Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More former Anglicans to become Catholics in the Ordinariate

A further significant development in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been announced: seven anglican priests and three hundred lay people are to become Catholics in the diocese of Brentwood. The Anglican bishop of Chelmsford dismisses them as "a small group of people. The Church of England remains the church for everyone." This would seem to be less and less the case.

Here's the article from

Seven Anglican priests and 300 members of six congregations are to join the Ordinariate, according to the Diocese of Brentwood.

The move involves three parishes in Essex, and three in east London.

The Bishop of Brentwood, the Right Reverend Thomas McMahon, told BBC Essex this morningthat the Anglicans were unhappy about the church's general move away from the traditions it once shared with Catholics, but described the decision as "a very big move".

"They relinquish their present post, a very big thing, leaving some of their people which brings heartache, into a fairly unknown future, as this ordinariate has only just been brought up.

"It calls for huge faith and huge trust because the future isn't that certain," he said.

Three vicars in Chelmsford, Hockley and Benfleet are among those men being trained to become Catholic deacons. A seventh retired Anglican vicar is also converting.

The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, said he was disappointed that 300 members in Essex were converting to Catholicism.

"Although I'm sorry these people are going, I do respect their decision," he told BBC Essex.

"But it is a small group of people. The Church of England remains the church for everyone."

According to a timetable set by the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales, former Anglican clergy and groups of worshippers wishing to enter the Ordinariate will be enrolled as candidates at the beginning of Lent.

They will subsequently be received into the Roman Catholic Church and confirmed. This is likely to take place during Holy Week (17-23 April).

Where the new congregations will worship has yet to be decided.

"It will be on a case-by-case basis," said Father Keith Newton, the former Anglican bishop who now heads the Ordinariate.

"I hope in some cases the Church of England will be generous and there will be some sharing of Anglican premises. But I think normally our groups will be worshipping in Catholic churches," he added.

However, that does not mean that worshippers of the Ordinariate will be "mingled in" with Catholic congregations.

"They will have a special service in their own right," said Bishop McMahon.

"We are hoping they will find some part-time work as chaplains in schools and hospitals," said Bishop McMahon. "We have already had some offers from charities."
Let us pray for the success and happy outcome of this new development.

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