With respect to your post today, I’m not persuaded that relations between the Archbishop of San Antonio and the Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement are as “strained” as your post today implies. In the letter from Fr. Lewis to the parents of children enrolled in the parochial school, Fr. Lewis describes his meeting with Archbishop Garcia-Siller and Auxiliary Bishop Boulette in terms that clearly suggest a lack of animosity.I would say that an archbishop and his auxiliary are nothing if not accomplished institutional actors. They would see no purpose in being other than very warm with Fr Lewis, while making their position on the age of confirmation for members of their flock eminently clear. Fr Lewis, in his job less than a year and no doubt eager to please, is not their problem. On the other hand, I've heard from various sources that there's been a history of bad relations between the chancery, Dcn Orr, and Fr Phillips that dates from well before the current archbishop's arrival.
It probably helps that Dcn Orr, having moved away and now banished from the property, is no longer an issue. But from what we've learned here, that Fr Phillips should own the rectory adjoining the parish property was an issue with Msgr Steenson and is almost certainly a factor in his continued involvement with the parish. Eventually this is a matter that Bp Lopes will probably need to resolve -- it seems as though Msgr Steenson recognized it would have been a problem for him as well.
The next question is whether it's Fr Phillips who's sending the press packages to Church Militant. My regular correspondent says,
When the bishop of Saint Petersburg, FL objected to an Ordinariate community-in-formation in his diocese, it was gone in a flash, and the would-be leader silenced. Holy Martyrs, Temecula seems to be on hold, presumably as a result of objections by the Diocese of San Bernardino, and there is radio silence on that subject as well. I cannot imagine that Bp Lopes is encouraging this pissing match between OLA and Abp G-S, and if he knew for a fact that Fr Phillips was behind the attacks on CM I'm sure he would put a stop to them.Particularly in a US criminal court of law, naturally there's no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. But on one hand, we aren't in criminal court, and nobody's up on criminal charges. We're talking about policy issues and administrative remedies. On the other, the Church Militant story says several times that the info is coming from "an insider", and the story keeps referring to OLA as Anglican Use, which it hasn't been for nearly a year. It looks as if someone is living in the past but has access to an extensive library of parish photos, which are being forwarded as part of the press packages that keep going to Mr Voris. A visitor says,
He has nothing to gain and a lot to lose, long-term. Fr Lewis' approach, as I mentioned, is conciliatory and non-confrontational. I'm sure that was what was in the memo from Houston. Problem is that there appears to be no actual evidence to support our suspicions about the source of the hostile rhetoric, and my sense of Fr Phillips is that unless he were apprehended with a smoking gun he would deny everything. Bad scene for Bp Lopes.
I don't think it is necessarily Fr. Phillips leaking to CM directly. It could be a parishioner with a misguided allegiance just as well. For some context, the sermons from Fr. Moore and Pastor Lewis since the new year have been interwoven with themes of forgiveness to the Archdiocese, as well as calls for a cessation of the murmuring by some parishioners who are apparently not happy with the changes in the parish.Another visitor points out,
Isn’t it ironic the very people who wanted to be not just unique but also separate (meaning they wanted NOTHING to do with Archdiocese and in effect, picked up their toys and left) are now bent out of shape because they are demanding the Archbishop give them special consideration and he won’t. Here’s a novel idea, what if the Archbishop of San Antonio is not acting out of malice but actually fulfilling Fr. Phillips ultimate wish, he is simply leaving them alone.I would say again what I said yesterday, that the OCSP's own policy statements require parishes "to act in communion in their relationship with the bishop, diocesan administration, and parishes of the territorial Catholic diocese," as well as to reject "prior forms of institutionalized animus". Every indication we have is that Fr Lewis is faithfully and conscientiously implementing these policies. On the other hand, the reports I have here, as well as reasonable surmise, suggest there is continued animus between at least some elements of the OLA parish, possibly including retired clergy, and the archdiocese.
The Archbishop owes the people who were his flock who have now joined the Ordinariate nothing, they are Bishop Lopes’ flock now. The people at OLA who still are his flock have access to Confirmation and Holy Communion through their home parishes just like every other Catholic who does not attend a Catholic school so where is their injury? (Yes, receiving First Communion/Confirmation with your classmates is very exciting but lots of children who do not attend Catholic schools do this in their own parishes ALL the time.)
What if Archbishop Gustavo is not actively looking for ways to thwart the Atonement crowd but simply saying ,”Meh, it is not worth the time, treasure and talent of the diocese to keep engaging with OLA. They wanted to do it on their own, I will let them.” In reality, Archbishop Gustavo having to play patty-cake and make nice with the openly hostile folks from OLA (who are not his responsibility) takes his and Archdiocesan staff’s time away from the people and myriad other issues that are his responsibility. I’m certain he has a lot of more important things on his plate to worry about than making life easier for the militant churchy folks.
To use a sports analogy, Archbishop Gustavo has no skin in that game.
The unavoidable fact is that, by sending anti-Gustavo material to Church Militant, the dissident elements of OLA are alienating much of the institutional Church in the US and creating a bad look for Bp Lopes. Remember that the Bishop of Scranton, who'd previously hosted the St Thomas More parish there when it was Anglican Use, clearly had no reason to oppose such things but did in fact ban Mr Voris from using any diocesan facility in 2011.
I see this only as an interested observer, but I think it's incumbent on Bp Lopes to assert better control over this matter than he so far has.