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?