Pope makes former C.of E. Bishops his Monsignori

Pope makes former Anglican bishops monsignori

By Anna Arco on Thursday, 17 March 2011

Pope makes former Anglican bishops monsignoriThe three former Anglican bishops at their ordination to the priesthood in January (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

The Pope has honoured three former Anglican bishops, the first members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, with the title of monsignor.

Fr Keith Newton, the leader of the Ordinariate who has most of the functions of a bishop, and Fr John Broadhurst, the former Bishop of Fulham, have been granted the papal award of Apostolic Pronotary, the highest ecclesial title for non-bishops. Fr Andrew Burnham, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, has been granted the papal award of Prelate of Honour, and is therefore also a monsignor.

The three men became the first clergy of the world’s first personal ordinariate set up for groups of former Anglicans as a result of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in January.

Groups of former Anglicans will be received into the Church in Holy Week and the priests for the ordinariate will be ordained around Pentecost.

The ordinary expects that about 900 people will become members of the ordinariate in Holy Week, including 61 members of the clergy. A majority of the laity entering the ordinariate took part in Rite of Election ceremonies across the country last weekend.

Fr Newton said: “I am really delighted by the numbers of Anglican laity who have begun the journey into the full Communion with the Catholic Church in Holy Week. It has not been an easy journey for many but I know they will be greatly blessed. The Rites of Election (or Enrolment for ordinariate members) around the dioceses marked a very moving and important part of the journey so far.”


This is the reward of 3 of the former Anglican Bishops of the Church of England who fled to the ‘Ordinariates’ from their roles as ‘Flying Bishops‘ in the Church of England recently.

The title ‘Monsignor’ is normally given to clergy who are not bishops, but have attained sufficient seniority within the Roman Catholic Church as to require special commendation.

It remains to be seen what this particular advancement within the R.C. Ordinariate in the UK will actually mean , in terms of ecclesial authority vis a vis local Roman Catholic Bishops in England and Wales, who will no doubt want no interference from former Anglicans in their respective jurisdictions.

All in all, this will be a challenge, not only for the Ordinariate members (both clerical and lay, whose numbers as yet are unknown but probably small), but also for the Roman Catholic Church members with whom they will probably seek to become an integrated part of the larger ‘Catholic’ community.

I am particularly interested in the title of the Ordinariate which has been set up in England, under the patronage of ‘Our Lady of Walsingham’, who has her own dedicated Anglican Shrine, in situ, in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England – a popular place of pigrimage for Anglo-Catholics, most of whom will not be a part of the Ordinariate. This may pose a challenge for the Anglican Shrine authorities, who are duty bound to cater for traditional Anglicans – rather than Roman Catholics (even those who have fled to the Ordinariate)

Roman Catholics. of course, have their own Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, re-built aroung the old ‘Slipper Chapel; where the mediaeval pilgrims used to shed their shoes, on their way to visit the original Shrine – now in Anglican territory.

When I first visited the Anglican Shrine, in 1960, the Slipper Chapel (in the hands of the R.C. Church) was still in its original state of semi-ruin. However, since that time, the Roman Catholics have built a magnificent edifice to enclose the original chapel. There is now, also, a R.C. chapel in the grounds of the Anglican Shrine buildings. One supposes that this will become the venue for the Ordinariate’s visitations – separate from the R.C. Shrine in the former Slipper Chapel. It will be very interesting to see what sort of convergence will be taking place at Walsingham in the days to come. One can only hope that the main Shrine will not lose it’s Anglican character.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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1 Response to Pope makes former C.of E. Bishops his Monsignori

  1. Christopher Lee says:

    I sense that you are not a supporter of the Ordinariate.

    Undoubtedly, there will be challenges to the members of the Ordinariate as they integrate into the Roman Catholic Church.

    However, I ask that you look into the experiences of the Eastern-Rite Catholics. All in all, the 23 Easter-Rites took more than a century to re-establish communion wtih Rome in the 15th century.

    Relatives to their Roman-rite brethens, the Eastern-Rite Catholics are ardent supporters of Marian devotion and veneration of the Saints. They are also staunch papal supporters.

    I have no doubt that in due course, the Ordinariate will speardhead the revivial of traditional Catholicism as the Eastern-Rite Catholics are doing.

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