Former Anglican Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali has become Catholic.
The announcement of his conversion was made on Thursday. He follows a number of other Anglican clergy who are defecting from the Catholic Church.
Explaining his decision, the 72-year-old accused the Church of England of “jumping into every trendy movement on identity politics, cultural correctness and the mea culpas of Britain’s imperial past.”
He said he wanted to be part of a Church “where there is a clear teaching for the faithful”.
Nazir-Ali was born in Pakistan but fled to the UK to escape persecution. He was Bishop of Rochester from 1994 to 2009, during which time he spoke openly about religious freedom and championed a traditional view of Christianity on social issues such as marriage and sexuality.
He is one of the most prominent figures of Anglicanism to convert to the Catholic fold, having been a major figure in Anglican evangelism and having played a role in the creation of the Anglican Orthodox body, Gafcon.
The change was made after Pope Benedict XVI created the Catholic Ordinariate 10 years ago to accommodate the former Anglican clergy who lost their illusions with the Church of England.
“I believe that the Anglican desire to adhere to apostolic, patristic and conciliar teaching can now be better maintained in the ordinariate,” he said.
“The provisions therein to safeguard the legitimate Anglican heritage are very encouraging and, I believe, that such heritage in its liturgy, approaches to Bible study, pastoral commitment to the community, methods of theology morality and many others has much to offer the wider Church.
“I look forward to receiving the riches from other parts of the Church, while perhaps making a modest contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of the Anglican heritage within the larger fellowship.
“The ministry in the Church of Pakistan, in the Middle East in general, in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion at large remains precious to me and I see this as a further step in the ministry of our common Lord and of his people. time, I ask for prayers as I continue to pray for all parts of the Church. “