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Newly appointed head of Anglican ordinariate outlines position, plans

Catholic World News - January 19, 2011

In a press conference following his ordination as a Catholic priest, a former Anglican bishop explained the “step of faith” he was taking as the first leader of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Father Keith Newton revealed that as the leader of the newly created ecclesiastical unit for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church, he now has no income at all. The new ordinariate also needs to begin raising funds for staff, buildings, offices, and other practical necessities. The other former Anglican bishops who were ordained along with Father Newton are seeking employment as chaplains or in similar posts, he said.

Despite these urgent practical needs, Father Newton was upbeat about the future of the Anglican ordinariate, saying that he hoped it would be “an evangelistic tool.” He said that the bid to welcome Anglicans into the Catholic Church should be seen as “part of the Pope’s vision for the evangelization of Europe.”

Although he was a bishop in the Church of England, the new ordinary told reporters: “It’s quite clear I am not a bishop.” As head of the ordinariate, he said, he holds some special authority over that ecclesiastical unit, however. He likened his authority to that of an abbot in a monastery. Answering a question of protocol, he said that he was happy to be addressed as “Father.”

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, like any diocese in the universal Church, will be responsible for raising its own sources of support. The newly appointed ordinary indicated that he was beginning that process immediately.

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  • Posted by: bnewman - Jan. 20, 2011 6:04 PM ET USA

    As Father Newton explains he has given up a comfortable position as a Bishop of the Church of England for a situation where he has no income at all at this point. While it is true that his children are now all adults, he is in his late 50's and I wonder if he has any retirement income set up: perhaps not. I think that, with the others converts, he needs much prayer.

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