The door swings both ways

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, the first African-American leader of a diocese whose founding bishop owned slaves, sees the Vatican plan to welcome disaffected Anglicans as part of a larger arc of progress and he describes how he strives to work with his Roman Catholic counterparts with collegiality and respect because the door swings both ways.

Matthew Hay Brown reports in the Baltimore Sun:

Sutton says the two churches enjoy good relations here. He says he consults with his counterparts at the archdiocese when a Catholic priest wants to join the Episcopal diocese, and vice-versa.

“We actually get several inquiries a year,” he said. “We know we can call up the archbishop or [Auxiliary] Bishop [Denis J.] Madden and say, ‘Give us the lowdown on that person.’ Now, we have a few from our side who go there, and they’ll call on us. We don’t want to give each other bad apples.”

He has not spoken with anyone at the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore since the Vatican announcement, in part because he doesn’t see it having much impact here. While there is a minority in the diocese that is frustrated with the direction of the Episcopal Church on social issues, he says, no one is threatening to leave over them.

“We don’t know how many Anglicans are going to go over to the Roman Catholic Church on this,” he said. “There probably aren’t going to be any more than there would have been a month ago. And the percentages are very small.”

Read the rest here.

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