Am I Getting too Close to the Tiber?


Yesterday, I was meeting with a Roman Catholic Priest (he is the Parochial Vicar at the Roman Catholic Church/Student Center a few blocks from my house) and we were discussing various things (especially stuff I feel uncomfortable talking about with my Episcopal Chaplain, namely the issues that the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church face and how it affects my discerning a call to Anglican Holy Orders). One thing I brought up was how I feel I am becoming more and more Anglo-Catholic everyday and I, in a mixture of jest and seriousness, stated how the risk for all Anglo-Catholics is that they will “get too close to the Tiber and fall in” (the Priest cracked up), but it is a real issue. For example, John Newman, the ‘founder’ of the Oxford Movement (promoting Anglo-Catholicism), ended up “falling in” as it were.

Anyway, it seems I am becoming more and more Anglo-Catholic and quite quickly:

A) Accepting the Pope’s roles as Bishop of Rome and Successor to St. Peter as being truly Catholic (Universal) in nature and growing to truly respect the Office of the Papacy
B) Attending a Catholic Mass and, with the permission of the Priest/Pastor, receiving Communion (it was a special circumstance…my Episcopal parish was closed for the semester break)
C) Accepting the idea of the Communion of Saints (although I am reticent to personally ask Saints, including the BVM, to make intercession, I prayed, at the Masses, the Penitential Rite asking the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints and Angels to pray for me)
D) Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation at that Roman Catholic Church/Student Center (against, with the Priest/Pastor’s permission)
E) Getting involved in the Newman Club at the Roman Catholic Church/Student Center
F) If this makes sense, truly loving and honoring the Roman Catholic Church

I am already coming to the conclusion that I may face great problems in trying to get ordained in the Episcopal Church. First, they do not really need Priests currently. Second, I could not in good conscience some of the things that Episcopal Priests are usually required to support in order to ‘pass’ discernment and seminary.

Currently, I am giving consideration to, when the time comes, to seeking Holy Orders through one of the Continuing Anglican groups (these tend to be very ‘traditional’ Anglo-Catholic and have infused Holy Orders through the Old Catholic Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches so that, even by Roman Catholic standards, they should have valid Holy Orders and Apostolic Succession and, thus, Sacraments).

It seems like, in many ways, I am getting too close to the Tiber and I wonder if, if I am not careful, will I be another Anglo-Catholic Anglican who fell in?


Yes, please God. :crossrc:

On the other hand why wait to fall? Why not just jump in and start swimming? The water’s fine :smiley:


It is a fine line Anglo-Catholics walk within the Anglican Communion. For the most part, I think ‘hardcore’ Anglo-Catholics are not terribly appreciated:

A) They tend to be more theologically conservative (aka Pro-Life, Anti-Homosexual ‘Marriage’, Anti-Ordination of Women, etc.). Although I am personally not opposed to the ordination of women, I realize that on that issue it is prudent to bow to the Magisterium on the issue
B) Especially for those considering Holy Orders, there is the concern of ‘defections’, either to Roman Catholicism/Eastern Orthodoxy or the Anglo-Catholic groups that schismed off from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion (i.e. the Traditional Anglican Communion). It seems that Anglicans get more sore when people leave for schismed groups (i.e. TAC) than they do when people leave for Roman Catholicism. Case-in-point, it was actually my Episcopal Chaplain who suggested I consider attending a Mass (after talking to the RC Priest/Pastor, whom she is quite friendly with actually), but whenever I mention any schismed group from the Episcopal Church (the first Anglican parish I was ever involved with was one affiliated with the Anglican Church of Kenya and had schismed from the Episcopal Church, although, through the ACK, they remained in communion with +Cantuar), she does take it too kindly. It is for this reason (her unwillingness to discuss the schismatic groups and the concerns I have as I consider Holy Orders) that I am meeting with a Roman Catholic Priest (the Parochial Vicar, not the Pastor, at the Roman Catholic Student Center) to discuss my concerns.
C) The more ‘Low Church’/Evangelical/Protestant Anglicans are probably not thrilled with Anglo-Catholics just because they probably hearing about fellow Anglicans who are too Pro-Papacy and espouse ‘Roman Catholic’ doctrines and such.

