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Msgr. Graham Leonard, former Anglican Bishop of London, dead at 88

January 07, 2010

Msgr. Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London who became the highest-ranking Anglican cleric to enter the Catholic Church in recent years, died on January 6 at the age of 88.

Bishop Leonard had expressed an interest in becoming Catholic as early as 1988, but at that time he was persuaded to remain within the Anglican communion. However, his concern about the Anglican abandonment of established Christian doctrine continued to grow, and in 1994 he was received into the Catholic Church by the late Cardinal Basil Hume. He was conditionally ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

Although he was married, and could not become a Catholic bishop, Leonard argued that he had valid episcopal orders. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told the former Anglican prelate that he would not argue the point. By raising him to the rank of monsignor, Pope John Paul II enabled Leonard to retain much of the dignity of episcopal office.


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