Texanglican

"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SECOND UPDATE: Fifty Church of England Priests (including Five Bishops) to Join Roman Catholic Church Early in New Year

The Daily Telegraph of England reports that fifty Anglican priests in the C of E are expected to be received into the Roman Catholic Church early in the new year, along with "hundreds" of laity. The number of converts is expected to double after the new structures are in place.

I have made it clear to readers of my blog that I am committed to the future of orthodox Anglicanism and that I have no plans to avail myself of the pope's kind offer within the Ordinariate. I simply have too many theological differences with Rome to make it an option for me. But I am glad that my brothers and sisters whose theology aligns with that of the Vatican will have their path toward full communion with the See of Peter eased for them. I wish them Godspeed and blessings on their future ministries.

I cannot help but wonder, however, if the Vatican is starting to be disappointed with the numbers that are likely to take up the pope's offer. Fifty priests and three sitting bishops (none of whom is a great surprise--the two other bishops are retired) out of the entire Church of England is a respectable number of clergy, I suppose. But the number of laity who have been attracted so far does not seem great. In fact, of all the small number of Anglican parishes world-wide I have heard about that have declared their desire to enter the Ordinariate none of them yet has an average-Sunday-attendance over fifty.

Surely there are some larger parishes in the "Continuum" that will join the Roman Catholic Church in the future, but I cannot help but wonder--even if those "hundreds" of laity doubles to become one or two thousand lay people opting to join the Ordinariate within England, how precisely will those fifty converted Anglican priests serve their quondam Anglican flocks? Will Rome chose to divide them up between thirty new Ordinariate parishes with an ASA of 50 Anglican converts? (Remember, the Apostolic Constitution makes it clear that only Anglicans who convert can actually become members of Ordinariate parishes--"normal" Roman Catholics who might be attracted by the beauties of Anglican liturgy cannot become members of Ordinariate parishes.) How would Rome financially support all these married, former-Anglican clergy serving micro-parishes in light of the fact that most RC priests in the West serve huge parishes for little pay? Or will Rome settle for forming about a dozen parishes of a more financially viable size served by large staffs of part-time, "tent maker," former-Anglican clergy?Time will tell the answer to these questions.

On a tangentially related bit of news: today in Bishop Iker's address to diocesan convention (delivered by Canon Hough in the bishop's absence) it was estimated that it may well take up to four more years before the shadow of TEC lawsuits over property will be finally settled in our diocese by having all issues litigated and every appeal exhausted. In practice this means that no parish in our diocese that might dream of leaving for the Ordinariate along with its building and church-owned vestments and furishings could possibly do so with a clear title until four years from now. I personally don't imagine there are many Fort Worth parishes hoping to join the Ordinariate en masse, but those that are thinking in these terms probably will not relish so long a wait for their dream to come true. It is most unfortunate, but I doubt TEC will give up their punitive course of legal action until the last possible appeal has been followed through to the U.S. Surpreme Court sometime after 2014.

UPDATE: Catholic On-line has a fascinating report about an upcoming conference on the Ordinariate available today. In it is this paragraph:

In the United States there are at least 20 identifiable Catholic, Protestant Episcopal, Traditional Anglican Communion, Missionary Episcopal, and Anglican Use congregations, societies and religious orders, incorporating thousands of individuals, who are seeking membership in the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States. Now a unique opportunity has risen to allow all these various individuals and groups to begin to intermingle and start to become one Catholic spiritual family in the Anglican Ordinariate which is starting to take shape in the States.

I note that if the average size of the "at least 20" congregations and groups seeking entry into the Ordinariate is an ASA of about seventy-five persons (a bit larger than the ASA of the known parishes who have openly declared for the Ordinariate up to this point, but I know at least a few of the existing Anglican use parishes are larger than ASA 75 so this is plausible) this would give the organization a starting size of around 1500 lay people. That is very much in line with what we have seen in England so far. Is it possible that the entire Ordinariate in the United States may not be any larger than the largest Latin Rite Roman Catholic parish in my home county at the time of its launch?

