Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Speaking Of Whom, What's Become Of Fr Kenyon?

In addition to the announcements of Fr Kenyon's departure from St John the Evangelist Calgary, his planned arrival at the parish of Our Lady & the Apostles, Stockport was also extensively announced there, for instance in this letter from the Bishop of Shrewsbury dated July 2:
I also write to welcome a new priest to your parish and explain something of his wonderful story and so commend him to your prayer. . . . Father Lee Kenyon only comes from neighbouring Manchester and yet he has made a long journey to be with you at Our Lady’s. Father Kenyon was an Anglican priest for the Diocese of Blackburn subsequently serving in an Anglican parish in Canada where he responded with his parishioners to the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. He was subsequently ordained in 2012 into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in Canada. This is the wonderful journey he has made, not without sacrifices, together with his wife Elizabeth and their five children ranging now in age from 1 to 13. In receiving the grace of ordination the Church makes provision for Anglican and Lutheran clergy to continue with all the obligations of marriage and family life already promised before God. The presbytery built at Our Lady’s for a Parish Priest and Curates of past years will serve as a family home while continuing to be the working presbytery of the parish.
The farewell letter from the previous priest dated July 23 also mentioned Fr Kenyon:
I ask of you that you show that same love and support to Fr. Lee Kenyon and his family as you have shown to me.
My regular correspondent says Fr Kenyon was to start at Our Lady & The Apostles on the first of August. However, there is no mention of his name in parish newsletters since then, and a search of the parish site does not bring up his name. I also did a search on the Diocese of Shrewsbury site, which brought up a John Kenyon but not a Lee Kenyon.

Can anyone confirm Fr Kenyon's current circumstances? This certainly adds to the list of puzzling questions surrounding him. I've e-mailed the parish in an attempt to gather more information.

Herbert Stein's Law And The Canadian Deanery

The other day I cited Herbert Stein's Law, a tongue-in-cheek assertion by an economist that what cannot continue forever must stop. It occurred to me that there are few places it can apply more aptly than to the Deanery of St John the Baptist, where nearly all the clergy are roughly at or over canonical retirement age and there are almost no successors in sight.

The most puzzling instance of this is at St John the Evangelist Calgary, that until the announcement of Fr Kenyon's departure was cited as a bright spot in the OCSP, which has few to point to. For starters, we have the sufficient-cause issue with Kenyon's reincardination. The public reason, that he wants to be close to cousins and in-laws in the UK, just doesn't add up -- it's the "spend more time with my family" dodge, pure and simple.

Another reason, that perhaps parish finances had deteriorated such that the parish was less able to sustain a full-time priest, has had some appeal for me as a fallback, since they are bringing in lower-cost replacements. But the overall expenditure for the whole Bengry "family" plus Fr Martens may be even greater than what they paid Fr Kenyon. So we're left with a gap in the narrative, a sufficient cause for Fr Kenyon's rather quick departure that isn't otherwise fully explained.

My regular correspondent comments,

[Fr Kenyon] has certainly left the Canadian Deanery in a fragile condition, and no doubt left a bad taste in the mouths of those who perceive him as having come to the parish with the express idea of taking it into the Church and then bailing out leaving the parish with no real leadership. I would not be surprised if the financial aspects of cobbling together Fr Martens as part-time administrator, the Bros as pastoral team, and a number of weekday celebrants have been fudged over for parish consumption.
What we see at minimum is a serious decline in the prestige of the Canadian deanery, which could not come up with a credible replacement for Fr Kenyon and in fact has an overall succession problem in every community there. But I can't get away from the problem that Herbert Stein's Law applies to the OCSP in general. The question for me is whether the resources available to the St Mary of the Angels parish are best applied to an enterprise whose medium-term survival is by no means assured.