So, as you can see, I have many forces arrayed against me and, if I should decide to join one of the Continuing Anglican (a term used to describe these groups that have schismed from the Anglican Communion entirely or a single province *, but remain in communion with +Cantuar), I will be probably despised. Interestingly, I think I would not be so despised if I simply became Roman Catholic.

Like I said, it is tough. There are elements that would just as soon see Anglo-Catholics swim the Tiber (at least so they do not act as a pressure within the Anglican Communion). So, it truly is a balancing act. For the truly hardcore Anglo-Catholics, they are not just playing too close to the Tiber, they are wading on in and seem dangerously close to being knocked over by the current.

Although Wikipedia’s accuracy is always in doubt, I would recommend their article on Anglo-Catholicism for a general overview of this issue. As you can see, the most hardcore of Anglo-Catholics will use an Anglican Missal (which, among other things, is based on the Eucharistic Prayer I of the current Roman Missal), or even the English Missal (based on the Roman Missal of Pope Pius V). Some A-Cs are not only believers in Papal Primacy, but even respect Papal Supremacy (they are sometimes referred to as Anglo-Papalists). As GKC always says, you need a scorecard to keep up with it…

As I grow more and more Anglo-Catholic, I see at as a truly amazing thing that is growing within certain elements of Anglicanism.*


I think you need a snorkel and some flippers.
Welcome Home, it is only a matter of time.


You need to trust in God and go wherever he leads you.

I suggest you pray and read the Scriptures. Catholic Answers is a great resource and I think you should read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I don’t know what God has planned for you, but I advise you to thoroughly research the Catholic faith. You owe it to yourself to do this.

Consider praying the Rosary. I can attest that this is a very powerful method of prayer. You may find the answers you need through the recitation of the Rosary.


My prayers are with you as you discern this very important step in your life.


I’m a newbie - clicked on your thread to see what it meant -
I think you should jump in and call others.

… Be Thou King of those … whom discord holds aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd… ++:signofcross:


As I have been thinking and stuff, I think that maybe I have already fallen in and it is only a matter of time before I surrender to the current. I see Anglicanism imploding, even in the couple months since I was Confirmed into the Episcopal Church. There has been the whole GAFCON issue and Lambeth and I do not see any of that getting any better. I think I realize that, with my theologically conservative views, I won’t be allowed to receive Anglican Holy Orders.

As a History major, I cannot deny that Roman Catholicism is the earliest and longest expression of that One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I cannot deny the Pope’s universal legitimacy since I have earlier recognized that the Anglican Communion derives its own Apostolic Succession because the first Archbishop of Canterbury was consecrated by Pope Gregory the Great.

I feel as though I have tripped on the banks and am flailing to keep from falling into the Tiber. If something does not pull me back soon, I’ll end up in the river. With my interest in Holy Orders, I know that there is a shortage of Priests in the Roman Catholic Church, so I would have little problem on that account. I am a failure with women anyway, so that will solve that issue.

I do not know. I graduate in December and I am wondering what I will do then. I know that if I try to start discernment for Anglican Holy Orders, I will probably get shot down as it were.


As an outsider who has a sharp interest in Rome:

Why are you fighting so hard against your conscience? If you feel like the Roman rites are the truest — or at least closest — expression of your beliefs, then why aren’t you already there? There comes a point when delaying crossing some boundary becomes just another waste of time and a hindrance to your spiritual development.

Further, if you accept the role of the bishop of Rome as — and here I use your words — “being truly Catholic (Universal) in nature,” then why aren’t you in communion with said bishop?

Now, because you’re discerning a vocation — is that the reason that you aren’t willing to cross over yet? Are you afraid you’re not up to the ecclesiastical disciplines of the Church regarding the vows?

