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Bishop of Fulham to take up Ordinariate

The Anglican bishop of Fulham and the chairman of Forward in Faith International has announced he will resign before the end of the year to join an Ordinariate.

Speaking at Forward in Faith’s National Assembly today, Bishop John Broadhurst, who is a senior figure in the Anglo-Catholic movement, said he intended to tender his resignation before the end of the year and join the Ordinariate in Britain when it is established. He has said that he will remain the chairman of Forward in Faith, which is in not a Church of England organisation.

Bishop Broadhurst is a suffragan bishop of the Diocese of London. He said the Bishop of London would likely appoint someone new to fill the post Bishop Broadhurst is vacating.

He is the first senior Anglo-Catholic to announce publicly that he will join an Ordinariate when it is founded.

Two “flying bishops”, or bishops who are appointed to provide pastoral care for Anglicans who cannot in good conscience accept women priests, are also likely to tender their resignations before the end of the year in order to join an Ordinariate.

Both Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet and Bishop Keith Newton of Richborough are believed to be taking up the offer Pope Benedict made last autumn with the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which allows for a new canonical structure for Anglicans wishing to be in full communion with Rome while retaining their identity.

This year, the General Synod of the Church of England voted down proposed measures which would have offered traditionalists a structural protection from being overseen by women bishops.

At a series of meetings called last month by the Anglican bishop of Plymouth to the signatories of a 2008 open letter against women bishops written to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, traditionalists discussed taking up the Ordinariate. They also created a new society called St Wilfrid and St Hilda for Anglo-Catholics who were not sure about the Ordinariate.

Groups of Anglicans wishing to take up an Ordinariate must first write to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith formally requesting the canonical structure to be erected.

The Personal Ordinariate most resembles a military diocese and is thought to range over the territory of individual Episcopal conferences.

Pope Benedict XVI published the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus last November.

So far formal requests have been made in the United States, Canada and Australia among other countries.

In Britain Ordinariate groups have been forming informally over the last year as flying bishops have tried to explain to their clergy and lay people what the Pope’s offer would entail.

Among the largest worry for Anglicans considering taking up Anglicanorum coetibus is the fact that they are unlikely to be able to take buildings with them when they cross the Tiber.