Anglican bishop to join Roman Catholic Church

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The Independent Online
AN ANGLICAN bishop has decided to join the Roman Catholic Church in reaction to the Church of England's decision to ordain women priests. The first bishop to make such a move, he has asked that his name is not revealed yet. He is not one of the 43 diocesans.

He told the Independent that he will sign a declaration of intent to convert that is being circulated to 4,500 clergy opposed to women priests. The organisers - the romanising faction within Forward in Faith, an umbrella group for all opponents of women priests - claim 1,000 priests will sign.

Those who do so will subscribe to the formula which the Duchess of Kent used last night when she was received into the Catholic Church at a private service, conducted by Cardinal Basil Hume, in London: 'I believe all that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic (and Roman) church teaches, believes, and professes as revealed truth.'

Signatories also ''Freely acknowledge that the Bishop of Rome is the Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church and Patriarch of the Western Church'; and 'acknowledge that I have a duty to conform my faith and life to the Teaching Authority of the Church (the Magisterium)'.

One senior Anglican bishop said that anyone who signed the declaration should resign at once. 'It seems to me impossible that they could continue to act in any recognised sense as priests of the Church of England.'

The declaration marks the full emergence of a hard-line faction within Forward in Faith, which expects to carry over to Rome between a quarter and a third of those priests who are opposed to women's ordination.

Not all opponents of women priests believe that number will leave.