Monday, November 16, 2009

Ready to convert?

Here is the response of the ecumenical officer of the Episcopal Church to the overtures by the Roman Catholic Church to unhappy Anglicans and Episcopalians.

As a former Roman Catholic I have only one thing to add to his comments -- let those who have ears to hear, hear.

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The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs

Episcopal Bishop Christopher Epting
comments on the Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution


[November 16, 2009] Bishop Christopher Epting, Deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations of The Episcopal Church, has issued the following:


Now that the full text of the Vatican's "Apostolic Constitution" dealing with certain former Anglicans who wish to become Roman Catholics has been released, it is clear that what is being touted by some as an 'ecumenical gesture' may be understood as 'pastoral' but is not necessarily very ecumenical. Even though Cardinal Walter Kasper has now given one newspaper interview, there has otherwise been a noticeable silence on the part of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on this matter. This appears to be a unilateral action on the part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which flies in the face of the slow, but steady progress made in the real ecumenical dialogue of over forty years.

This is "come home to Rome" with absolute clarity. Any former Anglican who has been ordained will not only have to be re-ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, not only re-ordained as a transitional deacon, but even re-confirmed as an adult member of the Body of Christ! Any one who does make this move is not an Anglican, nor an Anglo-Catholic, but a Roman Catholic convert.

As we have said on numerous occasions, we commend with our blessing any Anglican who in good conscience wishes to become a Roman Catholic just as we welcome any Roman Catholic who in good conscience wishes to enter into full communion with the Anglican Communion. But these decisions are to be made as individuals not as communities of persons. The Vatican may rest assured that we will never create "Roman Catholic Ordinariates" within the Anglican Communion for former, disaffected Roman Catholic converts. We will continue to welcome individuals, from the Roman Catholic Church or any other Christian communion, who desire to be in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and therefore with the Anglican Communion.

For our part, The Episcopal Church remains committed to genuine, ecumenical dialogue both on the national (Anglican - Roman Catholic Consultation in the USA) and international (Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission) levels. We are encouraged by Cardinal Walter Kasper's comment in Osservatore Romano on November 15 that these will, of course, continue. The recent "Apostolic Constitution" is a distraction, but likely only a minor one, from the real goal of ecumenical conversation between the largest (Roman Catholic) and third largest (Anglican) Christian communion in the world.

Bishop Christopher EptingDeputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious RelationsThe Episcopal Church

November 16, 2009
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The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

1 comment:

Doni M said...

Ready to convert? Happy to say that I have already done so. I was received into full communion at St. John the Apostle in North Richland Hills last April. I am a parishioner of St. Michael in Bedford, where I live. I have no regrets whatsoever about leaving the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion.

As for the "Apostolic Constitution," I do have my doubts about how many Anglicans will take up this offer. Certain things involved in converting to Catholicism are unchangeable, and they won't be put aside even for an Apostolic Constitution. The "Apostolicae Curae" of 1896 still is what it is (which was why I was "re-confirmed" last April when I came into the Church).

Also, anyone who swims the Tiber must be aware and fully prepared to state that he/she believes in EVERYTHING the Catholic Church teaches. If you can't say that in good conscience, you shouldn't become Catholic. I don't think most Anglicans or Episcopalians I know could say that in good faith. If they can, they wouldn't wait for any new offer from the Vatican. They'll just go ahead and do what they have to do to convert on their own. That's what I did.

Still, much of this has come about because so many Anglicans (a minority, but a substantial minority) have wanted to be able to come into the Church and keep many of their Anglican traditions. As a Catholic, I do miss the Book of Common Prayer, Evensong, the "high church" worship -- although I don't feel the need to choose an Anglican Use parish over my own here in Bedford. But I think that for many, it is hard to give up the Anglican "smells and bells." The Holy Father is just helping to smooth that transition where it can be done. But it's really too early to see what comes about from it.

(Side note: Sorry to say I think that "Colbert and the pope" post down below is really in poor taste.)