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World News

'C of E seems to be losing its way. I had no choice but to leave', says Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester as he becomes Catholic priest

by Premier Journalist

The former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has explained the reasons behind his decision to leave the Church of England to become a Catholic priest. 

Writing in Daily Mail, Dr Nazir-Ali said he "he had to leave" because the Church of England as an institution "seems to be losing its way."

"The Anglican Church has become splintered, a loose collection of churches, many of whom have conflicting interpretations of Christianity. Even when the Church manages to agree on things, these decisions don't seem to carry much weight - people go off and do it their own way.

"I have wrestled with this for several years, but reluctantly realised that I have no choice," he continued. 

The 72-year-old, who was the Bishop of Rochester from 1994 until 2009, explained it was a "deeply personal decision" and that it was a move from "one Church to another" and not "a 'conversion' from one religion to another."

"The Catholic Church has had its share of problems, but the faith and values are those that I also hold and which I feel are being eroded in the Church of England. It might have been easier at the age of 72 to have remained where I was: to work from the inside to change the things that I feel so strongly about.

"Believe me, I have tried - but failed. The Church councils and synods are permeated by activists who each have a single-issue, often faddish agenda, whether it is about cultural correctness, 'climate change', identity politics, multi-culturalism (which actually encourages communities to live separately) or critical theory on race, religion and gender - a neo-Marxist theory developed to create conflict by dividing people into victims and villains.

"Emphasising people's differences, rather than what unites them, isolates and separates people and causes the kind of distrust and 'ghettoisation' that I believe led, in part, to my friend Sir David Amess MP losing his life," Dr Nazir-Ali continued. 

The Church's position on marriage, the "endless self-lacerating about Britain's imperial past" and not playing an important role in defending persecuted Christians around the world, are some of the other reasons Dr Nazir-Ali gives for leaving Anglicanism. 

The father of two adult sons was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1976 and served in England and Pakistan before being consecrated Bishop of Raiwind in 1984 and has now become the third bishop to defect from the Church of England this year joining the Bishops of Burnley and Ebbsfleet.

Dr Nazir-Ali concluded his letter saying that he hopes the Church "can find its way back and to rediscover the courage to stand up for what matters." 

"I pray it will once again become the Church that St Augustine brought here a millennium and a half ago, a beacon of hope, beaming its faith and values around the world, not a flame that flickers in the wind."

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