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By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer Angela K. Brown, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 13 mins ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – Years ago, Saint Mary the Virgin Catholic Church in Texas and a handful of other conservative Episcopal churches in the U.S. decided to become Roman Catholic.
Though they were confirmed by the Vatican, they were still allowed to practice some of their Anglican traditions, including having married priests.
Now, these churches may have helped pave the way for Anglicans worldwide to become Catholic under a new Vatican plan created to make it easier for such conversions. The surprise move revealed in October is designed to entice traditionalists.
The Rev. Allan Hawkins, who leads Saint Mary the Virgin church outside of Dallas, says the Vatican's decision could start unifying the Catholic and Anglican churches.
Though the announcement did not single out any specific group of Anglicans, it responds to a request made two years ago by a breakaway group known as the “Traditional Anglican Communion,” a network claiming to represent some 400,000 Anglicans worldwide, including more than 5,000 in the United States, unhappy with liberalizing moves in the Anglican Communion, including the ordination of women as priests and bishops, the ordination of openly gay clergy and bishops, and the blessing of same-sex unions.