3. On the Report, you said you wouldn’t join the Catholic Church (which recently offered to open membership up to Episcopalians and Anglicans) because Catholicism defines itself in negative terms. If the Vatican opened its doors to women and gay priests, would you consider rejoining then? Or do you feel that the divide between the Episcopalian and Catholic Churches is an important, necessary one?
I have nothing against the Catholic Church and certainly nothing against Roman Catholics. At the same time, I have no desire to sign up! I was reared as an evangelical (a fundamentalist, really), and my parents once informed me that if I ever married a Catholic I would be disowned. I was convinced, growing up, that Catholics were not even Christians.
I no longer believe that, of course, but at the same time I have no hankering whatsoever to convert to Rome. I’m very content as an Episcopal priest, and I happen to believe that we Episcopalians are addressing some vitally important issues right now, including (but not limited to) homosexuality, same-sex unions, and the role of women. We’re approaching these matters thoughtfully, prayerfully, and with integrity. The decisions we’ve made as a Church may well precipitate a continued diminution of our numbers, but that really doesn’t bother me. Sometimes the price of faithfulness to the demands of the gospel is popularity. In my judgment, moreover, the most effective religious movements throughout American history have positioned themselves on the margins of society, not in the councils of power.