There can’t be terribly many Lutheran pastors left in the US these days. They’ve all either gone to Rome or Constantinople. The latest one to go down this road (or, to be specific, the latter road) is “Fr Fenton” at the Conversi ad Dominum blogsite.
I wish him and his family all the best, as they undoubtably face the same struggle that all converts do.
But my mate Peter Holmes in Sydney has a saying with which seems to apply in this case: “ABC: Anything But Catholic”.
When I realised I could no longer remain as a member of the Lutheran Church, one pastor said to me, “What about Orthodoxy?”. But it was never really an option, for two simple reasons:
1) I am a western Christian, and (even if the Pope doesn’t use this title anymore) the Bishop of Rome is the Patriarch of the West and it was with him that I had to seek communion
2) In the end, there is only one meaning of Catholic that cuts the ice, and that is “in communion with the Pope”. Any other meaning and you’re simply making it up as you go along.
Fr Fenton says in his resignation letter that he is glad to be entering “the true visible Church of Christ on earth”. Well, yes he is, in that the Orthodox Church is acknowledge by all to be an authentic part of the “true visible Church”, by virtue of their valid bishops and sacraments. He is certainly more closely in communion with me now than he was as a Lutheran. But to talk of “THE Orthodox Church”, seems a little naive, when there are so many Orthodox Churches, and they are for ever in and out of communion with one another. The Orthodox Churches are consigned hopelessly to being ethnic churches.
If I may add a 3rd point to the two above, there is another thing about the Catholic Church. It has to be catholic, ie. universal. “The Orthodox Church” is a communion (more or less) of true visible local churches, but can they really claim to be “THE true visible Church of Christ on earth”?
I respect Fr Fenton’s decision. It just wasn’t mine, for the reasons stated. But because the Orthodox Churches are true Churches (if not THE true Church), I am sure that he and his family will find the peace they seek.