More Ordinariate Disappointment

This statement has been approved by the Personal Ordinariate and posted on the St. Thomas More Parish web site.

It's a pity — a solid, private boys' school with spirituality rooted in the Traditional Latin Mass, but with an appreciation of the Anglican Patrimony.  This seems like it would have been a marriage made in heaven.

When I met him in Orlando some months ago, Monsignor Steenson held nothing back in the expression of his enmity towards Catholic Traditionalism and the so-called Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  He said the Ordinariate should have nothing to do with those people (a paraphrase, but an accurate assessment of his attitude which was made quite clear).  He even suggested that, simply because I had an affinity for the TLM that I should consider myself "out of communion" with the local Ordinary, Bishop Noonan of Orlando.  Quite taken aback, I assured the Anglican Ordinary that I was quite Catholic, despite my intense dislike (and often horror) of the institutionalized liturgical abuses found in Latin Rite parishes almost everywhere (and unfortunately in my home diocese) and my attachment to Catholic Tradition.

The Ordinary should at least be reminded that, according to Anglicanorum coetibus and Summorum Pontificum, his priests have the unrestricted right to celebrate the Sacraments according to the liturgical books in force in 1962.  And it is my fervent belief that both the Anglican Catholic and Catholic Traditionalist communities would both greatly benefit by their collaboration — if only we had a visionary leadership.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organized the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He is also the CEO of Three Fish Consulting, LLC, an Information Technology consultancy based in Orlando, FL. He can be reached via email at ccampbell at threefish dot co.

85 thoughts on “More Ordinariate Disappointment”

  1. Frankly Christian, this development SICKENS me. My guess is that Bambera–Bishop of the dying Diocese of Scranton and Novus Ordo sychophant–didn't want the competition from the Academy, given that his Catholic schools are mediocre at best. The fact that Steenson caved is very sad. An old (now departed) friend of mine used to say that part of the consecration ceremony of bishops was the "removal of the spine." Indeed. I met Monsignor Steenson at the conversion Mass of Christ the King in Towson, Maryland. He seemed very nice and pleasant, even when I mentioned that I was a member of St. Alphonsus Parish/Traditional Latin Mass. He didn't pass out or faint when I told him that I thought Traditional Mass/EF Catholics were "first cousins" to Ordinariate Catholics, given our mutual love of reverence, tradition, good music, etc. We do need to pray for our bishops and priests, but I often find myself fantasizing about landing them a good right hook (Irish temper, you see). I hope Father Bergman is permitted to open an Anglican Use school, like Our Lady of the Atonement. Of course, it too will be superior to the local NO schools–I hope Steenson does the right thing and supports a parish school for St. Thomas More. We'll see.

    Better not type anymore–my confession tomorrow will already be long enough…


    1. John:

      Thank you for your comment. In my view, there is a total disconnect between the Apostolic Constitution and the manifest Will of the Holy Father and the jurisdiction called the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Communication between the Ordinariate and Rome is very skilfully mastered and mediated by several American bishops who are calling all of the shots. To date it has been an abysmal failure.

      Now I am certain that the Ordinariate sycophants, whose gut reflex is to defend the jurisdiction and its leaders at every turn, accusing anyone of a different mind to be disloyal, disobedient, and non-Catholic (somehow never truly converted), will show up now and decry objective criticism of the fledgling Ordinariate, with all manner of excuses, but the fact of the matter is that, with a different (and popular) leadership, the leadership desired by the Anglican Catholic community from the beginning and upset by interlopers, things would have been dramatically different from the start. Oh, but Christian, Rome thinks and moves in terms of decades: this is total BS. Decisions were hastily made and manipulated, and now we have a foundering Ordinariate with no sense of direction, no zeal, and no commitment to evangelisation.

      I truly believe that the Holy Father was not given all of the information necessary to make the correct appointments regarding this Ordinariate. I believe (and have considerable evidence) that a few USCCB power-players ran (and continue to run) interference for the Establishment — an Establishment unwilling to follow Anglicanorum coetibus, but more than happy to attempt to recreate TEC circa 1990 in the Catholic Church, less female priests, of course.

      1. Sir,
        If you have evidence, I would encourage you to forward it along to helpful authorities. If what you are saying is true, then we have people defying Our Holy Father's intentions; which, by the way, is sadly not news these days.

        God bless,
        Dan Hoffman

    2. Please do not lose heart! Know that the worthwhile goal is worth pursuing in spite of hardships or roadblocks or mean spirited people…or all of the above.

      God bless you! Keep on!
      Ave Maria!

  2. I can't say anything about the first two paragraphs – but I am flabbergasted with the content of the third and fourth. What have the Ordinariates ever received from Traditional-minded Catholics but love and encouragement? Why this hatred? What have we ever done to you, but give you our prayers and support?

    Please, will any clergyman in the American Ordinariate, anyone, please say publicly that they disagree with this and disassociate themselves from this attitude?

    If this is true, Christian, a veil has fallen from our eyes: we dreamed of new Newmans, and we woke up with Catholic Spongs.


    1. I do not want to judge the Rt Rev Msgr Steenson's attitudes on Traditionalists in the Catholic Church since I do not know the context why he has such alleged attitudes. However I have had the unpleasant experience to learn that former Anglican and now Roman Catholics are considered still Protestants by some Traditionalists (albeit a minority). Some Traditionalists want the former Anglican now Roman Catholics to completely discard their Anglican tradition contrary to the wishes of the Pope and be completely Tridentine.

      I sincerely pray that the good Monsignor did not have this first impression of the Traditionalists for first impressions always last. If he did, we hope he changes his views and Catholic traditionalists will have to have more understanding and show even more charity on this matter.

      1. The attitude, and words used, confirmed to me by Mr. Campbell by e-mail, do not at all indicate this; they were not defensive and marked by a context of misunderstanding, but assertive and certain and that rejected Traditional Catholics as a group.

