It was announced today from Number Ten Downing Street that Her Majesty the Queen has appointed Peter Stanford to the Suffragan See of Old Compton Street in the diocese of London.
Peter James Stanford, (55) is a writer and broadcaster, author of The Devil: A Biography (1996) and Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle, (2015), and a former editor of The Catholic Herald. Friends have long expected his move to the Church of England (‘He was always’, said one, ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as you might say’). But few had anticipated his immediate elevation to the episcopate.
Bishop Peter, who has described his new job as ‘an Ordinariate in reverse’, will be recruiting his clergy from among former Roman Catholics, priests and religious, who have left the Catholic Church either to get married or further to explore their sexuality. He hopes, within the first few months to have achieved parity between male and female priests. The Ordinariate will have a special concern for the LGBT community of the area of central London which it serves.
Said Cardinal Vincent Nichols: ‘I welcome this move as a positive step on our shared ecumenical journey. Many gay Catholics and priests in permanent relationships have long looked to Peter for advocacy and support. We Catholics can only stand back and admire the ground-breaking experiments of our Anglican sisters and brothers, which are so much in the spirit of aggiornamento brought in by Pope Francis.’