The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Here come more Anglicans

After news that some bishops are lining up to swim the Tiber, now it seems some priests are putting on their water wings, too:

The Catholic Church will announce this week that 50 Anglican clergy are defecting to Rome following the Church of England’s moves to introduce women bishops.

Vincent-Nichols_1761053c.jpgArchbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, will reveal on Friday the Vatican’s plans to welcome the departing priests – including five bishops – who are expected to be received into the Catholic Church early in the new year.


Hundreds of Anglican churchgoers will join them in the Ordinariate – a structure introduced by Pope Benedict XVI to provide refuge for those diaffected with the Church of England.

The number of worshippers who leave the Church is predicted to double as the new arrangement finally begins to take shape.

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, said clergy have become dismayed at the liberal direction of the Church of England and the way traditionalits have been treated.

“There’s only a certain amount of time you can accept being described as the National Front of the Church of England,” he said.

“We’re seen as out of date for not accepting women’s ministry as equal, but the debate concentrates on sociology rather than theology.”


The bishop, who is one of the five converting to Catholicism, accused the Church of repeatedly breaking its promises to make proper provision for opponents of women’s ordination.

Members of the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, voted in July to proceed with plans to create women bishops with minimal concessions to the traditionalists.

The majority of Anglo-Catholics are waiting until 2012 to see whether the church will pass the legislation which will allow women to be consecrated. They are hoping the plans will fail at the final hurdle.

The Rt Rev Keith Newton, the Bishop of Richborough, who is also leaving the Church of England said there was dismay at the way it had become increasingly liberal.

“It has changed a great deal. There is no doctrinal certainty anymore. It has become more relative.

“I’m sad about leaving as I owe a lot to the Church of England, but this [the Ordinariate] is a joyful opportunity.”

Read more here.

Comments read comments(14)
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Ray Ryan

posted November 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm

We Catholics should encourage converts coming TO us, discourage those running FROM Anglicanism and pray hard for all of them- they face a very difficult time. God bless us all.

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posted November 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Why would you want to discourage those running from Anglicanism?

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted November 14, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The Anglican Church has jumped off such steep doctrinal cliffs in many respects that there are a lot of choices open to disgusted Anglicans–from various Eastern Orthodox Churches to strong Biblical evangelical churches, even to the Coptic Church . So the hope is that those swimming the Tiber are not doing it solely out of this disgust, but ALSO from a strong desire to be part of the whole and genuine Catholic “package.”

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posted November 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Welcome Home. May this finally be the end of Henry VIII’s selfish and lustful legacy that has so wounded Western Civilization and has left us exposed to the teeth of the ‘wolf’ for 5 centuries now. To see this kind of shift in the currents of human history in my own life time is awesome and humbling. Thank God!……now if only Luther’s mess could be cleaned up, we’d be a great civilization again.

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Gerard Nadal

posted November 14, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I agree with Deacon Bresnahan. If the Barque of Peter is going to pick up Anglican boat people, I hope they come aboard ready to respect the officers and crew, and not use the personal prelatures as niches to create their idealized vision of the Anglican Church that disappointed them.

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Your Name Sky

posted November 14, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Of course we want to welcome these Anglicans to full communion with the fullness of the faith and unity. But it is almost a certainty that some will eventually be lost due to something they will experience in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is so human and full of weakness in its members, that the kind of people who leave the Anglican Church because of its recent direction, will be the same that will find something off-putting about the Catholic experience. Honestly, I don’t think it can be avoided. Even cradle Catholics such as myself can find a thousand reasons to find fault with the way the Church is run and then leave it. Of course, by God’s grace, we don’t, because it is still Christ’s show despite the follies and foolishness of its members.
So I agree with those who are prayerfully hoping these Anglicans come across the Tiber not merely for negative motivation, but they really come because they see where the Truth is. How they get to see it, complex as it may be, is not as important as reaching the perception of it.

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Justin George

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:32 am

An unruly protestant entered the string asking for the biblical basis of Mary, the Pope etc. The Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid offers some very good answer to these questions. The biblical basis for Marian devotion is offered in the following article by Madrid (link below):
The biblical basis for the Papacy is here:
Much more is available where that came from.

