Further to the previous post about the hush-hush reception of three former Anglican bishops and their relatives at Westminster Cathedral on New Year's Day, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have today put out a statement confirming that it happened and explaining why nobody was told. "Out of respect for the privacy of the individuals concerned and their families, no prior public announcement of the receptions was given by the Episcopal Commission responsible for organisation of the receptions," the statement said.
It went on to add that "with permission of the Holy See" the three ex-bishops (who are currently, in canonical terms, baptised Catholic lay faithful) will be made deacons on 13 January at the Westminster Diocese seminary of Allen Hall and ordained to the Catholic priesthood two days later at Westminster Cathedral. (Why their "privacy" no longer needs respecting with these announcements is not explained.)
Talk about "fast-track ordinations". The Ordinariate comes into being around this time -- my sources say an announcement is due on 11 January -- which must explain the rush; one of these ex-bishops will be appointed the head ("Ordinary") of the new structure, with power of governance over what is legally the equivalent of a diocese.
The statement also confirms that two retired Anglican bishops who resigned their ministries along with the "Three" last November will be received into the Church and ordained as priests "in due course".
[ERRATUM. I wrongly said in the previous post that John Broadhurst, one of the former bishops received on 1 January, remains head of Forward in Faith. In fact, he stood down in November. Apologies.]