Anglican priests ordained into Catholic Ordinariate church

Father David Elliott, Monsignor Keith Newton, Bishop Crispian Hollis, Father Jonathan Redvers Harris and Father Graham Smith.
Image caption The three priests were ordained at a service in Portsmouth Cathedral

Three former Anglican priests who left to join the Roman Catholic church have been ordained into the faith.

They are Father David Elliott, of Reading, Berks, Father Jonathan Redvers Harris, of the Isle of Wight and Father Graham Smith, of Christchurch, Dorset.

The three were ordained on Saturday into a new branch of Catholicism, the Ordinariate, at Portsmouth Cathedral.

It allows Anglicans opposed to some modern developments to convert to Rome while maintaining some traditions.

The Catholic Church has described the establishment of the Ordinariate as "a unique and historic moment".

Some who have joined have said they were prompted to change due to their views on the direction the Church of England was taking, such as on the ordination of women and same-sex blessings.

'Unsettling process'

Bishop Crispian Hollis ordained the priests at a service at Portsmouth Cathedral on Saturday in front of a congregation of about 250 people.

Father Redvers Harris and Father Smith, are married with children.

Father Elliott resigned as vicar of Holy Trinity in Reading, Berkshire, and 15 members of his congregation joined St James' Catholic Church in Reading in April.

He said the "unsettling" process of moving churches had been made easier by the support of members of his congregation.

He said he had been prompted to make the move because of the "hand of friendship" offered by Pope Benedict, rather than because of disillusionment with the Church of England.

Father John O'Shea, canon at St James's Church, described the Ordinariate as a "special arrangement" made by the Pope for Anglicans unhappy with the current arrangements within the clergy.

"It's an effort for the Pope in some ways to meet them half ways, to allow them to bring some of their traditions and values and practices of their faith, but in doing so they are taking on the full part of being within the Catholic church.

"They are bound by authority, they are bound by the unity of the church."

The Ordinariate will be funded initially by donations but its priests will not receive a salary, as they did in the Anglican Church.

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