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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