UPDATED AGAIN!: The Daily Telegraph today has another article in which it is said (emphasis added):

About 30 groups from across the country are believed to have registered an interest in joining the Ordinariate. This would mean an estimated 500-600 Anglicans, including about 50 priests, will be in the first wave of converts to join the Ordinariate when it is established in the first half of next year.

So it appears that the "thousands" of a few days ago may must be about 600 in the "first wave." Will it be 600 lay people served by about 50 priests? Interesting.

28 Comments:

Blogger sam said...

Father: No real problem with much of what you say. And yes, four years is a long time for the lawsuits! Lord grant that it be over sooner!

I do though want to offer something of a correction, based on Anglicanorum coetibus, on two aspects of the Ordinariate (whether in the UK or here):

1. Ordinariate priests will be priests in the Latin rite and will have no problem finding parishes in which to be of use, even if those are not always of the Ordinariate. Surely no one is unaware of the shortage of Roman Catholic priests. It's true that time will tell, but I don't think it right to suggest that because of the modest beginnings of the ordinariates there will be dozens of priests wandering in search of altars.

2. On the membership of the Ordinariate. Yes, current members of the Roman Catholic Church are ineligible. But that is not to say that members are simply ex-Anglicans: members are also those who receive the sacraments of initiation in the ordinariate, which means: children raised in ordinariate parishes, and converts. One would hope that the ordinariates will practice evangelism! Further, just because "normal" Roman Catholics cannot be members does not mean that they cannot attend and support the ordinariates.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

True enough, Sam. You are certainly correct on both counts. I would point out, however, that most of the priests I know here who are attracted to the Ordinariate would not necessarily find service in a mainstream Latin rite parish in the US to be the ministry to their dreams. The liturgy and ceremonial of the average RC parish in the US doesn't appeal to most of them, as far as I can tell. And after years of serving small to moderate sized congregation suddenly joining the staff of a Latin rite parish with an ASA of 2000 would be a bit of shock! I think most of these priests assume they will be presiding in congregations that reflect the worship and rhythms they have long been accustomed to n the Anglican tradition. We shall see how many of them have their wish granted. I hope it is possible for the vast majority of them.

And it is true that those newly baptized will be members of the Ordinariate. I may be wrong but I would be surprised if these Ordinariate parishes become powerhouses for converting the unchurched as High Church parishes within the Anglican tradition usually don't produce vast numbers of fresh converts from among the unaffiliated. And I suspect that the birthrate for the typical Ordinariate parish will not be extraordinarily high, so growth by nature reproduction doesn't seem like a sound strategy to me. Surely, however, there will be a steady stream (or a consistent trickle?) of Anglican converts for years to come. As I say, only time will tell. Thanks for commenting. God bless.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

Wow! Plenty of typos in that last comment. Sorry! Proofreading is not my strong suit. :-)

8:03 PM  
Blogger Paul Powers said...

Over the past 20 years, at least 5 priests from the Diocese of Fort Worth have become Roman Catholic priests. As far as I know, only one of them has an "Anglican use" parish (Father Hawkins at St. Mary the Virgin). The rest either went to regular Roman Catholic parishes or are serving in a diocesan office. A group of former Episcopalians in Dallas also tried to organize an Anglican use parish there with a former Episcopal Priest who had swum the Tiber. The RC Bishop eventually put an end to it because he (very understandably) didn't believe it was a good use of resources to have one of his priests serve a congregation of maybe 20 or 30 when there were other parishes where one priest was serving several hundred parishioners.

Anyway, as Bishop Godfrey said this morning, there was a Church in Britain 500 years before the Pope sent Augustine of Canterbury, and as Anglicans we don't need the Roman Catholic church to validate our Catholicism.

As for the lawsuits, they could take even longer because either the Court of Appeals or the Texas Supreme Court could send it back to the trial court for a "do-over," and then the case could go back to the appellate courts for a second time. This obsession with fighting over every piece of property is turning the EC into a bunch of Gollums. I hope we don't fall into the same trap.