UPDATE: My regular correspondent replies,

Although Fr Kenyon's departure seems abrupt he did take the time to negotiate the priestly ordination of Adrian Martens, which must have been complicated as he was a married man who had never been an Anglican or any other sort of clergyman (he was "discerning a call" to ordination in the Cof E, as a graduate student). He was originally ordained to the Permanent Diaconate, I believe. I think the process of getting approval got started before the Bros were in the picture, ie when there was otherwise no prospect of a permanent replacement for Fr Kenyon. So he must have been planning his departure for a while. Bp Lopes stated categorically at the beginning of his episcopate that the Vatican would not accept married men other than former Protestant clerics for ordination under AC. There may still be a backstory to Fr Kenyon's departure but at least it was not something which required him to disappear immediately.
But this implies several things nevertheless. First, it's clear that Fr Kenyon's departure, whatever its relative speed, meant a successor could not be designated without making an exception to clear policy. And that exception, if it had to be negotiated, which is my correspondent's clear implication, was an event important enough to bring the pros and cons to the Vatican's attention. Presumably he didn't have to pack his things and leave by close of business on some particular day, but what was going on was clearly unusual.

And Fr Kenyon's reincardination, given the apparent need to discuss circumstances that required a policy override, must have been part of a more general discussion. Again, is a desire to be closer to cousins and in-laws sufficient cause? I don't see it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Son Or Nephew?

I'm sorry to say that all the information in this post comes from posts on social media or other widely-based web sources, so detraction isn't an issue -- most of it Mr Bengry has posted himself, for presumably wide distribution. To me, this calls Mr Bengry's judgment into question, but even more so, it calls Houston's judgment into question. It appears that there are marginal people either currently ordained or in line for it, even leaving ignorance of Latin aside.

My regular correspondent sent me this screen shot of a recent Facebook post from Mr Bengry, referring to Ty, or Tyrell Bengry-Ringrose, a boy or young man who had been in his care.

One puzzling issue is that Ty is variously described as Mr Bengry's son, at other times his "biological nephew," of whom he has apparently been guardian since the boy was 11, back when they were in Vancouver. He was identified as his nephew in the farewell message from St James, Vancouver when they all left for Brandon. We may excuse this potentially by saying that it's easier to call a legal ward a "son" than go into all sorts of detail, but sometimes Mr Bengry wants to be precise and specify "biological nephew", other times, as here at left, he's just "son".

At minimum, this is an awfully good argument for clerical celibacy. One of the biggest things I don't miss about TEC is all the psychodrama that accompanied its priests' dysfunctional families, the separations, the affairs, the divorces, the trips to rehab, the juvenile delinquencies that inevitably caused scandal and distraction. It appears, from information I've had, that this sort of thing was a distraction for the Anglicans in his Manitoba cures.

Not long ago, I'm told that Mr Bengry posted a shirtless picture of Ty on his Facebook page, showing what was described as "a shocking row of 20+ staples repairing a knife wound he apparently sustained trying to break up a fight in his front yard". He was referred to as "my boy" and Fr Stainbrook in a comment referred to him as "your son" without correction. However, the post and photo were almost immediately deleted.

I recognize that St Augustine had a son out of wedlock, and JRR Tolkien was raised by an Oratorian priest. On the other hand, the ambiguity here is consistent with what appears to be a fuller non-traditional family that's been brought into the OCSP via the restored "Gilbertine" order, which consists entirely of Mr Bengry's mother, now styled Sr Myrna-Mary Chruschz, previously Myrna Bengry-Chruschz, and his longtime close associate, Br Sean Beahen. Tyrell may or may not be some type of associate member. Sr Myrna-Mary, according to my regular correspondent, recently undertook a major revision of her own Facebook page, deleting references to former friends.

What on earth does Houston have in mind here? What sort of background check has been done on any of these people? If everything is copacetic, why does the published version from the Bengry family in its accounts of itself change so constantly? Why does one get the impression that things are being covered up? My regular correspondent says, "[M]y personal take is that God is not mocked. This Gilbertine mummery tends towards the Sleeping Beauty's Castle sort of ersatz patrimony that I think is hugely counter-productive."

I do get the impression that someone has been monitoring Mr Bengry's online activity, perhaps also that of his mother, and counseling prudence to the extent that some of the more outlandish posts get deleted. But why the need to do this?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

More Information On The Our Lady Of The Atonement Membership Drive

An observer provides additional information on the OLA membership drive and the potential reason for it:
The duplicate oral announcement about the Ordinariate Membership Drive given by both Fr. Lewis and Fr. Phillips was repeated last Sunday. While I don't believe it was mentioned in the bulletin or "parish e-mail", it is listed on the parish website under "Upcoming Events". [However, there is no other comment, unlike the oral discussion in the mass annoucements.] What has been mentioned in the oral announcements as a reason to register for the Ordinariate if you consider OLA as your parish is that the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage might not be available through the parish if you are not an Ordinariate member.

