The L.A. Times on St. Mary of the Angels

There's a long feature about the ongoing troubles at St. Mary of the Angels in the Los Angeles Times that makes for interesting reading.  I pray the ordeal for these folks ends soon and that justice prevails.  (H/T Fr. Smuts).

St. Mary of the Angels is an Anglican parish embroiled in an odd sort of holy war.

On one side are the Rev. Kelley and his supporters, who say their rivals are resisting the parish's efforts to join the Roman Catholic Church. On the other: parishioners and Anglican authorities who accused Kelley of wrongdoing, took him to court, ran him out of the church and changed the locks.

Church quarrels are frequently decided in courtrooms, particularly when property is involved. A few years back, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles took a dispute with a breakaway parish all the way to the California Supreme Court.

But the St. Mary's saga is notable for its viciousness. The church has perhaps 60 members, and the bickering among them has been marked by incendiary accusations and screaming matches that often end with "God is on our side!" The parish itself became such a battleground that for a time community groups were shooed out and services canceled.

"Never in the annals of church history has it gone down quite like this," said Canon Anthony Morello of the Anglican Church in America, which has sided with the group trying to oust Kelley.

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

5 thoughts on “The L.A. Times on St. Mary of the Angels”

  1. In charity to those involved, I honestly can't think that there are very many situations where such disputes of ecclesiology were anything but acrimonious. This after all gets at issues that very near and dear such as personal identity, connection to family history, lifetimes of religious education that the other side is wrong, etc. Then of course there is the Anglican hierarchy that is for obvious reasons very invested in continuing Anglicanism and ministry to those parishioners who wish to remain Anglican

  2. I don't think this is a simple matter of Ordinariate supporters vs. continuing Anglican supporters. There are many other cross-currents and other issues going on, which the Ordinariate press release a few months back alludes to. There is nothing that we can do from the outside other than pray for everyone involved, as there is almost nothing more dispiriting than these kinds of congregational disputes. No bishop or ordinary can truly heal these kinds of wounds – only God and time can.

  3. And I thought St Mary's had been aiming for the "ordinariate" (as it were) since before there were such a thing as the ordinariates! Weren't they already rebuffed once by ++Roger LA? What made the neo-dissidents change their minds since the last time the parish's trajectory was so clearly articulated? Not that it isn't anyone's right to change their mind, but it seems a trifle disingenuous to be trying to lock out the rector as if he's doing anything other than what the've been saying they will all along.

    1. Roger Mahoney? OF COURSE. That man is an enemy of tradition. He'd rather have dealings with the American version of the 'Magic Circle" to practice what amounts to spiritual promiscuity posing as ecumenism. Permissiveness and apathy masquerading as tolerance and charity.

      The Holy Father, when he had the chance, posted a new, conservative, Anglican Rite-appreciating, Opus Dei archbishop. Of course, Los Angeles being Los Angeles, everyone wants to downplay this fact out of fear of angry feminists, homosexuals, and other liberals. (Some who probably thought the L.A. Cathedral is a magnificent example of church architecture, you know, for being "with the times", to avoid the word "secular".)

      As for St. Mary's, a few months ago, I've been asking people such as the monsignor of the L.A. Cathedral, Kevin Kostelnik and even the Rector of St. Mary's himself about the status of that church and they stated that they expected the congregation of join the Catholic Church within this year.

      Gee, I wonder who doesn't want that to happen? The suspects are: 1. Anglicans (Bishops, dissenting part of St. Mary's congregation) 2. Roman Catholics (Msgr. Steenson, 80% of St. Mary's congregation, +Gomez, etc.) 3. St. Mary's congregation (as a whole, with the vestry) 4. Fr. Kelley himself. What evidence do we have from what we know? What is anyone doing about it? Is it right to do that? What are their possible motives for doing anything?

      I just want to have some clarification, because I think the situation is deceptively complicated, and the emotions going into the issue is possibly obscuring any ability to look at things objectively.

    2. You may be thinking of when they were rebuffed by Cardinal Timothy Manning, the predecessor to Cardinal Mahony, some 30 years when the first Pastoral Provision Parishes were to come into being.

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