The former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has been ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.
During a special ordination mass service on Saturday at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory in London, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, His Eminence Vincent Nichols welcomed Fr Nazir-Ali's into the Ordinariate.
“The Church places such trust and confidence in the effectiveness of the ordained ministry. So that is why this ordination is a moment of great joy,” Archbishop Nichols said.
“It is a moment in which we ask the Lord to effect in you, Michael, a full inclusion into the ordained ministry of the Catholic Church. As the prayer we have just offered stated, here we seek to build on the fruitfulness of the priestly ministry you have faithfully exercised for so many years now.”
Fr Nazir-Ali led the Diocese of Rochester as its Bishop from 1994 until 2009 and was once nominated to be Archbishop of Canterbury. However, in recent years he has been a critic of key trends in Anglican theological and social teaching.
During his ordination, the 72-year-old explained some of the reasons for living Anglicanism.
“There are many reasons, of course, I don’t want to give them all, but first of all, to belong to a Church where decisions that affect everyone are actually made effective in the whole Church, where decisions stick.”
“Secondly, where there is a clear body of teaching to which appeal can be made when that is necessary to do.”
“And, thirdly, where there is an adequate, sufficient teaching authority to guide the faithful in matters that are contentious in this culture ...”
He concluded: “So that is why I’ve done it, and that is why I have done it in this way. Thank you for your love and your prayers and your patience. God bless you.”
Earlier this month the father of two adult sons said that he had been left with no choice but to leave the Church of England as it seemed to be “losing its way”.
Fr Nazir-Ali joins the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a quasi-diocese established in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst retaining much of their heritage and traditions.