The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ordinariate Priest now posted in Michigan

Fr. David Reamsnyder, onetime curate at Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore, has been appointed parish administrator at a Catholic Church in Hillsdale, Michigan (his home state). Fr. Reamsnyder hope to become a military chaplain, and has taken the temporary assignment while he awaits the processing of his application to become a chaplain. You can read about his new assignment in the Hillsdale Collegian.

Fr. Reamsnyder was ordained, along with Fr. Jason Catania and Fr. Anthony Vidal on June 9, 2012.

Hat tip to Fr. Catania on Facebook.


  1. Looking at his story, I can't help but ask what is the Pastoral Provision still around for? He has no real ties to an Ordinariate community, was able to get ordained shortly after being received into the Church, and is a parish administrator at a diocesan parish? Seems that would have been impossible under the Pastoral Provision.

  2. Well, Daniel, if the Fr. Reamsnyder's goal had been to be a parish priest in Michigan, then yes, he could have applied for admission via the Pastoral Provision. Mount Calvary is an impressive place, but likely couldn't support three priests; and Fr. Reamsnyder has his immediate sights set on being a military chaplain; there will need to be Ordinariate priests who do that as well. Many priests serve that way and then re-enter parish ministry and there's no reason why the same couldn't be true for Fr. Reamsnyder.

  3. Steve, I don't mean to pick on Fr. Reamsyder but the story as presented raises some questions as to the difference between the Personal Ordinariate and the Pastoral Provision (as it might now exist). Under the Pastoral Provision, the Book of Divine Worship was approved for use with the community. An individual priest coming in celebrating Mass for the public other than such a community was required to use the ordinary Roman Missal. It did not envision ordaining a priest and then letting him go out as a missionary in search of a community. So if Father was being ordained with the intent to go off to become a military chaplain, is it because there have already been requests from within the military to join the Ordinariate or is he doing Missionary work for the Ordinariate? If he is going in to the military to be celebrating the ordinary Roman Missal, then what real connection does he have to the Ordinariate? Can the Ordinary have ten priests ordained for a parish that can only support one and then have the other nine go off on their own?

    The Pastoral Provision Manual under "Recent Decisions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" indicated that two years should intervene between being received into full communion and ordination. If the Personal Ordinariate requires very little time in between, might the Pastoral Provision drop the requirement as well. Another recent decision had been that the number of married priests under the Pastoral Provision in any particular diocese should be limited to two. Obviously this won't be applied to the Ordinariate, will the Pastoral Provision office keep to that limit? A third decision of the CDF for the Pastoral Provision was that it was expected that those applying had already spent a number of years and ministry and not simply been in the Episcopal priesthood for only a short period of time. It does seem that the Personal Ordinariate has been ordaining priests that had not even been ordained in the Anglican priesthood at the time Anglicanorum Coetibus came out. I'd not think it should be more difficult to become a Pastoral Provision priest than an Ordinariate priest, so either the Pastoral Provision should loosen its requirement or perhaps the Ordinariate might tighten theirs a bit.

    Finally, the Pastoral Provision indicated that married priests should not be assigned to the ordinary care of souls in a pastoral setting (when they did not have their own community). If the Pastoral Provision Office is intended to continue to exist for the purpose of receiving individual priests that are interested in the diocesan priesthood, it would seem a bit strange to be saying that they could not be entrusted with the care of souls in a diocesan setting while a priest from the Personal Ordinariate could receive such an assignment. My own opinion is that the Pastoral Provision Office no longer serves a useful purpose, and no other country requires such an office. It seems to be arguing for its necessity, and am wondering how they might change to make any sense.

  4. I cannot answer all the questions about the Pastoral Provision you pose. I do know that all priests serving in the Military Ordinariate are on loan from their respective jurisdictions (dioceses or orders) for the term of their service. It doesn't seem all that strange that the Personal Ordinariate should also contribute clergy to our service people.

    Fr. Reamsnyder's real connection to the Ordinariate is the same as any Ordinariate priest; he makes his profession of obedience to the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (and to his successors), just as a diocesan priest makes that profession to his (arch)bishop or a monastic to his abbot. The essence of all "relationship" in the church is hierarchical communion. We are in communion with our ordinary who is in turn in communion with the Holy See.

    As to Pastoral Provision questions, I do know that many pastoral provision priests are assigned to the ordinary care of souls in parishes. Fr. Barker, who wrote the history of the Pastoral Provision which was included in my book Anglicanism and the Roman Catholic Church is one such pastoral provision priest, and I have met others as well. The same prohibition on being pastors was in place for the many clergy who entered the Church in England following the CofE's decision to ordain women in the early 1990s; many were dubbed parish administrators, and then treated like regular pastors. Certainly, the aren't all doing chaplaincy work!

    And of course, the Ordinariate would probably prefer to have more priests available than are strictly necessary. Pastors will retire, die, etc. and the Ordinariate would want to have a priest to assign to the parish to provide pastoral care. Unlike with a diocesan pastor's death or retirement, the neighboring pastor cannot just hop in the car and say Mass for the now priestless parish (as a minimal gesture). Fr. Jose at St. Pat's Brockton could easily drive the 2 miles to St. Colman's Brockton if Fr. Raeke were somehow unavailable. I doubt that Fr. Bradford at St. Athanasius would be able to do the 6 hour drive to Scranton to take care of St. Thomas More; and even Fr. Ousley in Philadelphia might find that trip a bit too much! Especially for extended periods.

    The Pastoral Provision educational requirements, and the time between reception and ordination has always been fluid. Of the several pastoral provision priests I know, they all had a slightly different experience. I think the one constant is that there was usually an effort to speed things up when a community of lay people was involved, but even then, the way things happened was different.

    As for parity between the educational requirements in the Ordinariate and Pastoral Provision, I think it's important to note that the parity to be sought will first of all be between the different Ordinariates; the Pastoral Provision, as a purely US affair, will be considered second. There may be some revision to bring these two paths into closer synch, but I have not heard anything to indicate this.

    It is also worth considering that some of the ad hoc norms being employed now, as the Ordinariates are being set up may be adjusted once the Ordinariates are more firmly established.