In its 100-plus years Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of English Catholicism, will have seen few stranger sights than Saturday's procession of three Anglican bishops' wives, in matching beige coats, one with an outsized brown hat, going up on to the high altar to embrace their husbands, all newly ordained as Catholic priests. Catholicism isn't that keen on women on the altar – to the pain of the demonstrators from the Catholic Women's Ordination movement protesting outside the cathedral's doors – and it doesn't usually countenance priests having wives.
But this was no ordinary ceremony. Almost everyone who spoke during it used the word "historic" to describe the ordination as Catholic priests of John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, all formerly Anglican bishops.
It is the Vatican's negative attitude to women's ministry that formed the backdrop to the whole affair. The three recruits oppose the Church of England's plans to appoint female bishops and regard the Catholic priesthood as a safe, female-free haven.
To read more, click here.
Readers are cautioned to be on the alert for inaccuracies such as churches in the ordinariate will use their own prayer books and rites, imported from Anglicanism, which are becoming increasingly common in English media reporting on the ordinariate. All liturgies used in the ordinariate churches must conform to Roman Catholic doctrine and must be approved by the Vatican.