Priestly Ordination

I have just returned from Incarnation Catholic Church where, this morning, Deacon William P. “Doc” Holiday became Fr. William P. “Doc” Holiday, Catholic priest.

The whole affair was similar to Thursday’s diaconal ordination. This time, though, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson was in attendance. Though Fr. Steenson is the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, he is not a bishop, so once again Bishop John Noonan of Orlando performed the ordination.

It was announced that paperwork is still being drawn-up, but Incarnation Catholic Church will become a parish in the Ordinariate and that Fr. Holiday will become its first pastor.

At the conclusion of the Mass and after photos had been taken, I received Fr. Doc’s blessing, kissed his freshly-annointed hands, and became his first penitent, making my confession in the chapel.

Afterwards, at the reception, I was pulled into a brief conversation with both Bishop Noonan and Msgr. Steenson. Bishop Noonan termed me “an expert in canon law,” an (erroneous) notion he picked-up when I met with him the first time (about a matter of ecclesiastical law), and they were both enquiring about the office of a titular abbot, wondering if this might be a way to honour certain individuals who were former Anglican clergy who worked towards the Ordinariate, but, for whatever canonical or practical reasons could not be ordained in the Church.

Msgr. Steenson and I had an extended conversation wherein I observed that, with the demise of Morning Prayer in The Episcopal Church and other Anglican sects (in favour of Holy Eucharist every Sunday), and with no strong history in the USA of Evensong in the parishes, one of the greatest treasures of the Anglican Patrimony — namely Anglican Chant — was going to be lost unless the Ordinariate made its preservation and growth a high priority. We seemed to be in agreement on this point.

We spoke briefly about the Customary of Our Lady of Walshingham. He had not studied the book, so I offered to mail him my copy due the very steep price through Amazon. Msgr. Steenson noted that the USA, Canada, and Australia were fairly united in their desire to maintain as much of the Prayer-Book tradition as possible, but the English seemed in great disarray and were not so committed to the traditional Anglican forms.

We also briefly discussed the merits of the recently abrogated Scottish Highland regimental system. (I was wearing a kilt, which started this tangent, and being a Campbell, the Government has long used the clan’s tartan which I was wearing.)

Congratulations, Fr. Doc! I would ask that my readers continue to pray for him.

Diaconal Ordination

This morning I attended the ordination of William “Doc” Holiday, a former Anglican priest and good friend, to the Catholic diaconate. The ordination took place at Incarnation Catholic Church, in Orlando, Florida, formerly the Anglican Cathedral of the Incarnation, for which, as Rector’s Warden, I had the honour of organising the process by which the parish entered the Holy and Apostolic Church via the Personal Ordinariate erected under the auspices of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus.

John Noonan, the Bishop of Orlando, performed the ordination on behalf of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson. The ordination and Mass were conducted in accordance with the modern Roman Rite (Novus Ordo). Mass was celebrated ad orientem, as of course, the Anglo-Catholic church’s altar abuts the east wall. Everything was done decently and in good order, though obviously the “Ordinary Form” of the Latin Rite is not at all my cup of tea (to put it very mildly). In the spirit of Christian Unity, I will refrain from commenting on the liturgical vestments supplied by the Diocese.

As the event was only announced recently, and it was conducted at nine o’clock on a business morning, there were few in attendance (the bishop’s entourage was more numerous than the parishioners). Bishop Noonan spoke briefly about the ministry of the deacon in the Church.

Deacon Holiday will be ordained to the priesthood on this coming Saturday, at Incarnation Church, at nine o’clock in the morning. Every indication is that he will, at some point, assume the rectorship of the church, as the first and likely last native Anglican-turned-Catholic priest in the community. Please pray for him as he prepares for the fulfilment of his ministry as a Catholic priest.

The Failure of the Ordinariate?

From a recent comment by Fr. Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement on Rorate Cæli:

When our parish was established a little over twenty-nine years ago, it was the first of the “Anglican Use” parishes. Although we would like to be part of the Ordinariate in this country, we will be waiting until it is more closely conformed to Pope Benedict’s vision. Speaking for myself, I’m not interested in returning to a form of Episcopalianism, even if it is in communion with the Holy See.

This is exactly what I said at the inauguration of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The Ordinariate, as it is evolving, is not, according to the letter or its spirit, a faithful reflection of the Holy Father’s express will in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus. I am not happy to have been the first to make the observation that the purpose of this Ordinariate seemed to be to recreate The Episcopal Church circa 1990, simply without women — or (at least openly) homosexual — bishops. The Ordinary seems a thorough Modernist and is an avowed enemy of Catholic Tradition. While the Rorate Cæli post suggests that Cardinal Wuerl is pulling the strings, I am certain that the Ordinary need not have been unduly pressured to adopt the same positions. After all, it should not be forgotten that Monsignor Steenson is on record as saying that it was only possible for him to become Catholic because of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council!

With respect to the law, the Ordinariate has adopted positions that not only contradict Anglicanorum cœtibus but also the Holy Father’s 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum liberating the traditional form of the Roman Rite. The Mass of the Saints is banned from the venues of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Monsignor Steenson’s priests are using the Novus Ordo Missæ, as opposed to even the Book of Divine Worship, but the TLM has been eliminated.

Just a few short years ago, Monsignor Steenson was a bishop in an Episcopal House of Bishops with supposed women bishops, in a “church” that had canonised contraception and abortion, and all manner of perversion. Certainly it was right that he resign his Anglican orders and convert to the Catholic Church — if only to remain a Christian — but his meteoric rise to power in his new ecclesial home is proving (for the faithful) to have been an unwise decision on the part of the cabal of American bishops with a vested interest in the Ordinariate and who groomed him for the role as Ordinary.

And where pray tell is the Anglican Patrimony in all of this?

It is tempting to ask the question of whether or not the Ordinariate is a failure. From the hopeful perspective of the many thousands of faithful Anglican Catholics who looked to Anglicanorum cœtibus to preserve and propagate the riches of the Anglican Patrimony, yes, the Ordinariate is an abject failure. But something leads me to believe that there was a different, opposing, agenda from the very beginning, and judging the Ordinariate by this purpose and standard, perhaps the whole project is actually a resounding success!