Hundreds of British Anglicans convert to Catholicism
Hundreds of members of the Anglican Church are to join the Catholic faith in protest at the Church of England's liberalising agenda, the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales said Wednesday.
The worshipers, who the BBC numbered at around 600, will be enrolled in the Ordinariate, a branch of the Catholic Church created especially for them, shortly before Easter.
"It is the first wave to be involved in the Ordinariate," a spokesman for the Catholic bishops' conference told AFP.
"Between Ash Wednesday and Easter they will stop receiving holy communion in the Anglican Church and they are not able to receive holy communion in the Catholic Church.
"When they become Catholic at Easter, then they can receive holy communion in the Catholic Church. There is a gap of few weeks where they prepare," she added.
The Ordinariate, which was set up by Pope Benedict XVI to accommodate converting Anglicans, will be headed by three former Anglican bishops.
Some Anglican followers are upset about their Church's decision to ordain women bishops and to bless homosexual unions.
Ed Tomlinson, who resigned as a parish priest in Kent, southeast England, accused the Anglican Church of "shifting the goalposts".
"We couldn't continue to be Christians in a normal sense when we were in a maverick Church that kept changing the rules to appease the common culture," he told the BBC.
The Anglican Church, which split from Rome in 1534, has 77 million followers worldwide and is Britain's dominant religion.
© 2011 AFP