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Old May 25, '11, 10:57 am
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leastofthese leastofthese is offline
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Question Considering converting to the Anglican Church

I just want to begin this post by asking that anyone who chooses to respond please be charitable in your responses. I am an adult and do not need to be mollycoddled, but I must be clear, I will not respond to rude posts. So if you feel the need to be rude go ahead, but know that once I start reading rude remarks in a post I will stop reading and move on to the next response. With all that said I know that the vast majority of people on CAF are very wonderful, kind, and thoughtful people and so hopefully this will not be an issue. Also, I would like to hear from both Catholics and Anglicans if possible.

To help clarify the situation, I was baptized into the Catholic Church shortly after I was born. My family is Catholic on both sides. I received First Communion and Confirmation at the typical ages. Unfortunately, my mother was not very devout when I was young (and my father is a deadbeat). So my faith formation largely became the responsibility of the lay folks who worked in the Church's Sunday school program. However, these people (however well-intentioned) were far too young and far too uninformed about their faith. At 12 years old I remember asking them pretty standard questions and either stumping them or inadvertantly making them so angry with me that I eventually stopped going to Sunday school and to church altogether.

For roughly a decade I was estranged from the Church. I never stopped believing in God or in the basic tenants of Christianity. At one point during adolescence I even tried to go back to the Church, only to be met by hostile priests who were too busy to help educate me in the faith. So I became for a time quite anti-Catholic. I bashed the Church regularly and was quite scandalized by the many uneducated "Cultural Catholics" I came across. Here I was estranged from the Church and yet I knew more about the faith than many professed believers.

But then God came to me in a million sublte ways and gently brought me back to the Church. I was amazed by the witness of people like Blessed Mother Teresa and my love for the Blessed Virgin Mary also helped guide me back. I found that my previous "spirituality" was shallow and false. I was very fortunate that at the time I found a very welcoming parish with a wonderful priest, deacon, and one lay person in particular who was also quite helpful. Slowly but surely I came to accept the faith and even many of the points of contention I had previously had with the Church. Those points of morality/faith that I didn't agree with I told myself I would come to understand and agree with the Church in time.

But that didn't quite happen. I read constantly, I pray daily, I go to Confession at least once a month, and I go to Mass at least once a week. I have read the Catechism several times, the Bible many times, and I have poured over the lives of the saints, etc. Many of the articles of faith I had once been unable to accept I now wholeheartedly accept (i.e. the Immaculate Conception, the Church's teachings on abortion, etc.).

However there are some things that after years of being back I just can't accept. I can't accept the Church's teachings on: sexual ethics (i.e. homosexuality, etc.), papal infailability, women's ordination, the celibate priesthood, etc. I tried and tried to accept these teachings, believing that the reason I could not accept them was because I lacked knowledge or grace. But after years now of educating myself and praying for the grace to understand and accept these and other teachings I feel I am at a crossroads.

Two of the biggest problems I have are with the Church's stance on homosexuality and with the the Latin-rite Church's stance on having an exclusively unmarried priesthood. Just to clarify, no I am not a homosexual. But I do have several very close and dear friends who are. One in particular is a devout Catholic, who I am happy to say I helped bring back to the Church (he continued to believe in the Church all along but felt unwelcome in any given parish because of his sexuality). I can't believe that just because he is a homosexual that he is going to hell.

My other big problem is quite personal. The priesthood. I have felt a call to the priesthood for a couple of years now, but I also feel called to married life. I have prayed and prayed to God to give me clarity and to show me which vocation is my true calling. But in the end I keep feeling that I am called to both. I do know that some of the Eastern-rites in the Church allow for priests to marry, but this must be before ordination and if their spouse dies they cannot remarry.

So now I am facing a question I faced when I first started to come back to the Church. When I first felt the call to practice my faith again I didn't immediatley go back to the Catholic Church. I investigated several Christian denominations first. I ended up focusing on the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Church. I was very torn in the end between the Catholic and Anglican Churches. Now I feel the pull to convert to the Anglican Church again.

