RNS: Fourth Episcopal Bishop Leaves for Catholic Church

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recently retired Episcopal Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida has said he intends to convert to Roman Catholicism, becoming the fourth Episcopal bishop to seek to join the Catholic Church this year.

Lipscomb said in a Nov. 20 letter to Diocese of Southwest Florida that he has requested release from his ordination vows and his responsibilities in the Episcopal House of Bishops. His wife, Marcie, will convert with him.

Read it all.

Update: ENS has a piece here also.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

Posted November 26, 2007 at 5:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. John Wilkins wrote:

Well, I hope he at least gets his pension.

November 26, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
2. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Dream on. The vindictiveness of the 815 crowd knows no limit.

November 26, 10:36 pm | [comment link]
3. robroy wrote:

“The vindictiveness of the 815 crowd knows no limit.” One thing that I did not know is that churches are able to not pay Cobra benefits because there is an exception the Cobra law. The withholding of Cobra benefits is standard operating procedure. Really despicable behavior. Yet, one more thing the revisionistas have to try to sleep with.

November 26, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
4. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Although I was often puzzled and disappointed by Bishop Lipscomb’s seeming waffling in the midst of our crisis in TEC, he certainly deserves our prayers.  As the news reports point out, he has been in quite bad health for some time, several years now.  The Parkinson’s was bad enough to force him into premature medical leave before his retirement.  Like other bishops in moderate, mixed dioceses, he was caught in the crossfire as a mediator, taking flak from both sides.  The sad thing for all of us Anglicans (in TEC or not) is that in the end, the devoted bishop clearly perceived that he was called, not only out of TEC, but out of the whole worldwide Anglican Communion, and into the ever-open and waiting arms of Rome.  But as with the earlier departures of Bishops Herzog, Pope, and Steenson, this parting of the ways was gracious, honorable, and amicable.  That is a grace not to be taken for granted.  It reminds me of that famous last sermon of John Henry Newman (i.e., the last as an Anglican anyway), “The Parting of Friends.”

The question is, how many others will follow?  After all, Lipscomb was hardly the most stalwart defender of orthodoxy in TEC.  If even a relatively moderate and centrist bishop of his sort ends up going over to Rome, it seems likely that we may not have seen the end of this parade.  Who knows?  Perhaps Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana would be my guess as a possible candidate for a 5th bishop to “swim the Tiber.”
David Handy+

November 27, 12:13 am | [comment link]
5. Wilfred wrote:

Maybe T19 could organize a “Who’s Next?” betting pool.

November 27, 12:21 am | [comment link]
6. New Reformation Advocate wrote:


Somehow I suppose the Elves would nix that.  But I started this guessing game, I’ll wager $5 on Bp. Little as the next to defect to Rome.

David Handy+
(And I’ve never even bought a lottery ticket in my entire life)

You’re correct. The Elves nix this.

November 27, 12:26 am | [comment link]
7. Diezba wrote:

Are people doing this because of the Anglican Use that Rome authorized?  Or are they going over lock, stock, and barrel?  As someone who became an Anglican because of the Book of Common Prayer, it would be very hard for me to give it up for the rather drab English Roman Missal.

(And yes, that’s an argument from style, not particularly effective—I have other, much-more-fundamental issues with Rome that effectively fence me off from “swimming the Tiber”).

November 27, 2:50 am | [comment link]
8. garyec wrote:


“Are people doing this because of the Anglican Use that Rome authorized?  Or are they going over lock, stock, and barrel?  As someone who became an Anglican because of the Book of Common Prayer, it would be very hard for me to give it up for the rather drab English Roman Missal.”

John and Marcie Lipscomb (after a “long season of prayer and reflection”) have made a personal decision to be received by the Roman Catholic Church. John is not involved with the “Pastoral Provision” process (established by JPII for Anglican clergy in 1982) so he is being received as a layperson. This is a personal decision (which they “believe this is the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s call for us for the next chapter of our lives”) not a political action and should not be interpreted as such. He has no interest in “Anglican Use.”

Gary Cartwright,
past-chaplain to Bishop Lipscomb

November 27, 8:38 am | [comment link]
9. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

To the mysterious Elves, personally I’m glad you nixed the whole idea of a betting pool.  I’m not really a gambler and didn’t want to go higher.

To Diezba (#7), I can add that with regard to my esteemed mentor, former Bishop of Albany Dan Herzog, he had no interest in being a part of some Anglicn Use group either.  I believe his fundamental reason for going back to his RC roots was that he had become convinced that Anglicanism lacked the ability to exercise effective discipline on heretical clergy and wayward provinces.  The way I’d paraphrase it (not his words, but mine) is that the lack of clear doctrinal boundaries and especially the lack of a living Magisterium with the authority to settle disputes and enforce discipline means that Anglicanism is fatally compromised in its ability to fight off heresy.  In the rather shocking language of ++Peter Akinola of Nigeria, TEC has “theological AIDS.”  And the immune system of worldwide Anglicanism also came to seem inadequate to Bp. Herzog to deal with the deadly infection of universalism and relativism.  At least that’s my understanding.  Maybe another person from the Diocese of Albany who is in closer contact with him in retirement could clarify or elaborate.

I hope he and Bp. Steenson are wrong about that.  But alas, they may well be right.  Time will tell…
David Handy+ (of Albany)

November 27, 9:29 am | [comment link]
10. William P. Sulik wrote:

At what point does this hit the MSM?  In my opinion, the conversion of priests was big; but this is huge.

November 27, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
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