9:27 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Well, right. The contemporary Latin rite isn't all that appealing. And the ordinariate is offering something different from what has gone before, where convert priests were simply diocesan priests (albeit with certain canonical restrictions), and that's part of the point.

As far as growth goes, Our Lady of the Atonement has done quite well for itself, though from what I can tell it is unusual. Here in Boston, St Athanasius is very, very small, and shows little signs of any real growth.

Alas, high church Anglicans haven't done especially well at evangelizing the "unaffiliated." But there is still plenty of attraction from more Protestant quarters, and those folks would be eligible for membership. One hates to rely on such movement, but it certainly happens.

5:27 AM  
Blogger RMBruton said...

Randall,
Just bear in mind that all former Anglican clergy will only be received into the Roman Catholic Church as laymen; some may qualify to be ordained in the future.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is terrible.
I hate seeing Episcopal/Anglicans jumping ships to the RC church.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Sybok said...

not disappointing at all, similar numbers (actually I take that back, a lot less) were involved when parts of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church decided to enter communion with the Apostolic See in the 19th century. When this offer was made, they knew only the anglo-papalists would be interested, they were not expecting nor planning every conservative or traditionalist in the Anglican Church to convert, and knew the numbers wouldnt be too high

11:38 PM  
Blogger ejwilson said...

This is a cynical and nasty post, one I never expected to come from this blog.

You come across as seeming frightened and worried when you have to take a dig at Rome on the perceived popularity of Anglicanorum Coetibus. It's pretty gratuitous and shows a lack of understanding for the situation.

A structure hasn't been established and you're speculating at how many people are in it?

As someone charged with caring for peoples' souls, I would think you understand the importance of saving even one lost sheep.

I much prefer a brand of Christianity committed to a culture of evangelization and outreach over one committed to lawsuits and cynicism.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

Honestly, ejwilson, I have no idea what you are talking about! Cynical and nasty? My goodness. Where did that come from?

I wish my friends who are going into the Ordinariate nothing but happiness and success there. There wasn't a word in my post I intended to be "nasty" at all! I was simply pointing out that so far there is little evidence of large numbers of lay people expressing an interest in joining up and this could create a "top heavy" [i.e. overstaffed with clergy] organization. That simple observation is somehow "nasty" of me? Are you one of these people who thinks that anything that is not full-throated cheer leading for the Ordinariate is unacceptable to mention? If so, I am sorry I have disappointing you.

I was simply commenting that so far the groups that have declared to go into the Ordinariate have been very small parishes and there does not yet seem to be a groundswell of lay people clamoring to enter into it. Based upon the early press coverage it seemed like this might be a major earthquake in the Anglican world. Now in practice on the ground it looks like its effects might be rather small in scope, with perhaps only a few thousand folks in all of England taking up the offer. (Will there be more in the US? We shall see but I have my doubts.). How was it "nasty" merely to comment on this? I thought I was being quite measured in my tone.

And what in the world do you mean, implying that I don't want lost sheep to be found? I hope you don't mean to imply that Anglicans are "lost sheep" who are not "found" until they enter into full communion with Rome. (If that is what you mean, then it is you who are mean-spirited, not me!) If there are un-churched people who enter into Christ's Church through the Ordinariate (and there surely will be some), I would rejoice in that just as much as I would if they joined any other orthodox denomination. But I personally fervently DO NOT believe that any Christian is "lost" until they enters into full communion with the Papacy.

And if you know anything about our diocese you will know that we have done EVERYTHING possible to avoid the lawsuits TEC is bombarding us with, so I haven't the foggiest idea where you are getting your last comment from. May all of the lawsuits filed against faithful churches vanish immediately (including the sizable number of lawsuits the Roman Catholic Church has had to expend its resources on in recent years)! They are all a vast distraction form the work the Church ought to be doing.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Eric Wilson said...

Writing a post today "pointing out that so far there is little evidence of large numbers of lay people expressing an interest in joining up" is like saying there's little interest in beach vacations to the north pole or why aren't more Americans flying to space. It just doesn't make sense. The ordinariates don't exist yet, so saying there's no interest is pretty silly.

