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otr dashback: 11-18-05 -- two-way traffic ahead

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 04, 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Roman rep discusses the shift of Anglicans to Roman Catholicism and vice-versa:

Bishop John Flack, head of the Anglican Center in Rome, said he meets people moving in both directions, yet the ecumenical dialogue has not explored the implications of their movement.

"We are not talking about huge numbers in either direction, but it is perhaps a constant trickle," he told Catholic News Service Nov. 9.

Among those changing denominations, the Roman Catholics generally say they long to breathe the "free air" of the Anglican Communion, with Catholic priests usually saying they plan to marry, the bishop said. The Anglicans usually say they have had enough of the "woolly thinking" of their leadership, he added.

"Anglicans who become Roman Catholic generally become very conservative Roman Catholics, while Roman Catholics who become Anglican tend to become very liberal Anglicans," he said.

No question but that we get the best of this swap. Consider: the "woolly thinking" of Anglican leadership reflects historical change in the form of doctrinal accommodations their bishops have made to contemporary cultural trends. But the sexual disciplines of the Catholic Church (in escape from which some seek the "free air" of Anglicanism) were solidly in place centuries before the deserters were baptised, confirmed, or admitted to Holy Orders. The Anglican exasperated by having to tune in to the BBC to learn the dogmas du jour can become a good Catholic. The Catholic who serves as a priest for 20 years and then slaps his brow and exclaims, "Hey, what's with this celibacy deal?" is unlikely to ennoble his first bride or his second. In brief, the ex-Anglican leaves because his Church ain't what she used to be. The ex-Catholic leaves his Church because she is.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 04, 2008 3:06 PM ET USA

    Do you suppose "wooly thinking" is in any way related to Cardinal Wolsey, who tried but failed to get the Founder of the Church of England his first divorce and so in a way started their whole Anglican mess? I suppose not. Just folk etymology---that I just made up.

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