Let’s just say it at the beginning: “The Society of Catholic Priests” raises questions.
It’s a society of priests, yes, but we also have deacons and bishops as members. We have vowed religious as members. We have seminarians and postulants as (provisional) members. The point is that we focus on the specific character of the ordained life.
It’s a Catholic society, but it’s not Roman Catholic. In England, where the SCP was started, people hearing “catholic” are more likely to think of anglo-catholic Church of England priests than Roman Catholics. The situation is different here, but that gives us an opportunity to explain that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are catholic churches in their own right.
We’re an Anglo-Catholic society, but some would say “catholic Anglican”. Our members typically draw from the sacramental, “high church”, ritualist traditions of the church. If you come to Annual Conference, you’ll see many (but not all) of us in cassocks. You’ll see Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. You’ll hear Salve Regina sung at the end of compline.
Unfortunately, anglo-catholicism has gotten an awkward reputation in much of the church. Of course, since Charles Gore and Lux Mundi, there have been moderate and progressive anglo-catholics as well as conservative and traditionalist anglo-catholics. Our goal as a Society is not to be a pressure group or an agent of division. We welcome those who are comfortable with our Rule of Life and who fit our Membership. As catholic clergy, we take seriously our vows of obedience to our bishops and our canon law, and we treat as our sisters and brothers all those whom the church has ordained.
The reason for the Society’s existence can be summed up like this: to create connections among us, to strengthen us in the things that are central and energizing to our faith and vocations and to celebrate the heritage and the future of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Church of Canada.