Three Anglican bishops (now “former” Anglican bishops) were ordained as Catholic priests last January in a historic event, fully supported by their wives. This is all the stranger since Catholic priests are not allowed to have wives. So why did these Anglican bishops jump ship?
It is the Vatican’s negative attitude to women’s ministry that formed the backdrop to the whole affair. The three recruits oppose the Church of England’s plans to appoint female bishops and regard the Catholic priesthood as a safe, female-free haven. (Here)
Not surprisingly there was a demonstration from the Catholic Woman’s Ordination movement protesting out the front doors.
What made this event more unique is that it functioned more or less as the inauguratory of a new program set up by the Pope to make room within Catholicism for Anglican dissenters. The leader of this new program, called Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, is Keith Newton one of the three dissenters at this particular inaugural ceremony. Father Newton is the first “to preside over a church within a church, where the normal rules of Catholicism don’t apply.”
As the debate for women bishops heats up in the Anglican commune, more bishops are jumping ship and heading to Rome as recently as a few days ago (here). It is expected that the Anglican church will vote to fully approve women bishops next year with the offices beginning to fill up in 2014.
What do you think about this? Do you think that the Catholic Church itself will one day ordain women bishops?