A former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II chose to leave Anglicanism to join the Catholic religion on December 22, 2019, illustrating with this gesture the essence of true ecumenism: the return to unity of the Church.
Gavin Ashenden was received into Catholic communion by Msgr. Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury (Great Britain), during Mass on the fourth Sunday in Advent, December 22, 2019.
It all started at the beginning of 2017. While he was chaplain to Queen Elisabeth II, Gavin Ashenden was scandalized by the reading of an extract from the Koran in the choir of the Saint Mary’s “cathedral” in Glasgow, Scotland. He protested in the British media, causing him to be sidelined by Buckingham Palace.
Although he had responsibilities in the most conservative branch of the Anglican faith, the malaise persisted. He could only note that his religion had “capitulated to the prevailing secularism,” in his own words.
The example of Cardinal John Henry Newman, founder of the Oxford Movement and famous convert of the 19th century, was decisive for his conversion: “Newman paved the way for the true Church which is based on the charisma of the successor of Peter, in which we strive for eternal salvation,” says Gavin Ashenden.
The discovery of the Holy Rosary, the Mass, and the writings of the Catholic Magisterium were, as he called them, the “three driving forces” for his return to the unity of the Church.
A beautiful testimony which manifests once more, if necessary, the importance of keeping these three treasures intact in fidelity to the Tradition of the Church, and of becoming aware of their greatness, so as to be able to save as many souls as possible.
It is to be hoped, however, that this return will extend to the traditional Mass and to the perennial Magisterium of the Church, and not the one that began with Vatican II. Otherwise, the former Queen’s chaplain may be disappointed to find what he has just abandoned.
That is how Fr. Quentin Montgomery-Wright (1914-1997), former pastor of the Anglican Church, convert to Catholicism and ordained a priest in 1952, then become parish priest of Chamblac, France, refused the new mass, saying to his bishop: “I don't want to go back to what I left.”
As recalled on October 12, 2018, by the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Fr. Davide Pagliarani: “it is necessary to rediscover each day the treasure that we hold in our hands, to remember that this treasure comes to us from Our Lord Himself and that it cost Him His Blood. By regularly placing ourselves again in the presence of these sublime realities in all their grandeur, our souls will habitually remain in adoration and will be strengthened as needed for the day of trial.”