The ;picture shows Fr. Carl Reid—was it his diaconal ordination? And Msgr. Peter Wilkinson in Ottawa in 2013 or something. Can’t remember the exact date.
CWR: What led you to become a Roman Catholic?
Msgr. Wilkinson: The 1960s were taking over. People began to drift from sound doctrine. The liturgy was changing. There was a general malaise in the Church. I was serving as a priest in England, and it was a difficult time there. The Zeitgeist seemed to be in charge!
Pope Benedict himself has commented that 1968 was an axial year. There seemed to be a shift in consciousness. There were Marxist riots in Germany, race and anti-war riots in the United States; and Woodstock the following year! It was an unhappy time. Religious life was affected too, and I could not remain in a religious community that seemed to have lost its way.
I returned to Canada, where the same things were going on, but at least I was home. I thought my home diocese would employ me. However, I was branded as “Catholic” and not accepted, as were many of my friends.
CWR: What were some of the issues that led you to leave the Anglican Communion?
Msgr. Wilkinson: All the things people talk about, like women in the priesthood, and divorce and remarriage at will. There were also changes in the liturgy, like gender-neutral ordination services or transforming confirmation into a “sending forth” ceremony. All these things were watering down the faith.
The result was that in 1977, there was a Congress of Concerned Churchmen in St. Louis, Missouri. Afterwards, many men and women separated from the official Anglican Communion. Thousands left to form continuing Anglican bodies. Eventually the largest group was the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a worldwide communion of national “Anglican Catholic Churches,” including those of Africa and India.
Reunion with Rome was the dream of many Anglo-Catholics from the time of King Charles I (1600-49), who was married to a Catholic. In fact, attempts at reunion were made at various times right into the 20th century. Nor should one forget the Pastoral Provision of St. John Paul II for married priests in the Episcopal Church. I remained the archbishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion in Canada until the day I was received into the Roman Catholic Church.