Testing the waters … or signing up recruits?

The Church Times reports that the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev. Keith Newton, one of the so-called Provincial Episcopal Visitors has been flying about recruiting clergy to sign on to the Ordinariate proposed by the Roman Catholic Church for Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women.

Newton says he is merely testing the waters.

The Church Times report describes a gathering of Anglo-Catholic clergy with Bishop Newton where the priests were directly asked if they would go to the Roman Catholic Church and how many of their congregants would go with them.

A priest under [Bishop Newton’s] care, who wished to remain anonymous, said last week that he had been in­vited to a lunch in Walthamstow attended by 20 of the clergy, in which the Bishop had made it “very clear he was going to join the Ordin­ariate. He talked about his discus­sions with Rome about the Ordin­ariate, and he wanted urgently to know who would be joining him.

“Clearly the members of the SSC [the Society of the Holy Cross] there were in favour of doing that, but a number of us said that we didn’t want to give up the fight and that we remained loyal Anglicans.

“He spoke to us after lunch, and we listened to him for almost an hour. He wanted to know who would be joining the Ordinariate, and how many parishioners we would be bringing with us. He made it clear he would be joining, himself.

“He told me some time ago that the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he cannot openly recruit, because otherwise he would require his resignation. The Bishop was openly asking them to join with him?. . . You can’t have a bishop openly trying to recruit for another Church, and yet staying within it at the same time. . . There have been a number of these lunches.”

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