by Damian ThompsonAt least two Anglican women priests have become Roman Catholics because they are “fed up with being treated like dirt in their own Church,” according to Fr Michael Seed, the Franciscan friar who is ecumenical adviser to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.
Christina Rees (centre) argues in favour of women bishops
Fr Seed – a deeply inspiring priest who has received many Anglicans into communion with Rome – reveals this extraordinary detail in an interview with the Independent, which has buried it away in a feature. He received two women himself – and has now told the Catholic Herald that other female priests have come over to Rome as a result of “persecution”.
In the forthcoming issue of the Herald, Fr Seed tells my colleague Simon Caldwell: “There are other Catholic priests who have dealt with cases like this. Anglican women priests are generally upset at the way they are being treated … This is hardly the Third Secret of Fatima. The persecution of women priests is well known among Anglican clergy, bishops and laity.”
Interestingly, many women clergy in the Church of England would agree with Fr Seed, even if they are not tempted to take the radical step of becoming Catholic laywomen.
Christina Rees of Women and the Church says: “Every woman who is ordained as a priest in the Church of England knows in one sense there is still a question mark hanging over her orders in a way which does not hang over the order of her male colleagues.”
Catholics, incidentally, would disagree with this last claim. There is no question mark hanging over the orders of any Anglican priest – at least, not according to Pope Leo XIII.