[Karen] Brynildsen, her husband, Martin, and a half-dozen other area Episcopalians are among thousands worldwide entering or planning to enter the Roman Catholic Church in expectation that the Vatican will establish an Anglican “ordinariate” in the United States. The canonical structure would allow them to retain their reverent, hymn-rich liturgy and other sacred traditions after conversion.
One impetus of the movement, though not the only one, is the progressive-traditionalist divide playing out across Christendom. Dismayed by the drift of mainstream Anglicanism on some social and theological issues ”” including women’s ordination and the sanctioning of homosexuality ”” conservatives have turned to Rome, where teaching and practice are unchanged.
The local group has been meeting at Sacred Heart, in Bath, to undergo religious instruction and look forward to the day when the church will offer the liturgy that has nourished their Christian faith these many years. Pope Benedict XVI set the stage for that possibility in November 2009 in a document called Anglicanorum Coetibus, which the Vatican said was a response to persistent requests from Anglican groups for a process whereby they could be accepted into the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage.