Paul put up a link to a story from Venom Online in the thread below on Mt Calvary. I usually make a habit of not going there, and I do not link to it for two reasons: first, I find the material there to be deliberately inflammatory and mean-spirited (I know, it’s not alone in that, but that’s not a tone that I take or tolerate here); second, I find that the material there usually contains wild inaccuracies.
The story posted there on Mt Calvary and what happened there Sunday is no exception to this usual rule. There are inaccuracies in the piece and I feel compelled to say something about them. The impression one receives from the article is that my diocese—and my friends—are behaving in a high-handed fashion that serves only to reinforce all of the stereotypes held by those who read that site.
Here are the facts:
Father Parker celebrated a Sung Mass using Rite I of the BCP. I’m assuming the ceremonial was English Use as that is Fr. Parker’s custom. Not Anglo-Papalist, it’s true, but not sloppy anything-goes by a long mile.
In thinking about it, I realized that there are only four priests in the diocese that I can think of who I would trust to properly celebrate solemn high ceremonial: Fr. Parker is one, my priest is another, another friend is the third and was out of town, and the fourth is M. Too, all four would be objectionable to the departed congregation; the only one not in a same-sex relationship is M and—well—she’s a girl.
Of the men, Fr. Parker is the only one who has more than one priest at his parish—he has two assisting priests (contra the article)—and thus could be there and have coverage at his parish.
It was a small congregation, a dozen, of whom Fr. Parker brought precisely one, his server. In other words, it was a larger one than is typical for Mt Calvary’s early mass.
I’m unclear on the “unscheduled” bit. I know that Fr. Parker told Fr. Catania that a mass would be taking place at his church, the only remnant of truth here may be that there was not clarity on the time it was to occur.
In any case the article is correct that Fr. Parker’s mass started late; they did so as to not interrupt the 8 AM mass which ran late. Furthermore, they used the side chapel so as not to disturb preparations for the later high mass.
In short, it sounds to me like the diocese handled the situation appropriately. It would be one thing if they’d sent a liberal female priest to celebrate on the high altar (and I can think of some Episcopal diocesans who might have done just that…). Rather, they sent Fr. Parker, himself from a parish that does not receive women clergy at the altar, who truly understands the theological reservations of the departing congregation. A proper, dignified, prayer book mass was sung with as little disruption as possible. Is it the best of all possible worlds? No. But it assuredly could have been much worse as well.