It is with very mixed feelings that I have announced today my intention to resign as Rector of Saint Andrew’s Deal on the 18th April 2011 and to cease public ministry today, the 27th February. With some 30 others from St. Andrew’s, I shall be joining the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in Lent and seeking admission into the fullness of communion in the Catholic Church at Easter.
I have been immensely happy over the last seven years in Deal and at St. Andrew’s, especially since marrying my wife Jane. I praise God and thank many people for the many blessings that I and the parish have received in that time. I ask forgiveness for wrongs done or goods undone, for hurts caused. I regret that the opportunity is now past to fulfil unrealised schemes, plans and ideas.
I realise that my decision will grieve some, will be a shock to some, will anger some and that to others it will be a relief. Again for those things, I ask forgiveness.
My decision has been long and painful in the making and has fallen into two parts.
It is now clear beyond doubt that the Church of England has decided to ordain women to the episcopate. In so doing, it has chosen to separate from the historic Church of the first Millennium, rejecting the ‘rock from which it was hewn’ and following a path taken by post-Reformation Protestantism. This break with the apostolic succession of Bishops makes the reality and efficacy of its sacraments uncertain, bringing doubt into the Eucharistic assembly that is a foretaste of salvation. Separation is the antithesis of the communion for which Christ himself prayed.
Furthermore, although its final form is not fixed, it is already clear that provision for those holding fast to the Faith once delivered to the Saints and seeking to remain in the Church of England is far from being life-giving but rather is life-denying.
So, it has become clear to me that, for me, there is no future in the Church of England; it has turned away down a path that I can not follow. As a pastor, I can no longer lead an Anglican community in professing the Nicene Creed on Sunday, with its affirmation of ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’.
The second part of my decision has then had to be where and how I can live out the life in Christ that I have sought to live thus far as a Catholic Christian in the Church of England.
The radical generosity of Pope Benedict XVI in Anglicanorum coetibus and in the erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, with Fr. Keith Newton as Ordinary, has come like the dawn of a new day: doubt, anxiety and uncertainty giving way to excitement and joy.
I now look forward eagerly to joining with others in the ‘first wave’ of the Ordinariate, under the care of Our Lady of Walsingham and the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. This is the fruit of the ARCIC process and surely the answer to the many prayers of many Anglicans for unity with the See of Peter.
Some may think the pastor of a parish should stay to the bitter end but scripture shows that the shepherd leads rather than follows his flock. I am seeking to lead the way. I hope and pray that many will follow in the months and years ahead, on a journey that anyone may join at any time.
I hope that you will pray for me, and for those who journey with me, as we will pray for you.
With love and prayers
Father Christopher Lindlar
27th February, 2011