LONDON (RNS) Five bishops have decided to leave the Church of England and join the Roman Catholic Church under the Vatican’s new program to welcome disaffected Anglicans.
The decision by three active and two retired bishops was reported Monday (Nov. 8) by the British Press Association (PA) and confirmed by the Vatican’s top spokesman in Rome.
Under a plan announced last year by the Vatican, Anglicans can ally with the Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage, including married clergy.

The five Anglican bishops were identified as Bishop of Ebbsfleet Andrew Burnham; Bishop of Fulham John Broadhurst; Bishop of Richborough Keith Newton; and two retirees, former bishop of Richborough Edwin Barnes, and the former bishop of Ballarat (Australia), David Silk.
Burnham described the shift to the Vatican as a “fresh, new opportunity for the churches to move close together.” But he denied that the ongoing controversy over women bishops in the Anglican Church was the reason.
“Women bishops is a pressing issue,” Burnham told the British Press Association, “but this is a question of whether the Anglican Church is, as it says it is, part of the universal church going back to the time of Jesus, or whether it is going off in its own way and making up its own rules, as we think it is.”
“We are pioneers,” Burnham said, but he also predicted that “there will be priests and parishes who will follow in due course.” Burnham said he had “made this decision in neither sadness nor anger.”
Broadhurst said he is “excited but nervous about entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.”
He conceded that “I don’t know what the future holds,” but that “it will either be a huge success or a huge flop.”
The head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, said in a statement, “We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the church and I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labors in the Church of England over many years.”
— Al Webb
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Remembering the millions of men, women and children who died at the hands of the Holocaust is part of our past that we must commit to reflecting on, even with the passage of time. Speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square January 26th, the pope said that “in the face of this immense tragedy, this […]

A new video by The Lincoln Project, a newly formed Republican organization against Donald Trump, mocks Trump supporters for worshiping “The MAGA Church.” The ad intertwines clips of Trump talking about faith with videos of him speaking crudely. It also features Bible verses, such as Matthew 7:15 which states “Beware of false prophets, which come […]

Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk is generating a lot of buzz right now for comparing the impeachment process of President Donald Trump to the Trial of Jesus. Loudermilk whose district covers a large part of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, spoke at Trump’s impeachment hearing and made these controversial remarks: “When Jesus was falsely accused of Treason, Pontius […]

Less Americans are giving to charity and it may not be for the reason you’re thinking. Giving has dropped significantly between 2000 and 2016 according to a study released from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable. This decline points to 20 million fewer households donating to charity versus 2000. Money […]