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Priests ordained to the world’s first ordinariate

By on Saturday, 15 January 2011

Archbishop Vincent Nichols with the first clergy of the world's first Personal Ordinariate (Photo: James Bradley)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols with the first clergy of the world's first Personal Ordinariate (Photo: James Bradley)

Three former Anglican bishops were ordained to the Catholic priesthood today as the founding members of the world’s first ordinariate for groups of ex-Anglicans.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster ordained the three men this morning at a packed Westminster Cathedral.

Keith Newton, the former Bishop of Richborough, Andrew Burnham, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, and John Broadhurst, the former Bishop of Fulham, were ordained Catholic priests just two days after their ordination to the diaconate and only two weeks after they were received into the Catholic Church.

The three men become the first clergy members of the world’s first personal ordinariate, established by a papal decree and known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, under the protection of Blessed John Henry Newman. The Ordinary, or head, of the ordinariate will be Fr Newton.

Fr Newton, Fr Burnham and Fr Broadhurst were three of five Anglican bishops in England and Wales who publicly announced that they would take up the offer made in the Pope’s November 2009 decree Anglicanorum coetibus.

All three were flying bishops in the Church of England, ministering to Anglo-Catholics who were not able in good conscience to accept the ordination of women priests. Their flocks are preparing to enter into the new ordinariate during Holy Week.

At the start of the Mass, Archbishop Nichols read the Bull establishing the ordinariate. In it, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the ordinariate “marks a unique and historic moment in the life of the Catholic community in this country”.

The three men were presented for ordination by Westminster auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes, himself a former Anglican.

In his homily, Archbishop Nichols thanked the Church of England, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Archbishop Nichols said: “I want in particular to recognise your dedication as priests and bishops of the Church of England and affirm the fruitfulness of your ministry.

“I thank so many in the Church of England who have recognised your sincerity and integrity in making this journey and who have assured you of their prayers and good wishes. First among these is Rowan, Archbishop of Canterbury, with his characteristic insight and generosity of heart and spirit. This journey of course involves some sad parting of friends. This too we recognise and it strengthens the warmth of our welcome.”

He added: “We thank our Holy Father Pope Benedict for not only placing this ordinariate under the protection of Our Lady of Walsingham but also for givuing it Bl John Henry Newman as its patron.”

Referring the Pope’s December 20 speech, Archbishop Nichols spoke about Blessed John Henry Newman’s idea of conscience.

He continued: “Today we thank the Holy Father for the courageous leadership he gives in establishing the first personal ordinariate. His intentions are clear. It is as he said, ‘a prophetic gesture’. It is to contribute to the wider goal of visible unity between our two Churches by helping us to know in practice how our patrimonies of faith and living can strengthen each other in our mission today.”

Archbishop Nichols said the Pope’s ministry was central to the visible unity of the Church.

He said: “It is central to the faith of those who enter into full communion in this ordinariat. It is central to the werlcome, encouragement and support the Catholic community in England and Wales gives to this development and to allk who seek to be part of it.”

He entrusted the ordinariate to the intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham.

After the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination, Mrs Broadhurst, Mrs Burnham and Mrs Newton brought their husbands the symbols of the priesthood, the vestments.

The three former Anglican Sisters at Walsingham, who were received into the Catholic Church with the former bishops, brought up the gifts to Archbishop Nichols.

The music at the Mass was sung by Westminster Cathedral choir. The Mass was Missa O quam gloriosum. There was music by Elgar and Stanford. The closing hymn was Newman’s “Praise to the Holiest in the Height”.

More than 60 priests from across England and Wales concelebrated at the Mass of Ordination and laid their hands on the ordinands. Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, Auxiliary Bishop William Kenny of Birmingham, Bishop Hopes and Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood were among the bishops concelebrating at the Mass.

At Communion, many people came up to receive blessings from the new priests.

Fifty priests and 35 groups of Anglican lay people are expected to go through the Evangelium course and be received into the Catholic Church at Easter. The former Anglican clergy entering into the ordinariate will then be ordained priests at Pentecost.

