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Our readers asked:

What are the steps to convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism and how long does the process take?

Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:

The Episcopal Church belongs to the Anglican Communion, a world-wide family of Churches. The Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church both follow the Bible and the traditional Christian creeds, celebrate the seven sacraments, and have bishops, priests, and deacons. In its Decree on Ecumenism, The Second Vatican Council (1962-5) said that “among those (churches separated from it in the Reformation)in which some Catholic traditions and institutions continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place” (par.13). The main differences still needing resolution are 1)the role of the bishop of Rome (pope) in a reunited church, and 2)the ordination of women as deacons, priests, and bishops (a practice which not all the member churches of the Anglican Communion subscribe to).

When a baptized member of another church wishes to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, the person will be personally interviewed to see what kind of process would be appropriate. The process generally averages 6-9 months, but it may be less or more depending on the individual’s needs and desires.

Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP is the Director for the Paulist Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs

The Author : Thomas Ryan, CSP
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, D.C.
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  • Max Lindenman

    Two close friends of mine, an Episcopalian priest and his wife, are being ejected from their parish and their Church because they had spoken out against against the Church’s increasing rejection of Scriptural authority.

    Naturally, I’ve been plugging the home team for all she’s worth. “Come on, guys! Cross the Tiber why don’t’cha? Newman did it, Manning did it! Even Oscar Wilde slipped in under the wire at the last minute. What on earth is stopping you?”

    I pointed out that converting — or reverting, or conforming, or whatever the expression is — could mean new employment opportunities. The pastor of a parish up in Scottsdale is a former Episcopalian priest with five strapping kids, the last two naturally planned.

    Well, it may be that St. Thomas More has begun deleting my requests for intercession without opening them, but my pitch is falling on deaf ears. “We’re Protestants,” the pair tells me. “We believe in catholicity with a small ‘c’, but we reject the supreme authority of any bishop, including the Roman one, even though Pope Benedict seems to be a very nice guy.”

    To their credit, they’ve held this line consistently. Concern for their intellectual independence has prevented them from joining the relatively orthodox Anglican Communion of the Southern Cone. The presiding archbishop, they insist, is a micromanager, more papal in his personal style than any pope.

    As they send out their resumes to the Methodists and Missouri Synod Lutherans, I have to wonder how typical they are. Sure, the Vatican has announced plans to simplify the process by which Anglicans return to communion with Rome. But who’s listening?

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