Anglican Bishop Defects to Catholicism After Complaining of Woke ‘Identity Politics’

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Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, has defected from the established Church of England to Roman Catholicism after complaining of the obsession with woke “identity politics” in Anglicanism.

Nazir-Ali, a British-Pakistani dual national who also served as Bishop of Raiwind in his South Asian homeland at one time, has been received into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, established by the now-pope emeritus Benedict XVI to accept Anglicans wishing to return, as it were, to the Roman Catholic Church, while preserving traditional Anglican services such as Evensong and liturgy which draws on the language of the Book of Common Prayer.

Nazir-Ali had complained earlier this year of the English church’s habit of “jumping on to every faddish bandwagon about identity politics, cultural correctness, and mea culpas about Britain’s imperial past” under the de facto leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Welby has in recent months stepped up the woke agenda exponentially, ordaining the Anglican communion’s first transwoman priest(ess), declaring God to be gender neutral, lamenting his “white advantage, male advantage, [and] straight advantage”, and launching a BLM-style review of thousands of supposedly problematic statues and memorials in the Church’s care.

He is hardly a lone voice for wokeness, either, with the Church’s second-most senior cleric, the Archbishop of York, having declared that “Jesus was a black man” and the Church “too white” as Black Lives Matter disorder spread across the Atlantic in 2020.

“I believe that the Anglican desire to adhere to apostolic, patristic, and conciliar teaching can now best be maintained in the Ordinariate,” Nazir-Ali said of his defection.

“Provisions there to safeguard legitimate Anglican patrimony are very encouraging and, I believe, that such patrimony in its Liturgy, approaches to biblical study, pastoral commitment to the community, methods of moral theology, and much else besides has a great deal to offer the wider Church,” he added, saying that he was “looking forward to receiving from the riches of other parts of the Church, while perhaps making a modest contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of Anglican patrimony within the wider fellowship.”

His move to leave the Church of England to seek full communion with the See of St Peter follows similar high-profile defections by the sitting Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Reverend Jonathan Goodall, over women being brought into the priesthood and being made bishops — an innovation resisted by the premier Anglican writer, C.S. Lewis in a famous 1948 tract, but now a lost cause — and the former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II,  Dr Gavin Ashenden.

“Freedom of speech is slowly being eroded; those who refuse to be ‘politically correct’ risk accusations of thought crime and Christians are being unfairly persecuted,” Ashenden said shortly after his “defection”.

“And where is the Church of England in this crucial culture war? Is it on the front line? Not that I can see. If anything, it has switched sides,” he lamented.

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