Skip to comments.(Episcopal) Bishop Steenson Will Become a Roman Catholic
Posted on 09/23/2007 1:53:20 PM PDT by monkapotamus
Bishop Steenson Will Become a Roman Catholic
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Bishop of the Rio Grande, will resign from his position and become a Roman Catholic, The Living Church has learned.
In a letter to the clergy of his diocese, Bishop Steenson said a pastoral letter to all the people of the diocese would follow in a few days. He said he had invited Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to attend the Rio Grande clergy conference Sept. 26.
I have sensed how important it is for those of us in this position to model a gracious way to leave The Episcopal Church in a manner respectful of its laws, he wrote.
Bishop Steenson was attending the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans and plans to make an announcement concerning his decision on Monday.
In an interview with The Living Church to be published in a forthcoming issue, Bishop Steenson said the meeting of the House of Bishops at Camp Allen in the spring had a major effect on his decision.
The spring meeting of the House of Bishops, when the majority said that The Episcopal Church was fundamentally autonomous and local, he said. This is not the Catholic doctrine of the Church, and it will lead to many unfortunate consequences.
The bishop has been the diocesan in the Albuquerque-based diocese since 2005. He was canon to the ordinary under Bishop Terence Kelshaw for five years before being elected to the episcopate. Prior to that, he was rector of All Saints Church, Wynnewood, Pa., Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Pa., and St. Andrews, Fort Worth. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Nashotah House and the Board of Directors of the Living Church Found
My conscience is deeply troubled, he said in a statement prepared for the House of Bishops, because I sense that the obligations of my ministry in The Episcopal Church may lead me to a place apart from scripture and tradition. I am concerned that if I do not listen to and act in accordance with conscience now, it will become harder and harder to hear Gods voice.
Bishop Steenson said he had spoken with the Presiding Bishop for her counsel and prayers, and said he would ask the House of Bishops for permission to resign as the ordinary of his diocese. He said he would do this by the end of the year, and added that he hoped then to be released from his ordination vows in The Episcopal Church.
He called the bishops meeting last March a profoundly disturbing experience for me. I was more than a little surprised when such a substantial majority declared the polity of the Episcopal Church to be primarily that of an autonomous and independent local church relating to the wider Anglican Communion by voluntary association. This is not the Anglicanism in which I was formed, inspired by the Oxford Movement and the Catholic Revival in the Church of England honestly, I did not recognize the church that this House described on that occasion.
Regarding his move to the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Steenson said, I believe that the Lord now calls me in this direction. It amazes me, after all of these years, what a radical journey of faith this must necessarily be. To some it seems foolish; to others disloyal; to others an abandonment.
Bishop Steenson will be the third bishop of The Episcopal Church to become a Roman Catholic this year. Bishop Dan Herzog of Albany moved shortly after his retirement in January. Bishop Clarence C. Pope, retired Bishop of Fort Worth, returned to Roman Catholicism in August.
I wish you had not shown the picture. It will give me nightmares. Especially the crowns made with flowers.
Yeah, its amazingly creepy, is it not? But hey, these are the dudes who seized control of the church and its assets in a brilliant coup.
3 down 100+ to go.
That’s a hysterical picture. I know, it’s all vey series, rilly, but I can’t look at this without cracking up. I think it’s the crushed-velvet smoking jacket *and* the wing-collar *and* the silver-lame’ bow tie *and* the darling floral crown. Just too much.
Welcome home. God bless you.
Best wishes to Rev. Steenson. I hope he will be very happy.
I thought Anglicans were supposed to have really good taste.
There is an old joke. 90% of Episcopalians would become catholic if we just bought our vestments at Almy.
Of course, that is an OLD joke. Now I suppose it would take rainbow colored vestments, clown face and dancers not to mention his-his weddings. We should just bought the Almy vestments back in the 50’s and the whole mess could have been averted.
I don’t fully understand the structure of the Episopalian Church in the US, but there appear to be other options besides becoming Catholic (although certainly the Catholic Church welcomes them). The International Anglican Communion stands opposed to the US gay coup and (as I understand it) offers a way for the devout to stay Episcopalian.
There are a jazillion “anglican” denominations mostly tiny which dont get along with each other. If one wants a bit of peace and security without constant politics, misery and tectonic shifts every few months, you have to get out of anglicanism entirely these days.
Yes, there are Anglican congregations in the United States which are genuinely Christian. This gentleman must have had additional reasons, other than the apostasy of T.E.C., for becoming Catholic, since he did have legitimate options in the Anglican tradition.
From what I have read, this Bishop seems to have been influenced by the Oxford movement of the 19th century, which was a movement to re-claim the Catholicity of the Anglican Church. A large number of clergy that came out of that movement went to Rome (Cardinal Newman, Fr. Knox, Fr. Gerald Manly-Hopkins, etc). The Oxford movement was a viable force in Anglicanism in the 1950s and 1960s, and there was an agreement reached by Pope Paul VI and the leader of the Anglican Communion (Ramsey) after Vat II which pledged that the Anglican CHurch would seek full Communion with Rome. However, with the changing doctrinal stances of the Anglican Church in the 1970s (sexual morality, woman’ ordination, etc), the possibility of corporate re-union ended.
Many former Anglicans/Episcopalians came over to Rome and some of the more Catholic minded Anglicans have separted themselves from Cantebury. One of these groups is TAC (Traditional Anglican COmmunion), a group that has as part of its mission, to re-unite with Rome.
In summary, I think this Bishop is one of those Catholic minded Anglicans that has come to the realization that Corporate re-union between Anglicans and Rome will not happen.
P.S. I am a cradle Catholic, who has followed this issue for a long time, and not an Anglican who “swam the Tiber”.
I hope Steenson becomes the next Anglican Use priest in the Catholic Church!
I also hope this spurs the foundation of a permanent Anglican Use church and seminary structure in the Catholic Church. That would be something!
Welcome home, Bishop Steenson!
And for those who may be interested, Marcus Grodi welcomes Dr. Francis Beckwith, former Evangelical, to his LIVE, call in program, on Monday, September 24 at 8pm EST, cable channel EWTN. I will post more information on Monday.
Thanks, that is very informative. I’m familiar with Newman, Knox, and so on, but I didn’t know that the Oxford Movement was still influential into the mid-20th century.
Like cancer cells. Marcus Grodi has commented on this several times. Protestant denominations all begin with good intentions to follow Scripture but eventually separate and divide because they lack an authority figure.
Our Lord created one Church and promised that it would be guided by the Holy Spirit and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Two thousand years, and still counting.
He was on the Board of Trustees at Nashotah House. His expertise would be put to good use in founding a seminary.