Report from Deacon Andrew Bartus on the recent Ordinariate Meeting at St Mary of the Angels, Hollywood.
Father Phillips asked for a report on our Anglican Ordinariate meeting at St Mary of the Angels, Hollywood. What was it like? What sort of people came? What was talked about? How was it received? These are all the usual sort of questions one reads in these kinds of reports, in order to find the answers. While I’ll give you those, of course, I’ll also highlight something more important that was communicated by the two speakers, and one very holy monk.
What was it like?
We weren’t sure at all how many people would come, and whether they’d be mostly from our parish or mostly outside of it, or a good mix of both. It turned out that the majority of people who came were not parishioners of St Mary’s. We only had about fifteen or so from our parish that came. Since our parish, being such a uniquely “patrimonial” parish, is one to which people commute, many of our folks just simply couldn’t make it due to their own schedules and the travelling distance. We’ve been talking about the Ordinariate here at St Mary’s since July, so many people already know what they think of it. But out of those fifteen or so, some very good questions were asked. It is disappointing, though, that more of our own couldn’t come.
Others came from all around the Los Angeles area, some as far away as Sacramento and Orange County. We even had Fr. Chip Wheeler from the ACA mission in Honolulu, Hawaii, whose mission already voted to enter the Ordinariate. A small group came from Fr. William Bower’s church in Lancaster, CA to hear their rector speak along with Fr. Phillips.
We also had many interested and sympathetic Roman Catholic clergy and laypeople – some from Anglican backgrounds and some not – who desperately want St. Mary’s to come into the Ordinariate to help bring a strong traditional presence into the Southern California area.
In all, we had around seventy people or so at Saturday’s meeting.
We had three sessions: 1) where Fr. Phillips explained his own story and reasons, 2) where Fr. Bower explained his story and reasons why the Continuum is not a permanent home, and 3) the mechanics of the upcoming Ordinariate.
The recordings should be online soon and hopefully you can listen to what I mean for yourselves.
How was it received?
While the main concerns from most people were about how the Ordinariate was going to work and handle different scenarios, there were points made by Fathers Phillips and Bower about the fact that the move into the Ordinariate is first and foremost about obeying Christ’s command for unity. Father Bower reminded us that the TAC was created to die. It was designed to hold parishes together in preparation for just something like this. He also said that he and his parish are tired of being hyphenated Catholics; the schism must be undone.
The message was given loud and clear: the mechanical questions surrounding the Ordinariate must be seen as secondary to the primary call for corporate Christian unity, and for the search for truth to be at the forefront of anyone’s consideration of entering into the Catholic Church via the Anglican Ordinariate.
One of the highpoints was a comment made by Dom Daniel Augustine, a former Anglican, now Catholic priest and Augustinian. When questions were raised about “naughty Catholics” and how it’s any different than the Episcopal Church, he responded by saying that we know they are bad Catholics because there is a standard by which to judge their actions. Then he said something that nearly brought the entire room to tears.
He explained how the Reformation was, in most ways, a deformation, and the chief reason for this was pride. Pride causes all sorts of variations in doctrine and morality, and it certainly – as most of us have experienced – causes schisms. He warned us that before any serious consideration of the Ordinariate we must first humble ourselves before God and other people. We must be humble enough to admit the possibility that God had preserved his Church from doctrinal and moral error, and that the Successor of St Peter is indeed the Vicar of Christ on earth; and furthermore, to those who doubt various doctrines and morals the Church teaches: be humble enough to set aside pride and private judgement and trust God that he is guiding his Church in all truth.
This is, no doubt, as the Holy Father has said, a prophetic movement of God to reconcile corporately his people to himself and to each other in fuller ways never before seen in five-hundred years. But the key to beginning to see this, much less becoming a part of this momentous movement, is humility.
But the recordings should be online soon and hopefully you can listen for yourselves to what I mean.