from the start as Pope Benedict XVI states,
"The Ordinariate is composed of lay faithful, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally belonging to the Anglican Communion and now in full communion with the Catholic Church, or those who receive the Sacraments of Initiation within the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate."

Pope Benedict XVI beautifully affirms that neither the precious gifts that the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church shares with the world are temporary nor are the communities in which these gifts make their dwelling.

I have every confidence in Our Lady of the Atonement that confusion or doubt concerning our parish or our pastor will be quickly resolved.

Jonathan Cariveau said...

"The reason given for this was that when the Atonement was established it was done with the understanding that it would eventually 'become Catholic like the rest of us'..."

There are not a few Byzantine Catholics who suspect this the tacit understanding behind the creation of all the "uniate" churches. Historically the Latin hierarchs have always acted thus.

scotchlil said...

It does seem, to me at least, that the present Pontiff, along with those who follow his 'line', could not give a fig for theology, canon law or simple human kindness, in his conduct towards others. The unlawful, inappropriate exercise of authority we are witnessing seems a very long way away from our Lord's example and teaching, and from the message of 'mercy' we have been subjected too of late.

If you regard this comment as inappropriate, Father, please feel free to disallow it. All this hoo-ha has me hovering uncomfortable between rage and despair....

Fr. Frank said...

Shades of Archbishop Ireland and Fr. Toth. Wasn't it Belloc who referred to the managerial style of many of our hierarchs as "knavish imbecility"? It's sickening.

vetusta ecclesia said...

They are "Catholics like the rest of us".

vetusta ecclesia said...

They are "Catholics like the rest of us".

austin said...

What particularly annoys many of the bishops is not so much that the Ordinariate preserves Anglican patrimony but that it preserves a good deal of Catholic patrimony that they would rather see suppressed.

Suspicion will fall on any parish that exhibits such enormities as ad orientem celebration, approximation to the pre-Conciliar liturgical norms (in vestments, use of incense and holy water, chant, Latin, etc.), and assertion of an unapologetic traditional Catholic theology. The opprobrium is applied indifferently, it is the ethos they dislike.

Ordinariate parishes in the US were instructed not to use the terms 'Low Mass',
'High Mass',and 'Tridentine ritual', presumably in order not to raise the hackles of the hierarchs that despise tradition.

OreamnosAmericanus said...

Some silly woman recently raised the spectre of White "racism" -- the "witchcraft" of the modern West-- about the comments here, because the Latin bishop is indeed literally Latino and the parish in question is literally Anglo. It would never occur to her, or to any other bien-pensant living inside the cartoon culture of Progressives, that racial resentment ever flows the other way and that just perhaps, just maybe, a Hispanic bishop in Texas would have a less than supportive attitude toward a parish which embodies Anglo culture and religion.

I know that the Successors of the Apostles are beyond all these merely human passions, so the idea of anti-White race-resentment by un obispo hispano in the land of the Alamo is, of course, and pardon the pun, beyond the Pale. In this matter, as in so many others, The Hispanic Successor of Peter now reigning gloriously is a great example to us all.

Athelstane said...

From the very start, those Anglicans seeking corporate union with Rome feared that they would be forced to surrender whatever Anglican identity they had in order to become Roman Catholic. This fear has been justified by those Roman Catholic clergy who, more or less, demanded exactly that, either immediately upon entering or by measures.

There are, in fact, two impulses at work in the Catholic hierarchy, and they both seem to be, not surprisingly) on display in this sad episode...

1) There is a very longstanding impulse toward enforced homogeneity in a significant swath of the Latin Rite Church, going back....well, well out of living memory. It has been especially potent in the Irish-dominated churches of the Anglo-American world. Some of it is the simple desire for power; some of it is a simple narrow-minded view that excessively conflates custom and tradition with belief and loyalty. Archbishop Ireland, with his anti-Eastern zeal, was a perfect example of this in an earlier age; but in his defense (sort of), the evidence that is that he really did hold the Catholic faith, even if he was deeply obtuse and bigoted in his shepherding of it.

