Sixth former Anglican Bishop received into the Catholic Church

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

I received this press release from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England.

Another Anglican bishop answers Pope Benedict’s call to unity

Former Anglican monk and bishop, Robert Mercer, has been received into the full communion of the Catholic Church by Monsignor Keith Newton through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

On Saturday 7 January, Mgr Newton celebrated Mass according to the Book of Divine Worship at the historic church of St Agatha’s, Portsmouth, by kind permission of the Reverend John Maunder, who cares for the Traditional Anglican Communion faithful in that area.

Mgr Newton said, ‘It is a great privilege to receive Robert into the fullness of Catholic life. He is a man of unimpeachable moral stature who, through his ministry in Africa and with the Community of the Resurrection, brings many valuable treasures of Anglican life into the Catholic Church’.

Robert Mercer was born in Zimbabwe and has been a member of the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, for 49 years. From 1977-89 he was the Anglican bishop of Matabeleland and from 1989-2005 he served as a bishop of the Traditional Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. He retired in 2005 and became the Episcopal Visitor to the Traditional Anglican Communion in the UK.

Six former Anglican bishops have now been reconciled to the Holy See through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

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  1. NoTambourines says:

    What an incredible Pope we have. God has really given us the right man for the job at the right time.

  2. Austin says:

    Robert Mercer was in fact born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and came to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) after having been excluded from South Africa because of his opposition to apartheid. He was the rector of the Borrowdale parish of Salisbury (now Harare) in which I then lived.

    He is a holy, dedicated, and delightfully humorous man who did yeoman service in Canada.

    He would be an excellent candidate for bishop in the ordinariate, being a celibate religious. Having a bishop should be a priority for the ordinariates who at present have to go cap-in-hand to the local diocesan for ordinations.

    Unfortunately, I have been informed that there is bureaucratic opposition to Robert Mercer’s ordination on the grounds that he has a schismatic background and is too conservative and controversial. The inimitable Fr Hunwicke has similarly not received the nulla osta.

    It is devoutly to be wished that both these fine men will in time be able to use their considerable gifts in the sacerdotal ministry of the Catholic church. They embody the Anglo-Catholic ethos, at least as I have experienced it.

  3. irishgirl says:

    Yes, Deo Gratias, indeed!

  4. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    But Austin,

    “…there is bureaucratic opposition to Robert Mercer’s ordination on the grounds that he has a schismatic background…”

    surely that’s true of all such cases?

  5. Nun2OCDS says:

    Another of the Mirfield fathers, Father Denys Lloyd, sometime rector of their college was received into the Church several years ago and was ordained a Catholic priest in May of 1994. Hopefully there are several other members of the Community who will make the same journey in the near future. To all, “Welcome home!”

  6. Supertradmum says:

    This is awesome and such appointments will not only strengthen the Catholic Church in England, but encourage others to swim the Tiber.

  7. ContraMundum says:

    It has always irked me to see places like Ukraine referred to as “former Soviet republics”. No, they are formerly Soviet, but they are not former republics. Texas is a former republic.

    In this case, though, the language is used used correctly. Mgr Newton is not a formerly Anglican bishop, because he is not a bishop now and was not really a bishop then. He is a former “Anglican bishop”.

  8. Hugh Farey says:

    I first read this as “Sixth Former” Anglican bishop. About 18 years old, I thought, still at school, and a bishop already. Wow.

  9. edm says:

    Always someone “kindly” pointing put that they were not truly priests or bishops (even though it even has the adjective Anglican appended). Statements like this are what keeps many from joining the Ordinariate.

    What the article should not say is “reconciled”. THAT is not accurate.

  10. ContraMundum says:

    You know, I’m a convert myself. I had to admit that a lot of what I grew up with, and a lot of the ideas I had clung to were wrong. It was a painful experience, but it comes with being honest.

    So you’re right, edm: No one who is too proud to admit past errors will convert. They know this, I know this, every adult convert knows this. If it’s a sticking point, they were not really willing to convert.

    A more valid criticism of my post is that I was being a “grammar Nazi”.

  11. AnAmericanMother says:

    Another convert here. It’s easier if you were (like we were) an ultramontane High-Churcher, but still . . . it’s a bit painful to admit that all those sacraments (except the Baptism) were invalid and of no effect . . . .
    But better late than never, and it’s not the first time I’ve been wrong. The older I get, the less annoying that is.

  12. Austin says:

    In Robert Mercer’s case, the “schismatic” refers not to his being Anglican, but to his leadership role in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, a breakaway church from the Anglican Church of Canada and member of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

    TAC is rather a chaotic bunch, with some loose cannon bishops and slightly nutty, under-trained clergy. Some have made the comparison to SSPX, but that’s probably unfair to the Society.

    Bp. Mercer, however, is eminently sane (and saintly).

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