The former Anglo-Catholic priest of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Fr. David L. Moyer has been denied his final step into the Roman Catholic Church following 10 years of ecclesiastical wandering that started with The Episcopal Church, migrated through the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Forward in Faith, the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and the Anglican Church in America, a branch of the Traditional Anglican Church.
Moyer said he received a letter from Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, informing him that Archbishop Charles Chaput (Philadelphia) has declined to give him his votum (a promise) to proceed toward ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.
Moyer’s history is almost as chequered as that of John Hepworth, the TAC archbishop whose entry into full communion with Rome must come as a layman. In losing his battle with TEC over his parish, he ended up suing his own attorney and leaving a trail of bitter people in the process.
As is the case with the Africans and Chuck Murphy, the Roman Catholic Church likes team players. Authority is the leitmotif of Roman Catholicism; the Jesuits, arguably Catholicism’s premier order, was founded with the concept of perfect obedience. Unfortunately, for a long list of reasons, Anglo-Catholicism has bred more than one “Lone Ranger” whose principal focus of authority is their own. With Steenson as a native guide, the Roman Catholic church is attempting to keep this personality type out of its leadership, and justifiably so.
One thing that the Ordinariate will do is to bring the reality of Roman Catholicism to Anglo-Catholicism, which will come as a rude awakening to some. But, if you’re serious about Christian unity as the Roman Catholic Church understands it, you must be prepared to put your convictions ahead of your sensibilities. The Roman Catholic Church has gone further than many (including me) figured it would in accommodating the sensibilities of Anglicans; for those who feel compelled to make the swim, what’s on the opposite shore now is about as good as it’s going to get.