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Leading Church historian to be received into personal ordinariate

By on Thursday, 4 October 2012

Dr Edward Norman, the historian and former Canon Chancellor of York Minister, will be received into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on Sunday.

In an article for this newspaper, Dr Norman explains the reasons for his decision to become a Catholic.

He argues that Anglicanism has “no basis for its authority” as its confession “varies from place to place and person to person”. He says: “At the centre of Anglicanism is a great void.”

He adds: “The Church of England provides a masterclass in equivocation; it also, however, is the residence of very many good and faithful Christian people who deserve respect – for their perseverance in so many incoherent spiritual adventures.

“To leave their company is a wrench; to adhere to the Catholic faith is to join the encompassing presence of a universal body of believers in whose guardianship are the materials of authentic spiritual understanding… I have immense gratitude.”

According to a spokesman for the ordinariate, the former Reith lecturer will be received into the ordinariate on Sunday following a “profound intellectual and spiritual journey nurtured and enabled by the Anglican tradition”.

The spokesman said: “Preserving those gifts and enriching them with the peace and communion offered by union with the successor of Peter is the most natural course of action for Anglicans who have a genuine desire for Christian unity.

“We are delighted to welcome Edward Norman, whose considerable academic standing bears witness to the seriousness with which he has taken this decision.”

Dr Edward Norman’s article about crossing the Tiber is available in full in this week’s Catholic Herald

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Welcome home!
    And thank you for enriching the Catholic Church with your intellectual wealth.

  • teigitur

    This is great news. He is a clergyman of the highest calibre. Welcome home!

  • Grumpy Anon

    I’m slightly confused. I’ve just read an interview from 2004 suggesting he was about to be received then. What happened?

    In any case, great news for the Ordinariate to be gaining this fearlessly unfashionable thinker.

  • Benedict Carter

    Good news. We can do with some serious thinkers in the Church in England. 

  • Charles Martel

    Huge news! Welcome, Dr Norman! You will be a much better Catholic than I could ever hope to be.

  • sandygrounder

    God Bless You Dr Norman. Welcome to the Church.

  • Harry_piper

     Great news! Must pray for him. Anyone who hasn’t heard his Reith Lectures, check them out on iTunes (he’s a very interesting guy, even if you don’t agree with him).

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    I was given to believe that he had already converted but chose not to function as a priest. I can’t blame him for taking so long though. 85% of those who come through the RCIA lapse so the Ordinariate is a healthier model.

  • Warren

    Welcome home! Peace be with you Dr. Norman.

  • JabbaPapa

    Welcome home, and God bless this Ordinariate of our Holy Church.

  • Diffal

    Great to hear this, cardinal Newman’s words ring true in every generation. I wish Dr. Norman every blessing

  • Patrick_Hadley

    This article in the Daily Telegraph tells of his conversion eight years ago. According to Damian Thompson at that time he was not an Anglo-Catholic, but a Low Church member of the CofE.

    It is not clear from this article whether Dr Norman is going to be ordained as a Catholic priest, or whether he is simply to become a lay member of the Ordinariate. Is there a rite of reception for a lay person who has been a Catholic for eight years to be received into the Ordinariate?

  • William Tighe

     He had certain intellectual difficulties that made it impossible to go ahead at that time, so he is only now becoming a Catholic.

  • Patrick_Hadley

     Does Dr Norman explain the intellectual difficulties that prevented him from becoming a Catholic for the last eight years? Having finally resolved these difficulties is he now on a fast track to ordination as a Catholic priest?

  • William Tighe

     I have never seen the nature of the “difficulties” discussed in print, and do not know whether he will be ordained.

  • JabbaPapa

    Is there a rite of reception for a lay person who has been a Catholic for eight years to be received into the Ordinariate?

    If his conversion to Catholicism was not sacramentally sealed at the time, the rite in question is Confirmation.

  • David Lindsay

    Both an extended review of Dr Norman’s most recent books, and a study of the Ordinariate, are included in this book –

    Ignore the nasty comments, which are all by the same person, a former student of mine who in addition to being a very lapsed and strongly pro-abortion Catholic, has mental health problems and is known to the Police for harassment. Yet he is the reason why this book is never reviewed. Work that out.

