March 29, 2009

…in the Tiber, that is. Yesterday I committed to being a pledging member of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. Tracey and I had a long talk about it beforehand, and I’ve agreed to hold off formalizing becoming a Roman Catholic until next Easter. She wants me to be absolutely sure this is something I want to do, and I’m trying to make this next stage in my own spiritual journey as easy for her as possible.

My slow but gradual disconnect from the Episcopal Church and acceptance of Roman Catholicism is painful for her. I don’t think it has as much to do with me becoming a Catholic as it does any new involvement on my part with a church – any church. I might be wrong about this, but because there remains a lot of lingering anger and resentment on her part towards organized religion as a result of our experiences in the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts and Kentucky, any re-involvement on my part with the Church is like tearing open a scab on a wound I don’t see ever healing on her part.

You see, Tracey had no involvement with the Church until I began pursuing my calling to the priesthood back in 1995. Sure, she had been baptized as a child, but because she grew up in an unchurched household her first real exposure to religion and the internal workings of the Church came vicariously through all the hurdles and hassles I went through in MA and KY. Poor Tracey. Anyone with any kind of knowledge about how the Episcopal Church (I can’t speak for other Protestant denominations, but doubt it’s any different there) treats and discerns peoples’ calls to ordained ministry knows just how bruising the process can be, and for spouses it’s often worse since they only see and experience it all second-hand.

I doubt Tracey will ever forgive the Episcopal Church for the way I was treated but I’ve tried to tell her that it’s me she should be disappointed and disillusioned with, not the Church. After all, there were things I could have done to not only improve my chance of making it through the process and being ordained, but make it easier on her as well. So the failing was mine, not the Episcopal Church’s, and the Church shouldn’t take the brunt of her anger and resentment. But any time I’ve tried to broach the subject with her it’s a non-starter; all I can do is be conscious of her feelings in my own spiritual journey and pray that for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercessions on her behalf to find a way to soften her heart, mind, and spirit. In the end, we are all responsible for our own walks with God; some doors you have to just walk through alone. I’m all too aware of that.

So while I’m still kind of in this transitional no-man’s land between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, the gradual steps I’m taking feel right. And from conversations I had last week with my dear friends Pete and Dona – both of whom have been even more involved in the Episcopal Church at both the diocesan and parish levels than I ever have – I’m more convinced than ever I’m making the right choice.

It isn’t just the fact that the Episcopal Church is dying (and in my view will be all but dead with two decades) – after all, one’s walk with Christ shouldn’t be based on who’s up or who’s down in the historical evolution of the Christian faith – but when I attend Mass at a Roman Catholic parish – even those times when the Music Nazi was running amok at St. Anne – I know I’m witnessing the original and historic teachings and sacramental traditions of Christianity first-hand. Sure, the Roman Catholic Church has had, and still grapples with, its own scandals and controversies, but you have to separate religious doctrine and teaching from the way humans practice it, otherwise no religion would ever stand up to scrutiny. We are all sinners and fall short before God in His eyes.

To be a Roman Catholic to me means being a part of unbroken Christianity taught, preached, and still practiced two thousand years after Christ’s Death and Resurrection. Roman Catholicism isn’t perfect by any means, but when the priest is consecrating the bread and wine at least I know he’s doing it at an altar where God is both present and worshipped for all eternity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not the God of Multiculturalism and Political Correctness in the form of Diversity, Tolerance, and Acceptance, which is the new holy trinity worshipped and promoted by the Episcopal Church’s apostate and heretical leadership today.

So it’s another toe in the Tiber, and another step towards the next stop on my own walk with Christ, whatever that might end up being. Who knows where it will all lead?

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 23:26 | Comments Off on Dipping Another Toe
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