Once there was a church in this country
which was born in 1789, lasted 190 years,
and was destroyed in a series of
conventions by selected participants.
The name of the church was "The
Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A"
which was the publisher of the 1928
Book of Common Prayer.
But when a revision of the book
was issued in 1979, the frontispiece
proclaimed that it was according to the
use of "The Episcopal Church."
That signaled the end of Protestantism in the
U.S. province of the Anglican Communion,
and the beginning of an imitation of
Roman Catholicism in rites and identity.
Whereas Episcopal ministers were formerly
addresses as Mister, as in Jane Austen's books,
they became Fathers in clerical collars
and vestments of papal provenance.
Instead of Morning Prayer as the Sunday service,
a revised version of Holy Communion was
required, which has not a dime's worth of
difference with a Roman Catholic mass.
The trigger for the death of PECUSA, as it
was formerly and familiarly known, was an
aborted attempt to obtain formal recognition
of Anglican rites by the Vatican.
This actually happened, long after Pope
John Paul II stopped the dialogue.
The Vatican now permits the use of
Anglican rites by its converted clergy.
Despite serious doctrinal differences,
all Anglican and Episcopal churches
are now firmly and definitively Roman
Catholic in worship services.
In turn, the Catholics in the U.S.A. have
abandoned requirements that were
unpalatable, such as phone booth confessions
and forbidden use of contraceptives.
Meanwhile, the memory of Morning Prayer
lingers only in the minds of very old
worshippers, with its glorious language
and sung psalms and canticles.
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