Yet another Episcopal bishop has announced his intention to resign from the Episcopal Church and become a Roman Catholic.
Bishop Jeffrey Steenson of Rio Grande, New Mexico is expected to announce his decision on Monday, reported The Living Church.
“I believe that the Lord now calls me in this direction. It amazes me, after all of these years, what a radical journey of faith this must necessarily be. To some it seems foolish; to others disloyal; to others an abandonment,” said the bishop in a statement prepared for the House of Bishops, which was meeting in New Orleans.
“My conscience is deeply troubled,” he continued, “because I sense that the obligations of my ministry in the Episcopal Church may lead me to a place apart from scripture and tradition. I am concerned that if I do not listen to and act in accordance with conscience now, it will become harder and harder to hear God’s voice.”
He said he would ask for permission to resign as the ordinary of Rio Grande by the end of the year and hoped then to be released from his ordination vows in the Episcopal Church.
The bishop told The Living Church that the meeting of the House of Bishops at Camp Allen in the spring had a major effect on his decision. He described the March meeting as “a profoundly disturbing experience.”
“I was more than a little surprised when such a substantial majority declared the polity of the Episcopal Church to be primarily that of an autonomous and independent local church relating to the wider Anglican Communion by voluntary association,” he reportedly said in his statement. “This is not the Anglicanism in which I was formed, inspired by the Oxford Movement and the Catholic Revival in the Church of England … honestly, I did not recognize the church that this House described on that occasion.”
Bishop Steenson will be the third bishop of the Episcopal Church to become a Roman Catholic this year. Bishop Dan Herzog of Albany moved shortly after his retirement in January. Bishop Clarence C. Pope, retired Bishop of Fort Worth, returned to Roman Catholicism in August.