Ex-Anglican bishops ordained as Catholics

John Broadhurst and Andrew Burnham Ex-bishops Broadhurst and Burnham were unhappy about the direction of the Anglican Church

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Three former Anglican bishops, unhappy with the ordination of women, are to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests at Westminster Cathedral.

Their ordination will signal the inauguration of a special section of the Catholic Church for such Anglicans.

Keith Newton, Andrew Burnham and John Broadhurst will take up roles in the section known as the Ordinariate.

Other traditionalist Anglican clergy have spoken of their sadness and anger about the bishops' conversion.

Mr Burnham, former bishop of Ebbsfleet, along with fellow "flying bishops" Mr Newton (ex-bishop of Richborough) and Mr Broadhurst (Fulham), had all formerly supervised Church of England parishes that had opted out of contact with women priests.

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The ordination of former Anglican bishops as Roman Catholic priests could fundamentally change the Church they leave behind. ”

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Mr Newton has estimated that about 50 more Anglican clergy might join the Roman Catholic church in the coming months - along with members of their congregations.

Like some other traditionalist clergy on the Catholic wing of the Church of England, they opposed the introduction of women bishops, and do not believe sufficient provision was being made for traditionalists to avoid coming under the jurisdiction of women.

The Vatican will allow them to maintain a distinct religious identity and spiritual heritage within the Ordinariate.

Other Anglican traditionalists have warned that the bishops' departure will jeopardise the future of the Church of England as a broad Church able to balance its Protestant and Catholic traditions.

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