About 50 Church of England priests opposed to the consecration
of women as bishops are expected to be in the first wave of Anglicans to take up an offer by Pope Benedict and convert to Rome. The traditionalist priests will be joined by five bishops and 30 groups of parishioners, in a structure called an ordinariate, or a Church subdivision, in the new year.
About 300 priests switched in the early 1900s when women were ordained as priests. Then they did not have the comfort of moving over in groups, and nearly 70 returned to the Anglican fold.
Here, one priest explains why he stayed, while another describes why he returned.Peter Bolton...was a priest in the Church of England for 10 years before becoming a Roman Catholic. Just one year later he returned to the C of E.
"Why did I come back? Because I had not counted the cost. I knew I would lose house and income – I was a Vicar – but I had not reckoned on the utter loneliness of the experience, the personal cost.
But I will never forget how I felt when I realised how much my own mother was hurting because I had gone to Rome, or how my best friend could hardly bring himself to speak to me for days after my Reception and Confirmation. There were others too.
So I came back. I could not bear hurting people."
....Father Jeremy Davies was brought up in the Church of England in Suffolk. His grandfather had been an Anglican vicar. Father Jeremy has been an administrator of Barnet parish, in London, for six years.
"I have no regrets in becoming a Catholic, not withstanding a few setbacks along the way.
To those who are coming into the Ordinariate I wish them every blessing. It will not be easy to adjust to the new life. Spiritually, it is a coming home, culturally it is a foreign land. It is not until you come into the Catholic Church that you realise the impact of the hierarchy. Parishioners will have to get used to first referring to their bishop and to teachings of the Church before looking to each other for guidance."