Monday, January 17, 2011

History overturned as Anglican bishops are ordained as Catholic priests

From The London Guardian-

In its 100-plus years Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of English Catholicism, will have seen few stranger sights than Saturday's procession of three Anglican bishops' wives, in matching beige coats, one with an outsized brown hat, going up on to the high altar to embrace their husbands, all newly ordained as Catholic priests. Catholicism isn't that keen on women on the altar – to the pain of the demonstrators from the Catholic Women's Ordination movement protesting outside the cathedral's doors – and it doesn't usually countenance priests having wives.

But this was no ordinary ceremony. Almost everyone who spoke during it used the word "historic" to describe the ordination as Catholic priests of John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, all formerly Anglican bishops.

It is the Vatican's negative attitude to women's ministry that formed the backdrop to the whole affair. The three recruits oppose the Church of England's plans to appoint female bishops and regard the Catholic priesthood as a safe, female-free haven.

There has been a steady stream of converts since the Church of England voted in favour of female priests in 1992. What made the two-hour service in Westminster Cathedral genuinely historic, however, was that these three men were not simply joining the ranks of Britain's six million Catholics, or even being granted a special dispensation from Rome's usual rules to allow them to become married Catholic priests. That, too, has been happening in small numbers since 1992.

More here-

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