Church

First Ordinations of Ordinariate Priests in Canada

Deborah Gyapong has the news:

Lee Kenyon and John Wright will be ordained Deacon on Thursday 28th June at 10.00 a.m. at St John the Evangelist, Calgary

They will be ordained Priest on Saturday 30th June at 11.00 a.m. at St Mary’s Cathedral, Calgary

The Bishop of Calgary, The Most Revd Frederick Henry will ordain Lee and John for service in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter

Fr Kenyon’s First Mass will be on Dominion Day Sunday 1st July at 10.00 a.m.

Your presence and prayers are requested at all these Masses.

Church

Bishop Christopher Coyne: “… ask yourself, “Is what I am doing building up or tearing down?”

Bishop Christopher Coyne’s homily from the recent opening Mass of the Catholic Media Conference has words that everyone who is involved in the media, internet, blogs, and social media should seriously take to heart [the emphasis is mine]:

At first glance, the Old Testament reading from Second Kings seems to be one of those readings from the sequence of the weekday lectionary that really doesn’t offer us much food for thought as we gather for this Opening Mass for the Catholic Media Conference. The reading appears to simply offer the fantastic story of the ascension of the prophet Elijah on a fiery chariot leaving Elisha his successor and his companions to carry on. So, at first glance, there really doesn’t appear to be much to say other than to let the story speak for itself and to move onto the Gospel. But being the clever homilist that I am, I am quite happy to report that a deeper second effort at the text does allow us to glean some wisdom and direction from this story and apply it to our work as men and women committed to the spreading of the “good news” through the various avenues of communication.

We are told at the very beginning what is about to happen: the Lord is going to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah has already tapped Elisha as his successor. He has already allotted to Elisha a full portion as his heir. Now the time has come to make that succession real and complete. Along with Elijah and Elisha come fifty guild prophets, Elijah’s ‘entourage’ so to speak. They are to be witnesses to the succession. At the Jordan River, Elijah and Elisha miraculously crossover and there Elijah offers Elisha one last request, “ask of me what you will.” Elisha asks for a “double portion of your spirit.” Elisha does not simply want to be Elijah’s successor in name. He wishes to be his successor in the power of the spirit. Elijah grants his request and is then caught up in the whirlwind of the flaming chariot and horses. Elisha, now the full prophet of the Israelites, crosses back over the river and takes his place among the guild prophets, who in a verse we have not heard, acclaim him saying, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”

What we see in this reading is an Old Testament account of prophetic succession: the naming of a successor by a prophet, the handing on of the prophetic power, and the acclamation by witnesses. The newly named prophet is appointed so as to continue the mission of witness and leadership within the community. Recall if you will what that prophetic role was within ancient Israel: the prophet was the one who spoke to the truth of things. Whether it was to the king – as the prophet Nathan did to David or as Elijah himself did to Ahab – or to the people of Israel as a community, it was the prophet who testified to what was really going on and what was expected as to the covenant between God and man. The prophet told the story as he saw – as it was – “just the facts, M’am” and in telling the facts allowed those involved to come to judgments onto themselves.

From all this I would ask us to consider our roles as communicators…

As one who is missioned with you, I would like to offer a four simple points of advice that arise from my time as spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Boston and my present role as a bishop that I have found helpful in directing the way in which I use public communications. These are not exhaustive or hard or fast rules. They are more musing than anything else. But I find them helpful in fulfilling the prophetic role of being a good Catholic communicator.

First, always take the high road. By this I mean, always be polite, never respond in kind, do not making anymore enemies than one already has in these matters, and most importantly don’t send an angry email written completely in capital letters until you’ve slept on it overnight. Always taking the high road places us in a higher place. I really think this is the way of Christ. I’m reminded of yesterday’s gospel in which Jesus said, “when someone strikes you, give them your other cheek.” There is already too much invective and anger out there. Let’s not add to it. In addition, by taking the high road one avoids allowing those opposed to one’s position from going on the “ad hominum.” For example, when an American bishop responded with a somewhat sarcastic column of his own to an editorial in America magazine that criticized the USCCB for its position on the HHS mandate, the response was immediate but not in the way he hoped. Instead of responding to the very valid points he raised, critics almost unanimously chastised him for the tone of his response with comments like, “Isn’t it terrible that a bishop would respond with sarcasm.”

