"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rome's non-enemy seeks full communion with her

William Chellis

I first 'met' Bill Chellis through his blog De Regno Christi back in September of 2007. He was the pastor of Rochester Reformed Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York, which is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. During the last two weeks of September of 2007, Bill hosted a two week discussion/debate between proponents and opponents of the theological position known as the Federal Vision, on De Regno Christi. I followed the discussion carefully, and commented there occasionally. The discussion prompted my post here titled "Darryl Hart on the Need for Sacramental Magisterial Authority," and a few days later "Protestantism "left only with opinions".

Two years later, in October of 2009, Bill published a post titled "Why Rome is not my enemy," which I wrote about in "William Chellis: Why Rome is not my enemy."

Then a few weeks ago Bill started a new blog named The Augustinian Anglo-Papist, on which, in a post titled "From Geneva to Rome," he announced that he is now seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. He writes:

This is a pilgrim's blog. It is the story of a journey in progress. I once took my stand with the militant Presbyterians. I served as a Pastor of small confessional, orthodox Presbyterian congregation in a small conservative and strident denomination. The Reformed Presbyterian Church was my home.

More than my home, she was my mother. She gave me life by pointing me to the riches of Christ. She fed and nourished my spiritual life on a steady diet of Word, sacrament and prayer. I will always love and honor her, as I will always love an honor my friends in Christ who remain within her.

If I am a catholic today, it is because she taught me to love the catholic faith. If she is not able to recognize the catholic faith in Rome, then I will lovingly disagree and pray for the unity of Christendom!

For, over time, my mind has changed. My search for the catholic faith has lead me to an unexpected place. Convinced that our Puritanism was another century's liberalism, my family began worshipping among the Anglicans. A fan of C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot, Anglicanism was an easy friend. The beauty of Anglo-Catholic liturgy and devotion, the wholesome goodness of the Book of Common Prayer, the Sermons of John Henry Newman were sources of great blessing. I even began to consider incardination into Anglican Holy Orders.

The more I prayed, however, the more restless I became. Anglicanism was an easy fit but was it the right fit? Could I really keep one foot in Geneva while having the other in Rome? Would I not be spewed out for being lukewarm?

After much prayer, sweat, blood, tears my Puritanism has transformed into Popery. From Geneva to Canterbury to Rome, this was my path. ... (continue reading)

Please pray for Bill and his family as they make this transition, and welcome them warmly into full communion with the Catholic Church.