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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

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: a son of Mary - Oct. 14, 2009 1:15 PM ET USA

    Makes me laugh...a few years ago I volunteered to teach catechism to boys in our VA parish. The near-retirement age uber liberal nun began to quiz me about my job & then announced "You know we are a Vatican 2 parish?" Well I wasn't smart enough to know what that meant but I recognize code when I hear it and told her "Roger that Sister, V2 all the way." I dumped the inane books with the stupid 70's art I grew up with & hated and taught from Acts. Sr's gone and good riddance! I'm still here!

  • Posted by: family-man - Oct. 12, 2009 2:55 PM ET USA

    "where never is heard a discouraging word" I think I remember a cardinal once discouraging a Southern nun who had a TV station, but perhaps that is rare and only done in extreme cases. Now I read that Pope Benedict has honored Mother Angelica with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal. (http://www.zenit.org/article-27096)

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Oct. 12, 2009 9:24 AM ET USA

    Again this is the result of the Holy See's failure to govern since Bl John XXIII's "medicine of mercy" address. Here you have basically two American archbishops Baltimore and Boston undermining the Holy See. There never seem to be consequences for action like this. That religious life is in trouble is there for everyone to see but the blind man. This is has been called home on the range theology: where never is heard a discouraging word! American bishops have excelled in this.

  • Posted by: Japheth - Oct. 10, 2009 12:23 AM ET USA

    No one in the hierarchy gets rewarded for confrontation, for rehabilitating priests and nuns, so no one tries. Or if they do, a few angry phone calls leads to a message that the episcopal throne is at the back of the bus. This ain't the medicine the Church needs. I vote to put Diogenes in charge of the visitation.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Oct. 09, 2009 5:48 PM ET USA

    I used to think that Archbishop O'Brien was a sharp man. Now I'm convinced that I was deceived. Can it get any worse in the Church?