Saturday, January 15, 2011

Archbishop Vincent Nichols Homily on the Occasion of the Ordination of Three Former Anglican Bishops

Today in Westminster Cathedral, London, three former Anglican bishops, the Reverend John Broadhurst, the Reverend Andrew Burnham (reminder: see his recently published book on the sacred liturgy, Heaven and Earth in a Little Space: The Re-enchantment of Liturgy), and the Reverend Keith Newton were ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

(Photo by James Bradley. Published on the Catholic Herald.)

The full text of Archbishop Nichols homily on the occasion is available here.

A few excerpts:

Many ordinations have taken place in this Cathedral during the 100 years of its history. But none quite like this. Today is a unique occasion marking a new step in the life and history of the Catholic Church. This morning the establishment of the first Personal Ordinariate under the provision of the Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus’ has been announced in our hearing. So I too salute John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who are to be the first priests of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. In particular I offer my prayers and best wishes to Keith, chosen by the Holy Father to be its first Ordinary.


This journey, of course, involves some sad parting of friends. This, too, we recognise and it strengthens the warmth of our welcome.

Of course it was John Henry Newman who spoke movingly of this ‘sad parting of friends’. We thank our Holy Father Pope Benedict for not only placing this Ordinariate under the protection of Our Lady of Walsingham but also for giving it Blessed John Henry Newman as its patron.

At Lambeth Palace, in September, Pope Benedict said: ‘In the figure of John Henry Newman we celebrate a churchman whose ecclesial vision was nurtured by his Anglican background and matured during his many years of ordained ministry in the Church of England. He can teach us the virtues that ecumenism demands: on the one hand, he was moved to follow his conscience, even at great personal cost; and on the other hand, the warmth of his continued friendship with his former colleagues led him to explore with them, in a truly eirenical spirit, the questions on which they differed, driven by a deep longing for unity in faith.’ (Lambeth Palace, 18 September 2010)

Then, speaking in Rome on 20 December, Pope Benedict reflected further on Cardinal Newman. He spoke these words. They are of relevance and hope for today:

‘The path of Newman’s conversions is a path of conscience – not a path of self-asserting subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was gradually opening up to him. His third conversion, to Catholicism, required him to give up almost everything that was dear and precious to him: possessions, profession, academic rank, family ties and many friends. The sacrifice demanded of him by obedience to the truth, by his conscience, went further still. Newman had always been aware of having a mission for England. But in the Catholic theology of his time, his voice could hardly make itself heard...

Read the entire homily on the website of the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

Also on the same website is the statement of one of the ordinands, Keith Newton, who has been appointed the first ordinary for the ordinariate in Great Britain.

We will publish pictures of this joyous event once they are forthcoming.

For thorough coverage of these events, see The Anglo Catholic.

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