Five Anglican bishops in the UK converted to Catholicism, citing the ordination of women and gay bishops in the US as the reason. But they say it's bigger than that:
Burnham, who, like the other bishops converting to the Catholic Church, is married, told the BBC their decision went beyond the issue of female bishops.
"It's bigger than that," he said. "It's the question of whether the Anglican Church is, as it says it is, part of the universal church going back to the time of Jesus, or whether it is going off in its own way and making up its own rules. And we think it's going off in its own way ... and we therefore need to belong to the older body."
He expects other Anglicans will also convert to Catholicism, though at least initially not in large numbers. "I don't think there'll be flood ... so much is at stake, people losing their homes, their livelihoods, their pensions ... inevitably the first wave will be quite small."
Those theological questions are left to each Christian, I suppose. It's interesting that these Anglican bishops are married and the Catholic Church will look the other way on that, but being a woman or gay is a step too far. Everyone has their own interpretation, of course.
This shows that there is no middle ground on these issues. For a few years now the Archbishop of Canterbury has been trying to be the Third Way between the more homophobic Anglican churches in Africa and Europe and the far more liberal Episcopalians in the US. The idea is that everyone can be part of the same communion even if they don't agree on every detail.
These aren't details, though. The ordination of women and gays goes to fundamental questions of how we organize ourselves as a society and what we see as the purpose of human relationships. Are our relationships about filling certain roles and doing certain kinds of work, bringing stability into people's lives? Or are they about making us fulfilled and happy, bringing freedom into people's lives?
That's an oversimplification, of course, with disgust and ignorance and selfishness all coming into play as well, but these questions are at the heart of the matter and they can't just be brushed aside. People have fundamentally different views on gay and women in the clergy and it's not like a division on an obscure theological question. It's about power.
Cultural views on these questions are changing in the US and Europe, but that doesn't mean that these two churches, as a whole, will keep up.