The following comes from a November 30 story on Religious News Service.
The former rector of the nation’s largest Episcopal church has become a Roman Catholic.
The Rev. Larry Gipson was dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham from 1982-94 and rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parishioners included former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, from 1994-2008.
Last month, Gipson was accepted as a Catholic into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a structure set up by Pope Benedict XVI to accept former Anglicans into the Catholic Church.
“The nature of authority in the Catholic Church is what attracted me to it,” Gipson said. “After I retired, I was concerned and had been for many years about the Episcopal Church’s authority structure.”
Gipson will be among 69 candidates for Catholic priesthood attending a formation retreat this weekend in Houston at the ordinariate’s headquarters….
This year, the ordinariate has already ordained 24 priests, with 69 in preparation. Her husband was accepted as a Catholic in January and ordained as a Catholic priest in June.
Gipson and his wife of 48 years, Mary Frances, attend the headquarters church of the ordinariate, Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston.
“All their services are Prayer Book services,” Gipson said. “The music is from the 1940 (Episcopal) hymnal. It is the Anglican Rite prayer book. It’s the opportunity to come into the Catholic Church while maintaining Anglican tradition.”
Although many Episcopalians have left the denomination over issues such as consecrating openly gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions, Gipson said he didn’t leave in anger.
“I don’t have the right to ask the Anglican Church to change its traditions for me,” he said. “I’m the one who has got to make the changes. Anglicanism has always been hesitant to define doctrine because it has opposing factions. It has left doctrine blurry. People can believe almost mutually opposing beliefs.”
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