Skip to comments.Jeffrey Steenson: Why I Became Catholic [Address to Anglican Use Conference]
Posted on 07/15/2008 12:07:56 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
Jeffrey Steenson (formerly bishop in TEC [The Episcopal Church]) recently spoke at the Anglican Use Conference in Texas, USA. [Excerpts:]
Anglicanism has for the last quarter century proceeded quite intentionally from the principle that truth not only is discerned primarily in the experience of the Christian community but also that the community itself has priority over truth. This approach has produced a very meager and inconsequential harvest, and the great legacy of Anglican theological scholarship has been lost. The contrast with the Catholic mind is striking. As an Anglican I would take in hand, for instance, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and ask, could my church have produced a work so penetrating and comprehensive? No, it has neither the capacity nor the confidence to speak its mind in such a way. Why? Because it has deliberately cut itself off from the tradition...Catholic-oriented Anglicans have expended considerable energy in the search for amiable ecclesial arrangements, both personal and corporate, but it is good to bring all this activity into perspective.
There is an answer so simple and penetrating that it sweeps everything else off the table. To be sure, there are costs to be counted, teachings to be more fully comprehended (although this can easily become an excuse for indolence), and expectations to be managed. But this is what I should like to say to my dear friends who have put one toe into the other side of the Tiber. Listen to your conscience! The good conscience is a precious gift of faith, the Apostles regard it as the telos of all Christian acts, and it is our right by baptism. In the acrimonious Anglican wars, the liberals are acting from conscience (albeit misguided), the courageous Evangelicals are equally as clear, so why, dear friends, is your conscience so conflicted? God does not intend for it to be so but desires that we serve him with a good conscience (Acts 24:16).
We belong to the Latin Church because we have come from her. In spite of being separated from the Holy See, we have always understood ourselves to be a part of Western Catholicism.
WOW! It's like this guy's been reading my mind. For an Anglican who truly believes himself to be a catholic, there is simply no other choice to be made. Though my own choice still is cause for some discomfort in my life, the sense of peace that I've found since making the swim is simply overwhelming. I'm driven practically to tears each and every Sunday morning. Espcially when we sing hymns that I've sung all my life in Anglican churches. Now they take on a whole new meaning for me. I'm in a new place and yet I'm finally HOME!
They sing at the Catholic Parish you attend?!! Must be loads of swimmers there.
One of my favorites has always been Robert Palmer’s (Anglo-Catholic Priest) “Sing of Mary”, unfortunately I’ve never heard beyond the first verse sung at a Catholic Church.
God bless you in your journey! I’m glad you found a parish with decent liturgy as well.
LOL. I couldn't believe that we'd be singing Charles Wesley hymns. In most cases, the words are changed slightly (there seems to be an aversion to thees and thous - except during the Pater Noster). And not a guitar in sight. It's heavenly. In the truest sense of the word.
I was attending the TLM but the Archbishop is not a fan so the early one disappeared when they suppressed the Parish.
Going back to the one verse Dan Schutte has been the hardest part.
And in my opinion John Wesley is better than Charles, though Charles does have some good stuff.
I always say the best thing to come out of V2 was the willingness to steal good hymns from other Christians....though the Catholic writing has suffered.
Amen, sister. If one wishes to be religious and Christian, the Roman church is the only appropriate choice.
Ditto the above COMPLETELY (born Episcopalian, Catholic by choice).
"Espcially when we sing hymns that I've sung all my life in Anglican churches. Now they take on a whole new meaning for me. I'm in a new place and yet I'm finally HOME!"
This is the only place where we differ--my Catholic parish uses the execrable OCP "Spirit and Song" hymnal (aka hootenanny hymns).
Thanks for posting Dr. Steenson’s speech. I was fortunate to hear him, and speak to him afterwards.
I loved his “imagine being taken to the woodshed by the Vicar of Christ” anecdote.
The pain I’d seen in his interviews on Stand Firm in Faith during the September, 2007 House of Bishops meeting was heart wrenching, and nearly brought me to tears. To see his mourning replaced with joy, and confidence since his swim across the Tiber was inspiring.
“Sing of Mary, pure and lowly, virgin mother undefiled ...”?
We did that in Vacation Bible School at our parish in Tullahoma, Tennessee. I think it’s in my Spanish music book (in translation) too - I’ll have to check. Nice easy melody for the congregation, and the Hispanic people would love the content.
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Compare the education of Dr. Steenson and Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori:
Dr. Jeffrey Steenson-Education
D.Phil. (Theology), University of Oxford, (1979-83). Thesis: Basil of Ancyra and the Reception of the Nicene Creed.
M.Div., Harvard Divinity School (1976-78). Major: New Testament and Early Christianity.
M.A. (church history), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (1974-76).
B.A. (history), Trinity College (1970-74).
Katharine Jefforts Schori- Education
B.S. degree in biology from Stanford University (1974), M.S. (1977) and Ph.D. (1983) in oceanography from Oregon State University
M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific (1994), and an honorary D.D. (2001) also from CDSP.
**the sense of peace that I’ve found since making the swim is simply overwhelming.**
I encourage everyone to click the link - there is the image included at the end of the PDF. The See of Peter continues to steer the rudder of the Church away from rough waters and into His Harbor!
We're so blessed in our parish to have really good music and a genius for a music director. I don't say that lightly -- he's a man with encyclopedic knowledge, he selects hymns and motets with excellent taste, and he plays the organ like an angel. Plus, he loves the English Renaissance composers, so we sing as much or more Byrd, Tallis, Bull, and Farrant as we did in our old ECUSA parish!
We sang this last Sunday. "O Sing Joyfully" by Adrian Batten (ca. 1591 - ca. 1637), Vicar-Choral at St. Paul's, London. How gorgeous is that?
If you look carefully, you can see where Master Batten carved his name into the wall of the chantry when he was a chorister at Westminster . . . .
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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15
[Please do not construe this as either an endorsement of the message or lack thereof. The argument, however is something that every Anglo-Catholic probably needs to consider. --Huber]