I'm curious about your motivation for pointing this out?

5:08 PM  
Blogger Fr. John Slavin said...

Father, I think your spot on! And I dont find anything you said offensive in the least! I think you just stated a fact. although its a fact many dont like to hear. The fact is numbers do count. Maybe not to the anglo-papist but they should. We are in the game to save souls and when you see a church with just 30 members over a long period of time that is a clue something is just not clicking. I think the biggest failure of the Anglo-Catholic movement is its small numbers. Of course numbers do not mean EVERYTHING. You can have a huge mega church and preach hersey which we see all the time on TV with the crooked evanglists. But given that many other versions of Anglicanism do not preach hersey and yet manage to grow so large in comparsion to the anglo-papist churches it makes you wonder what is going on?
I agree I think this whole ordinriate is a failure from the get go. They broke the news that this would be this earth shattering event and to me its all show and no go! The pastoral provision on steriods at best, and sheep stealing at worst. The very group that started it ACA is divided down the middle on even going at all now! Rome has a massive priest shortage and I dont see how they will justify supporting these priests with familys to take care of 20 souls? If history repeats itself we can simply look to other Anglican Use parishes as to how much growth to expect. Like I said from the start this movement is clergy driven not congregation driven. The people did not have to wait for this offer to go to Rome they could just sign up for RCIA and be confirmed. The only people who realy got excited over this where priests who wanted to be married priests. That may seem harsh and I am sure some will say that its not true. That in fact these priest wanted to be Catholic but did not want to give up their anglican ethos. But thats a lie.. Look at some of the priests that have taken this offer? MOST of them practiced RITE II services, facing the people and some even moved around some of the prayers in Rite II to make it more like the Roman Novus Ordo Mass. They did not wear anything "Anglican" as in Tippets or Hoods or English surplices. They did not promote Anglican saints. For all outward signs one would think they were no deffrent than a modern Roman Novus Ordo Parish. So what exacly are they holding on to? And why would the congregation feel any diffrent going to a modern Roman church? I can see if these people used the anglican Missal or some unique Anglican service, and im sure SOME do. But many do not. Thats why in the end this will fail. The priests will come in and end up being sent to Novus Ordo parishes and a FEW anglican use congregations will remain and they will close the books and this will go down as this biggest blunder of this popes reign. But hey they will pick up a few Priests real cheap Rome not having to have paid for their theological education =) So it wont be a total loss for Rome =)

5:44 PM  
Blogger Fr. John Slavin said...

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5:44 PM  
Blogger Fr. John Slavin said...

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5:45 PM  
Blogger Fr. John Slavin said...

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5:45 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

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10:11 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

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10:12 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

Russell,

I found your post fairly objective and realistic. I find that a number of folks have very naive and unrealistic expectations concerning the shape the personal ordinariates are going to take. Right now the Roman Catholic Church is closing what are by Anglican standards some fairly decent sized parishes. If they do not have the resources to maintain these churches, they are not going put a lot of resources in a network of small former anglo-Catholic parishes. The Roman Catholic Church is faced with a number of challenges right now. It is suffering from a shortage of priests. In some areas the Roman Catholic Church is launching new parishes but in other areas it is closing parishes and consolidating parishes. The consequences of the endemic sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church are still working themselves out. There are calls for lay involvement in decision making at the archdiocesan and diocesan levels. The Roman Catholic Church is introducing a new liturgy in 2011. The call for the ordination of women priests grows. Despite the excommunications, so does the number elicitly-ordained women priests. In North America anglo-Catholics are much more conservative than than many Roman Catholics. In the wake of the Gene Robinson consecration a number of folks began to attend Roman Catholic churches only to discover that they were less traditional and more liberal than the anglo-Catholic parishes they had attended in the Episcopal Church.

