Removal Of Influential ‘Anglican Use’ Catholic Priest Raises Questions In San Antonio

“We’re just really worried that everything is just going to change, and it’s not going to something that we hold dear as home.”

By Aaron SchrankFebruary 14, 2017 9:46 am| , ,

From Texas Public Radio

Last month, San Antonio’s Archbishop removed the longtime priest at Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church. It’s not just any church. It was founded by converts from the Anglican Church–and was the very first Catholic parish in the country to bring Anglican traditions into mass. Some worry the priest’s removal threatens those traditions.

 On Jan. 19, San Antonio’s Archbishop removed Father Christopher Phillips, the longtime priest at Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church–a move that confused many parishioners.“We were all shocked when we learned the news about Father Phillips being taken away, and that’s something that a lot of us don’t understand,” said Maria Lopez. “We want to preserve what what we have known as our tradition.”

Phillips isn’t any just any Catholic priest. He’s a former Anglican priest with a wife and children who converted to Catholicism in the 1980s after Pope John Paul II authorized the ‘pastoral provision,’ allowing Episcopalians to leave a church that was shifting its doctrine on some social issues and become fully Catholic.

Under that provision, Phillips formed Our Lady of the Atonement with a group of Episcopalian converts as the very first Catholic parish in the country to incorporate Anglican liturgical and musical traditions into mass. The sudden removal of Atonement’s first and only pastor has some proponents of ‘Anglican Use’ liturgy worried about the future of worship within the parish and beyond.

“The entire experience of walking into our church and being able to kneel and to pray–and that solemnity that we have for the liturgy itself is just wonderful,” said Lopez. “We’re just really worried that everything is just going to change, and it’s not going to something that we hold dear as home. It’s been our home for 7 years,” Lopez says.

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