For KQED Radio "Perspectives"
Done for KQED Radio "Perspectives"
aired Feb 23, 2012
Maybe you’ve heard about how the Vatican is reaching out to unhappy Episcopalians. They have even developed a process by which married Episcopal priests (like me) can become Catholic priests! Yep, you heard that right – now, Catholic priests don’t have to be celibate any more – as long as they started out as Episcopal priests.
Well, speaking unofficially on behalf of all Episcopalians, I would like to make a counter-offer to the Vatican: We will gladly trade all of our unhappy Episcopalians for all of your unhappy Catholics.
If you have any gay priests, for instance, who might be unhappy about living in the closet, you’ll be happy to hear that the Episcopal Church has been ordaining openly gay men since 1990.
Or maybe you have some women on your hands who are unhappy because they are called to the priesthood. No worries – send them over to us: we’ve been ordaining women since 1976, and the current head of our church is a female bishop. She seems very happy.
Or maybe you’ve got some priests who are unhappy because they’ve fallen in love and can’t get married. We want you to know that our priests have been getting happily married for hundreds of years now, and everyone is happier as a result.
Or maybe some of your people are unhappy with the amount of money you spent to keep gay people from getting married. Well, they might be happier with the Episcopal bishops of California, who unanimously opposed Prop. 8.
And then there’s the folks who might like to feel good about the birth control they’re using; or maybe they’d like to make their own decisions about abortion. Well, the Episcopal Church has supported birth control and a woman’s right to choose since at least 1967.
But I do know that if there’s anything that makes a Catholic happy, it’s your ancient rituals. Well, the good news is that those are our rituals, too! We’ve been happily swinging the incense and chanting the mass for 2,000 years now.
So what do you say, Vatican? Let’s make a trade! Because we just want you to be happy.
With a Perspective, I’m the Rev. Matthew Lawrence
Matthew Lawrence is an Episcopal priest in Santa Rosa.