Somewhere... Queen "Bloody" Mary Tudor is laughing.
The Roman Catholic Church, in a move of tremendous concern for the well-being of distressed Episcopalians, has launched a new nationwide diocese that will allow disaffected priests, bishops and congregations of the Episcopal Church, to join the Roman Catholic Church. The upside for these Exopalians is that the Vatican will allow their married clergy to remain betrothed, and the Pope has said they can use "cherished" passages from the Book of Common Prayer. The headquarters for this Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, is in Houston, Texas.
I would say, "Houston, we've got a problem," except I don't think we do. Those who are leaving the Episcopal Church are the malcontent mumbling grumblers who have no use for women in ministry which always begets a string of complaints about LGBT people in the church. These are people who have been miserable as the Spirit has directed the Episcopal church to open its doors to more people and be the fully inclusive love of Christ in our world. They are the ones who bristle at the idea that the bishop standing before them in what is essentially a dress may actually be wearing a dress underneath those vestments. That part of the Baptismal Covenant that talks about respecting the dignity of every human being has challenged them one too many times to face the undeniable truth that the word, "every" means... well... "every."
England has already been through this. And it didn't make the Archbishop particularly pleased.
Some may want to crow that this is "proof" that the Episcopal Church is dying, but I predict this will be the beginning of a renewed interest in the church of Richard Hooker's Scripture, reason and tradition that didn't get frozen in the 1928 prayer book, and welcomes anyone wanting to think about what is it that Christ is calling us to do in the world now and put that mission into action.
Good-bye, Exopalians. We'll leave the lights on for you should you change your mind.