I would guess that a good number of the families with students at the Atonement Academy do not consider themselves regular parishioners, and aren't so interested in being part of the Personal Ordinariate. Whether or not the oral announcements at the end of Mass followed by the membership drive even reaches them seems questionable, since they're likely attending Mass elsewhere. My guess is there's an additional announcement through the school to indicate students whose families have not registered in the Ordinariate may not be able to receive First Communion and Confirmation (as 2nd or 3rd graders) with their classmates but would have to go through their Archdiocesan parish.

It seems when Fr. Phillips was away recently, Fr. Lewis did the 6pm Mass in English rather than the usual Latin. When Fr. Moore has done that Mass, he also has to do it in English. Should Fr. Phillips not be available, the availability of the Mass in Latin seems questionable. That might make those that come to OLA for the Latin Mass less than entirely enthusiastic about the Ordinariate.

I could be wrong, but as far as I know, an OF Latin mass in English is just an OF English mass. Big whoop. But Canon 249 says,
The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry.
Now, people can say that the average diocesan priest is a pretty ignorant guy whose knuckles drag on the floor, much less knows Latin, but aren't the likes of Ms Gyapong going to insist that the OCSP accepts only the crème de la crème? I had four years of high school Latin and a college semester of Catullus. I don't find the Latin our diocesan parish sometimes uses in the gloria, sanctus, memorial acclamation, agnus dei, and litanies especially challenging. (Almost all diocesan priests I know are fully capable of delivering a homily in Spanish or English, and hearing confessions in either. Latin as far as I can tell is no problem for them.)

I might have problems with Church pronunciation, but if it were me, I'd go to a sympathetic diocesan priest and get a little coaching, and then I'd go ahead and do the Latin. (YouTube might be good, even if no coach could be found.) If I needed some additional license, I'd do what I needed to. Not Frs Lewis or Moore, it would seem. I refer to my previous remarks on the disappointing quality of OCSP clergy. I see a sense of entitlement here, but no initiative. These guys have their preferment -- what else could anyone want? The visitor continues,

The nave of the OLA church building has a capacity of not much more than 500, though there could be another 100 in the cry rooms and choir loft. The 9 and 11am Mass would seem to have the best attendance, though Latin Mass might be close. If a pew is full, it's usually due to 2 or 3 children with parents. A number of pews have only 2 or 3, so my guess is about 2/3 full or 350 or so at Mass. The 4 Sunday Masses therefore likely have 1,200 or so attending on a somewhat normal Sunday, which is likely between 350 to 400 families.
So if 300 families is the number that's currently registered, it looks like there's not going to be more than maybe 350 or 400 at the end of a membership drive, and quite possibly some cradle Catholics are going to get fed up with the politics at OLA and drift away. Mr Wilson seems like a pretty heavy-handed guy. Another visitor comments, "I wish we had a real meeting. Everything is scripted."

I'm pretty sure this is not what the CDF had in mind when it gave the parish to the OCSP.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let's Get Real

Ms Gyapong seems to see enough substance in my post here Wednesday to mount a reply. People are naturally entitled to their own judgments, but what interests me here is how little Ms Gyapong and a commenter can marshal to provide a counter-argument to what they refer to as an overly gloomy picture of the OCSP.

Ms Gyapong first concedes my point as to overall scope by referring to various highly specialized jurisdictions, but she concludes,

clearly an entity the size of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter or the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are [sic] viable in the Catholic Church. The viability of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross may seem a bit more tenuous, but the reception of the Church of the Torres Strait will strengthen it considerably. This is an area in which Mr. Bruce clearly has missed the mark.
But within the past week, I quoted remarks from Msgr Newton, the ordinary of OOLW, to the effect that its numbers there were unsatisfactory as of 2014. Those cited were "around 85 priests and 1,500 lay members", and this prompted Msgr Newton to comment, "We must be honest and say the ordinariate has not grown as much as we hoped it might. The vision has not been caught[.]" This isn't me saying it, it's Mr Big. The OCSP has never released any verifiable total membership count, but I believe the most optimistic estimate would give an order of magnitude -- somewhere in the low to mid four figures -- consistent with the OOLW. By extension, this would also be unsatisfactory.