There were at least three Anglican bishops from the Catholic wing of the Church of England in the congregation, the Rt Rev Lindsay Urwin, the administrator of the Anglican shrine at Walsingham, the Rt Rev Robert Ladds, former Bishop of Whitby, and Rt Rev Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract.

Edwin Barnes, the retired Bishop of Richborough, David Silk, the retired bishop of Ballarat, and Robert Mercer, the former Bishop of Matabeleland, of the Traditional Anglican Communion, were in the congregation. So was Dr Robin Ward, the principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford.

Edwin Barnes will be received into the Catholic Church at the church of Our Lady and St Joseph, Lymington, at the end of January and will become a priest just before Lent begins, on March 5.

David Silk has already been received into the Catholic Church and will be ordained a priest of the ordinariate on February 18.

After the Mass, one young woman in the congregation who hopes to be in the first wave of the ordinariate, said: “I thought it was tremendous and very moving and utterly joyful and historic. I feel so proud and thankful to the Pope. It’s just beyond our wildest dreams.

“I want to say it’s like coming home. I know that’s a cliché, but that’s what it feels like.”

  • Attilio Negrini

    Fantastico!!! Tutti con Benedetto XVI!!!

  • Steve Foley

    I do hope they will be happier where they are now, and they can take the whole of “Forward in Faith” with them However they must bear in mind that unlike the good old C of E dissent will simply NOT be tolerated in their new home.

    BTW I am NOT some rabid low-church Proddie but a High Anglican but one who is in favour of Women as Priests and when the time comes as Bishops.

  • Lucywillmore

    This is not what most Catholics think – we do not need defectors – men who can not get their own way running off to join a different team – more thought and prayer and obeying their Archbishop would have be the correct way forward. The hurt and the division they have caused in not what we expect from a priest.

  • John-of-Hayling

    So Lucy the Pope has got it wrong again!

  • John-of-Hayling

    so it’s not over until the fat lady sings – or becomes a bishop!

  • H the C

    “we do not need defectors …” The Catholic Church needs *everybody*.

  • Anonymous

    It was a wonderful event, and I feel privileged to have been there.
    I wrote this account of the Mass, which you might be interested to read:

  • Conchúr


  • Knight Hospitaller

    We Romans don’t need our cranky brethren ruining a beautiful day. Didn’t your mom tell you that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?

  • Kenny

    This is exactly what most Catholics think. Welcome home. Cead mille failte!

  • Fr Michiel, Moscow, Russia

    Great article, thank you, Anna

  • Guest

    This news is wonderful and fills my heart with joy as a Latin Catholic and member of the Traditional Laitn Mass Movememt. I would just like to point out one small error that needs correction, however. There are not five former Anglican bishops who are coming into this structure; there are six. They keep forgetting about Bishop Robert Mercer, perhaps because he is not currently part of the Church of England but the very small Traditional Anglican Church. But he was, before that, a member of a Canterburian church (in Africa), so, no matter how you define the term ‘Anglican’, he will be a former Anglican bishops coming into the ordinariate.

    This is a first-rate day. A 475 rift between the Catholic Church and Anglican culture has been healed. Some Church of Englanders think that this trickle of 2011 will dry up as the aberrent concept of womanpriest is accepted. They are dead wrong. The reverse will happen: as the Church of England becomes nuttier and nuttier, especially when it comes to marriage in the future, this trickle will become a stream and then a river.

  • Fr Ged

    I can’t claim to know what most Catholics think, however it is quite unfair to doubt that thought and prayer were behind their step of faith. Also, obeying their Archbishop is not always the correct way forward – what a remarkable statement that is. Should the recusants have obeyed Cranmer? I have my doubts about the speed of events, but I want everybody to be Catholic.

  • sarah rosson

    I am rather confused about all this. Does this mean that the ordinariate can hear confessions and I can receive communion from them.

