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Anglican roots: New bishop steps up for Ordinariate

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Pope Francis has appointed Bishop-designate David Waller as the next ordinary — and the first bishop — of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a kind of diocese for Catholics of the Anglican tradition in the U.K. (OSV News photo/courtesy Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales)

Catholics in the United Kingdom’s personal ordinariate, celebrated Pope Francis’ appointment of their first bishop, Bishop-designate David Waller.

The personal ordinariate is “a kind of” Catholic diocese with Anglican traditions called to welcome Anglicans into full communion with the Catholic Church.

This marks the first time an ordinariate bishop comes from an Anglican background.

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Established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, the three personal ordinariates — one for North America, another for Oceania and the other for the United Kingdom — provide a permanent home for the Anglican tradition within the fullness of faith found in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis expanded the ordinariates’ mission in 2019 to include reconciling all Protestant Christians to the faith, and to evangelise Catholics who had fallen away or grown lukewarm in the practice of their faith.

Monsignor Keith Newton, the retiring head, or ordinary, of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, who is also a married priest, greeted the news of the personal ordinariate’s first bishop as a clear sign from the Holy See about its lasting status in the Catholic Church.

In a 29 April statement, Bishop-designate Waller, a celibate priest who has been with the ordinariate since its inception in 2011, serving in parishes and as vicar general, said he looked forward to the ordinariate’s “next chapter.”

He said, “My experience of these past years is that there is nothing to be feared in responding to the Lord and that Jesus does great things with us despite our inadequacies.”

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