A prominent and retired Church of England bishop once tipped to become a future Archbishop of Canterbury has been received into the Catholic Church, becoming one of the most high-profile Anglican clergymen to make the journey to Rome possibly since Father Ronald Knox in 1917.
Michael Nazir-Ali was received into the Church on Sept. 29, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel and All Angels and will be ordained a Catholic priest “in due course,” according to a statement issued by the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and the bishops’ conference of England and Wales.
The former Anglican bishop said he believed the “Anglican desire to adhere to apostolic, patristic and conciliar teaching can now best be maintained in the Ordinariate,” and that he was “looking forward to receiving from the riches of other parts of the Church, while perhaps making a modest contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of Anglican patrimony within the wider fellowship.”
“Ministry in the Church of Pakistan, in the Middle East generally, in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion remains precious to me and I see this as a further step in the ministry of our common Lord and of his people,” Nazir-Ali said. “At this time, I ask for prayers as I continue to pray for all parts of the Church.”
Benedict XVI established the personal ordinariate in 2010, a canonical structure through which Anglicans wishing to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church could do so while retaining their Anglican patrimony.
Msgr. Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, said he and others belonging to the canonical structure “are delighted at his reception into full communion and forthcoming ordination.”
He added that the former Anglican bishop “brings a great experience of the Anglican Communion and is in a unique place to articulate that Anglican patrimony, described by Pope Benedict XVI as a treasure to be shared, which now has an honoured place in the Universal Church.”
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