Tuesday, August 7
Pope "Popes" Again
Clarence Pope must be one most ill-treated converts of recent memory. He served his Episcopal diocese (Fort Worth, I believe) until retirement at the age of 65, in 1994. He then announced that he would be entering the Catholic Church, and seeking ordination under the pastoral provision: obviously, it is no small sacrifice for a bishop emeritus, who could count on an enjoyable retirement in the community he served, to renounce that very community.
As Episcopal bishop, Clarence Pope had tried to negotiate with Rome for a personal prelature for Anglo-Catholic converts in the US: although his meeting with John Paul II went well, the plan was stonewalled by officials and nothing came of it: only Cardinal Ratzinger supported such a plan, and it did not fall within the competence of Ratzinger's Congregation, obviously. When Clarence Pope then converted individually, his new Catholic bishop announced that he would be willing to ordain Clarence Pope as a Catholic priest--if his diocesan Priests' Council approved (?!?). The Priests' Council rejected ordaining Clarence Pope, as they deemed him far too "traditional." Enduring this sever public embarrassment, and hearing nothing of the plans for an Anglican Catholic prelature within the Catholic Church, Clarence Pope was ignored by everyone but the Episcopalian primate and the new Episcopal Bishop of Fort Worth, who begged him to return. Ultimately, he did, in 1995.
12 years later, despite the extremely embarrassing contempt with which the local Catholic Church treated him upon his first conversion, but now with Ratzinger now Pope Benedict, and a few rumors of something like an Anglican-Catholic prelature in the works, Clarence Pope has returned to communion with Rome.