Confession & the Anglican

from �Talks on the Sacraments�
Rev. Arthur Tonne, O.F.M.
June 22, 1947 
Nihil Obstat: Rev. Lambert Brockman, O.F.M.
Imprimi Potest: Very Rev. Romuald Mollaun, O.F.M., S.T.D.
Nihil Obstat: Rev. Louis S. Hauber, S.T.D.
Imprimatur: Most Rev. George J. Donnelly, S.T.D.
Bishop of Leavenworth

Bishop Curtis of Wilmington, Delaware, was one of the most illustrious American converts to the Church.  In an address on how he became a Catholic he started with the blunt statement: �Confession made a Catholic of me.� 

When he was pastor of a prominent Anglican parish in New York City his bishop came to officiate at some solemn ceremony.  The afternoon before the solemnity Reverend Curtis requested his bishop to hear his confession.  The latter put him off.  In the evening the penitent repeated his request but the bishop told him to wait until morning.  Next morning the pastor again expressed his desire to go to confession.  The bishop objected: �Reverend Curtis, why do you want to go to confession anyway?  It is all right for the laity who desire it, but we of the clergy should be able to do without it.� 

Curtis was not satisfied.  He felt the need of telling his sins and having them forgiven.  He found his way to St. Mary�s Catholic Seminary where he begged the rector to hear his confession.  That good priest, gracious and smiling, explained to Curtis that his Anglican bishop was right in refusing to hear his confession, because he had no power to forgive sins.  This statement startled Reverend Curtis, so the rector went on to explain that Anglican orders were no orders.  They were invalid.  Neither an Anglican bishop nor and Anglican priest could forgive sin. 

This set Curtis thinking.  He studied, he thought, he prayed. He led a Christ-like life.  Soon he realized that the only sin-forgiving Church was the Catholic Church.  He became a Catholic, a priest, and later an illustrious bishop. 

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