2) Since the Council, however, we now have the ecumenical impulse, which has risen to a manic pitch. Converts, especially from other Christian communities are now often an embarrassment. We'll take the long-unchurched ones, if need be, but we'll be at great pains to avoid any hint of "sheep-stealing." The Pastoral Provision and the Ordinariates have always been deeply embarrassing to such prelates (which include, on fairly extensive evidence, the present pontiff). They wish they did not exist. And this is compounded by the fact that what has been drawn in from the Anglican world since 1980 have been the most conservative, the most traditional clergy and laity, all departing that world precisely in resistance to the sort of doctrines and ideology which, to be perfectly frank, are viewed (as our host has noted on more than one occasion) with more than a little sympathy by many Catholic bishops and priests. You know the litany: womenpriests, divorce, same-sex unions, liberty for contraception, a low Christology, universalism, the Social Gospel, and so on.

And since the 1960's, these two impulses unfortunately now work hand in glove.

Happy though His Excellency surely is with the revenue and prestige that comes from Our Lady of the Atonement, one senses some real resentment that after three and a half decades, this bunch hasn't gotten with the program, both liturgically and theologically. It's undoubtedly an embarrassment for him at ecumenical gatherings.

Whatever happens, however, I think this community is going to be very difficult to homogenize. Perhaps the archdiocese will win a nominal canonical victory over both its pastor and its corporate status. But even if that happens, it's all too easy for its members to vote with their feet. Somehow, some way, the Ordinariate is coming to San Antonio, I think; it's just a question of exactly how it will happen, and how much sacrifice will accompany it. And when the Year of Our Lord 2050 arrives and most of the Archdiocese of San Antonio's parishes have been closed and their buildings plowed over or snapped up by Pentecostals, that Ordinariate community will stand an excellent chance of not only still existing, but thriving.

Tomas said...

Does anyone know why Atonement did not join the Ordinariate in the first wave? As a member of OLW in Houston, I know we would have welcomed the material aid of Atonement. Was there some prior arrangement that some party is now trying to back out of or undo?

While I have the tendency to back my fellow co-ritualists, I'm very confused why they remained outside of the Ordinariate these past five years. I'm also suspect of how quickly this has become a matter of the blogs. I like transparency as much as the next guy, but I'm also not a fan of creating a narrative without all the facts on the table.

Anonymous said...

I really hope the next generation of Latin Catholics will be the ones to put an end to the perpetual mid-life crisis of the Latin Church.

On the other hand, it was exactly this sort of philistinism that made me look into the Eastern Catholic churches, which is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

A few days ago I left a voicemail for this archbishop, told him that as a member of an Eastern Catholic church, I found his persecution of a minority rite shocking and abhorrent, "your grace." About an hour later, a functionary called me back and said I would have to mail or fax my comments.

Woody said...

As a matter of history, the problem that the Pastoral Provision faced was that the clergy and faithful who might aggregate around them, had to have the cooperation of the local bishop in establishing the PP parish as a diocesan personal parish. From long discussions with some of the pioneers of the Provision, it soon became clear that most of the bishop's were unfavorable to the personal parish part of the PP, the conservatives not really liking the idea of married clergy and the progressives fearing that the parish would reintroduce the hated and feared pre-Vatican II mentality if not quite the Tridentine Mass itself. Tomtheir credit, some of the liberals, like Flores in San Antonio and Morkovsky, and then Fiorenza, in Houston, were able to go along with idea, even if, as in Houston, with notable reservations. The case of Saint Mary of the Angels in Los Angeles (at least the first time around,,when Mahoney was running things) was the paradigmatic example of an ordinary who simply quashed the idea of an Anglican parish coming into the Church en masse, citing bogus or insignificant issues.

