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Mgr Newton on Church and State
Thursday 23rd October 2014

The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Mgr Keith Newton, has drawn a distinction between the universal nature of the Catholic Church and the established Church in this country, which he said "is ultimately beholden to parliament and will often reflect the nation's attitudes".

Mgr Newton, who was formerly the Church of England bishop of Richborough before being received into the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate, was speaking in a homily on the gospel for the 29th Sunday of the year (on 19 October), "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God".

The homily was delivered during a weekend visit to the Catholic Church of the Transfiguration, Kensal Rise, London, where the Ordinary had been invited by the parish priest, Fr Sean Thornton, to speak about the Ordinariate and appeal for funds for the Friends of the Ordinariate charity.

Mgr Newton said that, though the ordination of women in the Church of England may have been a catalyst for people leaving it to join the Ordinariate "because the Church of England had no authority to change the practice of the universal Church unilaterally", it was not the main reason. "For us", he said, "the questions were about the unity of the Church for which we had prayed for many years, and about following our conscience in search of the truth". For many of the priests and people who joined the Ordinariate, he said, this meant making sacrifices and stepping into the unknown.

Mgr Newton concluded the homily with these words: "Today's gospel makes the point that we are both citizens of country and citizens of heaven. Where the boundaries are Jesus does not lay down. But if in any doubt we only have to remember that our primary duty is always as a Citizen of heaven, to give God what belongs to him even when that means sacrifice and uncertainty".

The full homily can be read here

The picture is from the Friends of the Ordinariate who arranged the visit and accompanied Mgr Newton over the weekend.


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