VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While the official Anglican-Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue continues, questions have arisen regarding the potential impact on the dialogue of Roman Catholics or Anglicans who switch communities.
While Anglicans — especially Anglican bishops or priests — becoming Roman Catholic after disagreeing with their community’s stands on ordaining women or openly gay men has made news, the movement of Catholic priests and laity to Anglicanism seldom makes headlines.
Bishop John Flack, head of the Anglican Center in Rome, said he meets people moving in both directions, yet the ecumenical dialogue has not explored the implications of their movement.
"We are not talking about huge numbers in either direction, but it is perhaps a constant trickle," he told Catholic News Service Nov. 9.
Among those changing denominations, the Roman Catholics generally say they long to breathe the "free air" of the Anglican Communion, with Catholic priests usually saying they plan to marry, the bishop said. The Anglicans usually say they have had enough of the "woolly thinking" of their leadership, he added.
"Anglicans who become Roman Catholic generally become very conservative Roman Catholics, while Roman Catholics who become Anglican tend to become very liberal Anglicans," he said. [Source]
The last paragraph is not exactly a surprise.