Second point: Stay on topic. Stay on topic. Stay on topic. This absolutely applies to answering media questions but it also applies in the greater scheme of life. And what might that topic be for us applied to our lives?That God the Father so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son that whoever should believe in Him might have eternal life.” Now I know that in the particular sense concerning much of what we do the specific topic varies from one story or moment to the next. But in the grand scheme of things as Catholic communicators isn’t the overall topic the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and what that means for the world? Staying on this topic really does allow us to keep our actions and words directed towards Him.

Point three, and this probably goes with “take the high road” but I think it is enough of a variation to say it. When you are in the midst of any task, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing building up or tearing down?” In asking this question I think of St. Paul’s admonition in Ephesians to “say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them.” Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t speak the truth to evil or sin. Jesus himself was quite outspoken in his attacks on hypocrisy and sin. In that sense we are building up by tearing down, when we tear down evil and replace it with the good. But my admonition is more to avoid at all times the “attack ad” mentality that sadly permeates much of our public discourse today. One way in which this plays out positively is trying to communicate as much as we can what it is we are “for” rather than what we are “against.”

Finally, my last point: I offer a special saint in the teachings and person of one of the great doctors of the Church, St. Terese of Liseaux and her “little way” for us communicators who serve the prophetic mission of the Church. I would like to see her become the patron saint of the new social communications because she offers in her “little way” a way for us to keep our work in focus. In her “Little Way”she tells us to first live out our days with confidence in God’s love and to recognize that each day is a gift in which one’s life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. Out of this comes the admonition to see every little task or moment in life as an opportunity to make concrete the love of God. Think about that in terms of what we do. Every news story, every video, every blog post, every tweet or email or response to comment boxes can become an opportunity to manifest God’ love if we commit ourselves to loving. I will love God and others in the little moments of my work. I will spread the good news through one kind act, one loving response, one at a time, in the name of Christ. I choose to communicate that love right now in this moment and in the concrete and isn’t that truly speaking the truth of God’s love as prophets named by God, missioned to the kingdom, and empowered by the Spirit of love.

Read it all on the Bishop’s blog here. And then, read it again. And again, if need be. ‘Always take the high road.’

 

Church

Three Priests of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham Elevated to Monsignor

Fantastic news out from the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham today:

Pope Benedict XVI has elevated three priests of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham to the rank of Chaplain of His Holiness (Monsignor).

Monsignor Edwin Barnes, Monsignor Robert Mercer, and Monsignor David Silk, have all received the honour from the Holy Father, recognising their former ministry as Anglican bishops.

Mgr Barnes and Mgr Silk were received and ordained via the Personal Ordinariate in 2011, whilst Mgr Mercer was received and ordained in 2012.

The Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, said “By establishing Personal Ordinariates, Pope Benedict is seeking to be generous in making provision for those Anglicans who wish to come into the full communion of the Catholic Church. In every possible way he has sought to recognise the fruitful Anglican ministry which we undertook before entering the Catholic Church; this honour for these three distinguished men is a further sign of our Holy Father’s love and warmth toward this project”.

The announcement was made on Thursday morning as the clergy and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham met for their summer plenary at Allen Hall, the diocesan seminary of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

I happen to know Msgr Robert Mercer, and this is an honour that I think he thoroughly deserves.

Church

And in Australia…

Aussies: Godless overtake Anglicans, as Hinduism doubles.

Catholics 5,439,268
No religion 4,796,787
Anglican 3,679,907
Uniting Church 1,065,795
Presbyterian and Reformed 599,515
Hindu 275,535

People professing to have no religion have moved past Anglicans to become the second-largest grouping after Catholics in the 2011 Census.

Almost 4.8 million people said they had no religion, up 29 per cent from 2006, but the number of people not answering the question dropped by 2 per cent. This suggested that more people were claiming a religious identity (including no religion), said Monash University sociology professor Gary Bouma.

The total Christian population is 13.2 million, or 61 per cent, down three percentage points. Catholics have dropped half a percentage point to 25.3 or 5.4 million, Anglicans are down 1.6 percentage points to 3.7 million, while the Uniting Church is down to 5 per cent, or 1.1 million people.

