Fr. John Hardon: Did I ever tell you about my Episcopalian friend?

Fr John Hardon SJ
Fr. John Hardon Archives(circ. 1993):
Did I ever tell you about my Episcopalian friend? I must have. *Burns Seeley? Well I had his wife in class in Western Michigan. I can’t believe it, in 1963. Can you imagine thirty years ago. Well she came to me after one of the classes, I had mentioned about Anglican orders not being valid. “Gosh, I thought my husband was a priest (an Episcopalian minister or pastor married)”. So we talked. Well, in 1970 to commemorate the centennial of Papal Infallibility being defined, Bishop of Joliet, Illinois had me organize a series of lectures, commemorating Papal Infallibility. And among the men I got to speak during gymnasium full of people was my Episcopalian pastor. The bishop called me up, “It says here he is an Episcopalian, we’re talking about Papal Infallibility.”

Yes, I know Bishop. This man will defend Papal Infallibility better than many Catholics.” Then I must have said this before, but at least somebody may not have heard it. When he got up, he told the Catholics, “Hold on to your Papal Infallibility. That is what has kept me sane.” An Episcopalian said that!

“Couples come to me”, said the Episcopalian pastor, “they want to get remarried, they just had a divorce and they have the wedding date set and everything - all the formalities and they want to make wedding arrangements. I tell them, I cannot marry you. ‘What?’ No. I don’t believe in divorce and remarriage. Well, they stormed out of the rectory and complained to the bishop.”

And this Protestant Episcopalian pastor told me, “How many times I have been called in by the Bishop ‘Burns remember, we are not Roman Catholics, we are Episcopalians. We give divorce and the right to remarry.’” Finally, *Burns couldn’t take it any longer, he had to become a Catholic.

So this was the basic issue over which Protestantism came into existence in the sixteenth century. And this is the growing position of dissident Catholic writers and activist urging a change in Catholic teaching.

One of the great joys in working even over the unexplicated edition of the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It does need a lot of “cleaning up” (Cardinal Law’s translation), but English could not be clearer. In other words, once you marry, you are baptized, your partner is baptized, you have natural intercourse after marriage. That is it! And this is going to be the fate of the Catholic Church in our country-no question about it, unless someone does something soon.
also: Coming Home Network: Conversion Story of Rev. Burns K. Seeley

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