About 50 Church of England priests opposed to the consecration of women as bishops are expected to be in the first wave of Anglicans to take up an offer by Pope Benedict and convert to Rome. The traditionalist priests will be joined by five bishops and 30 groups of parishioners, in a structure called an ordinariate, or a Church subdivision, in the new year.
About 300 priests switched in the early 1900s when women were ordained as priests. Then they did not have the comfort of moving over in groups, and nearly 70 returned to the Anglican fold.
Here, one priest explains why he stayed, while another describes why he returned.
Peter Bolton, left, was a priest in the Church of England for 10 years before becoming a Roman Catholic. Just one year later he returned to the C of E. Since his return he has served in parishes in Salford, Watford and Weston-super-Mare. Recently he took early retirement on grounds of ill health. The opinions expressed are his own.
Why did I come back? Because I had not counted the cost. I knew I would lose house and income – I was a Vicar – but I had not reckoned on the utter loneliness of the experience, the personal cost.