Here is a statement released Monday by Reverend Keith Newton, the leader of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The statement responds to Monday’s vote by the Church of England to allow women bishops.
The ordinariate, based in Britain, like other ordinariates established in other parts of the globe, is a spiritual home for former Anglicans who desire full communion with the Catholic Church. The ordinariates were established in 2009 by Benedict XVI.
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For many in the Church of England this will be a very happy day. Having agreed to permit women priests in 1992, the Church of England’s decision today to allow women bishops is the next logical step. What is undeniable is that both developments make harder the position of those within the Church of England who still long for corporate unity with the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Pope Benedict XVl’s decision to set up the ordinariates – allowing former Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them much of the Anglican heritage and tradition – was made in response to repeated requests from Anglicans who longed for unity with the Catholic Church. It was a prophetic and generous ecumenical gesture because it demonstrated the possibility of unity of faith with diversity of expression.
On 6 September the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is holding a Called To Be One exploration day, which is aimed at making the Ordinariate more widely known and understood and reaching those whom God may be calling to join it. Groups across the country will stage an event on the day. Each event will be different – it may be Choral Evensong followed by refreshments and a presentation about the Ordinariate or it might be a debate or a talk – but all the events will focus on the vision for Christian unity at the heart of the Ordinariate. All who are interested – whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do – are warmly invited to attend.
The Rt Revd Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.