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Defection threat over Anglican stance on gay clergy

One of Australia's most prominent Anglican priests has converted to Catholicism over dissatisfaction with gay and women clergy, as a delegation of conservative Anglicans goes to the Vatican for talks that could lead to more "defections".

The Herald-Sun reports that discontent with the direction of the Anglican Church has resulted in the Dean of Ballarat, William Edebohls, to convert to Catholicism.

Fr Edebohls, who is married with children, was ordained a Catholic priest in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral last month and is now assistant priest at St Peter's Church in East Keilor. The Catholic Church allows married priests who convert to Catholicism to be dispensed of the rule of celibacy and to continue living with their spouses.

Another priest, the rector of All Saint's Church in Brisbane, David Chislett - who belongs to the Anglo-Catholic or high-church wing of the Anglican Church - visited Rome in October to meet Vatican representatives in "the early stages of explorations to a conversation".

The group he represented, called Forward in Faith, has a number of parishes in Australia and believes the 1992 ordination of women priests and the appointment this year of Gene Robinson, who is in a long-term gay relationship, as the bishop of New Hampshire in the US, are heretical innovations.

Defection threat over gay clergy (Herald-Sun 23/12/03)

23 Dec 2003