        All Traditional Catholics I know, and I know many around the world, have always been ecstatic about the Ordinariates and the beauty of the Anglican Patrimony. Naturally, if the Anglican Patrimony is merely the Novus Ordo with Anglican quirks and discipline, then the Church as a whole will gain very little from it, and individual conversion to the ordinary jurisdictions of the Latin Church would have been sufficient. Anglicanorum coetibus would have consequently made no sense.

        Mind you, we are used to being hated and despised, we just did not expect this from those quarters. But it really makes very little difference, and none at all in daily life.

    2. Of course, Roman Spongs continue to run the Latin Church, although their power is waning.


      1. Bishops within the USCCB with their power waning? If so, it is for a host of reasons going far beyond any resemblance to being bishop Spong. A lot of cradle-born Catholics have their differences with the entire hierarchy, not just a few moderates and liberals.

      2. Peter

        Don't give Bp Spong too much credit. I have heard Episcopalian friends say that Bishop Spong wants to be a heretic but doesn't have the brains to be one and so we have his books. On the other hand his Roman Catholic counterparts have the brains to be one and thus they are in the Vatican! 😉

  3. It would indeed be a pity if the Ordinariates held themselves aloof from Traditionalist Catholics. There certainly are some people who identify themselves as "traditionalist" who can be unpleasant (Fr. Phillips wrote an essay about a group that was hosted by Atonement parish some years back that proved not to be very good guests), but here in Boston we have had a very productive relationship with the "Latin Mass crowd".

    Many of those who typically attend the Extraordinary Form Mass at the Cathedral or Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton visit us at St. Athanasius, especially for Evensong, when members of the Latin schola join with us and swell our numbers and voices. Last October we jointly sponsored a symposium on Blessed John Henry Newman at the Cathedral, ending the day with Choral Evensong. It was a beautiful day, with the speakers including the president of Thomas More College and Dr. Peter Kreeft.

    However, the statement on the web site of Fr. Bergman's parish does not tell us the reasons for the opposition to this school. It would be prudent to get more facts. Scranton, unfortunately, was home to a scandal in 2004 involving a traditionalist group, The Society of St. John, and it would be an exercise of due prudence for Bishop Bambera and Ordinary Msgr. Steenson, to be investigate a new group that would have charge of young people. Perhaps there are questions about the group behind St. Gregory's that cannot be answered satisfactorily before a September school start?

    1. In my area, there has been a good relationship between Latin traditionalists and the incomers from the Traditional Anglican Communion. I have also seen friendship extended to Latin traditionalists from some ordinariate priests from the Canterburian Anglican incomers. Fr. Phillips had been referring to a certain type of Neaderthal traditionalist who refuses, for example, to believe that the N.O. Mass is valid, or who refuses to accept validly-ordained married priests. Most traditionalists are not that ignorant these days.

      On the Society of St. John, I would nuance this a bit and call them 'semi-traditionalist'. Long before the scandal, they provoked the ire of traditional Catholics by proposing de facto 1965 changes to the T.L.M. for their community, and these were granted with glee by the P.C.E.D., thanks to Msgr. Perl, the Secretary at that time. The Society of St. John was called 'not traditional' by most traditionalists at the time, owing to this. It was believed (rightly) that the S.S.J. was part of a campaign in some quarters of the Church to move the T.L.M. by baby steps towards the New Mass.

      The remnants of the S.S.J., under Fr. Myers, found refuge in Paraguay and, lately, also in Buenos Aires (in the D. of San Isidro) after the scandal effectively expelled them from Pennsylvania. They offer Latin Mass in Paraguay and in Greater Buenos Aires today. I am not sure if the so-called 1965 amendments are still used at such Masses. There are so few approved Traditional Latin Masses in Argentina that most traditionalists down there probably do not care, or else repair to the S.S.P.X.


  4. This is a great disappointment on more than one level. First, I am deeply sorry to hear of the antipathy toward those who value the Traditional Latin Mass. I have no first-hand knowledge of this, but Mr. Campbell obviously does. Why there is this feeling, I cannot imagine; that it should not be, is obvious.

    I was delighted when I heard the news some months ago that St. Gregory the Great Academy would be resident at St. Thomas More Parish in Scranton. My understanding was that it would be only for a year, giving St. Gregory's time to get itself on firm ground, and then St. Thomas More would have an improved facility in which they could begin their own parish school. This seemed to be an ideal arrangement. I have never been reluctant to voice my opinion that having schools is key to the success of the Ordinariate. As is well known, I had hoped at one time that our parish school would have helped to form the foundation for Catholic education in the U. S. Ordinariate. In fact, our now-deceased Headmaster, Mr. Ralph Johnston had written an article about the need for Ordinariate schools which was published on this site:

    There are aspects of this development (which seems to be a very strange decision) that are unknown to us, but for a pastor to be forbidden from entering into a short-term rental of parish property to a perfectly legitimate Catholic apostolate is confusing and odd. For goodness' sake, if a pastor can rent out his parish facility for every other imaginable group, why not for a Catholic school, especially in this case, which was always intended to be short-term? I have known Fr. Bergman for many years, and he has my highest respect as a good man and an excellent priest. I have also met and know some of those involved in St. Gregory's, and they are fine individuals with a real understanding of Catholic and classical education. Additionally, I believe St. Gregory's headmaster is a member of St. Thomas More Parish. Surely, with people like this involved, not much more of a "safety net" would be necessary.

    1. To be Catholic, doesn't a school, under canon law, have to be authorized by the local bishop as Catholic? Did that occur? Also, it is confusing because it does not seem from what I've seen that the school was focused on the Anglican patrimony that the parish is. Was it an ordinariate school? There may be reasons to wait.

      1. St. Thomas More Parish was not proposing to claim the school as its own. The Academy has existed for some twenty years, but could no longer use the property where it had been. Fr. Bergman was simply willing to rent part of the facility to an already-existing school, which would have assisted the parish in fixing up the property, and when the Academy moved on (which it fully intended to do, after the first year), St. Thomas More would have an improved school building in which the parish could found a school.

        The concept is pretty simple:
        1. existing Catholic school has no place to meet;
        2. Catholic parish has empty school building;
        3. Catholic pastor is willing to serve as chaplain to students; but
        4. Permission denied.