What anglo-Catholics are being offered is what the Irish call ceannaigh muc i mal, "a pig in a poke." The buyer thinks that he is acquiring a suckling pig. When opens the wiggling poke, or bag, he discovers that he has been swindled. The bag contains a cat. Hence the expression "let the cat out of the bag." To buy anything without inspecting it beforehand is always very risky business. This includes accepting a scheme that has not been fully worked out.

How the Pastoral Provisions were implemented varied from country to country, from Archdiocese to Archdiocese. The latest offer from the Vatican can be expected to be implemented in the same fashion. Some former Anglican priests were required to be re-baptized despite the ecumenical agreements between the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church on baptism. They were required to become catechumens again. It was several years before they were finally reordained as Roman Catholic priests.

A number of non-Anglican clergy with independendent Catholic orders supposedly recognized by the Roman Catholic Church are still in limbo. The Roman Catholic Church has demonstrated that it is no hurry to place them on the staff of a Roman Catholic church. Rather they are being sent back to seminary if they are lucky and being thoroughly indoctrinated as Roman Catholics before they are considered for reordination into Roman Catholic orders.

10:17 PM  
Blogger sam said...

I don't see how Fr Foster's post could be "cynical and nasty." That is silly. We may disagree on some things, but that doesn't mean that he wishes ill on those who have different views on the Roman question.

Robin Jordan's recent comment really ought to be revised. I don't know of anyone who has asked for "rebaptism." (Was that a typo?) Reordination is a separate and entirely different issue. The Pastoral Provision was not different in different countries -- it was directed solely to the US, even if its implications were broader.

Whether that post, or Fr Slavin's, one does have to ask whether there are certain elements among so-called Anglo-catholic clergy and laity who have a particular interest in poo-pooing the Ordinariate scheme. One wishes that they would take more seriously the advice of Rabbi Gamaliel. Certainly Anglicanorum coetibus didn't do any harm to ACNA that ACNA wasn't already doing to itself, so there can hardly be any partisan grudge on that front aside from either envy or personal acrimony, neither of which seem especially appropriate for ecumenical charity.

The ordinariates will either work or they won't, and I really don't see how it is in the interest of anyone who styles himself a "conservative" or "orthodox" Anglican or whatever for them to fail. A successful ordinariate will mean an ongoing witness to Anglican catholicity within the communion of the Holy See. It's not like the failure of the ordinariate is going to win your "sheep" back. Stop whining about the ordinariates and get to evangelizing your own flock and community. The bickering over ritual is adiaphora. The more Novus Ordo Anglican bishops all now realize their mistakes (if +Ebbsfleet is any example), and if anything they will be on the forefront of the recover of the authentic Roman rite.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

Sam,

They did not ask for baptism. They were told their baptism was not valid and they would have to be rebaptized. They were reduced to the status of catechumens and were required to undergo the catechumenate and instruction in the Roman Catholic faith. This was not supposed to happen but it did.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

How the Pastoral Provisions were applied varied from archdiocese to archdiocese.

The fact of the matter is that anglo-Catholics are being offered a pig in a poke. They are being asked to accept a scheme that has not been fully worked out or made public. Knowing how the Vatican has worked in the past, it will not issue a definitive statement until whatever it decides to go with is a fait accompli.

In ancient Rome they etched in the bricks near certain shops the words "caveat emptor," or "Buyer beware." The shop owners were known for their sharp practices.

There is a lot of fanciful notions floating around as to what those who avail themselves of the Pope's offer can expect if they accept it. Both Roman Catholics and converts to Roman Catholicism are contributing to these notions. What those considering succession to Rome need is not fanciful notions but hard facts.

8:32 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Robin,

In light of your demand for hard facts, I wonder if you could present some sort of evidence for the claim you make about people being re-baptized. That is a very serious charge. Frankly I find it very difficult to believe (though it is not entirely incredible; certain Orthodox would still do such things). If such re-baptisms are happening they ought to be reported to the local ordinary. Re-baptism is a grave offense, and it has nothing to do with "ecumenical agreements" between Rome and Anglicanism; it is against Catholic law.