But note that even Ms Gyapong effectively concedes that the numbers in Australia are not satisfactory, but perhaps with the addition of the Church of the Torres Strait, they might become so. I don't see this as a rosy picture at all.

She cites the Roman Catholic Diocese of Juneau, with about 10,000 members. This exceeds any realistic estimate of OCSP membership by at least double, but it's worth noting that it has 11 priests, not the 60 or more in the OCSP. I assume these priests and their bishop must often travel to their parishes and missions by plane or boat. This suggests to me that the allocation of resources is more efficient and productive than what we're seeing from Houston, which struggles to provide even the bishop's travel. The 11 priests there are paid, several more than in the OCSP. I just don't see a comparison between a functioning diocese and a someday-maybe-it-will-get-better prelature.

I would also say that we know so little about Albanian, Bulgarian, or Greek Catholics that any comparison is a stretch -- but let's get a little Abrahamic here. The Diocese of Juneau is, it seems to me, at least double the size of the OCSP, and it appears to own more properties, as well as being better able to fund clergy and their travel. I would say it's really out of range for comparison. But let's look at the Eastern churches cited, just on the basis of numbers.

What's a viable number, leaving all other considerations aside? 10,000, sure. 1,500, according to Msgr Newton, awfully shaky. Less than that, like three figures in Australia, by Ms Gyapong's concession, no. The OCSP won't release a hard number, with wildly varying estimates from Bp Lopes between 8,000 and 20,000 -- not credible, based only on what we see for numbers in the four or five largest parishes. The best Ms Gyapong can suggest is that in places like Albania, if you dig, you can find a jurisdiction that might be around the same size as the OCSP. We know little or nothing else about it.

I would cite Herbert Stein's Law in economics: if something cannot continue forever, it will stop. The Church will continue forever, parishes will be suppressed.

So where do we draw the line? Will the Almighty destroy the city if there are ten righteous men there? Well, Fr Kelley is fond of pointing out that the Lord said he wouldn't destroy the city for the sake of the ten -- but he did in fact destroy the city. It seems to me that we have very sound scriptural basis for the idea of negotiation, as well as the idea of lower limits on things.

Is 1,500 a viable number? Is 300 families at OLA a viable number? We have some evidence for the idea that these numbers are unsatisfactory.

Regarding whether the St Mary's vestry and Abp Hepworth are correct to set conditions on things, I'm puzzled that Ms Gyapong would equate her somewhat shabby worship environment in Ottawa with a property whose total value, including the Della Robbia, is somewhere in the high eight or low nine digits, according to Abp Hepworth. He and the vestry have a fiduciary duty to see that the value of this resource is most appropriately used. I could, for instance, conceive of a disposal of the resource, should it be prudent, through a sale, with proceeds donated to a Catholic cause other than the OCSP, though this would be entirely up to the vestry and Abp Hepworth.

They would have the very serious duty, however, of determining the best use of the resource, pace Ms Gyapong.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How Would St Mary Of The Angels Fit In The OCSP, If The Move Were Possible?

When I spoke with Abp Hepworth in April, he indicated that he is, at least in a low-key way, pursuing the continuing possibility of St Mary of the Angels entering the OCSP. Among other things, this would require the outstanding legal issues surrounding the parish to be resolved, so at this point, the matter is largely hypothetical.

On the other hand, the parish is rebuilding itself after a series of potentially cataclysmic setbacks. My wife and I visit from time to time, especially for the community outreach programs and concerts it's been providing. These efforts are impressive.

An influential parishioner asked me this past Sunday if I thought the OCSP had a future. My answer was, "Not in its current form." Let me expand on this. I've got to think that if Our Lady of the Atonement's clergy are conducting a new membership campaign so that Houston and the CDF can somehow better recognize its success, this must certainly imply that such recognition has not happened yet and is not a sure thing. And by inference, any recognition of the whole OCSP's success must be uncertain as well, if Houston and the CDF are uncertain about the putatively most successful parish in it. I assume people in the CDF at least, with a new prefect, must be taking this seriously.