I don't know what to do though. While I agree with much of the teachings of the Anglican Church and their worship style is similar to the style of the Mass there are big issues I still haven't come to terms with. The biggest issue being the Holy Eucharist. I know some Anglicans believe in the Real Presence, but not all do. I do not know if I am convinced that the Anglican Church has true Apostolic succession and thus valid sacraments. I also find it hard to overcome the fact that the Anglican Church was not founded out of deep religious or moral convictions (like numerous other Protestant churches were) but rather it owes its existence to a spat that King Henry VIII had with the Pope.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this looooong post. And thank you to those of you who try to help me with your responses.
Old May 25, '11, 11:22 am
hseritt hseritt is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

My heart goes out to you. I will pray for you. I don't know a whole lot about Anglicans but the church I go to is Lutheran (though I can't say that I'm only a Lutheran -- rather, I'm a Christian). Like all of the Christian churches, it is similar in some ways to Catholicism and Anglicanism. I would advise you to talk with a Catholic priest on some of the disagreements you have with the church. I think you may find most Catholics don't believe a homosexual is going to hell just because they are that way. True though, if you feel led to serve as a priest, Catholics won't allow you to be married. You can however, become a deacon.

We Protestants believe different things and would love to tell you about that but I know prostelityzing is forbidden here. I would say this: research what the different ones believe. Read the Bible. Test what you are told. Pray for the Lord's guidance. He will lead your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.

Peace be with you!
Old May 25, '11, 11:25 am
LDNCatholic LDNCatholic is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

Originally Posted by hseritt View Post
Catholics won't allow you to be married. You can however, become a deacon.
Not always true. We have married priests.
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Old May 25, '11, 11:33 am
redroselover redroselover is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

I don't know how you feel about abortion, but the Episcopal Church is a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The membership also is in steep decline, but that may not matter to you.
Old May 25, '11, 11:35 am
hseritt hseritt is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

LDNCatholic: thanks for pointing that out. Please correct me if I'm wrong though, but doesn't the Catholic Church only allow married priests if they were already married and were Anglican or Orthodox priests?

Old May 25, '11, 11:39 am
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FromTheAshes777 FromTheAshes777 is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

being attracted to those of the same sex is not sinful in and of itself, only acting on those attractions is, your friend isn't sinning if he is not acting on his attraction

the same thing goes for a heterosexual man who wishes to have relations outside of marriage with a woman, or a pedophile who wishes to be intimate with young children, or an alcoholic who wishes to have a strong drink and get drunk

we all have temptations and struggles that we must face and overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit

as long as those desires are not acted on they are not sinful, our Lord Himself was tempted yet did not sin

there are lots of married priests in the Eastern Rites of the Church, and also some Latin Rite priests who are converts are also married, as well as married deacons, so it would be innaccurate to say that the Church has an all celibate priesthood.

have you sat down with your parish priest and discussed your struggles?

you are in my prayers my friend.
God bless you.
Seeking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
Old May 25, '11, 11:40 am
GKC GKC is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

I'm Anglican, of a particular sort. I conclude that you are giving this idea long and careful thought. Before becoming an Anglican, I'd suggest you continue that, for a while. And as you know, there are Anglicans. And then, there are Anglicans. It sounds to me that you might fit it, generally, with the basic ethos of the Episcopal Church. If so, I would not consider it a good thing.

Be careful.


posterus traditus Anglicanus
Old May 25, '11, 11:41 am
LDNCatholic LDNCatholic is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

Originally Posted by hseritt View Post
LDNCatholic: thanks for pointing that out. Please correct me if I'm wrong though, but doesn't the Catholic Church only allow married priests if they were already married and were Anglican or Orthodox priests?

Half right.

We allow priests that have already been married. Once ordained marriage is off the table.

We have 22 Eastern Churches in communion with the Holy See for whom in most cases, a married priesthood is normal.