        At least, it seemed simple at first glance…

  5. Can't anyone appeal this agony directly to the Holy Father? You are my Brothers. I am a traditional Catholic and my whole family suffered the effects of the Church of Nice. I embrace both the TLM and AU liturgy and my Priests who choose Divine Holy Worship rather than religious entertainment. I ached this last Sunday as the Body of our Lord was dropped on the floor by a lay EMHC. How long oh Lord must we witness You being scourged in this manner? I was at a NO parish this last week.

  6. I don't have any inside knowledge of the behind-the-scenes machinations at the USCCB or anything like that, but knowing what I know about how the USCCB works I would not be surprised to hear that they've hijacked the Ordinariate project. The Catholic Faithful have much to suffer from their own ecclesiastical authorities. Our Lady of Walsingham will protect and defend us. Mary Immaculate, Queen of England, Pray for Us!

    1. Rushad, You said, "I would not be surprised to hear that they've hijacked the Ordinariate project." Nor, would I be surprised.

      There is resentment amongst the USCCB that the next great flushing sound you hear will be Cathoic traditionalists going out the door to embrace an Anglican High Mass for the Ordinariate. The bishops have every reason to be concerned that devotees of the TLM and the Novus Ordo Mass will go rushing out the door to enter the Ordinariate.

      The Anglican High Mass would be an excellent model for the entire Latin rite. With a suitable use of Latin to be sure. As is the case with any number of Anglican Catholic parishes in England and here in the U.S. A division between Latin and Cranmerian/Tudor English is fairly common.

      In my opinion, the Anglican Mass or the BCP of 1549 are far superior models to any Latin liturgy, pre or post Vatican II, with the exception of the Sarum usage at the time of Queen "Bloody" Mary" Tudor and Cardinal Reginald Pole. Both of whom attempted to restore the Sarum usage and the Catholic Church. Their memory should be honored by the CDW in Rome by, at the very least, providing for celebrating the 1549 liturgy with added Sarum features if the Sarum usage in its pure pre-Reformation form isn't adopted.

  7. Up until now I have refrained from making many comments on this blog or any other blog, for that matter. But being a member of Una Voce-The Toronto Latin Mass Society and potential Ordinariate member, I am totally appalled by the Ordinary's attitude towards the EF. Archbishop/Cardinal Collins has graciously provided for the wider celebration of the EF Latin Mass in this Archdiocese. In one parish he made financial provision, so that one priest could serve who became chaplain of the EF. So, can he be considered as "one of those people"? Do I disqualify myself for Ordinariate membership because I promote the EF mass along with the AU mass? What is going on here? How could you be considered out of communion with your local Ordinary? Does this suggest that people like us, should be excommunicated or declared anathema? How could Msgr. Steenson even begin to suggest such a thing?

    Christian, I understand your anger and your concerns. Please accept my apologies for any criticism I have made in the past. It looks like we are on the same page. I am aware of a number of problems within the Ordinariate that have not been made public, but this revelation just flabbergasts me.

    As far as the EF Form of the mass, if the Ordinariate priest in my sodality decides to offer it (say, once a month) along with the AU mass, he will have my full support and the Ordinary doesn't have a leg to stand on, if he balks against it and this has nothing to do with disobedience. I also know of one Ordinariate priest in Canada that is giving consideration to offering the EF mass in his parish and another one, who if ordained will offer the EF as well. Are they going to have their wings clipped along with the rest of us "traditional" Catholics?

  8. I think Steve Cavanaugh makes a good point about people not knowing facts. Opening a school, and a boarding school no less, is something to be considered carefully. Did the pastor consult with the Ordinariate, were the teachers qualified and sorry, but a boarding school in this day of scandal? Who was running the school? What is their experience? Was it primarily to serve parish children? So many issues considering The parish just got started. The Catholic Church remains solid after 2000 yrs for moving carefully and prudently. Maybe the pastor realized that it might be better to have his own foundation in place?

  9. "He even suggested that, simply because I had an affinity for the TLM that I should consider myself "out of communion" with the local Ordinary"

    The only way one may be considered to be anywhere near "out of communion" with the local ordinary is through attendance of masses celebrated by priests of the St. Pius X Society or being a member of the Society. Myself, being a member of the Confraternity of St. Peter and attending Latin Masses being offered by diocesan priests or the Oratorian priests, here in Toronto or FSSP clergy does not place me "out of communion" with a local ordinary.

    1. I agree completely. But even membership in the S.S.P.X does not place one out of communion. I don't have the date or title of the document but a note on this came out of the C.D.F. in 2009. I do recall the content. It said that the consecrations of 1988 were indeed a schismatic act but not one sufficient to effect a formal schism. The reason was that the S.S.P.X did not proceed to erect parallel juridical structures. Only six bishops were declared to be excommunicated latæ sententiæ. The apostolic letter "Ecclesia Dei Adflicta", given motu proprio, warned that members of the S.S.P.X risked falling into [material] schism by imbibing a schismatic attitude. However, in the principles of Canon Law, no given Baptized or received Catholic is considered to be schismatic or apostate or heretical unless this is manifestly evident. The members of the S.S.P.X are only clerics: lay supporters are not members and consider themselves to be subjects of the local ordinaries, although acting in certain ways in accordance wtih a state of necessity which provided supplied jurisdiction.

      I hope that Msgr. Steenson will make some sort of a clarification regarding Latin traditionalists. Pope John Paul II, in "Ecclesia Dei Adflicta", called "legitimate" the aspirations of those who were attached to "the Latin liturgical tradition". It is for that very reason that he proceeded to erect more than thirty societies of apostolic life and institutes of consecrated life dedicated to the pre-concilar forms of worship and devotion. He also erected an entire particular church, the Apostolic Administration of St. John-Mary Vianney, dedicated to the Latin traditions. Not to mention "Summorum Pontificum", of course (yes, I know: this is a sentence fragment).


  10. Jump to conclusions anyone?

    This 'new' academy is the reincarnation of an older one that… Shut down. As things turn out, not everything traditional is a good investment of limited time and resources. plus, a boarding school? You are talking insane liability insurance on top of the other expenses involved in running a school. Perhaps a day school, but let's be serious. Does anyone actually think that this place would be able to keep the lights on for, say, five years.

