A Church of England bishop said on Friday that he was stepping down to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Goodall, the Anglican bishop of Ebbsfleet, explained that he had taken the decision “after a long period of prayer.”
“I have arrived at the decision to step down as Bishop of Ebbsfleet, in order to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, only after a long period of prayer, which has been among the most testing periods of my life,” he said in a statement on Sept. 3, the feast of St. Gregory the Great, the sixth-century pope who launched a mission to convert England to Christianity.
“Life in the communion of the Church of England has shaped and nourished my discipleship as a Catholic Christian for many decades. This is where I first received — and for half my life have ministered, as priest and bishop — the sacramental grace of Christian life and faith. I shall always treasure this and be thankful for it.”
“I trust you all to believe that I have made my decision as a way of saying yes to God’s present call and invitation, and not of saying no to what I have known and experienced in the Church of England, to which I owe such a deep debt.”
The 60-year-old bishop has served as bishop of Ebbsfleet since 2013, a role in which he acted as a provincial episcopal visitor, or “flying bishop,” supporting Church of England congregations that do not recognize women priests and bishops.
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