For doctrinal reasons the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as Bishops.
However, the Apostolic Constitution does provide, under certain conditions, for the ordination as Catholic priests of former Anglican married clergy. Today at Westminster Cathedral in London, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, ordained to the Catholic priesthood three former Anglican Bishops: Reverend Andrew Burnham, Reverend Keith Newton, and Reverend John Broadhurst.
Also today Pope Benedict XVI has nominated Reverend Keith Newton as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Together with Reverend Burnham and Reverend Broadhurst, Reverend Newton will oversee the catechetical preparation of the first groups of Anglicans in England and Wales who will be received into the Catholic Church together with their pastors at Easter, and to accompany the clergy preparing for ordination to the Catholic priesthood around Pentecost.
- The numbers. A few dozen priests, or a few hundred? And a few thousand of the faithful, or many more? We have no way to estimate.
- The communities. Will we see whole parishes switching en bloc, or just a slow papalist dribble weakening already-challenged parishes?
- The property. If there are whole communities leaving, will they try to keep their buildings? And will they get away with it? While we rejoice that interchurch relations have, since the 17th century, moved well beyond guns, we expect that lawyers and money may still be involved. We certainly hope so.