Peter Forster, a former Anglican Bishop of Chester, was received into the Catholic Church in Scotland last year, a Church of England news site has reported. He is the third leading Church of England clergyman to become Catholic in the last year.
Church Times, an independent Anglican news site, confirmed the news in a Feb. 4 report. Forster had written regular reviews for the publication through 2019.
Forster helped lead the Anglican Diocese of Chester for over 22 years and was the longest-serving Church of England bishop, according to Premier Christian News. His former diocese has some 273 parishes. He retired in September 2019 at age 69, and moved to Scotland with his wife Elisabeth.
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The news of Forster’s conversion makes him the third Anglican prelate to have entered the Catholic Church in the last year. Michael Nazir-Ali, former Anglican Bishop of Rochester, was received into the Church in September and was ordained a Catholic priest on Oct. 30. Jonathan Goodall, the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet, resigned in September to enter full communion with the Catholic Church.
Forster had served as a member of the English Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee. He has been critical of a “drift” in ecumenical relations “from a vision of full visible unity to an essentially debased vision of reconciled diversity,” the Church Times said.
The retired Anglican bishop had supported the ordination of women to the Anglican priesthood and the Chester diocese was the first to have a woman bishop. At the same time, he was critical of the Church of England’s approach to women bishops and how this affected relations with other Christian bodies. He thought it was “astonishing” that the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission had not published anything on the ordination of women.