In terms of the Ordinariate, you're right that it hasn't all been worked out yet. (Sort of reminiscent of some of the current Anglican arrangements, no?) But I see no reason for your hermeneutic of suspicion. If you disagree with Catholic teaching, fine -- just say so. That is something I can respect. What you're saying though isn't a real argument against the scheme so much as an ad hominem attack either on the Holy Father (suggesting that he is deceptive) or on interested Anglo-catholics (suggesting that they are easily deceived). Libel isn't going to convince anyone that you're right. If all you can come up with is a generic personal distaste for modern Catholicism, all I can offer you is a generic personal distaste for modern Anglicanism. But neither of those is actually a good reason to do something or not to do something.

10:54 PM  
Blogger RMBruton said...

Randall,
Since you're in Texas, see if you can find out more about this Ordinariate Conference which was held this week and post an article, please.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Eric Wilson said...

I was hoping the update would be some sort of apology about your vendetta against the Ordinariates/Anglicanorum Coetibus, but it's just more of the same.

Trying to make the new structure seem insignificant (and thus a failure) by pointing out low numbers.

ASA numbers mean nothing at this point and you should quit talking about them.

What if former Anglicans move to a given parish? What if two parishes are combined? What if Roman Catholics start attending?

Again, questions we can't answer until the Ordinariates are established.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Fr Timothy Matkin said...

I remember at last year's FIF-UK annual assembly, right after the Apostolic Constitution was announced, Bishop Broadhurst commented in his address on how it reminded him of a lot of missed opportunities.

He noted a diocese in Africa where Bishop Mercer served that was willing to convert as well as the whole province in Melanesia.

The former bishop of Fort Worth and the rector of St Andrew's tried to put together something very similar in the late 80s. And I'm sure the defections in the UK in 92-94 would have been much larger had the ordinariate been in place.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

sam,

You are reading more into what I wrote than what I posted. The information I posted came from a book published a number of years ago and titled The Pastoral Provisions. The rebaptisms occurred even though they were not supposed to.

If you yourself are a Roman Catholic, you are likely to suffer from the blind spot that members of all organizations suffer. They do no see the things that outsiders do.

The Pope, Sam, may be the head of the Roman Catholic Church. However, under him is a massive bureaucracy, which has a long tradition of doing things a certain way no matter who sits on the papal throne. If you really believe that it does everything openly and transparently, I own a bridge in Brooklynn in which I am selling shares--very profitable. If you believe that the Vatican does not have secrets that it withholds from the faithful and Archbishops do not have secure rooms and documents that they keep under lock and key, I have some nice property in Florida suitable for development.

If you do not believe me take a look at the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law. Whatever is done will have to be done within the restrictions of that Code and the Roman Catholic Church beauracracy will be involved in its implementation.

7:52 PM  
Blogger sam said...

All right, Robin, thanks for the book reference. I'll see if I can track it down (I've requested it from my library). Can you give me a page reference? And you're positive this concerns re-baptism and not re-ordination?

I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm an Anglican with strong inclinations towards Rome. I won't deny that I probably have all manner of blind spots. You are free to point them out as you find them.

It does seem to me that you just don't like Rome. Where did I ever suggest that transparency in all things = honesty? Here we're getting closer to real issues. The Catholic Church is not a liberal democracy. That is why so many Anglicans cannot be bothered to submit. They just cannot abide the notion that doctrine is not changeable by majority vote.

Being a postmodern person I am no less bothered by bureaucracy than anyone else. But the fact of Catholic bureacracy does not suggest to me that I ought to think of the Holy Father as a liar. I still find your claims ridiculous and offensive.

8:25 PM  
Blogger sam said...

I tracked down the book Robin mentioned: Joseph Fichter, The Pastoral Provision: Married Catholic Priests (Sheet and Ward, 1989). In charity I will assume that Robin's memory was simply bad. There is nothing whatever in that book about these supposed rebaptisms. There is, as I thought, discussion of re-ordination.

Robin you should be more careful in making such scandalous accusations. They help no one, unless your goal really is simply to libel the Catholic Church.

2:10 PM  

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