  • Kyriakos

    This is the comment of a liberal who is misinformed of Catholic faith and unhappy of a fellow Christian joining the Church found by Jesus.TWISTED LOGIC OF A LIBERAL MIND.You think they had to obey their Archbishop who acts against holy tradition and the words of the gospel.Moreover, this is not a different team as your liberal view tells you.They have joined the ‘team’ found by Jesus with valid apostolic succession. Well we true Catholics consider them as heroes who renounced their status in the church,stipend,family ties etc to join the Catholic Church.MAY BE YOU COULD THINK OF JOINING THE ANGLICAN CHURCH AND THE BELOVED (CANTERBURY) ARCHBISHOP.

  • Peter

    Hi Sarah,

    I don’t know if they have begun functioning as priests yet. But when they do, assuming that you are a Catholic, yes, you may confess to them, and receive the Eucharist.

  • Kyriakos

    You are right.Well though not a Latin Catholic I a Syriac Catholic, rejoice in seeing the Ordinariate being born and priests being ordained.It is wonderful news for the whole Roman Catholic Church.Praise be to the the Lord.This is the action of the Holy-Spirit.But there are heretics(sorry for using this so called archaic word)Catholic liberals and ultra-orthodox Catholics who are a bit unhappy.Hope they could imitate the same and leave the Church which does not accept ‘their teachings’.

  • Kyriakos

    Don’t be confused Peter is absolutely right.I exhort you to read the book ,’The Catechism of the Catholic Church’

  • Peter


    Are you saying that we should turn away converts to the Catholic faith in order to maintain good relations with Protestant groups?

    What nonsense.

  • meldrew

    Another excellent and informative report by Anna Arco. The Catholic Herald is one of the best newspapers in the UK, thanks to such high class journalism

  • Neville DeVilliers

    Sorry, but you’ll find that many Roman Catholics are getting “nuttier and nuttier” over the idea of women priests as well. The stream I see forming is an Anglican refuge in the Roman Catholic Church–the Ordinariate–and, in response, Anglicanism responding with an Ordinariate of its own for Catholics who support the idea of ordaining gay priests and the ordination of women to the priesthood. There are rumors of something along this line to be established by presiding bishop Shori of the Episcopal Church. To ensure valid, if not licitly ordained clergy, to meet Roman Catholic objections, it will be made up of Anglican priests ordained by Polish National Catholic, Church of Utrecht, or Orthodox bishops.
    To think only Anglicans are breaking up is to engage in a Fantasyland of self-deception..

  • Neville DeVilliers

    No, no convert should ever be turned away. Why wasn’t it perfectly fine for Anglicans to come through the front door directly, as they’ve done in the past? I would love to see an Anglican Rite established to which anyone is free to enter.

    The point is the Ordinariate is unfair to Roman Catholics. They will receive privileges no Latin-rite Catholic has. The Ordinariate is to have a system of oversight and ecclesial governance, which doesn’t exist in the Latin Church today. Latin-rite priests do not receive the same privileges. I can’t believe archbishop Nichols, the UK and US hierarchy took this Ordinariate lying down and are happy with it.
    They accepted what was ordered by Pope Benedict. In a spirit of obedient submission to the wishes of the Supreme Pontiff. After all, he’s the boss, right?

