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Is Pope a Catholic? Yes (again)

16 August 2007

by Bill Bowder

THE FORMER Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Clarence Pope, has decided to renew his journey to the Roman Catholic Church

The decision by Bishop Pope, aged 76, and his wife, Martha, to return to Roman Catholicism was announced in this month’s ad clerum email by the current bishop of the diocese, the Rt Revd Jack Iker. “Bishop Pope wanted to assure me that he remains very attached to us, and that his affection for the people of this diocese remains unchanged.”

The Bishop’s road to Rome has not been straight. After ten years as Bishop of Fort Worth, he took sabbatical leave in October 1994, after announcing that he would retire on 1 January 1995 to join the Roman Catholic Church. The church in which he was received, St Mary’s, Arlington, was one he had given permission to transfer to RC authority in 1991, after a near-unanimous vote by its congregation.

But in August 1995, a few months after being received, Bishop Pope withdrew his letter of resignation, and returned to the Episcopal Church. He told the press at the time that he had felt uneasy about relinquishing his episcopal orders.

There have since been unconfirmed reports that Bishop Pope returned briefly to the Roman Catholic Church in 1998.

Another Episcopal bishop, the former Bishop of Albany, the Rt Revd Daniel W. Herzog, also announced his departure for the Roman Catholic Church this year. Bishop Herzog and his wife told the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katherine Jefferts Schori, in March that they intended to leave.

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