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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Good-bye to All That

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church met in New Orleans last week, first with the Archbishop of Canterbury and then among themselves to draft a response to the Primates' requests made in Dar es Salaam last February that they cease and desist their wayward behavior. Yesterday they issued their report. You can read the Episcospeak version here; I won't take the trouble breaking it down (essentially, it's the same old slop) because it doesn't concern me much anymore and besides, why bother when the able Captain Yips and Christopher Johnson have already done it themselves--anything I can do, they can do better.

It is possible, however, some people, possibly numbering as high as the middle single digits, may wonder what the Bovina Bloviator is doing about it. Here's what: anticipating the HOB report issued yesterday, last week I sorrowfully wrote my most excellent rector I was leaving the Episcopal Church and undergoing instruction to be received into the Holy Catholic Church.

For regular readers this revelation is letting the cat out of the cellophane bag (to borrow a Walt Kelly expression), but I am truthful when I relate leaving the Episcopal Church, despite her wretched excesses of the past thirty years, has been a gut-wrenchingly difficult decision and one I have not rushed into. I was baptized a Christian in the Episcopal Church and my earliest memories of Sundays are being in an Anglo-Catholic church in Connecticut, standing while the grownups were kneeling, barely clearing the top of the pew (and gnawing on the top of said pew, I confess) and my dear mom, whenever I squirmed (frequently) propping the Prayer Book (1928) or the Missal in front of me, pointing out where we were and thus giving me my first reading lessons; that and of learning to roar out the glorious hymns found in the 1940 Hymnal.

Alas, those days are long gone and the Episcopal Church has, while so many of us shamefully stood by, transformed itself antithetically. As an Anglo-Catholic, I have long thought, like the Rt. Rev'd Steenson, "Anglicans ought to be directed toward the goal of reunification with the Catholic Church." When I was a boy, this was a distinct possibility. Now the chances of it are just about nil.

So it's off to Rome for me. I do not labor under the illusion all is milk and honey on the other side of the Tiber. It is not, the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the United States, is beset with woes, lousy liturgy and music being among the less egregious. But the Holy Catholic Church possesses something the Episcopal Church does not: sound doctrine, along with a Pope (especially the present one) and magisterium to ensure that it remains so. Sound doctrine will make it possible for me (I pray) to tolerate Masses where the priest sits in the Captain Kirk chair while the miasmal excrescences of Marty Haugen and David Haas waft into the nave. And while my heartbreak over what happened to the Episcopal Church will remain with me to the end of my days (as I suspect it will for Fr. Kimel), at the same time I look forward with great joy to embracing the full Catholic Faith. I ask your prayers.

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