Responding to recent reports regarding ongoing conversations between the Episcopal and the Catholic dioceses of Fort Worth (Texas), the Episcopal bishop, Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker issued a statement this week explaining that the short-term goal is not aimed at bringing Episcopalians into the Catholic Church.
Reports from earlier this summer stated that four Episcopal priests had been in conversation with Bishop Kevin Vann of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese. According to those reports, the Episcopal priests were seeking guidance on how the diocese might come into "full communion" with the Catholic church.
In his statement, Bishop Iker expressed that he is aware of the meeting held on June 16, 2008.
“After a year of studying various agreed statements that have come out of ecumenical dialogues between Anglicans and Roman Catholics on the national and international level, these (Episcopal) clergy expressed an interest in having a dialogue on the local level and asked my permission to make an appointment to talk with Bishop Vann. The stated goal of these official Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogues (which have been going on for over 40 years) has been full, visible unity between the two communions,” the statement says.
Bishop Iker also clarifies that, although the four priest count on his “full support”, “they have not claimed to act or speak, nor have they been authorized to do so, either on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth or on my own behalf as their Bishop.”
He also explains that the conversations with Bishop Vann will have “no bearing upon matters coming before our Diocesan Convention in November, where a second vote will be taken on constitutional changes concerning our relationship with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church,” and that “there is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church.”
“After the November vote, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth intends to break away from the Episcopal Church in the US and enter under the jurisdiction of “an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion”.
The move is a reaction of the Episcopal diocese to the ordination of the first openly homosexual bishop, Eugene Robinson.