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Taking their cue from the recent ruling by the Crown Prosecution Service that refusing to acknowledge the naming and gender preferences of others is a hate crime, a group of liberal Catholic priests in favour of the ordination of women has written to Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Claiming as a man to be, in fact, women, they all demand to be called ‘Cynthia’.

The Cardinal has in consequence taken legal advice from both secular and canon lawyers. Whilst awaiting that advice he has notified the Vatican that the legal battle involved in refusing the priests’ petition may be long and expensive.

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Nichols reassured readers that a similar petition by bishops was not anticipated – in England and Wales, at least.

‘What the Germans will do, ‘ he concluded, ‘is anybody’s guess.’

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