The Anglican woman vicar who gave up her ministry to become a Catholic
A friend has just off-loaded a lot of old copies of the Tablet on to me. I dislike its editorial line of “loyal dissent” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) over Church teaching on many issues to which we should give loyal assent – for instance Humanae Vitae and its teaching on contraception. (My colleague Stuart Reid once observed in his Charterhouse column in the Herald that the Church’s teaching in this area is hard – but that he would not want to be a member of a Church which taught differently. He put my own view entirely.) The Tablet also bangs on about women priests in the Church. I tend to skip those pages.
Still, bad can often be mixed with good and the issue of the Tablet for September 24 included an article that moved me deeply. Entitled “Power and perversity” it was by former GP and later an Anglican woman priest, Una Kroll. The subtitle explained what the article was about: “After a lifetime of spiritual searching, which included 10 years as an Anglican priest, one of the best-known campaigners for women’s ordination shocked family and friends by giving up her ministry to become a Catholic. For the first time she explains why she made that choice.”
It was curiosity, not narrow triumphalism of the “Good! She’s come home” variety, that made me read on. Kroll relates that in January 1997 she was ordained a priest in the Church of Wales by the Bishop of Monmouth. Several happy pastoral years followed, then “just before Advent 2008 I became a Roman Catholic, not on impulse but after at least five years of trying to discern God’s will…”
She writes that her parish priest exclaimed, “Why are you joining a Church whose Pope and Vatican leaders are resolutely opposed to women priests?” She replied (and this is what moved me): “I’m sorry, but I have to.” [more]