Sunday, November 06, 2011

Bladensburg "Episcopalians" Welcomed as Romans

My "Google alert" informed me of this service, in which the priest and some 70 members of the former St. Luke's Episcopal parish (Bladensburg, Maryland) were received as members of the Roman Catholic Church.

I was struck by the photograph that ran in the Catholic Sentinel. It shows Roman Cardinal Donald Wuerl confirming Mark Lewis, formerly the priest of that parish. But Lewis appears in a suit and tie -- not in an alb or any other vestige of priesthood. I suppose that Lewis was received as a layman.

It is sad to see such sights.

9 Comments:

Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

I wonder if the new Roman Catholics with an Anglican flavor will have to use the new Missal. If not, there will be grumbles amongst the RCs who don't like the new version of the mass. But that's not my problem. Blessings upon them in the new chapter in their lives.

11/06/2011 6:19 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I have similar questions, Grandmère. And I wonder how (and how well) the hierarchical Roman Church will deal with these disaffected and rambunctious Episcopalians.

In my more charitable moments, I grieve for Episcopal clergy who are received as laypersons in the Roman Church.

11/06/2011 6:25 PM  
Blogger JCF said...

I think your use of quotations marks re "Episcopalians" is probably very apt, Lisa. They were never really Episcopalians anyway, so I can't get too upset re their leaving...

...as long as they don't take *Episcopal property* w/ them!

God, in God's Mercy, will draw all to the Truth in God's Good Time. To the extent TEC is a part of that Truth (and I hope and pray it is), we just have to be (charitably) patient.

11/06/2011 11:27 PM  
OpenID Chris H. said...

So the Episcopalian nuns who left weren't "really" Episcopalian either? After years of service and dedication? What is a "Real Episcopalian"? I'd really like to know as that question has been bugging me after reading a post by Elizabeth Kaeton a few days ago about how not a single priest at a group she went to would admit to believing in a literal resurrection and how it didn't matter at all what one believed. What is a "real" Episcopalian?

11/09/2011 7:15 PM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

Chris H. "Real" Episcopalians readily accept and embrace difference. That's part of the Elizabethan Settlement. It's called The Middle Way.

--and, in seminary, they teach us to question anything "literal" --to push in to meaning without definition, dogma or delineation, to realize that anything and everything is more than just one thing. Like a belief that a Trinitarian faith is still describing One God, three persons, One God. --it's a mystery. Like seeing bread and knowing the Body of Christ. --it's a mystery.

Real Episcopalians are comfortable living in and with that uncomfortable, undefined, nonlinear, un-literal mysterious faith. That's what it means.

11/10/2011 4:51 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

JCF, the use of quotation marks was indeed intentional. If they were actually Episcopalians, they would still be praying as our BCP prays and believing as our catechism instructs. I don't know whether they never were Episcopalians or just ceased to be so.

With you, I can't get upset about their leaving. But I do find it sad that the person who used to be their priest was -- apparently -- received as a layperson.

But at least they didn't try to steal property from the Episcopal Church. At least they left without being thieves.

11/11/2011 8:29 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Wow, Margaret, thanks for explaining it to Chris H. You saved me lots of bits and bytes. Thanks!

Just one more thing I would add to Chris:Those nuns had ceased to be Episcopalians at some point, just like these Bladensburg "Episcopalians" had ceased to be. I know this often happens because some hyper-Protestant priest/leader or uber-Roman priest/leader grabs hold of a formerly Episcopal group. Sad when that happens and the leader makes them lose the genius of the Episcopalian ethos.

11/11/2011 8:33 PM  
OpenID Chris H. said...

Has their faith actually changed or has TEC's definition changed out from under them. Last time I checked the BCP still said Jesus rose and people were baptized before having the Eucharist. So priests that don't believe and/or give CWOB aren't Episcopalian according to the BCP. Either that or anyone is Episcopalian who gives money to the church on Sunday no matter what they believe.

I've always taken The Elizabethan Settlement to be more a political tool to stop a religious civil war than a theological statement of "There is no literal theological truth." By Margaret's definition, the only important thing about Episcopalianism is that nothing is literal or unchanging. "Real" Episcopalians never know anything "real" or literal. No wonder the pews are getting empty. A nice brunch or round of golf is more fun than an hour of "We believe the BCP in a mysterious,kinda sorta, everything and anything,undefined, definitely non-literal way."

11/13/2011 2:03 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

As a Baptist minister I was laicized when I became an Episcopalian. I felt as though a huge chunk of my heart had been ripped out. I survived. They'll survive. We pay our money and we take our chances.

12/05/2011 9:32 PM  

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