Relating back to a comment offered by someone, that one WRO priest's nose is constantly in an old 'missal' or service book is hardly an indication that he is intent on resurrecting an antiquated or, worse yet, apocryphal liturgical form and foisting it upon his unsuspecting parishioners. Many clergy (and, apparently, not a few laypersons, judging by the critiques the latter are oft prepared to offer) are serious students of liturgical history and as likely to be absorbed in such sacred texts as you might be in a treatise on coats of arms, were heraldry your defining interest in life.
It's my understanding that many WR priests have a vagante background and may still retain that mentality.
What do you mean by vagante mentality?
A kind of choose-your-own-adventure approach to religion, shuffling traditions around on a whim, bringing in devotions or practices seen in books or fondly remembered from a previous church.
A lot of vagante stuff is liturgical LARPing.
An interesting description of what vagante
do - and not really off the mark. However, I think that suggesting that 'many WR priests have a vagante background' is an overstatement or exaggeration, if one understands what vagante
were and are. There is no question that there are clergy to be found in almost any, if not every, Apostolic Church - Catholic or Orthodox (and not merely the WRO) who came from a vagante
heritage but were subsequently received into orders by whatever sacred process the local bishop favored - vesting, conditional ordination, re-ordination, economia. The WRO certainly has no monopoly in this regard and I hardly think that many in its ranks can fairly be labeled such.
The term vagante
literally means 'wandering'. In the usage we ordinarily apply, episcopus vagante
or 'wandering bishop', it traces back to the Middle Ages when bishoprics (and chaplaincies) were sometimes bought, granted as political plums, or obtained through nepotism. Often such bishops were entitled to or received a benefice (a diocese or other canonical entity that carried an income with it). Some later lost it, as the politics of the kingdom or other secular entity shifted. A bishop without a jurisdiction, or who had been deprived of his, might wander, preaching, and supporting himself by goodwill, by donations, and sometimes by practices that we'd rightly define as simony. These individuals came to be termed episcopi vagante
In modern times, the term has come to be applied to 'bishops', sometimes initially validly ordained, sometimes not, who claim to be of a mainstream religious belief, but aren't in communion with the established Church(es) of that faith. Although fingers are often pointed at Catholics as being the most frequently beset by these characters, the Catholics have no monopoly on the phenomenon.
All hierarchical Churches which emphasize the importance of their Apostolic Succession - Latin and Eastern Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopalian, and Lutheran (at least in the 'High Church' divisions of the latter two) can point to vagante
whose origins either lie with them or by whom they are plagued - or both.
Some potential hallmarks of a vagante, in no particular order, are that:
* they have grandiose titles (e.g., patriarchs, primates, supreme archbishops, and similar styling abounds among the genre);
* they are vested in liturgical finery that would be the envy of a member of the papal court in its hour of greatest opulence;
* they are surrounded by a small cadre of clerics with equally important titles, including sometimes multiple bishops, each of whom has been accorded a piece of the universe as their episcopal jurisdiction;
* they post elaborate hierarchical genealogies on their websites or in their publications, purporting to prove their Apostolic Succession;
* they offer the opportunity for ordination to the priesthood, and perhaps even to the episcopacy, to those who apply by e-mail or letter outlining appropriate credentials for same or who indicate a willingness to undertake a course of study (not uncommonly, for a fee);
* they 'float' from one 'Church' to another, as there are splits in their ranks, frequently as a consequence of in-fighting among the leadership for the laz-y-boy recliner that doubles as the cathedra;
* the name of their 'Church' will frequently include terms like "Catholic", "Orthodox", "Apostolic", often combined in imaginative ways;
* the name of their 'Church' often suggests that it is a jurisdiction of, a branch of, or otherwise connected with an established mainstream Church or that it is a free-standing canonical jurisdiction (e.g., a patriarchate, an archdiocese, a primature, a diocese);
* the name of their 'Church' suggests an ethnicity of origin that is belied by the appearance or surnames of the hierarchs and/or by any apparent connection with a mainstream Church of similar ethnicity or national origin;
* their 'Churches' frequently are 'in communion' with other 'Churches' whose hierarchs display much the same characteristics as themselves;
* their 'Church' consists of a single edifice, a storefront, an altar in their garage or family rec room, or lacks any street address, apparently existing only in the ethereal plane;
* the reported census of faithful, if one can actually obtain a purported count, will frequently be outnumbered by the ordained clergy - perhaps even by the hierarchy;
* those whose 'Churches' have 'parishes' will sometimes be shown (e,g., on websites) to each worship according to different rubrics and to even express different theological tenets;
* their 'Churches' may mix theological doctrine with New Age, Eastern, spiritualistic, psychological, even alternative and holistic health concepts;
* they most commonly use obscure, sometimes historical, sometimes apocryphal, liturgies in their worship.
These days, the web has afforded such undertakings the ability to present an appearance of wholesomeness, stability, religious commitment, and seeming legitimacy that was never as easily achieved by the vagante
of a century ago. There's nothing that quite so convinces one's on-line followers of sincerity and adherence to Church teachings as a strategically placed website photo of the Pope or the EP or another well-known hierarch of whatever Church with which the vagante
would have you believe he is in communion. Even better, if the vagante
can somehow obtain a 'photo op' and have the opportunity to be photographed with
the Pope, the EP, whomever.
Vilatte, Mathew, Carfora, Ofiesh, Aneed, and the others of those times would be amazed at how far the genre has come.
have to be distinguished from those who have broken from their parent Churches, but have established an actual ecclesial entity, schismatic and/or heretical in the eyes of the parent Church, but with a level of respectability not usually accorded to those labeled vagante
. To be fair, some of what are now considered mainstream, though schismatic, heretical, or non-canonical, Churches would, at their inception, have been deemed vagante
That said, it's not a label to be casually applied.