This implies as well that whatever expectations are in the air from the CDF must still be active, and after a year, it's likely that Bp Lopes will be given some sort of formal review. This explains, it seems to me, the remarkable recent activity of Mr Jesserer Smith, staff writer for the Fishwrap, on Bp Lopes's behalf. Not only did we get the interview I linked yesterday, but he drafted two press releases, almost certainly composed at Houston's behest but sent out on Rochester's account. The fact that I went so far as to speculate about one of these (rather than, apparently, just reprint it without comment) clearly got someone in Houston upset. Pressure?
So what has Bp Lopes accomplished? He began a Bishop's Appeal, and he seems to have put the cathedraticum on a sounder footing. He's made it a priority to visit the groups and parishes, but as my regular correspondent puts it,
His assertion that he has made 37 episcopal visits this year is I'm sure accurate but also somewhat misleading. Many of the full parishes and conveniently placed quasi-parishes have been visited more than once but a significant number of the 40+ groups have not yet been visited at all, including most of the marginal ones.And a more troublesome issue is that many of the marginal groups are marginal indeed. I raised the question of just how many groups have closed or gone dormant in the past year, and my correspondent replied,
St Gilbert's, formerly in Boerne TX was supposed to follow Fr Wagner, now pastor of a diocesan parish in Kerrville, and begin worshipping at St Peter upon the Water Retreat Center in Ingram. However, I check the SPutW site frequently and while mass times are posted regularly there is never any mention of Fr Wagner or St Gilbert's. Nothing in the Notre Dame, Kerrville bulletin either. So I would regard it as defunct. The former parochial administrator of St Gregory the Great, Mobile has had to retire completely from active ministry owing to ill health. Mass is now offered by a local priest; I am unclear as to whether this takes place once or twice a month. Conflicting information on websites of host parish, Ordinariate group, and Facebook page. St Margaret's, Katy has [disappeared from the web and reappeared] but hasn't been upgraded or updated, although Fr Sellers is still President of the school which hosts it. Perhaps just an internet reboot. Fr Sellers' Facebook page also off.It's worth pointing out that even if these groups are celebrating BDW mass without advertising it, no potential new members would be able to find them. So this makes a practical three, to which we add St Gregory Stoneham, MA, for four. But then we have St Alban's Rochester, which at best will resume activity sometime next year, although this could possibly be just Mr Jesserer Smith's somewhat gushy reading of the situation and not necessarily Bp Matano's. But then we have St Edmund's, Kitchener. My correspondent says, "I think they went out of business at the end of November 2015, so contemporaneous with Bp Lopes. He was certainly part of the decision to pull the plug, i.e. tell them that Fr Catania would not be replaced."
So this makes, as best my correspondent and I can put things together, six quasi-parishes or groups in formation that have at best gone dormant or ceased activity in the year since Bp Lopes's designation. If we say there are roughly 40 OCSP entities, this is 15% disappearing in a year.
One issue I've been working on as well is trying to get a picture of how many OCSP priests are actually available to replace those who retire or can't continue with their groups for other reasons -- again, looking only at 2016, this has become a serious problem. My correspondent says,
I note that the NCR article mentioned "10 or 11" married former Anglican clergy now in formation. There was a week-long gathering of them in Houston last month, although it was not publicised, for some reason. It will be interesting to see if these men are attached to groups (Jonathan Erdman in Louisville is at least one in this situation) or if they are free to relocate to look after currently leaderless OCSP communities. I hope there will be no further ordinations of men who then become Ordinariate clergy in name only, unconnected to any OCSP community. This simply bolsters the idea that the Ordinariate has "more priests than people."
Will 10 priests be ordained next year but so committed to their present locations that they can't move to bolster additional failing groups?
But so far, this neglects the big issue that discouraged the friends of Anglican ecumenism since mid-2012: St Mary of the Angels and Our Lady of the Atonement. I've got to think that the bungling of these key admissions at the start of the OCSP has been a sore point with the CDF ever since. Whatever may be going on behind the scenes, there's been no visible result.
Perhaps we'll yet see some gushy piece from Mr Jesserer Smith about how maybe someday something will happen!