There are also numerous cases of married Western (Roman) Catholic men being ordained.
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Old May 25, '11, 11:43 am
The Old Medic The Old Medic is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

There are several misconceptions in your posting, things that you either do not know, or that you choose to ignore.

1. The Roman Catholic Church has thousands of married Priests. Most are in the various "Eastern Rites", but certainly not all of them.

2. The church does not teach that homosexuality is a sin. BUT, it does teach that ALL sex outside of marriage is a sin, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual. Just as a Priest that is having affairs with women would face possible expulsion from the active Priesthood, so would a homosexual Priest that is having affairs with men. The call is to CELIBACY, and that has absolutely nothing to do with ones sexual orientation.

I personally happen to know several homosexual Priests, and they are very effective at their jobs. They struggle with Celibacy, as all Priests do, but they maintain with the grace of God.

In both the Old and the New Testament, homosexuality is specifically condemned. If a church chooses to "ordain" a homosexual that is actively involved in a relationship, by definition that church is NOT following the teachings of the Bible.

It is interesting that you are feeling drawn to the Anglican Church, at a time when thousands of Anglicans world wide are leaving their church and are becoming Roman Catholics. They are leaving their church, one that has been theirs for generations, over the very issues that you feel are calling you to it.

I understand the desire to become a Priest. I too felt a strong call to the Priesthood, and i do believe that I would have been a good one. BUT, in my case, I could not accept the fact that all too many men that took a vow of poverty, lived like anything BUT a poor person. I brought this up, repeatedly in my chapter meetings, until I was finally asked to leave as "it is apparent that you do not fit in with our Charism".

The Church asks you to discern what your true vocation is. I would strongly recommend that you consider a retreat, and discuss your concerns with the retreat master. If there is a Trappist Monastery near you, they offer retreats of various lengths, and they will NOT pressure you in any manner. But, they are great at helping people figure out what direction is correct for them.
Old May 25, '11, 11:47 am
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Monica4316 Monica4316 is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

Hi, I'm sorry you're struggling with this. I just wanted to give something to consider..

sadly we are seeing many things happening in the Protestant and Anglican churches where they are breaking more and more with tradition. Those who want to keep tradition and doctrines intact, tend to become Catholic - as we see with Anglicans now.

Secondly... the Anglican church does not have the Sacraments... because they changed their concept of the Mass when they separated from Rome. They stopped viewing it as a Sacrifice and changed the concept of the priesthood as well. But ordinations and Sacraments are only valid as long as the person intends to do what the Church does - when they intend to do something else, in disobedience, the Sacraments are lost. So although the Anglicans had Apostolic Succession in the beginning, this was lost. There is only one Church that Christ started, not multiple churches, and division hurts Him... the Anglican church separated from the Catholic Church.

I know the times I've visited an Anglican church, - it felt very different to me from the Catholic Church, - I hope this is not insulting because I do not mean it to be, but i did not feel the presence of the Eucharist there. That's just subjective though. I suggest maybe going to Adoration and asking Jesus for light on the situation

Regarding the things you are having trouble with... the Catholic Church doesn't hate homosexuals, we need to be charitable to them, but - we disagree with the *actions*. If you look at the writings of the Early Church Fathers, this has always been the case. It goes back to the reason why God created sex and the theology behind it all. I suggest doing more research on this.. there are specific reasons for why the Church has these teachings. Sex needs to be unitive and procreative.

Regarding Papal authority and infallibility.. we can see this in the early Church... I will post some quotes

regarding women's ordination, etc - the priest acts in the person of Christ... there are again theological reasons for why the Church only allows men to be priests. Celibate priesthood... this is custom, not theology. The Eastern Catholic church has married priests. The reason priests are single in the Latin rite is so they could have more time for their ministry, and St Paul talks about this too in the Bible. However, married men can be deacons.

Keep praying

God bless
Old May 25, '11, 11:49 am
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Monica4316 Monica4316 is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

Some of many...early Church quotes on the Papacy.

