BY Peter Diamond | January 3 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Bishop Gavin Ashenden of the Christian Episcopal Church will become a Catholic Dec. 22, 2019, at Shrewsbury Catholic cathedral in England. He is pictured in a Dec. 16 photo outside the cathedral. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Shrewsbury) See ANGLICAN-BISHOP-CATHOLIC Dec. 18, 2019.

Queen’s ex-chaplain credits new saint as he joins Catholic Church

A former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth was received into the Catholic Church last week in an act of conversion, after he decided only the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have ‘the capacity to defend the Faith’ from secularisation.

Bishop Gavin Ashenden of the Christian Episcopal Church became a Catholic on December 22 in Shrewsbury Cathedral.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury said Bishop Ashenden’s Anglican orders would be suspended and he will become a lay Catholic theologian. The former chaplain to the Queen also avowed the role of St Cardinal John Henry Newman in his conversion.

Bishop Ashenden said: “The claims and expression of the Catholic Faith are the most profound and potent expression of apostolic and patristic belief and I now accepted the primacy of the Pope.”



He thanked Catholic Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury and Catholics of his diocese for the opportunity to ‘be reconciled to the Church that gave birth to my earlier (Anglican) tradition.’

“I am especially grateful for the example and the prayers of St John Henry Newman,” he said.

“He did his best to remain a faithful Anglican and renew his mother church with the vigour and integrity of the Catholic tradition,” he said.

“Now, as then, however, his experience informs ours that the Church of England is inclined to be rooted in secularised culture rather than the integrity and insight of biblical, apostolic and patristic values.”

Bishop Davies said it was ‘very humbling to be able to receive a bishop of the Anglican tradition into full communion in the year of canonisation of St John Henry Newman.’

He said: “I am conscious of the witness which Gavin Ashenden has given in the public square to the historic faith and values on which our society has been built. “I pray that this witness will continue to be an encouragement to many.”



Bishop Ashenden was a well-known figure in the Church of England and served as a chaplain to the Queen from 2008 to 2017.

He resigned his post, however, so he could speak out against the reading of a chapter from the Koran at an inter-faith service at St Mary’s (Episcopal) Cathedral, Glasgow, Scotland.

The passage explicitly denied the divinity of Jesus. Soon afterward, he was ordained as missionary bishop for the UK and Europe by the Christian Episcopal Church, a traditionalist ‘continuing’ Anglican jurisdiction founded in the United States in 1992. Helen, his wife of 23 years, became a Catholic about two years ago.

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