Ladies and Gentlemen:
Since 1980, over 75 former Anglican clergy have crossed the Tiber, and became Catholic priests. I live in Texas, and have met at least six or seven, and have attended Mass where these priests celebrated. I just wanted to ask that for those of you who have been to a Mass (or have either a Priest-in-Charge or one as a Parochial Vicar at your parish, or attend an Anglican Ordinariate parish), if you would be willing to share an experience.
Why do I bring this up?
First, I find my experiences with these priests to be positive. Many have studied their way into the Church, and are solid on orthodoxy. My parish has one as a parochial vicar, and another local parish had one as a priest-in-charge for many years (he has since retired), and his homilies were always rock solid, and this priest-in-charge was not afraid to discuss controversial issues. Another former Episcopal priest preached one day years ago (in 2012) about the dangers of same-sex marriage. I thanked him outside after Mass, and many others did.
Second, the secular media (at least in the U.S. and Canada) sees there conversions to Catholicism as a “magic trick.” The secular media thinks that the Pastoral Provision is instantaneous, and think the Episcopalian leaves his former parish on a Monday and is saying a Catholic Mass the following Sunday. The reality is that the Pastoral Provision takes a few years to complete (the parochial vicar at my parish took four years, and the priest-in-charge I knew had at least a two year process). The secular media also fails to mention that acceptance under the Pastoral Provision is on a case-by-case basis. The secular media also fails to mention that many former Episcopal priests have to seek other employment during this time of transition.
Third, I get upset when I hear others say that these former Anglican clergymen (and yes, I have heard it said) are doing “half a job”. IMHO, nothing can be further from the truth. These priests are doing a good job, and even if they are married, they still have to get out of bed at 1:00 a.m. and drive to the nursing home or hospital for a sick call. Those that are married (I knew one who was a widower) should have a wife who understands the demand on their vocation, and that is hard to balance. The priest-in-charge I knew has an understanding wife (he was also in his early 60’s when he was ordained as a Catholic priest, so their children were already grown and on their own - all but one of the former Anglican priests that I have known who were ordained under the Pastoral Provision are empty nesters), and his wife understood that his congregation took precedence.
Feel free to discuss. I do ask that comments be kept constructive and tactful. The last few threads I have posted contributors have been constructive and tactful, without the “he said, she said”, and “rants”. I appreciate that. Disagreements are fine, but please be considerate with word choice. Thank you for your time.