A prominent priest in the Diocese of Menevia has announced he is leaving the Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion.
Fr Ceirion Gilbert was a parish priest at Briton Ferry in Neath, director of youth services, chaplain to two secondary schools, secretary to the bishop’s council and in charge of the diocese’s online and social media presence. He is also a fluent Welsh speaker. He has now, however, announced he is to be received into the Church in Wales on 12 October and will continue ordained ministry in the Diocese of Llandaff.
In the letter below he explains why he decided to leave the Catholic Church.
…the church is wherever and whenever in a life or in the life of a community Christ is proclaimed as Lord, and the Paschal Mystery of sacrificial and hence life-nurturing Love proclaimed, not so much in rite and liturgy but in reality and life. The question that will be asked of us before the Gates of he Kingdom of heaven will not be what particular brand of Christianity we belonged to but, surely, the one question that takes different forms in the Gospel stories but remains essentially the same: “Have you loved? Have you been a person of compassion, solidarity, of healing and hope, as you were able, in the places and with the people whose stories touched your own?” Love one another, as I have loved you. Ecumenism is not about doing everything we can do so that “they ( non-Catholics) come back to us” (an interpretation that, sadly, seems still to be in practice that of the Catholic Hierarchy) but is rather about dismantling the unnecessary and obstructive barriers of dogma and definition, history and tradition that have decimated our common home and prevent us from seeing the clarity of that simple but immense and profound truth. We are all disciples, walking in our own ways, in our own time, with our own baggage, and yes with our own styles and differences of expression and language – but together following him, the crucified and risen one. Where he leads us, not where we think we should be going.
And it is him, his words and his life that have led me to that other “truth” that I find defines my life and my choices – and this decision, as well. What is the Church – and ministry and priesthood and liturgy and sacrament- really “for”?
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