Anglican bishop of Ebbsfleet resigns to join Roman Catholic church

An Anglican bishop opposed to the ordination of women has resigned to join the Roman Catholic church.

Jonathan Goodall, the bishop of Ebbsfleet for the past eight years, said he had reached his decision “after a long period of prayer, which has been among the most testing periods of my life”.

He is the first Church of Inghilterra bishop to join the Roman Catholic church in a decade. His ministry in the C of E will end next week.

Goodall was appointed as a provincial episcopal visitor, more commonly known as a flying bishop, to minister to clergy, lay people and parishes who do not accept the ministry of female priests or bishops.

His resignation was announced by Lambeth Palace on Friday. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, disse: “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Jonathan for his ministry and many years of faithful service.”

In una dichiarazione, Goodall said: “I have arrived at the decision to step down as Bishop of Ebbsfleet, in order to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic church, only after a long period of prayer, which has been among the most testing periods of my life.

“Life in the communion of the Church of England has shaped and nourished my discipleship as a Catholic Christian for many decades … I shall always treasure this and be thankful for it.

“I trust you all to believe that I have made my decision as a way of saying yes to God’s present call and invitation, and not of saying no to what I have known and experienced in the Church of England, to which I owe such a deep debt.”

Flying bishops were created in the 1990s after the Church of England voted to allow the ordination of women. Nel 2020, about a third of clergy were women. Nel 2014, the C of E voted in favour of women bishops. There are now 25 women out of 108 Anglican bishops.

Welby said he would “be starting a process of consultation with colleagues and others – including the parishes to whom Bishop Jonathan ministers – to determine what the next steps will be”.

Goodall’s departure means that two of the three flying bishop posts will soon be vacant. Some insiders suggest there are fewer candidates available for the posts as female clergy are accepted by the vast majority of churchgoers.

Goodall has been a supporter of The Society, which promotes catholic teaching in the C of E. The Rt Rev Tony Robinson, chairman of The Society’s council of bishops, disse: “I am sure our entire movement joins with me in wishing Bishop Jonathan well.”

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