They are Roman Catholic priests but each has a wife and children. They don’t report to Bishop of Victoria Richard Gagnon, although Bishop Gagnon was the person who ordained them. They don’t even report to any other Roman Catholic offices in Canada.
Instead, they report to a special office in Houston, Texas, called the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. And from there, the hierarchy leads directly to Rome.
“We are not part of the Diocese of Victoria,” said Catholic the Rev. Michael Birch, 70, of Victoria, who is married with two grown children.
Birch was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest on June 14 at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, along with the Rev. Don Malins, 74, of Victoria, married with one grown son, and the Rev. Peter Switzer, 70, of Port Alberni, married with three children and two grandchildren.
All three began their careers in the clergy as Anglican priests, which was when they started their families. After retirement, they left the Anglican Church to join breakaway Anglican organizations, like the Anglican Catholic Church or the Anglican Network.
They have now been ordained as Roman Catholic priests, by special dispensation from the Vatican. “This all comes from the Holy Father,” Fr. Switzer said from Port Alberni. “If someone has a problem with it, go talk to the Pope. “This was his idea, not mine.”
Two years ago, Pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Constitution Anglican [sic] Coetibus, allowing Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church.
Benedict also ordained [sic] the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Houston and gave it responsibility for all of North America. Canada is now a deanery in that jurisdiction, headquartered in Calgary...
Read the full story at http://www.timescolonist.com/ex-anglican-ministers-ordained-as-catholic-priests-married-with-children-1.330981">the Times Colonist
From Left, Msgr. Peter Wilkinson, Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria, Fr. Peter Switzer,
Fr. Don Malins, Fr. Michael Birch, and Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson. From the blog of St. John's Church
Hat tips to Mary Ann Mueller and Charles Gilman for leads on this story.