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Tim H

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:21 am

“I pray … that they may all be one … that the world may believe that you sent me.”
“…so that they may be one, as we are one … that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me…”
Jesus’ prayer for unity is a means by which the world will know that Jesus was sent by God and a means by which Christians will be brought to perfection.
Jesus’ prayer will be answered. I pray that this is the start of a worldwide landslide.

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Tim H

posted November 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

Episcopal priest

posted November 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I am an Episcopal priest who is eager for the Ordinariate to be established in the US. As a member of the Episcopal Church, I represent only a small fraction of those who will convert initially; most will be coming from the Traditional Anglican Communion. I feel led to the Catholic Church by the very faith I have learned and practiced in the Episcopal Church and I would have converted earlier if the local diocese allowed for pastoral provision priests. The promulgation of Anglicanorum Coetibus was the answer to prayers I hadn’t even thought to make — since at least my confirmation twenty-five years ago — because it was simply beyond my contemplation. (I need to be bolder in what I ask for, perhaps taking a cue from my kids’ extravagant wishes for Christmas gifts!)
I hope that all converts will embrace not just unity with Rome, but will also strive to become integral parts of their local Catholic communities, like national parishes and Eastern Rite parishes are. Don’t worry about their doctrinal fidelity; believe me, the Anglicans coming from the Continuing Churches — those outside the Church of England, Episcopal Church, etc. — have endured much hardship, scorn and rejection to come to this place. They are not about to go soft on their beliefs.
I hope that they are corporately given the warm welcome given to one who has been traumatized. Think of refugees, or wounded war veterans, or the Prodigal Son. Give them, give us, a welcome return to our family. Give us space and time to grow and we will produce fruit to the glory of God and for the good of the whole Church. My prayers are (I am learning to pray expansively) are that this new venture of the Church will result in the return of all Anglicans to Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church. And then the Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians . . . and then the Baptists and the folks at those big neon emblazoned, warehouse looking, non-denominational “Overcome It All Family Faith Centers” to the true Church.
God bless you all and please keep us in your prayers. Especially me a sinner.
Feel free to pray for me as a father, too. One whose new, expansive ecclesial petition list may inspire my daughters to go ahead and think bigger, too, and ask for a playhouse, and a Barbie Jeep, and a kitten, and Rapunzel dolls, and a pony, and a puppy, and new Pillow Pets, and Zhu-Zhus for Christmas. Why not? Daddy has learned to ask for miracles and they are appearing before our eyes!
Father Bill

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posted November 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm

When I read about the recent acceptance of Episcopalian and Anglican priests along with their wives into the Catholic Church and the “pastoral provision” that waives their promise of celibacy. I am reminded of the story of Cornelia Connelly. In the nineteenth century she and her husband, Pierce Connelly, and Episcopalian priest, were converts to the Catholic church.
When Pierce informed her that he felt called to the Catholic priesthood, the Church laws of the time required her to make a vow of perpetual chastity in order to release him for ordination. She entered the novitiate of the Religious of the Sacred Heart in Rome where they lived at the time. (Her children were allowed to be with her.) Having been recruited by a member of the Catholic hierarchy in England to establish an order to teach poor girls, she founded a community of religious called the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.
Several years later, Pierce decided to sue her in the English courts for resumption of conjugal rights , thus breaking his promise of celibacy. She refused on the grounds that she have made a vow of chastity to God. He won in the courts , and then the case was overturned. (This a big scandal in the nineteenth century English Catholic church.)
How the times have changed!!

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posted November 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Father Bill, what a wonderful witness you are to the faith. I will pray for you and your family. God bless you all.

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posted November 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Father Bill, what an inspiring post. I hope you and yours will be met with open arms. Welcome.

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Emmanuel Okorie

posted November 18, 2010 at 6:16 am

Father Bill, you are most welcome. I shall try to remember you in my prayers. I will book a mass for you for your genuine wishes and I encourage to go ahead until you enter to really full communion with the Church. God bless you and your family. I also wish that Anglicans in my country, Nigeria, are following the development but there seems to be nothing happening. I will be very happy to welcome my brethren to their home.

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