    Lest anyone think i am being harsh, let me add that I work in education, and have seen many inspired, orthodox and traditional start up schools crap out after a few years. Just because something smells like intense and tradition doesn't mean that traditionalists, or anyone else for that matter, should support it. Some ideas are just impractical, and this is one of them.

    1. Brian2, this was to be a one-year lease, with the lease money paid up front. The Academy would have been a separate institution with its own insurance and its own income. St. Thomas More would have been providing space, and nothing more. Fr. Bergman was willing to be chaplain, in that he would be offering a daily Mass (which he would be doing anyway) which the students could attend.

      Doesn't sound like a big risk to me.

  11. Ugh. Msgr. Steenson is -against- tradition? For me, that's like finding out the Pope outlawing TLM or something.

    I guess this may be the last time I'll check up anything on the Ordinariates anymore. I'm kind of disappointed, but whatever.

    I'll just stick to attending whatever mass is available and just sit on the pews and listen to the priest talk about love and peace and being tolerant and loving. Then we'll sing really nice-sounding songs about our friend Jesus. And that's how it will be until I die, I suppose.

    See, this is the lesson of having hope: You'll always be disappointed.

    I hope you the best, Ordinariates. Stay classy.

      1. So… one can frame it as if… an Eastern Catholic bishop states "I have no interest in the extraordinary form of the Mass." By which, he'd mean the Traditional Latin Mass. It would make sense…But what is the point of stating this, if the point is made moot by the fact that the two liturgies practiced by different Traditions are different? Is the Ordinariate a member of the Latin Rite, or is it a different Catholic Church in communion with Rome, in the same vein as the Melkites, Ukrainians, etc.?

        What I would like is for him to make some clarification already. It doesn't help for people to be vague. A leader must make himself clear, or his subordinates will not be effective in doing what must be done.

        Just look at how things are already! Is the Monsignor too busy? What he says is pretty important, so he has to reassure people when things are already uncertain.

        It's not like we're all examining his each and every word, but if something is off, then of course people will notice it- because he's the leader; all ears are directed at him, and this is no different from the Holy Father's lecture at Regensburg; I find nothing wrong with what he says, but he still as to make a clarification and justification for statements that undoubtedly scandalize the faithful.

        1. "Is the Ordinariate a member of the Latin Rite, or is it a different Catholic Church in communion with Rome, in the same vein as the Melkites, Ukrainians, etc.?"

          Rather obviously, and as should be clear to anyone who follows these matters even cursorily, the former: the Anglican Ordinariates are not ecclesiae sui juris, but are within the Latin Church (as are, for example, the Archdiocese of Milan with its "Ambrosian Rite," or the Diocese of Braga with its "Rite of Braga," which is simply a medieval variant of the Roman Rite) — and hence the term "the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite."

      2. Bill,
        The interview you reference contains the following quote, which poses a very serious problem.

        "'For instance," [Jeffrey Steenson] said, "I don't have any interest at all in the extraordinary rite," the Latin liturgy often referred to as the Tridentine rite, "or in any move of retrenchment against the Second Vatican Council. Vatican II is the reason I was able to become a Catholic."
        "I am extremely happy with the church as I find it," he said.

        Some of those who like the EF are opposed to the Second Vatican Council, but I would point out that many more who are partisans from a different direction, when it is pointed out to them what the council documents actually say, are even more opposed to the Council. Attachment to the EF is no test of opposition to the Council, and in my experience of places where this mass is licitly celebrated, the council is accepted without question. In fact there are many of us who are attached to the EF who are avid partisans of the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, some of the biggest partisans of the Council that I know are priests of FSSP.

        Is the present order of mass to be equated with the council? — arguably not. In fact, if you read the Spirit of the Liturgy, especially the preface, Joseph Ratzinger makes it clear that what happened was that there was in fact progress in terms of reforming during and immediately after the council, but that the NOM of Paul VI represents both a step backward, and additional complications. Is the man who made these criticisms — now the sitting Roman Pontiff — opposed to the council?

        Further, the Catholic Church that Jeffrey Steenson joined included people who not only quite legitimately celebrated the EF, but in fact is the Church of Summorum Pontificum. But It would appear from this comment that those of of who are attached to the EF are not part of the speaker's church. What Church did the putative speaker join? From this comment it could not be the Catholic Church.

        And how does this comment as reported on CNS square with the command of the Roman Pontiff: "the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage."

        No, the attitude of this comment, whoever is responsible for it, reveals a very serious problem of loyalty to the Catholic Church and the Apostolic See.

  12. If these comments by the Monsignor prove to be true then I am deeply saddened and disappointed. He doesn't seem to grasp just how important Catholic patrimony is if he holds these views.

  13. Ordinariate fever is officially over.

    "And it is my fervent belief that both the Anglican Catholic and Catholic Traditionalist communities would both greatly benefit by their collaboration — if only we had a visionary leadership."

    Mr. Campbell, while I would like to have thought the same – I think this is harder to occur than you had imagined.

    The tragedy is in the people. In a situation of radical, revolutionary events there always appear people who start to divide life into 'before' and 'after.' They want to start counting only from this new point as if everything that happened before had no meaning. When the future Protestants proclaimed the Reformation, I do not think they knew it would lead to the separation of the Western Church into two big camps. They did not realize it, they just acted. And they began to divide those around them into the healthy ones – those who accepted the Reformation –
    and the unhealthy, sick ones – the followers of Pope.

    Moreover, history repeats itself: the same is happening now around the Second Vatican Council within the Roman Catholic Church. There are people who did not accept its decisions, who view them as tending toward evil and people who consider it to be some kind of a starting point, tending toward good. Also perhaps a third group, maybe the majority who has no opinion and goes along with whatever they are told to go along with.

    These matters are not easily overcome, what he have today is almost like a second reformation, an ongoing civil war within the Church.

    The three year vs. one year lectionary puts the Ordinariate and Traditional Latin Mass on two different calendars. Until the calendar between them is united, I do not think there will be unity per se – only profound sympathy (and not from all).

