I read in today's New York Times that the Bishop of Rome, also called Pope Benedict, is inviting disaffected Anglican and Episcopal clergy, churches, and even dioceses to come home to Rome.
The new Vatican policy allows Anglicans to continue worshiping in their own parish churches, using The Book of Common Prayer--no longer as Anglican Christians, but as Roman Catholic ones.
Why would some Anglicans convert from Canterbury, the geographic home of the Anglican Communion, to Rome?
According to news reports, Anglicans who oppose the ordination of women and a gay-friendly Episcopal Church and Church of England would be more at home in the Roman Catholic Church, because, officially, the church opposes the ordination of women and the affirmation of gay and lesbian Christians. (I know Roman priests, however, whose views on these and other matters differ from those of Benedict.)
For those who feel that God the Holy Spirit is calling them out of the Anglican Communion and into the Roman one, then may God be with them and bless them in their continuing spiritual journeys. Our unity as one body in Christ may come only in the world to come.
A former Roman Catholic, I have found my spiritual home in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. Of course, I give God thanks for the spiritual formation I received in my birth church. There, I first heard the gospel of God's love in Jesus and grew in that life-long love.
Now, as an Episcopalian, I am part of a community of faithful Christians who read the Bible and interpret it with the aid of reason and tradition. I worship according to a beautiful, living liturgy that connects me with God through word and sacrament.
I belong to a church that struggles, often awkwardly and publicly, to relate the faith to a changing world with deep spiritual hungers. I am a member of a church that welcomes the gifts of all people for ministry and whose governance is shared by clergy and laity.
Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple once described Anglicanism as "catholicism with freedom."
The English Reformation blessed Anglicans with the gift of freedom from the concentration of power in person and one office. I am glad to be free, bound only to Christ, my Lord and Savior.