So I question whether, by the time the parish and the OCSP reach any point where the prospect of the parish joining the OCSP could realistically be contemplated, the OCSP may well not be the same thing it is now, if in fact it still exists. If I were Abp Hepworth, Fr Kelley, and the vestry, I'd be factoring this into any thinking. At minimum, the OCSP as we see it in 2017 is not the OCSP that was sold to the parish and the Anglo-Catholic blogosphere in 2011. A realistic question might be what form a rationalized structure under Anglicanorum coetibus might take. It seems to me that it could well involve suppressing the smaller communities entirely and devolving others back to dioceses. This is likely to be an unstable canonical environment no mater what.

Here are some questions that won't go away for me.

  • The parish is a small worship space only a few blocks from a diocesan Catholic parish, Our Mother of Good Counsel, that can't fill its much larger worship space despite recent cuts to its mass schedule. The OMGC parish is run by the Augustinians, which complicates its staffing issues. The Augustinians have already had to give up a California parish due to a shortage of their own priests. The current pastor at OMGC is about 77, almost certainly past canonical retirement age, and is probably continuing because the Augustinians don't have an available replacement. Another difficulty is that the parish is very liberal, a few years ago sponsoring a Lenten program by the very strange and very liberal Bp Remi De Roo. This may have some relation to dwindling attendance.
  • The small size of St Mary of the Angels, combined with the surplus capacity at OMGC, means it isn't a credible diocesan supplement. In fact, the Augustinians and some factions in the archdiocese might resist taking in St Mary of the Angels as a diocesan parish if the OCSP were to fold and the ordinariate were no longer an option. But even if the idea of a DW mass as an alternative to flip-flops and halter-tops a few blocks away were to take hold, St Mary of the Angels would be too small to accommodate any significant number coming over from OMGC. (Even if you had half a dozen masses at St Mary's on a Sunday, you'd then have the problem of finding and paying clergy to celebrate them)
  • St Mary of the Angels has a succession problem. Fr Kelley, whose ability to persevere through enormous difficulties and rebuild the parish has been clearly demonstrated, is about 70, which is the canonical retirement age in the OCSP. He is extremely fit and in general good health, but obviously, nothing lasts forever. The OCSP doesn't appear to have any credible replacement. If I were Abp Hepworth and the vestry, I would strongly insist on some type of assurance from Houston or its successor that current or prospective OCSP California clergy would absolutely not be considered for Fr Kelley's replacement. But the overall disappointing quality of OCSP clergy is nearly as big a concern.
  • St Mary of the Angels is unique as a prospective member of the OCSP in several ways. Its physical plant is architecturally significant. The Della Robbia altarpiece has major artistic and financial value. The commercial rental income provides stability. It is a community institution, centrally located in an area with a great deal of sidewalk traffic, something Abp Hepworth noted on his visit in April. It attracts members from the local community, but it also has members who travel from distant suburbs. All of this suggests that it wouldn't fit well into a territorial diocesan model, but the personal prelature model seems currently too shaky to consider as a realistic alternative.
  • Another problem is that the parish has tended to attract people who march to a different drummer. I can certainly think of the original group who surrounded Our Lord as something similar, but this presents its own set of problems -- the dissidents who caused so much trouble in 2011-2012 found the different drummer types a fertile field for recruitment. And let's face it, this is Hollywood, which has pros in the talents it can attract among members as well as cons. But Cardinal Mahony understandably saw the different-drummer factor as a deal-killer for accepting the parish in the Pastoral Provision. It would take a very flexible ordinary to keep all the parish's unique qualities in perspective, but an unstable canonical environment could be a real detriment, as it was in 2010-12.
  • Finally, the parish has for some decades relied mainly on the rental income from its commercial property, rather than pledge income from members. While this would enable it to meet a substantial cathedraticum, a Catholic bishop's appeal could be problematic -- members would be asked to contribute from personal resources amounts consistent with the cathedraticum, a level of giving to which the laity has not been accustomed. A new pastor would need a new set of inspirational fundraising skills, consistent with those I've seen in diocesan parishes. The parish would need to respond to such appeals in a new way.
I think the parish has a dllemma going forward. On one hand, there's no good option in "continuing Anglicanism", which is dying out. Beyond that, the property value of the parish and the value of the Della Robbia altarpiece would continue to be too much of a temptation to a "continuing" hierarchy, which would probably try yet once more to seize the assets. But I think there would be serious obstacles to the parish going into the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under some renewed Pastoral Provision, as there were in the 1980s, assuming this might be the upshot of a dissolved OCSP. But I think it's realistic in trying to think two years out (or whatever) that the OCSP will not continue in its current form, and some type of renewed Pastoral Provision for the small number of surviving communities is one credible outcome.