"He passed over his fall, and appointed him first of the Apostles; wherefore He said: 'Simon, Simon,' etc. (in Ps. cxxix. 2). God allowed him to fall, because He meant to make him ruler over the whole world... that, remembering his own fall, he might forgive those who should slip in the future." Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 387), Father and Doctor of the Church (Chrys, Hom. quod frequenter conveniendum sit 5, cf. Hom 73 in Joan 5).

"Peter, set above the Apostles." Saint Peter, Bishop of Alexandria (306-311)(Peter of Alexandria, Canon. ix, Galland, iv. p. 98)

"Moses was succeeded by Peter, who had committed to his hands the new Church of Christ, and the true priesthood." Saint Macarius of Egypt (371) (Macarius, Hom. xxvi. n. 23, p. 101)

"(Peter), the foundation of the Church, the Coryphaeus of the choir of the Apostles, the vehement lover of Christ ...he who ran throughout the whole world, who fished the whole world; this holy Coryphaeus of the blessed choir; the ardent disciple, who was entrusted with the keys of heaven, who received the spiritual revelation. Peter, the mouth of all Apostles, the head of that company, the ruler of the whole world. Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 387), Father and Doctor of the Church (De Eleemos, iii. 4; Hom. de decem mille tal. 3)

"And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproaches him with what had past, but says, 'If you love me, preside over the brethren ...and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, 'How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?,' this I would answer that He appointed this man (Peter) teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world." Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 387), Father and Doctor of the Church (Chrysostom, In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii)

"Yielding honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the Head of all the holy Churches." Emperor Justinian (520-533), writing to the Pope (Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).

"They (the Apostles) strove to learn through one, that preeminent one, Peter."
-Saint Cyril of Alexandria (c. 424) (Cyril, Ib. 1. ix. p. 736).

"Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Supreme Pastor, the salvation of all." Emperor Justinian (520-533) (Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope Hormisdas).

"I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds."
-Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (450) (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).
Old May 25, '11, 11:49 am
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

"If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble, run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo) healing for wounds of the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives."
-Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (450) (Theodoret Ibid, Epistle Leoni)

"Neither to John, nor to any other of the disciples, did our Savior say, 'I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,' but only to Peter."
-Eulogius of Alexandria (581) (Eulogius, Lib. ii. Cont. Novatian. ap. Photium, Biblioth, cod. 280)

"...For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to persuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and supreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world."
-Saint Maximus the Confessor (c. 650) (Maximus, Letter to Peter, in Mansi x, 692).

"Without whom (the Romans presiding in the seventh Council) a doctrine brought forward in the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by ecclesiastical usage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is they (the Popes of Rome) who have had assigned to them the rule in sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of headship among the Apostles."
Saint Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (758-828) (Nicephorus, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).

"Since to great Peter, Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church of Heaven."
-Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826), writing to Pope Leo III (Theodore, Bk. I. Ep. 23)

"Hear, O Apostolic Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ's sheep, keybearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, Rock of the Faith upon whom the Catholic Church is built. For Peter art thou, who adornest and governest the Chair of Peter..." -Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826), writing to Pope Paschal (Letter of St. Theodore and four other Abbots to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152-3)

"Order that the declaration from old Rome be received, as was the custom by Tradition of our Fathers from of old and from the beginning. For this, O Emperor, is the highests of the Churches of God, in which first Peter held the Chair, to whom the Lord said: Thou art Peter ...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
-Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826), writing to Emperor Michael (Theodore, Bk. II. Ep. 86)

"I witness now before God and men, they have torn themselves away from the Body of Christ, from the Supreme See (Rome), in which Christ placed the keys of the Faith, against which the gates of hell (I mean the mouth of heretics) have not prevailed, and never will until the Consummation, according to the promise of Him Who cannot lie. Let the blessed and Apostolic Paschal (Pope St. Paschal I) rejoice therefore, for he has fulfilled the work of Peter."
-Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826), (Theodore Bk. II. Ep. 63).

