THREE former Anglican bishops who were received into the Roman Catholic Church on New Year’s Day will be ordained to the priesthood in the RC Church on 15 January. By then the new Ordinariate will be established.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the former Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst; the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham; and the former Bishop of Richborough, Keith Newton, would be ordained RC deacons on 13 January at Allen Hall Seminary Chapel, and ordained priests in Westminster Cathedral on 15 January.
A spokeswoman for the Catholic Communications Network said on Wednesday that the Ordinariate “will be set up between now and 15 January”.
The three bishops were received into the Roman Catholic Church during the 12.30 p.m. mass at Westminster Cathedral on 1 January. Their resignations, which were announced earlier this year (News, 12 November), came into effect at midnight on 31 December.
“Out of respect for the privacy of the individuals concerned and their families, no prior public announcement of the receptions was given by the Episcopal Commission responsible for organisation of the receptions,” the RC Bishops’ statement said.
Mr Broadhurst’s wife, Judi, and Mr Newton’s wife, Gill, were also among the lay people and former Anglican clergy being received into the RC Church. Three nuns who left the Priory of our Lady of Walsingham last month, after announcing plans to join the Ordinariate, were also received. No details were released about the total numbers received at the service.
A few days earlier, Mr Broadhurst told The Times: “I know people will join the Ordinariate. . . There are lots of laity on their own and priests on their own; the question is how do we relate them both to the Ordinariate and to the English Catholic Church, because it is part of the Catholic Church in this country; it’s not a separate thing.”
Two retired bishops, the Rt Revd Edwin Barnes and the Rt Revd David Silk, also announced their intention to leave the Church of England to join the Ordinariate. The RC Bishops’ statement said that they would “be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and proceed to Ordination as Catholic Priests in due course”.
A statement released by the RC Bishops in November said that from the start of Lent, groups of laity and clergy who have decided to leave the C of E “will be enrolled as candidates for the Ordinariate”, and received into the RC Church “probably . . . during Holy Week”. Former Anglican priests who are approved will be ordained to the diaconate “at some point during Eastertide”, the state-ment said, and to the priesthood “around Pentecost”.
Bishop Barnes wrote on his blog on Tuesday that he felt “compelled” to leave the C of E, which had “fallen away from its standards of belief and morality”. “So I am converting, moving from a Church that has to my mind abandoned its catholic principles into one which stands firm.”
In November, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, said that Anglicans who joined the Ordinariate should expect to worship in RC churches. He said the Roman Catholic Church was “not seeking to acquire property at all.”