My eyes filled with tears of grief upon hearing this news. Over a year and a half ago I had to counsel him to explore other Christian traditions. There is no future for you and your future family in the Episcopal Church, I told him. He heeded my advice and began to explore and read and pray. He is a serious Christian young man. And so today he begins a new chapter in his walk with our Lord.
I was struck by the significant of that action, to place loyalty to Christ above family ties (what struck me as a personal application of Luke 14:26). I was greatly impressed by Father Kimel's courage and integrity in doing so, and kept him in my thoughts (and prayers, when I could bring my slothful mind to remember).
Consequently, it comes as an especially great joy -- for myself, as for many of his Catholic readers at 'St. Blog's Parish' -- to read Fr. Al Kimel's announcement to his blog that a decision is reached: he will follow his son into full communion with the Catholic Church:
Please keep Fr. Kimel, his wife and family in your prayers, for as many a convert can attest, the journey is only beginning, and there will be trials ahead. I pray that the saints of Heaven watch over him, and let the venerable John Henry Newman, another great Anglican convert, be his guide and inspiration.
And, if it pleases the Lord, may Fr. Kimel once again have the joy of giving communion to his son.
- Dr. Philip Blosser:. . . Your presence aboard the Barque of Peter is a welcome one, and your gifts are needed and the Lord will see that they are eventually put to good use. But don't be surprised if you are confronted by obstacles, indifference, or even hostility. Remember the warnings of Thomas Merton to converts: don't let the all-too-human side of the Church get you down. The amazing thing is that the Church has a divine side at all. But the truth about that, of course, is the little ineluctable thing that prevented us converts from putting off the hour of decision indefinitely. (As you put it: "For the sake of my salvation ...")
- Dave Armstrong reflects on Fr. Kimel's decision and the meaning of conversion itselfConversion means we feel strongly about where we are going. But again, I want to reiterate the point that this does not rule out ecumenism or Christian unity. And on that note I would like to recall what C.S. Lewis (my favorite writer) said: that those Christians who are at the center of their own traditions are closer to those at the center of other Christian traditions, than to those in their own, who are more on the outer edges, or fringe. Thus, I feel far more kinship with a traditional Anglican than with a liberal Catholic (who, to be frank, drive me nuts); much more with an ecumenical orthodox Reformed who rejects the papacy as an ecclesiological necessity than with a so-called (radical) “traditionalist Catholic” who rejects the current pope, or who thinks there is no pope. I feel infinitely more spiritual kinship with a devout Baptist (which many of my longtime friends are) than with a nominal Catholic who makes little or no effort to learn or live his faith, or to avoid serious sin: let alone try to harmonize it with his thought concerning the larger culture, politics, ethics, the arts, etc.
- Secret Agent Man:Catholics spend far more time and energy explaining what Protestants lost in the Reformation than we do about what Roman Catholicism lost. Al Kimel's blog -- Al Kimel's writing, perspectives, and thoughts -- is/was a perfect example of that loss. I'm very happy to see one gem returned to the treasury; I hope the Church will be properly grateful for it.
- Update - 25-year Episcopal priest quits Johnstown parish to join Catholic Church, by Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 21, 2005.