"In truth we have seen that a manifest successor of the prince of the Apostles presides over the Roman Church. We truly believe that Christ has not deserted the Church here (Constantinople), for assistance from you has been our one and only aid from of old and from the beginning by the providence of God in the critical times. You are, indeed the untroubled and pure fount of orthodoxy from the beginning, you the calm harbor of the whole Church, far removed from the waves of heresy, you the God-chosen city of refuge."
-Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826) (Letter of St. Theodore and Four Abbots to Pope Paschal).

"Let him (Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople) assemble a synod of those with whom he has been at variance, if it is impossible that representatives of the other Patriarchs should be present, a thing which might certainly be if the Emperor should wish the Western Patriarch (the Roman Pope) to be present, to whom is given authority over an ecumenical synod; but let him make peace and union by sending his synodical letters to the prelate of the First See."
-Saint Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826) (Theodore the Studite, Patr. Graec. 99, 1420)
Old May 25, '11, 11:54 am
Barbkw Barbkw is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

A same sex attracted person who practices chastity is not going to Hell.
Old May 25, '11, 11:54 am
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JohnnyReb JohnnyReb is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

I am an Anglican too, but right now I am looking into the Orthodox church. There is also alot I appreciate about Catholicism. It sounds like to me that you would fit well in the Episcopal Church. These issues are not always easy to resolve.

I am a more conservative Anglican. I am beginning to see why women's ordination is not what God set up, but I am not dogmatic about it and frankly my acceptance of this truth has been very reluctant. Its not that women cannot act in the person of Christ because they are female. No, if we took Christ's attributes to the extreme, only a Jewish Male from the First Century could be a valid priest. Its that the priest is a father to his flock, and women cannot be fathers, anymore than I can be a mother. Its not degrading to women. Women can serve in the church in all other capacities.

The Anglicans and the Orthodox do not have a celebrate priesthood, and in some cases, Catholic priests are married. Despite what Catholics will tell you, I believe Anglican orders to be valid. The RCC had once declared them to be invalid, but have not visited the issue since the interactions of the Dutch Touch etc...The Orthodox have not made a stance either way in regard to Anglican orders.

In regards to homosexuality, being attracted to members of the same sex is not a sin, but it is a sin to act on those attractions. The Episcopal church is moving in a direction that will lead to the blessing of same sex unions, which is contrary to scripture and tradition.

There are Anglicans moving to Rome, but Romans moving to Anglicanism over these issues, its a two way street. The idea of converting to the "Anglican Church" is hard to grasp because you have to decide which wing of Anglicanism you will fit in, and the tradition is anything but monolithic. It seems like the more liberal Episcopal Church may be the best fit for you. Anglicanism is anything but unified. You have TEC, then continuing groups who are divided over styles of worship, women's ordaination, have the Anglo-Catholics, the more Evangelical ACNA and AMIA.

Question: What holds you back from investigating Orthodoxy further? Catholicism and Anglicanism are not the only two options.
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Old May 25, '11, 11:56 am
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asd72 asd72 is offline
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Default Re: Considering converting to the Anglican Church

I can relate to a certain extent. As an agnostic considering Christianity I had an extremely difficult time with the homosexuality issue. I am convinced based on what gay and lesbian people say, that same sex attraction is not something they choose. It seemed to be condemned in the bible, but as we in the modern world are more aware that people don't choose their sexuality, is it more loving to accept sexually active gay and lesbians as they are?

I eventuality came to embrace the catholic position, although before I discovered the catholic church. This was after a lot of reading and reflecting. Since discovering the catholic church I have started studying the theology of the bible by blessed John Paul, and it makes even more sense.

Basically I believe we live in a fallen world, with fallen desires that are not always in line with Gods will. I believe the catholic church takes the correct position of following Gods commands. She does not blame those with same sex attractions for their desires, but supports them to not act on them.

I won't comment on all the other issues, but I support the church in all of them.

Best wishes in your search, I hope you stay with the catholic church, and are convinced of her truth, but God has given us free will. Please consider things carefully.
The bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world (Jn 6:51).
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