  • Neville DeVilliers

    Kyriakos, You prove a point I’ve made earlier. This Ordinariate is turning out to be a fount of disunity, discord, back-biting, second-guessing, squabbling parsons and priests, with nobody very happy with the results other than the ordained former bishops of the CofE and some Anglo Catholics who no longer feel happy or comfortable within the Church of England. Irrespective of Cardinal Levada’s annoucement and the happy chatter from others, this is not a good foundation upon which to build this moment of Anglican and Roman Catholic witness.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    It doesn’t mean Romans have to roll over, pretend all is well, shut up, sit down, obey the pope, or play dead either. The Ordinariate leaves more unanswered questions rather than immediate solutions.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    God bless Pope Lucy.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    In time Rome and Orthodoxy too will see the error of their ways when it comes to women in the priesthood.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    Oh yes, but Latin-rite or cradle Catholics can’t assume the same status within the Ordinariate as Anglican converts will have. You could change your rite, become a Greek Catholic, Russian Catholic, Maronite, etc. You would be removed from the jurisdiction of your local Latin-rite bishop and you would come under the “omophorion” as they say in the Byzantine rite. You would be transferring your status as a Latin sheep to an eastern-rite shepherd.
    Rome cleverly arranged this Ordinariate so that cradle-born Latin-rite members wouldn’t become too enchanted with the Anglican patrimony and adopt it in toto. If a young, unmarried, Roman Catholic is thinking of switching to the Ordinariate, and would like to enter the seminary, marry, and go on to ordination as a priest of the Anglican Usage (remember it is in the Latin Church), then he is prevented from doing so under current rules.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    Where Kyriakos do you find any mention of the Anglican Ordinariate in “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”? So few Catholics even bother with John Paul II’s catechism,because so much emphasis is placed upon obeying rather than learning. Too bad. I hope Pope Benedict will live long enough to change the entire tone of that catechism. Unfortunately, I doubt it will ever happen.

  • Agatha Runcible

    I think these guys are trying to find the fullness of faith and we are just making it easier for them. Kids we’ve got it, we can afford to be generous. Isn’t that what our lord would’ve wanted?

  • Kyriakos

    Well I think your reply proves what I had just commanded before.How could you say that the ordinariate is turning out to be a fount of disunity just days after it was born? Why do you say that it is unwise to judge the future of the just born ordinariate.It is in the hands of the Holy-Spirit.I would call that pre-judgement or prejudice.Why do you call them squabbling parsons,because they stood for what they thought was the truth.I hope you would become more broadminded.Who are this ‘nobody’ who are not very happy.Many of us are happy.May be the liberal and ultra-orthodox Catholics are unhappy.I would like to hear your explanation on why it is not a good foundation upon which to build this moment of Anglican and Roman Catholic witness. Well if Anglican witness today means inclusion in a naive sense as they understand,we Catholics who follow the teaching of the Church believe that their witness has serious inadequacies and is sometimes a counter witness to Jesus and his gospel.I hope that you could appreciate a minority group which courageously stands for what it believes to be the truth(even if that perception of truth differs from yours) and not judge them on the judgement seat like some others who call them sexists,homophobes,back biters,squabblers.I think they deserve great respect.

  • Kyriakos

    didn’t say that the Catechism says anything of the Ordinariate.I mentioned it because reading the “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” will remove a lot of confusion.Of course if you are willing to learn and obey. Though many might not have read it, their pastors do explain to them the catechism.I didn’t find any problem with the tone of the catechism and moreover I met Jesus there and learned from him. It was as Jesus spoke through the Church who is our mother. Hope that one day you start learning from the catechism and obeying the Word of God explained in it.

    Spritual learning leads to obedience(doing the will of God).

  • Kyriakos

    So your are a sort of seer.Hope you don’t think you are infallible. I respect your opinion but could you just pause for a while and think, well could there be error in my thinking on women’s ordination. I know you would be calling us the other way.Well people like me have thought of both arguments and have decided to accept the official teaching of the Church. Well also I would respectfully request liberals like you(if you are Roman Catholics) not to enforce your ‘teachings’ on us but but following the example of the people joining the ordinariate think of joining other communities which accept these ‘teachings’

  • Kyriakos

    So you have made Lucy the pope.Nice you didn’t make Lucifer the pope.But that could be expected from a desperate liberal.

  • RobThom

    Ratzinger has a political mission to try and increase numbers of Catholics in England by poaching some of those who are dealing with the Church’s need to deal with contemporatry social challenges. Unfortunately, this ordinariate will damage the Christian Faith in England because it will confirm to those who are non church goers that Faith is about political confrontation between denominations. Catholics believe they exclusively are the Church. Ratzinger is trying to plant a Counter Reformation in England but his actions are at a time of severe decline in Christian faith in Europe and America. He is taking people away from one dwindling denomination into his dwindling denomination – not much of a net improvement in spreading the Gospel.

