Reading: Anglican clergyman in church swap

18 03 2011

From the getreading website:

A West Reading Anglican priest was among the first in the country to take his flock over to the Catholic church last week.

Father David Elliott has resigned his post at the Most Holy Trinity Church in Oxford Road and taken 15 fellow Anglicans from the church to form an ordinariate at St James’s Roman Catholic Church in Abbot’s Walk in the town centre.

The group became Catholics on Ash Wednesday last week.

They were among 30 groups across the country making the move following the decision last year by the Church of England General Synod to support the ordination of women bishops.

Father David explained the move was made possible by an apostolic order by Pope Benedict which allowed groups of Anglicans to convert together.

He said: “Obviously people have always been able to convert to become Roman Catholics as individuals but this allowed groups to move over together.”

Father David, 36, will train to become a Roman Catholic priest later this year.

He avoided the phrase ‘Anglo-Catholic’ and said: “I have always regarded myself as part of the traditional Catholic church. We would look to the Roman Catholic church for our guidance, for our moral teaching.”

He said the movement really began with the Oxford movement in 1830 but when the decision was made to ordain women bishops it was no longer possible for some people to remain in the Church of England.

He said: “In a sense this is the endgame.”

Ordination of women bishops, he said, was part of a wider problem in the Church of England.

“It had wanted very much to become part of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age,” he said, adding that the Pope had held on to the traditions and resisted the need to change with the times.

Father Elliott said he was making the move “with some sadness” but also with great joy.

He added: “I believe that this will actually unite the Church of England. There is going to be a bit of a crisis in the Church of England at first, but in a sense this will help the Church of England because now it might be able to go ahead and make all the decisions it wants to make because we won’t be there to make difficulties.”

The new Reading Ordinariate will hold a service every Sunday at St James’s Church in Abbot’s Walk at 9.30am.

Father David explained it was an ordinary Roman Catholic service and was already being joined by Roman Catholic worshippers.


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