Read it all..

Church

What’s Going on in Hollywood at St Mary of the Angels (ACA)? A Siege?!

[For something of a background to the messy situation, go here, here, or here.]

HOLLYWOOD, CA: The Siege of St. Mary of the Angels. Inhibited Priest Occupies Divided Parish.

Fired Anglo-Catholic rector breaks locks into church. Building now occupied by two factions.

Virtue Online has it as an exclusive:

In what could prove to be a made for TV miniseries, an inhibited Anglo-Catholic priest has broken into and illegally occupied his former church, defied a court order, allegedly taken tens of thousands of dollars of church funds, been accused of stealing parish financial records, lying, deception, gossip, character assassination and dividing his small congregation by wanting to join the Roman Catholic Church through the Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate.

It is being described by onlookers and observers as a “bizarre drama” involving a bishop, a Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the Los Angeles Police Department, a frustrated woman judge and a priest, Fr. Christopher P. Kelley who along with his family and a handful of followers, has taken over the lower portion (downstairs area) of the church, covered the windows refusing to leave the parish and rectory, rejecting an inhibition and must now face a trial and possible defrocking.

The end of the siege, now its fifth day, seems nowhere in sight, with no court order demanding his removal currently in effect and a reluctant Los Angeles Police Department to cross church/state lines.

The history of this parish and its priest began in April when VOL first broke the story http://tinyurl.com/d74o6vp that Fr. Kelley had been inhibited. Financial improprieties were alleged and the IRS threatened to seize the church’s property. Kelley was inhibited by Bishop Stephen D. Strawn of the Anglican Church of America (ACA) Diocese of the West on multiple charges of financial mismanagement and “conduct unbecoming a priest.” Kelley said he would not comply with the inhibition “because God told me” and because he did not recognize Bishop Strawn as his bishop. He said Archbishop Louis Falk was his bishop. Bishop Falk later stated he was not asked nor did he offer Episcopal oversight to Fr. Kelley or St. Mary of the Angels. However, St Mary’s appealed to Falk but was never under Falk, as Falk merely facilitated St. Mary’s to go to the Patrimony under then TAC Bishop David L. Moyer. Kelley has not just claimed the Patrimony continues on under Moyer, but another time before has claimed that St. Mary’s was under Archbishop Falk…

At the heart of the matter is the issue of who has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over St. Mary of the Angels at the time this all began with the inhibition…

… On Saturday, June 16, just before 2am, Fr. Kelley’s, former senior warden Alan Trimpi, and others engineered a break in at St. Mary of the Angels, they contacted a locksmith whom they were able to convince they had a right to access the building. The locksmith cut out a lock on the external door leading to the downstairs parish library, directly adjacent from the small cottage in which Kelley and family have been living since he took over as rector. (The reason the removal of the lock was necessary on their part was because all external and a few internal locks were changed by vestry members the day after the temporary restraining order was issued by Judge Ann Jones against Fr. Kelley on 25 May.)

Kelley and company then made their way through the library and into the rest of the downstairs parish hall. They made their way upstairs and were headed towards the parish office when they were confronted by both a private security guard (hired by the vestry) and a parishioner who had voluntarily been sleeping on site to help provide additional security. The police were called but reportedly did not arrive for nearly three hours. In the meantime, the guard, parishioner, and a vestry member who was also on site prevented Kelley and company from taking over the parish office.

The Police eventually arrived…

At some point it was announced that Brian Marsh, presiding bishop of the ACA, had agreed to come to St. Mary’s from his home in Massachusetts and was due to arrive later that evening around 9pm. The reason Marsh was asked and agreed to travel cross-country to be physically present at St. Mary’s was because one of the reasons cited by LAPD officers just after they arrived in response the break in was to verify Kelley’s letter of inhibition as well as Marsh’s letter explicitly firing/removing him from St. Mary’s. Following verification the LAPD still declined to forcibly remove Kelley from the property citing their department’s policy not to intervene internal religious disputes…

It was decided the night before that given the occupation of the downstairs parish hall by Kelley and his supporters that it would be too great a risk to hold Mass in the church on Sunday morning. The church was closed on Sunday. Despite this, Kelley invited several of his supporters and other parishioners to attend services down in the occupied parish hall…

On Monday June 18, Kelley and lawyers appeared in court on an Ex Parte Application to “restore the status quo” that existed before the TRO was granted on 25 May…

ORDINARIATE

Kelley has publicly stated that the issue is his and the majority of St. Mary’s who want to go to Rome through the Pope’s offer of Anglicanorum Coetibus an Ordinariate under the purview of Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson a former Episcopal Presiding Bishop. They had written to him asking for such spiritual sanctuary.

