Three New Monsignori

From the Catholic Herald:

Pope makes former Anglican bishops monsignori
By Anna Arco on Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Pope has honoured three former Anglican bishops, the first members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, with the title of monsignor.

Fr Keith Newton, the leader of the Ordinariate who has most of the functions of a bishop, and Fr John Broadhurst, the former Bishop of Fulham, have been granted the papal award of Apostolic Pronotary, the highest ecclesial title for non-bishops. Fr Andrew Burnham, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, has been granted the papal award of Prelate of Honour, and is therefore also a monsignor.

The three men became the first clergy of the world’s first personal ordinariate set up for groups of former Anglicans as a result of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in January.

Groups of former Anglicans will be received into the Church in Holy Week and the priests for the ordinariate will be ordained around Pentecost.

The ordinary expects that about 900 people will become members of the ordinariate in Holy Week, including 61 members of the clergy. A majority of the laity entering the ordinariate took part in Rite of Election ceremonies across the country last weekend.

Fr Newton said: “I am really delighted by the numbers of Anglican laity who have begun the journey into the full Communion with the Catholic Church in Holy Week. It has not been an easy journey for many but I know they will be greatly blessed. The Rites of Election (or Enrolment for ordinariate members) around the dioceses marked a very moving and important part of the journey so far.”

UPDATE: Here's the story as it appears on the website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and it corrects some misinformation in the Catholic Herald story:

Pope Benedict XVI honours Priests of the Ordinariate
17th March 2011

It was announced today that the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been honoured by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and has been elevated to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic.

Fr John Broadhurst and Fr Andrew Burnham have also been honoured by being elevated to the rank of Prelate of Honour.

As such, all three priests are now known as Monsignor.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

29 thoughts on “Three New Monsignori”

    1. Conchúr,

      I agree completely.

      The fact that something was in the works was quite evident from the response of Bishop Alan Hopes to a question about the correct form of address for the ordinary at a press conference following the mass of ordination on 15 January. The good bishop said, "It's Father, for now." The "for now" was a sure, if unintended, indication that something more was in the works.


  1. And on St. Patrick's Day! God does have a sense of humour. Welcome home, England. Bennachti na Feile Padraig!

  2. This follows the precedent of Graham Leonard, Richard Rutt, Conrad Meyer and John Klyberg (though none of them was elevated to the exalted rank of Protonotary Apostolic – a distinction usually only achieved by promotion from a more junior monsignorial position). They become members of the Papal household.

  3. Congratulations to the three new monsignors.
    I wonder if anybody has made such a quick progression from ordinand to monsignor ever before… 😉
    Let me just point out that there appears to be a mistake in this piece of news regarding the honours granted to Frs. Newton et al., since the offical web site of the POOLW states that "It was announced today that the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been honoured by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and has been elevated to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic. Fr John Broadhurst and Fr Andrew Burnham have also been honoured by being elevated to the rank of Prelate of Honour".
    With best regards,

  4. It reminds be Bp Alan Hopes answering to a journalist asking how to refer to the new ordinary: "For the moment, it's Father Newton". Yes, indeed, for the moment. A brief moment.
    + Pax et Bonum

    1. I'm naughty. I read this comment and had a vision of a small artisanal shop in a side street in a village on the edge of Rome. The shutters are faded green and gold, and a ragged green and white stripped sun shade hangs over the windows and door. Above the door is a sign which reads (in Italian, obviously) "Papa Bene's Traditional Monsignori", and then in smaller script, "Each one lovingly finished by hand". In the shop windows can be seen Monsignori in varying stages of completion, from first year seminarian through to the finished product. In the back of the shop, one can dimly make out the figure of a man in white, putting the finishing touches to a biretta.

      I probably need more coffee. Or less.

      1. Naughty. But the Monsignori do get to dress up nicely don't they??
        I don't know what's in your coffee Stephen but maybe I should switch from my earl grey!
        It is a meteoric rise within the Roman Catholic Church, but these are all long serving men of the cloth, and very good luck and cheer to them.

  5. Everybody,

    The real surprise to me is that Fr. David Silk and our own beloved Fr. Edwin Barnes were not included in the announcement. Perhaps there will be another announcement forthcoming in a month or so?

    And on another subject, how much of an adjustment will it be for those coming into the church to start saying "Monsignor" instead of "Bishop?"


  6. Well, I was close in January, thinking that all three would be named as prelates of honour. It certainly is more appropriate, however, that the Ordinary be appointed protonotary apostolic. Congratulations are in order for all three. I agree with Norm (it may be for the first time ever) that it was a surprise to leave out the two retired C. of E. bishops, but I suppose that this will likely come later, when some of the smoke (or incense) has cleared. I wonder if Bishop Mercer will be consecrated a Catholic bishop upon his entry to the Ordinariate.


    1. Peter,

      You wrote: I wonder if Bishop Mercer will be consecrated a Catholic bishop upon his entry to the Ordinariate.

      I doubt it.

      A situation in which a member of an ordinariate who holds higher ecclesiastical rank than the ordinary to whom he is subject would be horridly awkward for both men. Thus, I anticipate that any celibate former Anglican bishop received into an ordinariate in which the ordinary is a presbyter will either (1) remain a presbyter within such an ordinariate or (2) receive a papal appointment to some position in which he will no longer be part of such an ordinariate.

      Of course, this does not preclude appointment of additional Prelates of Honor.


      1. Well, in the SSPX, in the years immediately after the 3 episcopal ordinations and the death of Abp. Lefebvre, the superior of the society was a Priest, and as such in the society he occupied an ecclesiastical rank higher than the 3 bishops'. But yes, it is true, this situation was awkward.
        + Pax et Bonum

      2. You know, that situation would be unusual, but it isn't unprecendented – particularly in religious communities where you might have a member named a bishop (diocesan or titular), but have the abbot of his community be someone else. It also could have a very tangible benefit to have him named bishop in the AO because it means that the AO could possibly ordain its own priests rather than having to depend on a local bishop. This would be a very good thing, IMHO.

          1. Bishop Robert Mercer, if I am not mistaken, would have taken a vow "to remain in the Community of the Resurrection for life living according to its Rule and Constitution". He, like Ordinariate-leaning members of other Anglican Benedictines and Benedictine-inspired communities where opinion on the Ordinariate is divided, will likely be agonising over whether it is better to remain true to that vow and out of communion with the Successor of Peter, or to break the vow and enter the Ordinariate. I was told the other day that the small Anglican Benedictine community of Alton Abbey is currently wrestling with this situation, with some wishing to enter the Ordinariate and some not, but both groups bound by the same Vow of Stability.

            Such monastics and religious really need our fervent prayers right now.

            1. At least in RC world, vows to God can be dispensed (including those made when entering religous communities) for a really good reason. It seems that if the community you are vowed to belongs to a communion that in the person's view has begun violating natural and/or divine law, then the person could petition the local bishop (or the Ordinary if the Ordinary has the power to dispense) to dispense him of that vow. It seems to me that one must follow one's conscience. I know this must be a wrenching decision for these men, and will keep them in my prayers.

            2. J.M.J.

              The answer is found in #816 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If one believes what is written there, the path is pretty clear.


      3. Norm, Bishop Mercer is in his mid-seventies. It would not be awkward if the Bishop in question were retired ….


  7. "[B]ecause every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted." (Luke 18:14)

    1. I suppose that the proper formal way to address these prelates may vary from place to place. At least in the United States, "Reverend Monsignor" is currently proper; "Right Reverend" is reserved to abbots. In the U.S. too, bishops are addressed "Your Excellency" and not "Your Grace"; archbishops too.

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