On a different note: You could join the TAC for the present. They’re in talks with Rome about coming under the pastoral care of the Roman church while maintaining Anglican [liturgical] distinctions. That way, you could stay an Anglican and then become an Anglican [Roman] Catholic by default. :wink:


You already know the Truth.

And the Truth shall set you free.


Forgive me… Newbie moment…

What’s the Tiber?


The Tiber is the river in the city of Rome.

‘Crossing the Tiber’ is slang for converting from another Christian church to the Roman Catholic Church.

A lot of folks here have “Tiber Swim Team 02” or “Tiber Swim Team 98” or whatever on their signature, meaning that was the year they were received into the Catholic Church.

Tiber Swim Team 08


In that case… I’m already in the water and enjoying the passing view as I cross over to the other side… I start RCIA in a week or so and since I have already been baptized I’m a Candidate.

I don’t know if I will be confirmed this year or Easter Vigil of next year but I’m not in a hurry… although the thought of the Eucharist makes me really anxious to be Catholic once and for all!


Welcome to the Catholic family, Stacy. I’ll remember you in my prayers this Sunday at mass.


Now, because you’re discerning a vocation — is that the reason that you aren’t willing to cross over yet? Are you afraid you’re not up to the ecclesiastical disciplines of the Church regarding the vows?

To answer the first part of the question: YES, but not how you might think.

Within the Episcopal Church, it is quite difficult for someone to get ordained. First off, there is not really a need for Priests currently, so that is one difficulty (if they have no need, they will freeze your discernment). Second, a dominating wing within the ECUSA wants to maintain an older Priesthood (the average age of Priests in the ECUSA is their 50s) and so it is hard for a younger person to be ordained. Third, with my more theologically conservative leanings, that would cause difficulty as the ECUSA gets more liberal.

I know that the Roman Catholic Church has a shortage of Priests, so I know it would be a lot easier to get ordained in the RCC. Also, my conservative theological views would probably be acceptable and my youth (I am 22) might actually be viewed as a plus.

So, I want to make sure that my interest in Roman Catholicism is genuine and not just because I want an easier entry into the Priesthood (obviously, once ordained as a Roman Catholic, I would stay Roman Catholic).

Does that make sense?

EDIT: I would not be one of those that would get ordained and then try to cross back over the Thames or something. Once I had made the decision to be Roman Catholic and to get ordained, I would (hopefully…God willing as it were) stick with my choices.


Dear nsper7,

May God walk with you on your journey.

A couple of things strike me reading through the thread, firstly, that it’s important to remember that every priest is a Catholic first and a priest second. It’s important to see Catholicism as a Catholic first and then maybe as a Priest.

Secondly, I think John Henry Newman, if you’re not already looking at him more deeply would be a great man to research and read the works of as you may find further guidance there.

Thirdly, get swimming! :thumbsup:

In Christ,



Don’t think too much about a vocation to the religious life at this present time. Firstly, you need to convert because you believe in ALL that the Catholic Church teaches, and not because it is easier to become a priest.

Secondly, I would strongly advise you to deepen in your spiritual life as a lay person before you even consider your vocation. I would leave it for a couple of years so that you can truly decide which Church you are called to serve.

This is a massive, massive decision. Take baby steps first and do a lot of praying. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and let God take control. Give him the wheel, and let him steer your life.

Pray the Rosary for guidance and discernment.


This is quite interesting - something is in the air for sure. I just enrolled in RCIA - perhaps we will be swimming together. (I’m still praying about it and, in my case, I don’t know the timing of the swim, but I’m going to the Catholic Church for tomorrow’s Sunday service).




Might be time to brush up on the lingo - in Catholic speak ‘Sunday service’ is (and should always be) called Mass.


Sneaks up behind nsper7 :whistle:

Pushes him in :angel1:

Trust me you’ll think me as this happens to you: :getholy:

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