Daily Telegraph: ‘Seven Anglican priests and 300 parishioners join Catholic church’

24 01 2011

From the Telegraph online:

Seven Church of England priests and 300 members of their congregations are converting to a new section of the Roman Catholic church.

The group, from three parishes in Essex and three in East London, is the biggest so far to announce its move to the Ordinariate, which was set up by the Vatican as a haven for disaffected traditionalist Anglicans who oppose the ordination of women.

Three of the vicars, from Chelmsford, Hockley and Benfleet, will now train to become Catholic deacons under the unprecedented structure, which will allow them to retain parts of their spiritual heritage and may lead to church-sharing.

It is another boost for the Ordinariate, following the high-profile conversion earlier this month of three former Church of England bishops.

The latest “very big move” has been welcomed by the Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, the Rt Rev Thomas McMahon.

He told the BBC: “They relinquish their present post, a very big thing, leaving some of their people which brings heartache, into a fairly unknown future, as this ordinariate has only just been brought up.

“It calls for huge faith and huge trust because the future isn’t that certain.”

The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, said: “Although I’m sorry these people are going, I do respect their decision.”

But he added that the conversions involve “a small group of people” and insisted: “The Church of England remains the church for everyone.”


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