Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet to join Catholic Church

The Rt Rev Jonathan Goodall is stepping down as Bishop of Ebbsfleet

The Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet is leaving the Church of England after deciding to join the Catholic fold.

The Rt Rev Jonathan Goodall was Bishop of Ebbsfleet for the last eight years. He was opposed to women bishops and had acted as a "flying bishop" for congregations that felt the same. 

He is seeking full communion with the Catholic Church after what he describes as a prayerful but "testing" time. 

"I have arrived at the decision to step down as Bishop of Ebbsfleet, in order to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, only after a long period of prayer, which has been among the most testing periods of my life," the bishop said.

"Life in the communion of the Church of England has shaped and nourished my discipleship as a Catholic Christian for many decades. This is where I first received – and for half my life have ministered, as priest and bishop – the sacramental grace of Christian life and faith. I shall always treasure this and be thankful for it.

"I trust you all to believe that I have made my decision as a way of saying yes to God's present call and invitation, and not of saying no to what I have known and experienced in the Church of England, to which I owe such a deep debt."

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he had accepted his resignation "with regret". 

"I am deeply grateful to Bishop Jonathan for his ministry and many years of faithful service. My prayers are with him and [his wife] Sarah, both for his future ministry and for the direction in which they are being called in their continuing journey of dedicated service to Christ," he said.

"With regard to the see of Ebbsfleet, we will be starting a process of consultation with colleagues and others — including the parishes to whom Bishop Jonathan ministers — to determine what the next steps will be."