    I think that the level of entrenched views amongst the majority of those in highest positions of authority in the church continue to be majority in favour of not being "too traditional". With prayer and faith that may change.

  14. Speaking as someone living in Orlando and a convert I can assure you that if the Catholicism in this area was the faith I had encountered at first I would still be protestant. The diocese of Orlando is made up of the most liberal parts of the diocese of St. Augustine and the Archdiocese of Miami. Pray for us.

  15. Here are a few facts I was able to glean from the web.

    St Gregory's Academy is not a new school; it has been around for about 20 years.
    St. Gregory's Academy began, it became affiliated with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), one of the groups of formerly SSPX members who were reconciled to the Holy See and who carry out an apostolate of the Traditional Latin Mass.
    Over the past year, the FSSP decided that they would close St. Gregory's, effective 5/26/2012, and this decision was announced last Spring here and here.
    Gregory the Great Academy is an attempt to continue the school without FSSP sponsorship
    Gregory the Great Academy was unable to come up with the funding to buy the building they had been using while associated with the FSSP, despite the involvement of "The Clairvaux Institute", a nonprofit based in Virginia which is about 4 years old. (The website for this group "" is not currently working.) The Institute was founded by Bishop Conley of Denver. He has written, along with the abbey of Clear Creek Abbey in support of Gregory the Great Academy.
    One of the problems that the former bishop of Scranton cited in closing the Society of St. John and its school, was financial instability and indebtedness. (There is no connection between the Society of St. John and the Gregory the Great Academy/Clairvaux Institute that I know of.)

    Christian admittedly is not quoting Msgr. Steenson in his post, but is reporting what he took away from a conversation with the Msgr. a few months ago. The impression formed by that one conversation may not reflect Msgr. Steenson's considered opinion on the matter of the relationship between Ordinariate and Traditionalist faithful, which, to the best of my knowledge, has not been published.

    1. Reading into it, it seems like Gregory the Great Academy should be considered a new school that is taking the place of the old school St. Gregory the Great Academy. While the old school was founded by the FSSP, it seems as if some years ago they left the operation of the school up to the SSJ. There have been allegations of abuse by members of the SSJ of former students, and both the Diocese and the FSSP were sued for lack of proper supervision. The majority of that seems to have happened long ago, though it may have something to do with why the FSSP decided to shut down the old school. While it could be the current leadership of the new Academy may feel those problems are old news and things have been running commendably in recent years, it would seem possible that Msgr. Steenson's objections may have less to do with the Traditional Mass and more to do with the history behind it and that it remains an all-boys boarding school.

  16. Please could I urge people to avoid jumping to conclusions on the basis of little knowledge of what has happened in Scranton. We don't know the truth and using "he said, she said" as a basis of increasingly cranked-up debate is not a sensible way forward.
    These attacks on the Ordinary are very unfortunate and based on conjecture.

    I am sorry that personal disappointment has clouded Mr Campbell's memory of his meeting with Msgr Steenson which I recall was very positive in an earlier account.

    Please can we cool down as 'The Anglo-Catholic' is in danger of being as unbalanced as some of the other blogs.

    1. I can assure you that my memory is in no way cloudy.

      Yes, I said that I had a nice visit with the Ordinary in another post. He is a very amicable man, easy to talk to, and with a good humour. My original post was not a declaration that I agreed with everything Msgr. Steenson had to say, but that I was still hopeful for the Ordinariate.

      1. I witnessed similar comments from him as Mr. Campbell. I would agree fully that it is not conjecture. The Ordinary is a kind, generous, holy man, but like all of us – has particular understandings and particular biases, rightly or wrongly.

        1. Would that more people would have the courage to acknowledge the truth! A quick survey of "the blogs" shows that some anonymous commenters have essentially called me a liar, saying that I make unsubstantiated claims about the American Ordinary. And no one even bothers to defend me. Thank you for your corroboration here. I would note that my characterisation of Msgr. Steenson has always been very similar to yours in this post. For the record, I will repeat it again:

          I personally like Fr. Steenson. He is obviously a good and holy man. He is very intelligent and approachable. He went out of his way to speak to me, and at great length. We had a wonderful conversation. All this being true, I still question some of his positions, which, I believe narrow the focus of what constitutes "Anglican Patrimony" in an unacceptable way in the minds of many Anglican Catholics — including those who have been in the Church for over thirty years. When I express these concerns on my own blog, it is not an ad hominem attack — it's not an attack at all.

          So many people are looking for sensationalism and, I suppose, it's not a coincidence that they happen to find it everywhere they look. I am dismayed by the flippant, knee-jerk reactions of many recent commenters here and elsewhere. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  17. There is a terrible amount of anti-Ordinariate in these comments without knowledge. There is also a terrible misunderstanding of the Pope's role in the Ordinariate. He is very hands on with this movement.

    Why the animosity?

    As to the Ordinary's statement, I am not sure what the context is–but, I do know that the bishops have a great influence over the Ordinariate's freedom to move and to do what the Pope intended to happen.

    If there is any criticism, it would have to be in that direction.

  18. With the controversies contained in this post and the post below, how can Ordinariates be taken seriously? They seem to have an inherent propensity for self-destruction. While being divisive in themselves, they seem divided within their own boundaries. But for their own health I hope they will steer clear of getting involved with extreme Catholic traditionalist groups, Many members of these groups would find the Ordinariates inimical to true Catholicism and it would be like associating chalk with cheese.

    And for those who hurry to cite the Holy Father for bringing this muddle into being, remember that his view of Anglicanism is confined to a liking for Westminster Abbey which is only representative of itself, maintained at huge expense. There is nothing like it beyond its walls.

