Surge: more Anglican priests preparing to convert

And they’ll reportedly be bringing hundreds of the faithful with them.

From the BBC:

Seven Anglican priests and 300 members of six congregations are to join a new section of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood says.

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

It is the largest known influx to date into the Ordinariate, which Pope Benedict established for Church of England members unhappy over issues such as the ordination of women.

Three former Anglican bishops have been appointed to lead the Ordinariate.

Ordinariates allow Anglicans opposed to developments including women bishops, gay clergy and same-sex blessings to convert to Rome while maintaining some of their traditions.

The Bishop of Brentwood, the Right Reverend Thomas McMahon, told BBC Essex 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.

Read on.

Meantime, not everyone is happy about all this, with some senior Anglicans describing the ordinariate as “an insensitive takeover bid.”

  • Belen

    dear “haters”, this is not the Pope’s move. It’s the anglicans’ choice! THEY asked the Pope to “swim the Tiber” and bring their spiritual patrimony with them. They have ceased to be anglicans A LOOOOONG TIME AGO. They’ve been ‘catholics’ for years. This is not a sudden conversion.

  • http://virtualchapel.blogspot.com JACK

    After years of useless discussions, endless meetings, conferences, prayer breakfasts, etc., the Holy Father finally acts on the true spirit of ecumenism visualized by Vatican II. Then people are SHOCKED, SIMPLY SHOCKED that the message of the true faith and Christ’s intent is embraced by those searching for that meaning. I mean, it was all so much more comfortable and civilized when we all really didn’t put a lot of effort into it, right?

  • John Phipps

    I would love to have a chance to attend a Sarum rite Mass. I assume it would be valid though I wonder if this is going to include American Anglo-Catholics eventually? I have a Deacon friend that came over from that camp. It explained some questions he asked during the Diaconate classes.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Our mission in life as Catholics is to convert the world to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Sorry if that boggles the mind of some loosey-goosey Catholics and some Episcopalians-Anglicans who have become famous (notorious??) for promoting gay” married” bishops along with ordaining women to be Church fathers. Is it any wonder so many Anglicans want to go to where there is some traditional and Biblical gender sanity.

  • Chip Wilson

    This isn’t a takeover. All the Holy Father did was simply crack open the door a little wider by creating a provision that enables men to exercise their freedom on conscience.

    Anglicans make it rather easy for Roman Catholic priests to cross over to their side. No ordination, etc. (Look at how quickly they installed Father Alberto Cutie in Miami as a pastor.)

  • Deacon Augustine

    The problem is that when the ecumenical experiment started out, nobody actually agreed what “unity” meant and where the whole thing was going.

    As Catholics its rather obvious to us that unity means unity of faith, sacraments and governance – full communion. But for many Anglicans unity has only ever been about “intercommunion” or receiving some kind of recognition of validity for their orders and sacraments.

    Maybe we share some of the blame for this mismatch of objectives because we haven’t been clear enough or insistent enough about what we believe. If we had been clearer then nobody would be have been surprised when some unity actually started to happen in reality.

  • Tom

    Interesting point, Dcn. Augustine. In the interim, I believe the unity referred to in the ecumenical sense meant working together for the common good in the areas that both (or all) churches agreed on. Since the Anglican communion gets closer & closer to falling off of the proverbial cliff (if it hasn’t already done so), then it would be all the more insensitive for Rome not to respond to demand and pave the way for Anglicans to swim the Tiber.

    The amusing thing in all of this is that most “progressive” Catholics are Hellbent on staying :-) Why doesn’t Canterbury learn from Rome and provide a “Call to Action” liturgical rite for disgruntled Catholics, that together they may “sing a new church into being”? Would this be insensitive?

  • pagansister

    And some of these Anglican priests, soon to be Catholic priests, bring with them wives. I wonder how the celibate priests feel about this, or the men still in training for the RC priesthood. Would this be a good time to re think the requirement for priests to remain unmarried? If the former Anglican priests can perform their duties well even though married, how can the argument be made that an RC priest must remain unmarried to function effectively? Way back i understand that priests were allowed to marry and have a family.

  • Jeremy Marshall

    I believe that Catholic priests of the Eastern rites (Greek Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic) can be married anyway: it’s only the Latin rite church that insists on celibacy.


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