Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Episcopal Bishop Levi Ives -Unofficial Saint of the American Anglican Ordinariate?

UPDATE- I messed up the formatting here so hence for some reason I cannot break this up in paragraphs. So please overlook that. I ran across an very interesting short book that is divided online into chapter over the weekend. See The Church in the Confederate States -A History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States. Some of the issues talked about there are relevant to the current day and in which I touch on later. However in one of the chapters there was a passing reference to a Pre-Civil North Carolina Episcopal Church Bishop that was very affected by the Oxford Movement. He was Bishop Levi Silliman Ives. He later was a high profile Catholic Convert confirmed by the Pope Himself!! The Catholic Encyclopedia has a rather short entry on him here. I noted when doing research on him that one has to hit a few sources to learn of the life long impact of this interesting man. Bishop Ives was a born into poverty. His early life is instructive both as to his move into the Episcopal Church and how this early poverty affected him both as Episcopal Bishop and in a huge way as life as a Catholic layman. He later married into Episcopal Church "royalty" by marrying the daughter of Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart, bishop of New York. It should be noted also his brother in law was also Rev. John Henry Hobart, Jr., who in 1841 had been one of the founding members of a monastic like mission in Wisconsin that later evolved into the famed Nashotah House. After a series of posts he was elected Bishop of North Carolina. North Carolina at this time had no Roman Catholic presence to speak of to say the least. However the early Bishops of this young Diocese had been of the Anglican High Church faction. When he became Bishop of North Carolina he raised quite a ruckus nationwide by founding by in Valle Crucis ,North Carolina a Anglican religious community, called the "Brotherhood of the Holy Cross". The members, a few clergymen and zealous laymen, observed a community rule and went about preaching Tractarian ideas. There is a very interesting pdf file on the history of that Community here. See Anglo-Catholicism in Antebellum North Carolina: Levi Silliman Ives and the Society of the Holy Cross Levi Silliman Ives and the Society of the Holy Cross . There was to say the least nationwide Episcopal fallout. Bishop Ives had many qualities. However playing the needed political game in introducing this strong Anglo Catholic thought and practice into the very young Protestant Episcopal Church of America perhaps was perhaps not in his strong suite. Regardless after the controversy he took a leave of absence. He ended up in Rome where he was confirmed to the Catholic Faith by the Pope. This contributed to a great deal of controversy in the USA. In fact in Episcopal circles issues of his sanity were brought up. His wife later converted and he ended up in New York teaching at a Catholic University. The move from the security of Bishop and all that came with it to "just" Catholic layman was a frightening one for him. That anxiety is very understandable. Which moves us to the second part of the story. The American Spectator has a good article on at America' Forgotten Newman? In that article is a link that describes one of the greatest achievement in his for for the Church and as society as a whole. See Once We Knew How to Rescue Poor Kids . He basically oversaw the early efforts of what was called the New York Catholic Protectory for delinquent boys. It successful Mission was that it saved about 100,000 Irish Catholic boys that were nothing were hoodlums causing a real public crisis on the Streets of New York. There are lesson in that story about how we should tackle the family breakdown we see today that is very similar to what happened them. For Bishops, Priest, Deacons and laypeople that are moving into the new Anglo Catholic Ordinariate this can come with much understandable regret and be a little frightening. Hopefully someone like Ives even in this day can give them comfort as to God's plan for them. If I was one of these people thought while Ives is not an official "Saint" of the Church , I would think there is no harm asking him to pray for you. It might be a good idea.

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