From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Title III debate moves forward sans dramatic changes

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Wed, 6 Aug 2003 18:14:26 -0400

-- An article with this title has been sent previously with the text
from a companion article.

August 6, 2003

Title III debate moves forward sans dramatic changes

by Mary Frances Schjonberg
Convention Daily 
The Standing Commission on Ministry Development's revisions on Title III
will read very differently from those in the Blue Book when they make it
out of dispatch and to the bishops and deputies. 
The SCMD had proposed some dramatic changes that did not make it into
the canons that the houses will now debate. Most prominent among those
was a call for direct ordination to the priesthood. The House of Bishops
rejected that change. A move to reduce the role of standing committees
to one of simply certifying that a candidate had met all the canonical
requirements for ordination also failed to make it through the

During a procedural vote Tuesday morning on two resolutions dealing with
direct ordination, a number of bishops said they wished they could have
the option of direct ordination. Newark Bishop John Croneberger, chair
of the bishops' portion of the SCMD, told his colleagues that the
bishops needed to have a conversation about ordination sometime when
there wasn't a piece of legislation on the table.

The latest version of Title III does include a major revision concerning
locally ordained deacons and priests. The SCMD collapsed the current
Canon 9's provisions for those deacons and priests into revised canons
governing the ordination and life and work of all deacons and priests.

Northern Michigan Bishop Jim Kelsey said Tuesday he anticipates some
questions about what is being called the "portability issue."
Portability refers to the fact that locally ordained deacons and priests
are currently expected to act in their local congregations unless
another congregation asks them to minister to them and the bishop
agrees. They are also expected to remain in their ordaining diocese
unless another bishop agrees to take them into his or her diocese.

Kelsey said some people have been concerned that a person who has been
called and formed in a small rural congregation could get another call
to a larger and much different setting and not be prepared. Kelsey said
that concern can work both ways, describing situations where priests
from larger urban parishes might need help dealing with what he called
the "cultural shifts" involved in answering a call in a rural area.

"I'm very comfortable that whenever one is called to a new ministry
there needs to be discernment as to the appropriateness of the person's
background, training and experience," he said. "That discernment needs
to take place in any and all circumstances, not simply with locally
ordained clergy."

 "A commitment to ongoing learning, lifelong learning and formation" is
key to all of the proposals, Kelsey said.

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