Pope Re-Popes

Episcopal bishop Clarence Pope became a Catholic in 1994 then went back to the Episcopal Church. The Holy Whappers report his reversion to Catholicism here.

The question of Anglican clergymen coming over to Rome and then going back to Anglicanism was one we faced from time to time in England working with the St Barnabas Society. There weren’t many who did this, but among those who did we found that most had come into the Catholic Church for the wrong reasons in the first place. Maybe they came in because they disliked women priests (or maybe just disliked women altogether) if so, they soon became disenchanted with Catholicism.

They found felt banners, dreary brick flying saucer churches, kumbayah and sloppy liturgy, were revolted and hopped back across the Tiber to the CofE.

Others sacrificed much to leave the Anglican Church only to be met with a cold shoulder in their new Catholic Diocese. Some bishops rejected men because they were ‘too traditional’, and without really getting to know them at all assumed that the Anglican converts had to be dangerous conservatives. The men were marginalized, ignored and treated like outcasts. Geesh! the stories I could tell you!

It took great fortitude for such men to put up with both personal rejection and a rejection of their call to priesthood. Many did, and did so with great humility and dignity. Others did not and went back to the Anglican Church. It’s sad that some flip flopped back to Anglicanism, but it is understandable.

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  • Anonymous

    Surely the only reason one would become a Catholic is because one came to believe that it was the Church founded by Jesus Christ. The sloppy liturgies, the banal hymns and undercatechised laity are hard to bear but they are not reasons to jump ship.Cardinal Newman was treated rather badly by some in the Catholic hierarchy when he converted I believe.Sharon

  • i see what you mean though..it must be a difficult journey…perhaps they’ll come back again..a bit yo-yoing though!

  • Father, when I met you it was just before you were going back to the USA and I asked why you couldn’t stay and be ordained here-God knows we need priests like you!!!-You were very polite and diplomatic in your answer but essentially it was because no bishop here would have you.I just wonder how many good priests we are losing over and over because of this.

  • Dwight – I presume sadness is the order of the day in your diocese? Please God, you will get a good new Bishop. (I’ve lost your email – can you send it to me again – when are you coming back to Vermont?)

  • Fr Ben. I’ve lost your contact details too. Email me at: dlongenecker@charter.net

  • Oh! We wouldn’t have you hey? typical English! lol

  • Anonymous

    Stop using the term “popes” or “re-popes,” please. Are you still protestant? It’s very disrespectful to Catholics and, by the way, to the Pope himself.Janice

  • Eross

    This is not a comment on today’s blog. Just wanted to share that my book club is finishing “Adventures in Orthodoxy” and we’ve ordered “More Christianity”. We all feel a bit like Christopher Columbus!God bless you.

  • Thanks eross. You need to order More Christianity directly from me. The book has just gone out of print, but I have plenty of copies. Email me through my website.Sorry Janice. It was meant to be something called a ‘pun’ on the name of Clarence Pope. A pun is a play on words that is meant to be humorous.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I know what a “pun” is, Fr. Longenecker. It’s still disrespectful to the Holy Father. Why don’t you stop it. And why don’t you stop the condescension while you’re at it. Some of us are even more educated than you are.Janice

  • Dear Janice,May I suggest a novena to St Anthony to help you find your lost sense of humor?All blessings,Fr Dwight

  • Michael

    Dear Janice,I’m reading Evelyn Waugh’s acclaimed biography of Msgr. Ronald Knox, and in defense of Fr. Dwight, the verb “to pope” (meaning to “cross the Tiber”) has a long pedigree amongst High Church Anglicans. The man in question is named “Pope”, so Fr. Dwight is not being irreverent to the Holy Father as far as I can see.In Christ,Michael