It’s not uncommon for Episcopalians to convert to Catholicism. I’ve even written about Episcopal priests who convert to Catholicism to become the rare married Catholic priest. Twice. But this is a new one.
St. Luke’s, a small, tight-knit congregation in Bladensburg with a majority of members from Africa and the Caribbean, will be allowed to hold onto its Anglican traditions even as it comes under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. That will include being led by its married pastor, the Rev. Mark Lewis, and retaining much of its liturgy.
Leaders of the church said Monday that they were not leaving the Episcopal Church because of the ordination of gays and women — issues that have bitterly divided the American wing of the Anglican Church and coincided with stepped-up efforts by the Vatican to reach out to Anglicans. Instead, church members said, they were satisfying their longing for a clear religious authority by welcoming the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI.
“In the Episcopal Church, bishops in one place say one thing and in another say another,” explained Patrick Delaney, a lay leader from Mitchellville. “That’s the crux of it. Each bishop has its own kingdom.”