And finding clergy well suited to the unique parish and its unique requirements is not a trivial problem. I keep the parish in my prayers.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Is The Problem Really The Message?

A diocesan visitor reacts to my posts from the past weekenf:
I was struck by a similarity between the Ordinariate view of Msgr. Newton that, “… We must communicate our message much more widely and with more vigour and enthusiasm.”, and Fr. Phillips’ inability (or unwillingness) to recognize the sizeable cradle Catholic population in his parish (that allowed it to be sustainable and successful) with what is going on in our political arena with Obamacare. Let me describe the Obamacare dilemma and see if it rings a bell…

Regardless of the media spin, Obamacare has not ever been very popular with the American people, and not making pro or con arguments about Obamacare there are some things that are verifiably true. To wit, it required many executive, extra-legislative orders and rules to accommodate the shortfalls of the law. . . . [T]he Democratic party kept telling us the problem wasn’t with Obamacare, the problem was that the public did not understand how it was benefiting them. The support for this law was there, they just needed to get their message out to a wider audience. This played out spectacularly in the 2016 presidential election. Even today, there are some Democrats who are still saying the reason they lost the election was because they couldn’t get their message out wide enough in those red states or they should have re-phrased it so that more (simple-minded) people could understand it. Never once did it occur to these very smart people that the masses could see very well what Obamacare was and, what its potential was as well, and they simply rejected it. They wanted another option.

Substitute Pastoral Provision Parishes for Obamacare, the Vatican jumping through hoops and changing the rules (i.e. creating Anglicanorum Coetibus instead) for the executive orders/extra legislative action, clergy and laity for doctors and patients, the dubious ordination processes for the constitutional issues and the Ordinariate cheerleaders for the Democratic party and media supporters of Obamacare. The idea of simply spreading the message to a wider audience or re-phrasing the same message so more can understand it may look good on paper, but in the real world, it seems to be a pretty poor strategy. True some people supported Obamacare because they thought it was the right thing to do or because they thought they were going to get an outsized benefit for what they actually contributed. These people might be likened to some of the cradle Catholics in OLA’s parish, who expected to receive benefits without risking anything of their own. When the chips were down, how many dragged up stake and walked away? The Fr. Phillips/Save The Atonement coalition seem to either not have recognized this or are willfully denying it.

Anywho, we all see how the Obamacare thing is working out… not very pretty. If the analogy holds, can we expect a different result?

I don't think the CDF ever gave much thought to what was on offer. It's worth pointing out that there are numerous Catholic apologists on blogs and YouTube -- Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, Edward Feser, Fr Schmitz, Msgr Pope, Fr Z, Bp Barron, Michael Voris, to name only a few -- who are putting out a Catholic message without embellishment. This message, like the message of Ven Fulton Sheen, which clearly inspires many current apologists, has a universal appeal. It reaches Anglicans just as much as Jehovah's Witnesses, Wiccans, Presbyterians, or vegans.

The ordinariate message seems to involve some kind of body-English transmitted through some sort of "precious treasures of the Anglican spiritual patrimony". So far, nobody in Houston or Rome seems to be backing off and asking what was successful about Our Lady of the Atonement, vs what has not been successful about the efforts of Fr Phillips's protégés, like Fr Bartus.

Nor is anyone asking why there is no OCSP priest with a credible message on blogs or YouTube. Some people do seem to like Fr Hunwicke, but his fuss and feathers are at best an acquired taste.