  • Athelstane

    “Why wasn’t it perfectly fine for Anglicans to come through the front door directly, as they’ve done in the past?”

    Because neither the prospective Anglican converts trust the liberals running the E&W Episcopate any farther than they can throw them – trust them to provide sound teaching, or liturgy that isn’t banal.

  • Lee

    This is not the World’s first ordinariate. Thought I would let the Herald know.

  • Lee

    I sense an Anglican in thee !

  • Lee

    Very true. The whole joke of ‘collegiality’ has rent asunder the work done by countless martyrs, men and women who made sure that the Catholic Church stayed fast in this country. An Ordinariate if anything could act as a back-door to ‘turning the clock back’ a bit more because as many noted in the past, Anglo-Catholics were more definite and more ‘catholic’ than many Catholics who have grown up with that ecclesiological abuse known as Vat II and its counterpart Novus Ordo.

  • Bernadettey44

    Roman Catholic priests don’t need an ordinariate to become Anglican priests. In England some Anglicans already use the Novus Ordo/OF. I don’t think any Catholics will enter the Anglican church if they want women priests, they will just keep trying to change the Church, which of course, will fail

    If any leave it will just make the Church purer and will unify the Church again.

  • Kyriakos

    This poaching argument is because you are ignorant of the facts.It is the Anglicans who requested the pope for unification into the Catholic Church as a group.And he graciously granted it.Simply don’t repeat something you had read somewhere in the liberal press,know the facts.Well I don’t understand your obsession with politics.Are you a politician or political enthusiast.Well lots of people are sensible and they will understand that these people left the Anglican communion because of what they had serious difference in opinion.Well the Ratzinger you have been referring to you payed a visit to England which was an incredible spiritual success.It helped a lot of people rediscover their faith. This Ratzinger, who sensible and decent people refer to as pope Benedict 16 is one of the brilliant minds of modern times.He is considered to be the greatest theologian to become pope in 300 years and arguably in the last 800 years after Innocent 3.

  • almostholymoly

    No news of this on the BBC yet? Wonder why. Unless I’ve missed it!

  • John

    Peace and Good, Your article is very good, but I suggest that the first sentence of the article be adjusted: there are Military Ordinariates in many countries.

  • Kenny

    Wrong on every possible level

  • The Catholic Herald

    Thanks. We’ve changed the first paragraph to make it clearer.

  • The Catholic Herald

    Thanks for pointing that out. We’ve changed the first paragraph to make it clearer.

  • imieh anthony josef

    A new and happy moment for Anglo-catholic renewal. i consider this a first miracle of the ecumenical dialogue therapy. “……that they may be one as i and you are one”!

  • Mcecilia64

    Con mi corazon lleno de gozo por este maravillosa VEATIFICACION a mi querido Juan Pablo II, es lo que mas espera para mostrar al mundo lo Santo que era, gracias a ti Dios por este milagro uno mas y el mas esperado por todos los que lo amamos….. GRACIAS

  • Puzzled

    And so, yet again, the Catholic church finds it long standing prohibition of married clergy, a source of untold misery to generations of troubled men, inside and often cast out of its priesthood, a convenient rule to sidestep.For whom? For a group bitterly opposed to women sharing in the role which they themselves enjoy and treasure.

    Are there no Catholics out there brave enough to stand up and say that they feel shame that this has come to pass. One again we see a grave insult to all those women in the church striving, albeit vainly, to achieve a priestly role. They too are entitled to aspire to what their Anglican and Presbyterian sisters have attained.

    The RC laity too must look on in incredulity as they see their church open its doors to the whole motley crew whom Pope Benedict seems to treasure.

  • Rob Thom

    To Kyriakos: May you find peace.

  • Rob Thom

    To Kyriakos: May you find peace.