This was why, when the Traditional Anglican Communion and other Continuers began seriously to contemplate swimming the Tiber, I, as well as other more important folks, told those who wanted to talk that they needed to get the most ironclad protection, juridically, that they could before coming in,,because just as with the PP and the Byzantines and Ukrainians, once they were in the pressure to conform to the Roman practices would become hard to resist. The Apostolic Administration of Saint John Vianney in Campos, Brazil, seemed a good place to start from. I was certainly not involved in the dialogue with Rome on this, but I gather that the Continuing side kept this in mind, with the resulting Ordinariate being offered and accepted, thanks be to God. If memory serves, AC does make mention of the Ordinariate cooperating with the local diocese when an Ordinariate parish is to be erected, so it is possible that the local bishop can still cause trouble. In the worst case scenario if Atonement is simply absorbed into the very unfortunate liberal San Antonio blob, like the Borg, the archbishop might well make it very hard for the Ordinariate to enter, and to offer the competition that he obviously fears.

JoeTownsend said...

Although OLA has only recently put in motion its membership of the Ordinariate, I can attest to the fact that is a lengthy procedure. Fr Allan Hawkins set St Mary the Virgin, Arlington on the path a long while before he retired and because of property and legal wrangles it has only joined recently..Fr Christopher said many years ago that the Ordinariate was the 'safest' course of action,and I have no doubt that he was intending to incorporate all along. BUT the Pastoral Provision parishes did feel secure in their place in the Church, and there did not seem a great hurry to leave behind the diocese which in the case of SMV had been most kind and very welcoming and the parish had flourished for nearly twenty years through the ministries of three outstanding bishops; the second of which was Bishop Van who was and still is,in charge of the Pastoral Provision of S.JP2.

Kevin Myers said...

I see two options here for OLA, leave for the Ordinariate or the Archdiocese accepts them as they are under Fr. Phillips's leadership. This reminds of me Archbishop Lefebvre wanting the SSPX to accepted as they are. Fr. Phillips's situation reminds me of what many Priests who only want to celebrate the Extraordinary Form have had to endure under liberal bishops. Most conservative Catholics do not have a problem with married priests like Fr. Phillips. I can say that for people that belong to a Latin Mass Community because these priests like Fr. Phillips are very orthodox and traditional. Although the situation reminds of us of Archbishop Ireland and Fr. Alexis Toth, it is still different. This is not a matter of ignorance. This is a money thing too because Archbishop Garcia-Siller is worried about the money coming from the church and school. I can rest assure that nothing would happen like this if his bishop was named Robert Morlino, James Conley,Fabian Breskewitz, Raymond Burke (before he became a cardinal), Francis George, and etc. Is Garcia-Siller with the Wuerl, Cupich, liberal group. That remains to be seen.

Daniel Humm said...

"the archbishop might well make it very hard for the Ordinariate to enter, and to offer the competition that he obviously fears."

The archbishop ordained Fr. Mark Cannady over 4 years ago for St. Gilbert Ordinariate community, which held services at St. Peter in Boerne (less than 20 miles from Our Lady of the Atonement) where he was also worked as an associate pastor. Over two years ago the archbishop also ordained Fr. David Wagner for St. Gibert's and gave him work at various parishes. With Fr. Cannady retired, the archbishop allowed Fr. Wagner to relocate St. Gilbert's to Notre Dame parish in Kerrville (some 45 miles away), as he had family there. While the St. Gilbert community (whatever that might be besides Fr. Wagner and family) meets at St. Peter Upon the Water retreat center, Fr. Wagner has taken over as the pastor of Notre Dame with the previous pastor becoming an auxiliary bishop. It wouldn't surprise me if there aren't folks that would drive past St. Gilbert's to attend the Latin Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement.

While entry in to the Personal Ordinariate had been discussed, Fr. Phillips withdrew that request nearly 5 years ago. There's been no open discussion since, though the possibility had been left open. The change from Msgr. Steenson to Bishop Lopes likely had something to do with that.

The Atonement Academy has not quite completed a massive building expansion project. Since the project was begun, a chunk came out of the enrollment with the opening of a public charter school that has a similar curriculum, drawing both students and faculty away. Another Catholic Academy could not make payments on their loans (and perhaps payroll), and the Archdiocese bailed them out. It should be obvious that the Chair of St. Peter Ordinaiate will not be providing assistance to Atonement if needed, they'd be counting on Atonement to be perhaps the only self-sustaining parish.