  • Mr Grumpy

    Whereas if it was, you can’t of course be confirmed twice. The rite in this case is, I believe, Filling in an Application Form!

  • Parasum

    “He argues that Anglicanism has “no basis for its authority” as its confession “varies from place to place and person to person”. He says: “At the centre of Anglicanism is a great void.””

    ## And that doesn’t apply in the CC ? Our “unchanging” Faith changes accirding to the will of the reigning Pope: they have power over time itself, to make a doctrine invented only in 1965 the faith of the Church from the beginning. Truth is created by the Pope – anmd uncreated when it becomes an embarrassment. Limbo used to be an accepted doctrine, as the writings of Councils and Doctors &  Saints & theologians show – then in 2007, history was wiped clean, and the Church learned it had never been more than a theory.

    According to the  present Pope, with his “Ratzinger formula”:

    “Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than what had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium . . . Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.”  

    IOW – the Holy Spirit changes message, according as He is in Istanbul or Rome. In Istanbul, it is the Faith that the Pope has no primacy of jurisdiction; but when in Rome, the Holy Spirit teaches the Pope has that selfsame jurisdiction. There is the small detail that if Ratzinger is correct, many Popes have misled the Church for over 700 years – but hey, who cares about that ? Yesterday’s heresy and error that incurred excommunication is today’s orthodoxy to be accepted on pain of excommunication.

    “He adds: “The Church of England provides a masterclass in equivocation;”

    ## In the CC, one of its names is “ecumenical dialogue”; another is “the hermeneutic of continuity”; a third form of it is perhaps more familiar, because much older, and is named “mental reservation” (which is a perfectly legitimate tactic, BTW). Anglican equivocation operates in different ways from the Catholic version – that in no way means equivocation is not rampant in the CC.

    I wonder whether he knows that the German bishops approve of simony ? The C of E has its problems, but that is not one of them. And if he thinks the C of has unbelieving clergy while the CC is free of them, he is sadly mistaken. Movements to ordain women ? ‘Fraid so.  The CC has every scandal and evil found of the C of E, and then some. And far more of its membership is a dead weight, because it is about 14 times the size of the Anglican Communion. 

    Welcome to Hell, Doctor Norman.

  • Wesley Mcgranor

    Seemingly a successful gimmick you have, Papist. Still, you show the fruits of ecumenism.

  • Patrickhowes

    Yes but as long as they realise that they are moving in to a Chutch whose origens are of the East and not Anglican and embrace Catholic morality and virtues.

  • Stephen

    The Church of England “is the residence of very many good and faithful Christian people who deserve respect for their perseverance in so many incoherent spiritual adventures”. Are we really supposed to believe that the average Anglican in the pew thinks like that? Of course those contemplating the Ordinariate might do so, but they are actually a minority, not a majority, of Anglicans. 

  • Isaac

    He didn’t make any comments on what the “average Anglican in the pew” thinks, only that there are “very many good and faithful Christian people” in the CoE. Perhaps you have not read the article very carefully?

  • 12Maria34

    Welcome home …

  • Stephen

    Perhaps you haven’t read my question carefully. I didn’t suggest that he did comment on what the “average Anglican in the pew” thinks. I asked whether such people really think they are engaged in “incoherent spiritual adventures” 



  • Guest686

    welcome sir and bring others along with you. If one day our two communions can be one it will be a great day. That day will surely come when Prince Charles is king. But at the grassroots the union has started. I expected confusion but the personal ordinate is working out rather well. Again I am reminded that there can be unity in diversity (like in the creation of the United States as a country) and that UNITY and UNIFORMITY are two different words. I think if we think hard there can be UNITY without UNIFORMITY?

  • Acstilwell

    I have a lot of time for this guy (Dr Edward Norman).

  • MMJ

    Disagree…you are confused at best…flat wrong at worse…perseverance in charity and peace is the answer.  The Holy Spirit took the Catholic Church’s “training wheels” off the faith at Vatican II…and it can be a “rough ride on pothole roads”…but perseverance and obedience is what God asks of us.  Who we going to go to Lord…? The doctor is a smart “big boy”…he can handle all the “warts” of a Divine Church filled with us human sinners.  So, sit back relax,,,have a cigar and a glass of wine.  Cheers!

  • KW

    Usual bland silliness of “Welcome home.” Home for a Christian is in another place; this is but the journey.