At Saint Mary the Virgin Catholic Church, the 75-year-old priest is married, members sing from an Episcopalian hymnal and parishioners kneel at the altar to receive Communion.
Years ago, the Texas parish and a handful of other conservative Episcopal churches in the U.S. decided to become Roman Catholic. Though they were confirmed by the Vatican, they were still allowed to practice some of their Anglican traditions, including having married priests.
Now, these churches may have helped pave the way for Anglicans worldwide, or Episcopalians as they are known in the U.S., to become Catholic under a new Vatican plan created to make it easier for such conversions. The surprise move revealed in October is designed to entice traditionalists opposed to women priests, openly gay clergy and blessing of same-sex unions.
The Vatican and Anglican leaders have been in talks for decades over how to possibly reunite since Anglicans split with Rome in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment. But the Vatican move could be considered as a signal that the ecumenical talks’ ultimate goal is converting Anglicans to Catholicism.
“Christ’s will for his church is that it’s one,” Hawkins said. “As Anglicans, our background is with the church (in Rome), and we didn’t create that division. I would also like to see Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians unite as well.”
Unsettled ChristianityOne blog to rule them all, One blog to find them, One blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
November 1st, 2009 by Joel L. Watts