Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Flying Chancellor

Before all else, what a weekend! Beautiful show last night -- as expected, Rufus was (musically) uber-luscious, and Elton (musically) sumptuous... The Diva wouldn't stop playing; he was supposed to be off by 10.30 but kept going 'til 11.15.

It's funny: I kept an eye all day and David Furnish (Elton's soon-to-be husband) was nowhere to be found. About five or six years ago, David made a documentary about Elton on the road, and he titled it for two of Elton's favorite things: "Tantrums and Tiaras." Proof that the Rocket Man has more in common with many Catholics than either side would be willing to admit.

The festivities ended, it's time to re-open the Bob Carlson file. Carlson, observant readers will remember, was bishop of Sioux Falls until December when he was tranferred to Saginaw to succeed the late Ken "I'm Your Waiter" Untener. He then bought a big house and named himself vocation director of the diocese.

Now comes the curial reshuffle. A new VG is in, but the bigger news comes from the Chancellery. Carlson has named a laywoman as his chancellor and director of human resources -- not a resident of the Saginaw diocese, but from Sioux Falls.

Here's the backstory: The rule is usually that you leave the people when you leave the diocese -- Rich Stika is obviously not the vicar-general of Philadelphia and Steve Rohlfs didn't move his Victorian shrine/office to Newark. Some bishops have been known to bring particularly devoted and eminent lay assistants (or Father Braxton) with them to new assignments, but the line has always been drawn at the canonical offices of vicar-general and chancellor. According to custom, those belong to the diocese, to its people who intimately know the size and scope of the local church.

Never one for conventional wisdom, here goes that Carlson running around like a bull in a china shop again. But this isn't to demean Nancy Werner's qualifications, the first of which is the absolute trust and manifest confidence of her boss. She's a committed Carlsonite -- worked with him (in youth ministry, one of his great causes) in St. Paul-Minneapolis, came along to Sioux Falls as vice-chancellor, and now to Saginaw. Werner also serves as an adviser to the USCCB's Committee on Women.

I wonder what the people in Saginaw must be thinking about this; here comes a new bishop with a radically different ecclesiology than his predecessor, and now he's bringing in an outsider to take an ecclesiastical office in Curia (as opposed to being a "special assistant to the bishop" or something along those lines).

Don't get me wrong, Werner's appointment is great for lay leadership, it's great for the role of women in the church, but the circumstances create a worrying precedent.



Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

You may be interested to know that the traditionalist Anglican magazine "New Directions" gave a rave review to Rufus' latest album. I've been a fan of Rufus' music for quite awhile.


7/7/05 21:39  

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