Bishop, former chaplain to queen, to be received into Catholic Church

Light of truth

A former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II is to be received into the Catholic Church.

Bishop Gavin Ashenden of the Christian Episcopal Church will become a Catholic Dec. 22 in Shrewsbury cathedral. He said he had reached the conclusion that only the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches “have the capacity to defend the faith” from the influence of secularism.

A Dec. 17 statement from the Diocese of Shrewsbury said Ashenden’s Anglican orders will be suspended and he will become a lay Catholic theologian.

In a Dec. 17 statement sent by email to Catholic News Service, the bishop said, “The claims and expression of the Catholic faith are the most profound and potent expression of apostolic and patristic belief” and that he now accepted the primacy of the pope.

Ashenden said he was grateful to Catholic Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury and the Catholics of his diocese for the opportunity to “be reconciled to the church that gave birth to my earlier (Anglican) tradition.”

“I am especially grateful for the example and the prayers of St. John Henry Newman,” he said.

“He did his best to remain a faithful Anglican and renew his mother church with the vigor and integrity of the Catholic tradition,” he said. “Now, as then, however, his experience informs ours that the Church of England is inclined to be rooted in secularized culture rather than the integrity and insight of biblical, apostolic and patristic values.”

In a Dec. 17 statement, Davies said it was “very humbling to be able to receive a bishop of the Anglican tradition into full communion in the year of canonization of St. John Henry Newman.”

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