On May 3rd Steenson wrote to St. Mary’s expressing some misgivings over unresolved disciplinary charges against him and them. “Until these internal issues have been resolved, Fr. Kelley’s candidacy for ordination under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus and the particular law of the Ordinariate cannot move forward.

“We are not in a position to make determinations regarding the authority of the canons of the ACA, the status of the Patrimony of the Primate, or determining who has canonical oversight of St. Mary’s. We have no jurisdiction in this matter and no authority over the rector or the parish. This issue must be determined within the jurisdiction and structures of the ACA before Saint Mary’s can move forward as a parish,” wrote Steenson, the Ordinariate’s delegate to supervise the transition process. The issue of the parish’s move to Rome came to a grinding halt…

On May 3 the Rector of Saint Mary of the Angels, wrote an “Open Response” to Msgr. Steenson’s admitting there have indeed “been obstacles in our path, and these are being overcome.”

They said that all Vestry members signed the letter to Cardinal Wuerl on December 11, 2011, expressing the stated will of the Parish (by over 80%) to join the Ordinariate soon after its formal erection in 2012. This was also acknowledged by the Cardinal’s office. Ironically it was December 2011 when the vestry voted 5 to 4 in vote of ‘no confidence’ in Kelley. They demanded his resignation then. He refused, and Bp. Moyer refused to inhibit and remove him as he had promised.

They also said the nine points in Bishop Steven Strawn’s April 2 “Notice OF Inhibition” (sic) were all falsehoods. “They rest only on slander, gossip, or speculation. Some of them are actually impossible, as does appear to any careful examiner. Bishop Strawn has never had legitimate jurisdiction over St .Mary of the Angels,” they concluded.

ACA Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh

Concerned that the parish temperature was reaching an incendiary level, now that the courts and police were involved and the priest and his family had taken over the church basement, ACA Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh dropped everything and travelled last Saturday from his home in Massachusetts, arriving late in the evening and went straight to the church.

“I saw a parish in considerable conflict, a church under siege. I went immediately downstairs where Father Kelley, his family members and a few supporters were holed up. I wanted to talk with him, but he talked on his cell phone the entire time. I waited approximately 20 minutes, then left. I was concerned that he refused to speak to me. All I wished to do was get his perspective and see what could be done to defuse the situation. Some priests, and indeed some congregations, create conflict between people. I have asked that the Los Angeles Police Department implement its conflict resolution program. I have also asked the police department to ensure that church services may be held without disruption.”

Bishop Marsh noted that the issues underlying this conflict appear to be about money and the control of church property. St. Mary’s is an extremely wealthy congregation. The rental income from outside sources alone is reported to be $20,000 a month. According to ACA procedures, a parish priest may not control parish funds other than a discretionary account. Father Kelley has reportedly taken money from church funds.

Marsh said that the Ordinariate was a complicated issue for this parish. Some parishioners stated that they wanted it in order to get rid of Kelley, as the Roman Catholic Church would assign a priest and Kelley would be replaced. “Some members have backtracked because the Roman Catholic Church would take the property and the rental income.” The Ordinariate now seems to be off the table.

Following Monday’s court appearance, Kelley requested to receive the property, but the court dismissed the claim. Kelley then purportedly called the Roman Catholic Church archbishop and told him: “we are ready to join the Ordinariate.” The majority of the parish seems to be in favor of removing Kelley. A source said he took $75,000 from the church, but he has a law firm working for him pro bono, though it is suspected by some that the firm was retained under false pretenses when Kelley misrepresented the nature of the legal action against him. There is a level of desperation in the man. The threat is about control. There is only a small cult left that have basically glommed on to Kelley and they have seized the church. The majority of the parish seems to be in favor of removing Kelley.

