Saturday, May 7, 2016
Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good; where there is no good there is no love; where there is no love, there is no God; and where there is no God, there is no Paradise” – St. Padre Pio
I became a Catholic because I came to believe in the authority of the church. I had really come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ delegated his authority to Peter and that the Bishop of Rome was Peter’s successor. Furthermore, I believed that the validly consecrated bishops of the Catholic Church were the successors to the apostles, and the priests were their “fingers”.
So what to do then when these bishops did not conform to my wishes? I will tell you what happened to me–not because I wish to toot my horn, but simply because it happened and I learned from it and you may learn from it too.
In 1995 I left my post as a minister in the Church of England to be received into the Catholic Church. I had no other training and a wife and two children to support. I got a job as an editor at a small video production company and tried my hand at freelance writing. At the same time I applied to the local Catholic bishop for ordination as a Catholic priest under the pastoral provision. At the time, in England, some 750 Anglican priests converted to Rome. The vast majority were accepted for ordination as Catholic priests including the married men.
My Catholic bishop accepted me for training and envisioned a role in the diocese as a communications officer. I began my training, but the bishop was promoted. We waited eighteen months for his replacement. I waited another nine months before obtaining a meeting with his successor. I waited another six months for a reply to my application. It was refused because the bishop “Could not think of any way to use me in the diocese.”
I was offered a part time job in a Catholic charity as a fund raiser and this required us to move. So we moved to a new part of the country and I met with my new bishop about ordination. He said “yes” and said they would pick up my paperwork which had already been sent to Rome. We waited six months and learned that “the paperwork had been lost.” We waited another six months and learned that the bishop had changed his mind. He was about to retire and did not want to burden his successor with a priest who had a wife and four children. So we waited for another year until he retired. Then we waited another eighteen months for his successor to be appointed.