Reading Chronicle: Vicar converts to Catholicism

4 07 2011

From the Reading Chronicle:

A former Anglican clergyman has completed his conversion after being ordained a Catholic priest.

Reading Ordinariate leader Father David Elliott was anointed by the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth the Right Rev Crispian Hollis [corr] at St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, on Saturday. [25]

Father David is among the first wave of clerics joining a global break away to Catholicism, spurred on by Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to accommodate Anglicans within the Roman Catholic Church through the English Ordinariate – a group for Church of England traditionalists wishing to switch allegiance while retaining some of their Anglican traditions.

It follows last year’s Church of England General Synod ruling, supporting the ordination of women bishops in England for the first time, which caused a rift between traditionalists and modernisers.

Some 55 priests around the country have converted – with Father David among the first three in the Portsmouth Diocese.

The 36-year-old set up the Reading Ordinariate in St James’ Church, Forbury Road, in March, after resigning his post at Oxford Road’s Holy Trinity Church. He said: “It was a very special moment. I am thrilled to be ordained and now I can begin serving people to the full and welcome new people.”

Father David’s 17-strong flock, which is among 30 other groups in Britain, has been warmly welcomed by both Catholics and Anglicans, with some of his congregation travelling from as far as Ascot for 9.15am Sunday Mass at St James’.

He added: “I am sure there are many people who are thinking of joining, but whether the growth is quick or slow it needs to be genuine. People need to want to do it and it’s about quality rather than quantity. We want to reach as many people as possible.”

Father David has also been appointed as Head of Theology at The Oratory School, Woodcote, and will teach religious education there from September.