Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mgr Graham Leonard - May he rest in peace

The former Bishop of London who converted to the Catholic Church and was ordained a Catholic priest on 23rd April 1994 has died.

At the time of writing, the only websites carrying the news appear to be:

Damian Thompson:
I’ve just heard that Mgr Graham Leonard, the former Bishop of London who became a Catholic and was made a (married) Monsignor by Pope John Paul II, has died.

Mgr Leonard, 88, was a formidable and dignified champion of the Anglo-Catholic cause in the Church of England; when he converted to Catholicism after the vote to ordain women priests, he was ordained priest conditionally, having persuaded the Vatican that he might already possess valid orders by virtue of an Old Catholic apostolic succession.

Mgr Leonard had originally hoped that he could bring with him Anglican priests and faithful who could worship together after their reception; as it turned out, the time was not yet ripe. But it is now. The Ordinariate scheme, currently taking shape, will be a fitting memorial to this inspiring priest.

Ruth Gledhill:
Monsignor Graham Leonard, former Bishop of London who converted to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest, has died. He was such a great man, a great Bishop of London, a true Catholic priest. We had fun, those of us on the religion beat when he was not just in the news, but making it. The London diocese has a statement. Apologies for the brevity of this blog, more soon.

Here is the (Anglican) diocese of London's statement:
The Bishop of London has issued a statement on the death of Monsignor Graham Leonard.

"As Bishop of Willesden and then after a spell in Cornwall, as Bishop of London for ten years, Graham Leonard served the Diocese with faithfulness and a particular care for its large number of Church Schools.

"He will be mourned by his many friends and colleagues and our hearts go out in sympathy to Priscilla who played such a significant part in Bishop Graham's London ministry".

I'm sure our Miles Iesu (of which Mgr Leonard was a member) blogger will have a tribute to him in due course.

UPDATE: See Father Dwight Longenecker, Father Sean Finegan, Diocese of Westminster.

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