Dear Conservative Anglicans considering the Catholic Church,
I'm sure you've received the invitation from our Pope to join up with the Catholic Church by now. I hear things have been getting a little "nutty" over with the Episcopalians these days. First women priests and bishops, then an openly gay bishop. Clearly these moves have created quite a bit of controversy in your church and have offended your conservative sensibilities. But before you take Benedict up on his offer, there are some things I think you should know about us Catholics.
While it's true that the Catholic Church has been pretty clear about several of the issues that are of concern to you, things might actually not be as cut-and-dry as you are hoping. Sure, we aren't allowed to have women priests, and we don't bless gay marriages or allow openly-gay people to serve as clergy (or receive communion for that matter), but I think that you should be aware of another long-standing Catholic tradition: ignoring Rome.
U.S. Catholics have been ignoring Rome for a long time on a whole host of issues, like birth-control and abortion. And in our local parishes, we've been breaking all kinds of rules: forming gay catholic groups (who even serve as Eucharistic ministers at Sunday Mass), and letting women speak from the altar, most notably. We even have splinter groups that ordain women. So, you see, if you're looking for a safe haven for your conservative sensibilities, you may not get what you're hoping for in the Catholic Church. Many of us are "reform minded" too. Benedict may not be particularly keen on being ignored though, which is why he's started some investigations into our American nuns and extended that invitation to you all — hoping to stem the tide of "liberal" ideas in our own church. Besides, I'm guessing you might feel a little bit insulted by Benedict's efforts to have you "swim the Tiber" in order to poach both your soul and your pocketbook. So, you see, we are nearly as rife with the same controversies and liberal/conservative battles that you might be hoping to opt out of.
I'd really consider toughing it out with your fellow Episcopalians/Anglicans if I were you; the grass really isn't greener or more conservative on the local parish level in the Catholic Church. Seriously.
October 26, 2009
October 16, 2009
I just deleted a very LONG blog about my "Las Vegas baggage," realizing that the details are all far too personal to share in this forum. But needless to say, "Las Vegas" has become my "Niagra Falls." Just mention it and I'm angry, edgy and combative. Acknowledging that this is all mostly irrational (and part unfortunate past experiences) is (hopefully) half the battle, and one day, I hope to truly let it all go.