Sixth Anglican Bishop Ordained a Catholic Priest for the Ordinariate in England
Fr. Robert Mercer first gained notoriety in 1970 for his stand against apartheid in South Africa
Fr. Robert's witness to the truth of the Catholic faith, and his commitment to the unity of all Christians, has led to this very happy day when we can welcome him as a brother Priest in the Catholic Church. We look forward to his renewed ministry now - bringing many rich gifts from the Anglican tradition into the Catholic Church
During his homily, Bishop Hopes was quoted by the U.K. Catholic Herald as saying: "Robert, your life has been one of profound commitment and witness. Your formation and ministry within the Anglican tradition have provided you with a solid spiritual bedrock on which your life has been built . You have been a bold witness to Christ and to the truths of Catholic Christianity - often at great cost to yourself.
"Coming into communion with the Catholic Church through the ordinariate, you bring with you some of the spiritual riches that are to be found in the Anglican church. You take on a new mission in your ministry of bridge building - that of building bridges between the Catholic Church and the ecclesial communities of the Anglican tradition."
Mercer first gained notoriety in 1970 when he, along with other Anglican priests were deported from South Africa for standing against apartheid. A native of Zimbabwe, he later served as Bishop of Matabeleland, in his home country, in the Anglican Province of Central Africa. He was bishop for 11 years before leaving the Anglican Communion to join the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, one of the jurisdictions of the Traditional Anglican Communion. He served as metropolitan bishop from 1988 to 2005 before retiring in England.
Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary (leader) of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, issued the following statement regarding the ordination. "Fr. Robert's witness to the truth of the Catholic faith, and his commitment to the unity of all Christians, has led to this very happy day when we can welcome him as a brother Priest in the Catholic Church. His ministry in Africa, in Canada and here in Portsmouth, has been exemplary, and we look forward to his renewed ministry now - bringing many rich gifts from the Anglican tradition into the Catholic Church."
According to the Ordinariate, Fr. Mercer will serve with the Isle of Wight & Portsmouth Ordinariate Group, led by Fr Jonathan Redvers Harris, and will have particular responsibilities for those worshipping at the historic Portsmouth church of St Agatha's, Landport, who hope to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church this Easter.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, in England and Wales was first structure based on the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus" of 2009 which allowed Anglicans to become Catholics while retaining the best of their patrimony. Officially established by the Holy Father in 2011, they were joined one year later by the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the United States.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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