This post is also available in Spanish aqui.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend who is a priest. We started talking about his Church, his ideas, concerns, and experiences. You can find the Spanish interview here. I asked him a question that made me think a lot. I asked what was something that had surprised him about the Episcopal Church when he became a priest. He said that what surprised him was that there was a big difference between the Episcopal Church in Mexico and the Episcopal Church in the United States. Specifically, the Church in the US has adopted traditions that are not "episcopal" such as having images of virgins (namely la Guadalupana) and saints, first communions, and other traditions that are Roman Catholic. He is fourth generation Episcopalian and has been the son of a priest/bishop throughout his life (his wife is also fourth generation Episcopalian) and that, to me, was a big surprise. Although I know that the Episcopal Church has existed for many years, I do not know why he had not thought of this. My own experience has also shown me that the predominantly Latino/Hispanic/Spanish speaking Episcopal Church in the US is seen as a Roman Catholic church and many people do not seem to know there is any difference besides that the priests can marry and that women can be priests.
I thought this because many Roman Catholic priests "become" Episcopalian - my honest opinion was that it was because they wanted to marry or are already "married" or have children or were "caught" in romantic relationships and they had to leave the Roman Catholic Church (which does not allow its priests to marry, have children, or be in romantic relationships) and did not want to "become" Episcopalian. I grew up in the Evangelical Church so for me, seeing statues of virgins or saints has always been something that bothers me. So I enjoyed talking with my friend and I felt that someone finally had the same opinion as me about the Episcopal identity – we are not Roman Catholic.