One tree, many branches of Catholicism

February 23, 2014 

One tree, many branches

A recent article on St. Stanislaus Church in a St. Louis paper was exciting to see.

I was born Catholic and will die Catholic. I was a Roman Catholic until 10 years ago, and have my Ph.D. in theology from a Roman Catholic university. But I am now a member of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

I was drawn to the inclusivity, to the acceptance of 21st century life complete with birth control, divorce and remarriage and multiple sexual orientations. I was convinced by the accountability of clergy and leadership, and the real, significant voice of the laity in decisions for local community, diocese and Communion.

My ECC church, Ss. Clare & Francis in Webster Groves, Mo., welcomed the clergy and people of St. Stanislaus last month. We celebrated Mass together, shared food and drink as well as conversation afterward, and shared our stories and experiences of church. It was a special night and our community is still talking about it.

I appreciated the fairly accurate, honest discussion of Catholic reality: While we are all parts of the Catholic, ultimately Christian, family tree, there are many branches. We respect our sisters and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church but we recognize that, like us, they are simply one branch on that tree.

By the way, the Ecumenical Catholic Communion is also found on the eastern side of the Mississippi. We have a mission church in Belleville and celebrate Mass in a church there.

Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg


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