    1. Many members of these groups would find the Ordinariates inimical to true Catholicism and it would be like associating chalk with cheese.
      The pope's vision of Anglicanism extends far beyond Westminster Abbey, or the BCP liturgical tradition. Benedict XVI does not see the Ordinariate as a refuge for disenchanted and bitter Anglo Catholics either. The patrimony extends far beyond the borders of this group, but it will take time for what finally becomes the liturgy of the Ordinariates to congeal. Given the great divisions currently within Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism over liturgy.
      The SSPX and it's allies have every reason to be concerned that the Ordinariate will not be permitted to become solely a bulwark for cranky "high church" types who were at each other's throats within Anlicanism and are now trying to bring their quarrels with them to the Catholic Church.

      The SSPX and their sympathizers are pouncing upon this emerging frustration trying to use it to foster a TLM or the highway message. This will fail as Rome and the pope permit them to hang out to dry, or to "twist slowly, slowly in the wind".

      These groups (with many bishops too) have everything to fear from the success of the Ordinariate because they know it will be a powerful magnet for TLM devotees among cradle-born Catholics and moderately conservative Catholics who want to retain and appreciate the need for a reformed Novus Ordo.

      1. If the Ordinariate is to be used principally as a pawn in a larger inter-Catholic and ecumenical game, it will fail. If, as advertised, it is a place where the Catholic tradition of Anglicanism is allowed to flourish, it will succeed.

        A difficult enterprise such as this needs people who are dedicated to the thing itself — the traditions they love and embrace — not to some abstract strategy for unity.

  19. Most interesting. I suppose that in the fullness of time (given the track record of some former Anglicans) the ordinariate could split into a Continuing Ordinariate on one side and the One True Ordinariate on the other.

  20. How sad that so many people accept hearsay, innuendo, and paraphrase as gospel when it is posted on a blog. Let us all get on our knees and pray that God make us one as Christ and the Father are one. We have enemies enough without making enemies of our friends over trivial matters.

  21. How terribly sad! The Very Reverend Steenson ought to be better informed about the nature of traditional Catholicism. This was a major fopaux on his part. He would do well to issue an apology (since so many traditional Catholics have supported the Anglican Ordinariate) and clarify his position.

  22. Selecting Steenson was evidently a major blunder (or win for those who wanted the Ordinariate to be as bland and ineffectual as possible).

    He had a record of going along to get along and was never a bold contender for the Catholic faith while in the Episcopal Church.

    I think I'm withdrawing my application to join the Ordinariate; not that anyone's bothered to acknowledge it.

    1. I echo your thoughts exactly. I would withdraw my application to the ordinariate but I doubt I'll hear back on my original application so it is moot. The Ordinariate seems uninterested in actually having

      1. So the Ordinariate does not want members of the lay faithful. That's exactly the impression I had of the Pastoral Provision 30 years ago. As Yogi Berra said: "It's deja vu all over again.

  23. This post runs counter to my experience here in Victoria, BC. I belong to the Ordinariate-bound Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman. We have had nothing but love and support from the TLM people. We Anglican-Use, Ordinariate Catholics and the TLM congregation often share a music ministry.

    We are also supported by the diocesan bishop, Bp. Gagnon. Our RC chaplain, Fr. John Laszczyk has proved to be a loving pastor and a generous friend. He offers our traditional Anglo-catholic mass beautifully. Our community regularly attends the local cathedral. Anglican Use, TLM, Novus Ordo – all united in love here.

    1. In my parish, a large cathedral with a high number of affluent and well educated Catholics, we have had beautiful Novus Ordo masses at 10:00 am every Sunday and feast day , with combined Latin, polyphonic music, Gregorian chant, combined with very traditional English (Byrd, Tallis, Ralph Vaughn Williams, etc.) with all the smells and bells, plus a Latin canon chanted or said out loud. We've been celebrating this liturgy since 1970.

      In recent years, we've had Anglican Use clergy to celebrate the BofDivine Worship liturgy and offices. They're well attended by traditionalists and "liberals" alike. Our relations have been most amicable. I see no reason to think this can't be the case in other parishes.
      To my knowledge there has been no requests for the TLM since Benedict became pope and I don't foresee any such requests materializing.

  24. At first glance, I'm not all that upset at this. The Ordinariate is in a different ballpark than the TLM, and in a different league. If the Ordinary were to have contempt for the Anglican liturgical tradition, I might then be upset.

    Now my prayer is that Anglican Traditionalists will not become what some ultra Roman traditionists have become — the greatest enemy to what they profess to love by adopting sheer hate as their manner in dealing with clergy and the hierachy. Hardly a way to win friends, as Charles X and his Ultras found out.

  25. Soon many traditional Catholics will get the message, that they are NOT wanted and will leave. Then Rome and its liberal rulers will face the devil and his persecution on their own. And they will not get the slightest help from a single traditional Catholic or Orthodox Christian. Thaen they will finally realize their failure.

    1. This has the familiar ring of the SSPX to it. Rome has washed its hands of this group, so now we're getting sour grapes from them.

  26. I wish to retract any statements I made earlier on this blog regarding Msgr. Steenson and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I am no longer making any further comments on this blog or any other, but will continue to post on the Oshawa Sodality Blog.

    I wish all concerned the best in whatever decision they make regarding the Ordinariate.

    Fraternally in Christ.

  27. If this be true, it is very bad news indeed. I am very very conversant with the statistics regarding the Traditional Latin Mass, and I am in direct contact with many priests and laics who are attached to it. While "Summorum Pontificum" does indeed ensure a general legal right to all priests of the Latin Church (including Ordinariate priests) to offer the T.L.M., we have learned from very negative experience that, owing to other provisions of law, the local or proper (in this case, proper) ordinary can de facto restrict this right. This can be done through priestly assignment and by other such means. In the Catholic Church (more so than in Anglicanism), the Bishop or Ordinary has enormous power over his subjects.

    I have been in direct contact with one priest who was sent for 'counselling and re-training' to a coven of feminist nuns who run a psychiatritic clinic. He was sent there because he offers the T.L.M. It is true that he agreed to go and signed a document, but he was under much pressure to do so. Once he returned from the harrowing experience, the Bishop gave him assignments here, there and everywhere to keep him away from the T.L.M. Under Canon Law (Canon 905 ff.), priests need permission to offer Mass more than once a day. While it is standard for priests to be allowed the maximum number of three on Sundays and holydays and two on other days, this can be restricted by the Bishop in particular cases. In addition, the Bishop can assign a priest to offer certain Masses (e.g. N.O. Masses) for stable assignments. Combine these two provisions, and the result is a restriction preventing a priest from offering the Traditional Latin Mass.

