LIVERPOOL, England — Two of the four former Anglican bishops who became Catholics last year are to be ordained as diocesan priests in the coming weeks. One of the four, now a priest, said he thought all four were all united by the convictions they had about authority within the church.
Jonathan Goodall, the former bishop of Ebbsfleet, will be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Westminster March 12, and John Goddard, the former bishop of Burnley, will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Liverpool April 2.
Father Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, was ordained for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham Oct. 30, just a month after he was received into the Catholic Church.
Peter Forster, the former bishop of Chester who also became a Catholic last year, has retired to Scotland and has yet to reveal if he has any intentions to exercise priestly ministry within the Catholic Church.
Goodall and Goddard were both prominent Anglo-Catholics, and Father Nazir-Ali and Forster were members of the evangelical wing of the Church of England.
Speaking to Catholic News Service by telephone March 9, Nazir-Ali said he thought all four were all united by the convictions they had about authority within the church — where it rested and how that authority was exercised.
“I have, for a long time, described myself as a Catholic evangelical,” he said. “The questions of concern are not so much about ritual and sacraments as questions of authority and where there is authentic authority … not so much about what has happened but how decisions have been made.”
Goddard told Catholic News Service in a March 3 interview at his home near Liverpool that the 2014 decision by the Church of England to ordain women as bishops was “one of the issues” that raised questions in his mind about how authority was exercised within the Church of England.
“This I can no longer do. I am a Christian by baptism, a Catholic by conviction and now feel my vocation and pilgrimage lies in the Catholic Church,” he said.
He told CNS that, in his view, the Church of England had moved to a “more Protestant understanding” of governance in recent decades, which parted company from the “three-legged stool” of reason, Scripture and tradition.
“The way forward seems to be a sort of relativism which I think is not following Catholic tradition,” he said.
“I discerned that I was called to a different path from that of the Church of England, in which I had served for so long, but in which I felt increasingly uncomfortable,” he said separately in a statement.
“I could not, with integrity, continue within the Church of England. In the past I was able to say that I was a Christian, a Catholic, a member of the Church of England, and saw these three statements as consistent,” he said. “This I can no longer do.”
Goddard, 74, will be ordained a Catholic priest in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Williams of Liverpool. He is still waiting to learn how the archdiocese intends to employ him.
“I cannot think of a great joy in life than serving as a parish priest,” he said. “It is perhaps the greatest gift for an ordained person.”
Goodall will be consecrated in Westminster Cathedral, London, and will serve as the pastor of St. William of York Parish in London.