The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another Anglican Parish Requests Full Communion

Late last month 90% of the members of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Parish in Calgary, Alberta, Canada voted to "accept, unreservedly and with humility and gratitude, the invitation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus in a corporate manner."

According to news reports, the parish is the first in Canada to take advantage of the newly announced procedure for Anglican communities to return to the Catholic Church. As the pastor, Fr. Lee Kenyon, stated recently, “This isn’t the Pope...poaching Anglicans. It’s the Pope actually responding to persistent requests from Anglicans for many, many years for full communion. But a communion which is united but not absorbed.”

The pastor said that the decision was not sudden and had been under consideration for some time. He also indicated that the decision was not simply a reaction to the Anglican Church's ordination of women and the acceptance of same-sex marriages. Fr. Kenyon recognized that these issues certainly create tension and lead to division, and may be the proximate cause for people to leave the Anglican Church, but, he stated, "they can never be the reason for people then entering into the Catholic Church. This move into the Catholic Church must be underscored by a personal sense of conversion. If it’s not about positively embracing something and celebrating something which is new and unique, then there’d be no point.” Fr. Kenyon, who is married with two children, will likely be ordained as a Catholic priest in keeping with the Vatican guidelines.

One of St. John's parishioners, Vera Reid, sated that the decision was a natural one. “This parish has been an Anglo-Catholic church for many, many years, and basically the Anglican Church of Canada does not hold the same feeling as the parish does.”

One future complication relates to the parish property and building. The parish claims that St. John's is unique in that, unlike other Anglican parishes, the diocese does not own the property. According to Richard Harding, the rector’s warden at St. John, “The title was placed in the name of the elected lay wardens of the parish. It is parish property. The diocese may not be aware of that.” It would seem this issue will probably not be settled soon.

And so we welcome the clergy and people of St. John the Evangelist Parish. We're happy you came home.

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