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English Cardinal Ordains ex-Anglican Bishop as Catholic Priest

English Cardinal Ordains ex-Anglican Bishop as Catholic Priest

By David W. Virtue, DD
November 1, 2021

On Saturday, English Cardinal Vincent Nichols ordained former Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali as a Catholic priest in full communion with Rome within the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Archbishop of Westminster described the ordination Mass at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory, Warwick Street, London, as "a moment of great joy."

The personal ordinariate was created by Benedict XVI in 2011 for groups of former Anglicans seeking to preserve elements of their patrimony.

"The Church places such trust and confidence in the effectiveness of the ordained ministry," the cardinal said in his homily at the live-streamed Mass.

Not everybody is seeing it that way. Many Anglicans see it as a betrayal of the Reformation, specifically the doctrine of Justification by Faith. Catholics, on the other hand, see it as a natural progression of Anglicans coming back to Rome, following Henry VIII's disastrous split from Rome and his excommunication by the pope, beginning the English Reformation.

The 72-year-old was once considered a possible future Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans.

But sources tell VOL, that he was not regarded here as a significant intellectual figure. "I don't think he has taught in a university theology department or published any big books. He was totally overshadowed by Archbishop Rowan Williams when the appointment was made of a successor to George Carey. His expertise is in Arabic and Islam, of which most of the Church of England remains woefully ignorant and reluctant to accept the dangers it poses to western civilization."

"There are rumors of a slew of retired bishops preparing to follow him across the Tiber, including the three who attended yesterday's service, and perhaps another of the flying bishops. Many conservatives here can see that the past seven years since the approval of women bishops has been the lull before the storm which will occur when they are sufficient in number to insist on our exclusion from ordination or appointment. The end of the Oxford Movement is about to occur."

"I really cannot believe that he now intellectually and spiritually subscribes to the whole cycle of Roman doctrine and canon law. He was after all one of the leading proponents of women's ordination in the Church of England, and rushed to ordain them in his diocese. He appointed as his Chaplain the first woman archdeacon in the CofE. He was widely regarded as a liberal Evangelical."

Dr. Nazir-Ali took part in the second phase of the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC-II) and was a member of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).


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