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In dignified opposition to The Episcopal Church’s (TEC’s) ordination of sexually active gay clergy, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, Maryland, have been received into the Roman Catholic Church.  Note the trad habits, which are the norm for Anglican women’s religious orders:

Catonsville convent Archbp O'Brien Baltimore Sun 49061136

Archbishop Edwin F O’Brien of the Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed 10 sisters on September 3, 2009.  The Baltimore Sun reports:

‘We know our beliefs and where we are,’ said Mother Christina Christie, superior of the order that came to Baltimore in 1872. ‘We were drifting farther apart from the more liberal road the Episcopal Church is traveling. We are now more at home in the Roman Catholic Church.’

Also joining the church was the Rev. Warren Tanghe, the sisters’ chaplain. In a statement, Episcopal Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton wished them God’s blessings.

‘Despite the sadness we feel in having to say farewell, our mutual joy is that we remain as one spiritual family of faith, one body in Christ,’ he said.

The sisters and their chaplain had considered the move for some time and had been watching the TEC’s decisions with regard to gay clergy.  The Sun says:

Their departure … comes weeks after voters at the Episcopal General Convention declared homosexuals eligible for any ordained ministry within the church and began writing prayers to bless gay unions.

‘As we interpret Scripture, it does not give you licence to be actively involved in a same-sex relationship,’ said Christie, who became a nun in 1966. ‘It is not the person we have a problem with. It is what that person is doing. And now that the Episcopal Church has given permission to bless these partnerships, it is way off the boat.’

The order, founded in England, is 135 years old. The Sisters lead a monastic life but open the convent chapel to visitors and conduct retreats.  They work with the terminally ill at the Joseph Richey House in Baltimore, which they opened in 1987 with Mount Calvary Church.  They also work with children and the poor. 

Two of the 12 sisters have decided not to convert.  They will be able to remain at the convent and work alongside the 10 new Catholics.  Mother Christie explains that the sisters all took the same vows. 

Although the article states that the conversion to Catholicism by a religious order is ‘unprecedented’, a century ago, the Congregation of the Atonement in Garrison, NY, an Episcopal order, became a Franciscan one within the Roman Catholic Church.  It included sisters as well as two friars. 

Churchmouse’s prediction: More Americans from left-leaning Protestant denominations will join the Roman Catholics, the traditional Lutheran synods (LCMS, WELS) or conservative Presbyterian churches

Watch this space!

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