    I warned whomever would listen that Cardinal Levada was the absolute enemy of tradition. He was definitely not a friend of the Traditional Latin Mass or of the TAC. I am wondering if he took steps to keep the T.L.M. out of the ordinariates, although I note that Fr. Hunwicke, in England, said his first Mass in the Traditional Rite. Keep in mind that, to liberals who hate the T.L.M., the ordinariates are a potential problem because they provide jurisdiction, in effect, for priests incardinated in or employed by the personal ordinariates; and this jurisdiction covers the territory of entire episcopal conferences. Within such territory, the proper (personal) ordinary needs no permission from the local bishop to open a new apostolate, for example; and outside of it, there would be nothing to stop an assigned ordinariate priest from also offering the Traditional Latin Mass, even publicly, provided that he were allowed to say the maximum number of Masses per diem. Perhaps the C.D.F. took steps to discourage this.


    1. He was definitely not a friend of the Traditional Latin Mass or of the TAC.
      Nor is the pope. Who doesn't celebrate the TLM and has let if be known he's a great fan of the EPIII in the Novus Ordo. To provide for the celebration of the TLM is one thing, but don't forget the pope is a skilled politician. He knows how to give with one hand and restrict or forbid by more circuitous routes–very romanitas.

      Those who entered the Ordinariate don't seem to have prepared themselves for this. Most USCCB members are indeed quite hostile to the celebration of the TLM, and despite the pope's attempts to get the bishops, both here and in the U.K., to be more generous to those who press for the TLM in there parished (the "stable" groups) we hear about, Rome hasn't really pushed because of widespread opposition from the hierarchy.

      The bishops fear efforts by super traditionalists (many allies of the SSPX or at least sympathetic to this group) to destroy the Vatican II liturgy (the pope himself may also entertain similar fears). His policy being, yes be generous to those who want it, but do all you can to prevent groups from adopting the TLM as the parish's sole form of the liturgy.

      I don't buy the idea there is some secret cabal in the Vatican trying to manipulate Benedict XVI. He's a first class manipulator himself. He taught these guys everything they know. He's very much in charge.

      1. Brian: you go too far. You need to nuance your responses a bit. As Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict XVI expressed certain liturgical preferences which make him not a true traditionalist, you are correct, but certainly what I might call a 'semi-traditionalist'. He did make provision for the T.L.. and willed it to be implemented. That is a far cry from the record of Cardinal Levada as Archbishop of San Francisco, who moved heaven and earth to prevent even one every-Sunday T.L.M. for his entire tenure.


  28. As for the Ordinariate – I hear that we who became roman catholics within The Pastoral Provision of JP2 are not to be allowed "in", so what I may say or feel is probably irrelevant. Nonetheless, when appoint,ents for The ordinariate were made did anyone consider the past records of thos people? Had they been in the forefront of the abortion debate? Were they part of the much despised "Anglo Papalist" group with in the Anglican Communion who had worked so hard for decades towards unity with Rome? Were they people who had lost position and livelihood because they fought agianst the ordination of women and gays? Did they wait until it was conveneint and their pensions assured to convert? Did they have a history of 'getting along' within the Anglican communion or did they stand against what Newman described as "Modernism?

  29. Back from work and very sorry to see my counsel against conjecture has been ignored.

    Some of the remarks on this comment stream are frankly bordering on hysterical and without any real evidence.

    Time to close the comment box methinks.

  30. I couldn't help but think that when the parish was approved to become part of the Ordinariate rather than remaining a Pastoral Provision Community as part of the diocese, that it had something to do with the enticement of the diocese being able to sell a surplus property to the Ordinariate (with all the money raised by the community) for $254K. I was thinking at the time (just a few months ago) that they would likely have to invest a good deal of money on top of that to fix it up. Was it part of the parish's plan such a short time ago that they would be able to fix up the property thanks to a one year prepaid lease from the school? Will the Ordinariate now volunteer to pay for fixing up the property? Likely not, can they get a refund from the diocese?

  31. Regarding Msgr. Steenson, he is a man I have known over 25 years and admired for his catholicity since he was a humble curate in Wynnewood PA and mentored by lawyer John Lewis. Steenson is the wrong man for the job of Ordinary, in that he is scholarly but lacking in administrative skills, and is too beholden to his former mentor who has a private agenda which is destined to kill the Ordinariate in the Philadelphia area. Blogger David Virtue, who is legally represented by Lewis, serves as publicist for this agenda. The US Ordinariate will die if Steenson is not soon replaced by someone more faithful to Benedict's vision and not led by the private agendas of many in the US, including many in the USCCB.

    1. Excellent comment. From my experience with him, and the impression that has been reported by virtually everyone who has met him, Steenson is a very likeable man, most certainly a good man, but is not fit for the role of Ordinary.

      I repeat here my contention that the Holy Father was not presented with all of the options for Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Instead of unbiased advice and a slate of all of the best candidates, the Holy Father was kept in the dark, effectively manipulated by a small cabal of US Bishops.

      What everyone should be asking (including Fr. Steenson) is what is best for the Ordinariate. This is all that matters.

      1. Christian, Since the Ordinariate has been Pope Benedict's personal, pet project all along, and given his expertise as a skilled bureaucrat who knows where all the bodies are buried, I find it very hard to believe Msgr. Steenson was foisted upon the Holy Father without his knowledge and his approval.

        1. This has been repeated over and over: that the Ordinariates are Pope Benedict's "pet project" — the same has been said of reconciliation with the FSSPX. Even were this assertion true, what evidence is there that the Holy Father has been properly informed about these portfolios? Why can't Bishop Fellay gain a personal audience with the Pope? …because curial interlopers block the way. There is no evidence that the Holy Father has taken charge of the Ordinariate experiments. This myth — lending legitimacy to the Anglican jurisdictions — has been oft repeated; but where is the evidence that the the Holy Father is taking charge?

