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The Deacon's Bench

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And more may be joining him in the months ahead. Details from Damien Thompson:

Bishop John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham in the Anglican diocese of London, is to resign his post later this year to join the Pope’s Ordinariate. The Catholic Herald’s Anna Arco broke the story, also revealing that Bishop Broadhurst will stay as chairman of Forward in Faith, which he says is “not a Church of England organisation”. It sounds as if traditional Anglo-Catholicism is undergoing a major shift (or crisis) of allegiance, because FiF, though not representative of everyone in that constituency, was the main body for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England opposed to women bishops and priests. Now it seems to be heading towards Roman Catholicism.

Bishop Broadhurst made his announcement at Forward in Faith’s national assembly in London today. I’m told that the mood was very sympathetic towards the Ordinariate scheme. Update: Since writing this post, I’ve listened to a clear and elegant speech on the FiF website by Fr James Patrick (in secular life, His Honour Judge James Patrick) explaining that the Ordinariate is “at the heart of the Pope’s mission” and encouraging those who are committed to joining the structure to form part of the “first wave”. Fr Patrick refers to a “Lenten journey”. Do I detect a hint that there could be mass receptions into the Catholic Church at Easter?

If the chairman of Forward in Faith, together with the flying bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough, are joining the Roman Ordinariate, then you can see why members who want to stay in the C of E suddenly needed a new body – the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, aka “Hinge & Bracket”, founded this month by “catholic” bishops in the General Synod. For true opponents of women priests this is a desperate last option, because H&B can’t offer any meaningful safeguards from women’s ministry. For those many Anglo-Catholics who are prepared to soften their stance, however, it’s a quiet route back into the mainstream of the established Church.

So many things are happening at once that it’s difficult to write authoritatively; the picture will be clearer in a few days.

Continue at the link for some observations — and why the ordinariate appears to be picking up steam.

Also: the AP has more, including news that a small parish in England is set to swim the Tiber:

The parochial church council of St. Peter’s said it had resolved to join the ordinariate and “is anxious that this should be made as easy as possible.”

St. Peter’s is in the diocese of Canterbury, the base for the Church of England’s leader, Archbishop Rowan Williams. The Daily Telegraph reported that St. Peter’s attracts about 40 worshippers each Sunday.

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