Bishop Steenson resigns; to become Catholic

In a letter to diocesan clergy the Bishop of Rio Grande, The Right Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, has said he will resign at the end of the year and become a Catholic. He spoke with The Living Church:

The bishop has been the diocesan in the Albuquerque-based diocese since 2005.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Nashotah House and the Board of Directors of the Living Church Foundation.

He called the bishops’ meeting last March “a profoundly disturbing experience for me. 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. 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.”

Regarding his move to the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Steenson said, “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.”

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.

Read the Living Church report here.

ENS also has a report here:

Just days before his letter, Steenson helped broker a deal that allowed a majority of the members of the diocese’s Pro Cathedral Episcopal Church of St. Clement in El Paso, Texas, to sever ties with the diocese and the Episcopal Church and buy the cathedral property for $2 million.

Steenson’s resignation had been rumored for weeks, with speculation that he would join the Roman Catholic Church.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is due to travel from New Orleans at the close of the House of Bishops meeting to attend Rio Grande’s annual clergy conference on the afternoon of September 25.

Bishop Steenson’s letter to the clergy is available here at Titus 1:19.

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