    2. To all Therese said, I agree. Msgr. Steenson has and will do many good things for the Church, but current role he has does not best suit his talents. I can't help but like him ! even if I disagree with some of the decisions.

      In my mind, the USA Ordinariate the needs someone who is like a general in the army. A man to lead the battle of the Church against good and evil, who will die for the faith as a new soldier martyr!

      You need a profound strong, ascetic, courageous uniting figure. These candidates do exist. God will help us whatever comes our way, I have hope.

  32. Reading the parish's newsletter from early June at , it seems like they had long been looking at one property to purchase (Holy Family) but instead it was demolished and they were offered a different property that had a school and convent. Since the academy was looking for facilities for the year, it seems an agreement was reached that they would pay their lease in advance so that the convent could be renovated and would become the dormitory. It seems that work had been going on over the past few months, so I expect since the lease was caused to be broken by the Ordinary that the Academy might wind up taking some action to recover their own investment.

  33. How quickly events develop in this giddying world! No sooner do I speculate on a possibility and it actually happens! I have just been informed that a Bishop Log or something similar has already initiated a 'continuing ordinariate' for former Anglicans who, having become Roman, have become disaffected, but can't return to their original parishes either because they (said parishes) no longer exist or because of understandable embarrassment (though the relevant parable involving a fatted calf comes to mind). I just wish this whole business could be resolved as the only winner ultimately will be Satan and his gay and feminist servants.

    1. HA!

      From Fr. Stephen Smuts' blog:

      Glenda Lough says:
      July 29, 2012 at 17:37

      Although flattered to be featured in this blog I fear my entirely innocent and light hearted little comment has provoked some indignation and ire. This was not my intention and I apologise. Readers will be glad to hear that my husband, Archbishop Lough, during the homily at Mass this morning in Our Lady’s Garage, has announced his intention of setting up a Continuing Ordinariate for disaffected Former Anglicans who regret becoming Catholics.

      IT WAS JOKE! She make joke for diffusing of tense situation. She fail. Such is life in Anglo Catholic world.

      1. 'Our Lady's Garage' ! -I fear this is not merely a joke but a quasi blasphemous attack on our origins, our traditions and our values. Surely it is time for those of us who oppose the liberal agenda to strike back!

  34. How can you reconcile praise for the Anglican patrimony and the tradionalist Latin mass. Either the persons are totally ignorant of the facts of the English Reformation.

    1) Cranmer hated the Mass,and described it "as the weed that choketh the gospel", replacing it with a communion service, which no longer asked that the bread and wine be changed into trhe body and bood of Jesus Christ. Gregory Dix said, "the only liturgical attempt to express justification by faith alone."
    2) He threw out the oblation, prayers for the dead, and the invocation of Saints.
    3) He drew up an Ordinal, which lost the Church of England the apostolic succession and a valid priesthood.
    4) He introduced a married clergy, who could marry and re-marry willy nilly.
    5) he was about to allow free for all divorce, but the untimely dreath of Edward the sixth, and his failed coup to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne failed.

    Such is the authentic Anglican patrimony… beautiful language, but heresy at its very core.

    The Anglo Catholic movement was a way of geeting away from all this…

    How do you square the circle?

    1. Well, the Ordinariates are not headed by Cranmer. Cranmer is deader than Shakespeare. It's the work that must be examined and purged of heresy, if it is to be used by Catholics.

      From the Ordinariate Mass I attended:

      1) There was a consecration of bread and wine, and I received the Holy Eucharist.

      2. There are new Ordinariate translations for funerals and weddings. Check out videos about them here I don't know if that's "Prayers for the dead" and "Invocation of Saints" per se. I'm sure there's a translation on the way.

      3. The Ordinariate priest was ordained by a Roman bishop. I'm sure the Ordinariates will cross that bridge when they get there. (When they have their own bishops, that is.)

      4. Married clergy is allowed, but can't remarry or divorce. That's not the norm, but the Pope has allowed it. It seems to be working out fine. Just ask Fr. Christopher Phillips.

      5. I have no idea how this has any bearing on the Ordinariates.

      The Anglican Patrimony will be made Catholic, I tells ya! Were it to remain Protestant, then it has to face the facts that it will lead to the reasons why it left the CofE in the first place.

      We square the circle either because the square is made round, or the circle is made quadrilateral. We have brains and grace; if the protestant reformation is man-made, then it can be destroyed by men with the holy sledge hammer of orthodoxy. The Holy Spirit will provide the rest. If one has no faith in the Holy Spirit, not even Salvation is possible for them.

  35. Oh and he cast out the sacrament of the sick… which was missing in Anglicanism for over 300 years, and still is not a recognised sacramental rite in any approved liturgy of the Church of England.

  36. In England some are trying to blame the Catholic bishops because of the paucity of numbers in the Ordinariate. I think thay have bent over backwards to welcome the Ordinariate.The fact is that Anglo-Catholicism has been on the wane in the Cof E since the 1950s, and is touched with liberalism and many gay clergy.

    The Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church ( once Anglo-Catholic bastions)are all now thoroughly liberal, pro gay and women's ordination and in rapid decline.

    Isn't the Pope supposed to be the Bishop of the Ordinariates..seems about as real as the fact that Queen Elizabeth the second is Queen of Canada?

    1. I thought the Ordinary is supposed to be the "bishop" as the Bishop is the "Ordinary" of a diocese. The Ordinariate is a nation-wide "Diocese" like a military diocese. It has an Ordinary. Hence, why Msgr. Steenson is allowed a Miter (at least the time I saw him at San Juan Capistrano.) Not allowed a Crozier, though; he's not a bishop.

      I thought the Ordinariates are supposed to have their own bishops, eventually, and have to work closely with the local diocese and their bishops.

  37. What's the big deal? An Anglican ordinariate will worship in English. Give the ordinary a break here. In his official statement, he encourages the use of the extraordinary form of the mass. However, he is right in suggesting, in the most politic of terms, that an Anglican ordinariate is identified by its use in its worship of a sacral form of the vernacular English. 'Nough said?

Leave a Reply