November 15, 2010

Five Anglican bishops have decided to join the Catholic Church and step down from their current positions with the Church of England, a Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed to reporters a statement issued Nov. 8 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales welcoming the five bishops.

A statement from Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury said he would initiate the process for filling the vacant sees.

In a joint statement released Nov. 8 the five bishops, who resigned their posts effective Dec. 31, said that despite ecumenical efforts, they had been “dismayed, over the last 30 years, to see Anglicans and Catholics move further apart on some of the issues of the day.”

They said they were particularly “distressed by developments in faith and order in Anglicanism which we believe to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the Church for nearly 2,000 years.”