Kelley Supporters

Kelley does have his supporters. The Rev. Fr. Lawrence B. Wheeler, priest-in-charge, Holy Cross Church, Honolulu who is under the ACA, Diocese of the West, waiting to go into the Ordinariate said the attempt to oust Fr. Kelley and the vestry by taking them to court was “lawless”. He wrote an ‘Open Appeal’ to Bishop Marsh urging him to be magnanimous and just let St. Mary’s go before there is even more suffering from divisions in the body of Christ. Layman John Bruce is also a vigorous supporter of Kelley as is Susan Aldrich.

VOL was told that a canonical presentment may soon be brought against Fr. Kelley and that an ecclesiastical court will likely be convened to decide on possible defrocking.

END

Wow… It reads more like a soap opera! The whole report is here. Very sad, unbecoming, and so unchristian.

One particular Scripture does come to mind:

5 You should be ashamed of yourselves! Don’t you have at least one wise person who is able to settle disagreements between believers? 6 Instead, one believer goes to court against another believer, and this happens in front of unbelievers.

7 You are already totally defeated because you have lawsuits against each other. Why don’t you accept the fact that you have been wronged? Why don’t you accept that you have been cheated?

– 1 Corinthians 6:5-7

UPDATEDeborah Gyapong reflects:

The situation at St. Mary of the Angels in Los Angeles… makes me think of our former cathedral parish in Victoria, B.C.  When conflict developed over entering the Ordinariate with the rector of the cathedral, then Bishop Peter Wilkinson and four clergy left the building behind though they did arrange to take some vestments and other articles so they could  do “church in a box” for a while.  I am glad they did not stick around and try to fight for their “rights” to the property.  I am glad they surrendered all to lead us into the Catholic Church.  I am grateful for their example…

In retrospect, though it may have been hard for Wilkinson to walk away from the building and his cathedral chair, the whole works, I thank God that he quietly did so.  What an example of holy self-offering he has been through out this process.

Which is not to say I understand what is going on in Los Angeles.  It just seems there is a lot more money at stake and a much, much more valuable piece of real estate.   It is sad the Patrimony of the Primate instituted by Archbishop Hepworth to protect those wishing to enter the ordinariates was obliterated and the Anglican Church in American is trying to lay claim to the property and the priest in question.

Sometimes when we encounter injustice, the right thing to do is to turn the other cheek.  Sometimes the right thing to do is walk away.  Sometimes the right thing to do is stand up for your rights.   I do not know the cast of characters in Los Angeles at all and therefore I cannot say what is right for them.  I am just glad our bishops led us into the Catholic Church without conditions.

 

Church

Pretoria Angican Bishop Under Investigation for Misconduct

The Church of England newspaper:

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has initiated an investigation into charges of misconduct committed by the Bishop of Pretoria, the Rt. Rev. Johannes Seoka.

Last week Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s office confirmed to the South African press that a committee of the House of Bishops had been formed under the terms of Canon 21.3 to investigate claims made against the bishop.

The terms of reference for the investigation will be set at the first meeting of the committee, a spokesman said, and once the investigations are complete it will submit is findings to the full House of Bishops for review.

The bishop told The Church of England Newspaper the charges aired in the South African press by his critics that he had embezzled R500,000 from church coffers and that he had bullied his opponents were “ridiculous”.

Last month Bishop Seoka and the diocesan standing committee suspended worship services at the Cathedral of St. Alban the Martyr in Pretoria after infighting amongst the congregation led to the resignation of the priest in charge.

The decision to temporarily suspend worship services was prompted by a desire to restore order and bring calm to a distressed congregation, the Bishop of Pretoria explained.  “The truth is that all that is happening at the cathedral conflicts with the gospel, and the teachings of the Church.”

The initiating of an investigation under Canon 21.3 is not an indication of guilt or a finding of a prima facie case of misconduct, but is the proper canonical response to allegations of misconduct, a South African bishop told CEN.

Bishop Seoka told the South African press that he welcomed the investigation.  “There is nothing uncommon about the process. At the moment I cannot confirm who the people sitting on the task team will be or any further information,” the bishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.