While scaling the hills of San Francisco, Joy and I came upon Grace Cathedral—the “cathedral” of the Episcopal Church. It was rather magnificent. I’m a former Episcopal priest and I am, alas, still moved by my old allegiance from time to time. My flesh (or perhaps the devil) suggested that I go in and check it out. “Who knows,” I said in jest, “maybe I’ll throw on a chasuble and celebrate ‘Holy Communion’ service like I did in the old days.”
So we went inside. Immediately, I was awestruck by a beautiful life-size crucifix of our Lord Christ. Evensong was being chanted and it echoed throughout the building. If you have experienced the glory of Anglican Evensong, you know how hauntingly beautiful it can be as it reverberates through a large church.
I then saw a beautiful mural of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Next I discerned a mural the Blessed Juniper Serra. “Perhaps I have made a mistake,” I said to myself. “The Episcopal Church, even in San Francisco, isn’t so bad after all. This place seems pretty catholic…so aesthetically pleasing.”
Then my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I saw a woman in a cassock pretending to be a priest. Then, I then observed people walking through one of those Gnostic labyrinths on the floor. As I discerned more errors, my entire soul filled with horror. I wanted to leave that place without any delay. Suddenly, the place seemed to have transformed into a den of devils, and I was ashamed that I had even entertained the thoughts that I had about donning a chasuble:
is a fool that repeats his folly” (Prov. 26:11)
I went outside and felt dirty for having gone inside. I made the sign of the cross. Joy and I let out a collective sigh and said a Glory Be in thanksgiving for having been delivered from Babylon. I immediately wanted to call my friends who are still serving as Anglican clergyman and ask them to consider Catholicism. “Anglicanism is not Catholic. Period.”
Never before in my life has Anglicanism been revealed as such a sham. It is antichrist to the extent that it employs Catholic trappings and yet denies the incarnation of our Savior, along with its sacraments. I have no doubt that the false religion at the end of the world will approximate this perfect ensemble of sheep’s clothing.
Apostolicae Curae is comforting after this experience. It is a profound consolation to know that the Most Blessed Sacrament is not confected in these outwardly beautiful places.
Later, I knelt at the humble church of Old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Chinatown. It was at that tabernacle that the Sacred Heart of Jesus called me and consoled me. Instead of a labyrinth, I observed the Stations of the Cross. Instead of a lady in a “priestess” cassock, I looked up at the image of the Immaculate Mother of God over the altar. People were kneeling in the pews, telling their beads. This is my home – the New Jerusalem come to rest on earth.
To all my Anglican clergy friends, please come home to Rome. It will be painful, but it is worth it.