Episcopalian Orders

I know this has been hashed out in the past, but it’s been sooo long and so much has happened in PECUSA/ECUSA/The Episcopal Church, I wanted to resurrect discussion.

I know several Episcopal clergy who are mightily distressed at the turn of events since this summer’s convention.

To them:
Continuing in the Episcopal Church is wrong because of the direction the Church is taking.:eek:

Alternative pastoral oversight from Canterbury or dioceses in Africa is wrong because it has the potential of splitting the church into even more different denominations.:frowning:

Turning to Rome or Eastern Orthdoxy is wrong because they would have to admit that their priesthood in ECUSA is not a valid priesthood – they’d be required to be ordained rather than just received by Rome or one of the Eastern churches in order to continue their “priestly ministry”.:o

How does one charitably address their dilemma?

I know many Anglicans (= Episcopalians in the rest of the world) in the same situation, and it is a difficult one for them, for sure.

The group you describe is not the only group in the Anglican world that has formed during its recent difficulties. Some are essentially becoming a confederation of congregational assemblies, with an Anglican heritage of liturgy and corporate structure. Some others claim that God is creating a “new thing” in Anglicanism, and refer to the fission occurring as “realignment.”

The group you describe, and I know others like them, is a group that is facing three hard truths about its situation. That’s painful for them, and about all we can do is pray for them, as they face these truths, and be there for them if they turn to us. Perhaps the worst thing we could do (and happily I’ve seen virtually none of it among Catholics) is to do an “I told you so” act, and use their situation as a coersive lever to get them to make a decision we might want. (Some of my Anglican friends got just that from a non-Catholic group who need not be named here, and it didn’t help a bit.) Pray for them; be there for them; and be open to God the Holy Spirit, in hopes that He might use you in helping these good people face the truths they have encountered.



A wise teacher once asked me:

What do you call a sacrifice that is easy to make?

The answer: Not a sacrifice.

You go towards Rome because you acknowledge truth, not because its a paycheck and because your present religion irritates you. Go towards truth and acknowledge the church is not a democracy, nor is it a series of polite suggestions, then the sacrifice seems worthwhile.

I agree with TimOliv. I have told potential converts not to seek to become Catholic, but to seek Truth. I believe that quest will lead them to become Catholic, but their goal must be Truth.

Individual Anglicans or Episcopalians, clergy or lay,will make their own decisions. I suppose it is easier for lay persons because, unlike clergy, we are not talking about a person’s career, calling and/or livelihood. I would guess that the Catholic Church’s refusal to recognize Anglican orders as being valid is a significant barrier to reunion with Rome.

From the lay perspective, I think that most conservative Episcopalians are evangelical. If they leave the Episcopal Church, they tend to go to conservative Protestant Churches. Conservative Episcopalians who are more Anglo-Catholic will, obviously, consider seriously a swim across the Tiber.

Other conservative Episcopalians have chosen one of the mutiple Anglican groups that are not associated with the Episcopal Church. In America, that includes the Reformed Episcopal Church, the various “continuing Anglican churches” (mostly, but not all, Anglo-Catholic in nature), or the African-lead missionary churches (like the Anglican Mission in America). And then there is the Network…a grouping of conservative or traditional Anglicans both within, and without, the Episcopal Church. Ultimately, I would hope that these numerous (and often miniscule) groupings would come together in a conservative Anglican alternative to the Episcopal Church that would be in communion with Canterbury. Frankly, I think that WILL happen but, because we are talking Episcopalians here, it will be a long time coming. Change seldom happens quickly in the Anglican tradition.

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