Must We Now Be Leery of Anglican Converts?

September 2004

Once upon a time, the NEW OXFORD REVIEW was affiliated with Anglicanism, but in 1983 we crossed the Tiber, became Catholic. Since then, we’ve seen many Anglicans become Catholic, some even saying with the help of the NOR. Indeed, two of the distinguishing traits of the NOR have been its continuing interest in the Anglican debacle and its urging of orthodox and Catholic-minded Anglicans to “pope.”

We can’t think of a case in the past quarter century where an Anglican convert to Rome has not been an asset to the forces of orthodoxy in the Catholic Church. This is not to say that all are saints, but we can’t think of a case where an Anglican convert has become part of the liberal element in the Catholic Church. After all, what’s the point in being redundant? Why become a liberal Catholic when Anglicanism is already one of the varieties of liberal Catholicism?

But two items crossed our desk which have proven to be deeply disturbing, making us wonder if the Golden Age of Anglican converts might be coming to an end.

The Anglican Christian Challenge (March-April) sportingly reports that Canon Edward Norman, Chancellor of York Minster in Britain, “has said he will become a Roman Catholic…. after he retires….”

The Challenge also notes that this will be “the most high profile” conversion since Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London, converted to Catholicism in 1992.

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: September 2004

Read our posting policy Add a comment
I take you point about Longenecker and Norman. I read Norman's (Norma's!) book on Anglican difficulties and the best that be said about the piece on sexual nmorality is that he keeps an 'open mind'on the possibility that the Catholic church teaches the truth! This represents a massive leap forward for Dr. Norman even if it constitutes and a difficult pastoral problem for the priest instructing him. Posted by: caesium
October 03, 2006 07:15 AM EDT
Candidates seeking to come home, are required to state that they believe in everything the Catholic Church teaches and proposes for belief.

Perhaps standing in the sanctuary, swearing this before God and man, and being sealed in the holy chrism will be a curative and transformative act. Even if it takes time for the Holy Spirit to enlighten the mind with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I'm a cradle Catholic and it took the Holy Spirit decades to bring my mind to embrace the whole truth, all of it, 100%.

Re: tolerating those Wrong People! I think Fr. Dwight's point has a grain of truth in it. Error has no rights but people do; these our are brothers and sisters. Oppose them to their face in fraternal correction. with love, as Paul did Peter; and embrace them anyway. The hand cannot say to the foot, I have no need of you!

A non-Catholic Christian, a college student majoring in political science who was a Republican, asked me what political party fit Catholics best. I answered, there is no perfect home for us in either major party. We have the holiest code for personal morality, and that seems to fit better with the Republican party; and we have very clear social justice teachings that seem to resonate more with the Democrat party. Our faith transcends the narrow limitations of party politics.

This same tension exists within our faith communities. But we have lots to learn from those who emphasize the rest of the message that we personally aren't emphatic about.

Now as for heterodox and apostate RCIA instruction: yikes, that is a widely recognized problem. A good way to light the candle against the darkness is to become an RCIA catechist if possible, or at least to befriend the catechumens and candidates and gift them with the CCC and the New Catholic Answer Bible...and encourage them to use them. Put Catechism tabs on the CCC to make it easier to use. Show the basic structure of the CCC and how to find information quickly using the Table of Contents and the Index. Equip the seeker so that he or she can find real answers to their questions.
Posted by: kentuckyliz
June 19, 2007 09:17 AM EDT
Add a comment