Pope Benedict's invitation to Anglican (including Episcopal Church USA) priests and parishes to become part of the Roman Catholic Church, retaining our liturgy and some customs, is fine with me.Well played, sir.
In fact, I think it's wholly fair.
I'm an Episcopal parish priest, so my reaction is less about the cosmic implications, if any, of this initiative.
But fair is fair. For most of my ministry, beginning in 1974, I've been in parishes that are uncharacteristically (for Episcopalians) interested in membership growth. When I work to put out the welcome mat to serious spiritual seekers, the result is usually a heavy preponderance of Roman Catholics, at least 50% in most years.
So, fair is fair. We have a principled approach to Christian practice that takes the Bible, tradition, and human reason with balanced seriousness. On the ground, we like ritual, think and act sacramentally, and for a variety of historical reasons have a euphonious liturgy. Roman Catholics resonate with that.
What most who come to us want to get away from is centralized, exclusively male authority structures and the top-down insistence that some moral and practical questions are settled for all time. When they hear the Pope say the question of the ordination of women as priests cannot even be officially discussed, they are often ready to join a different conversation. Fair enough. We've been doing the inviting for years. We welcome the Pope to the business of welcome.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Rector takes the High Roast
As opposed to my own rather dyspeptic take, Rev. Bill Tully responds in a manner that matters to be both irenic and ironic: