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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Old Catholic Bishop of Switzerland to be Consecrated on 12 September

On 12 June the synod of the Christ-Catholic Church of Switzerland elected the Revd Dr Harald Rein, currently the parish priest in Zurich, to be their next bishop. Dr Rein is a good friend of the Anglican Church. I first met him back in 2002 when he was the official Old Catholic participant in the Anglican Consultative Council meetings in Hong Kong. We serve together on the Anglican Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) and I look forward to working with Dr Rein as a brother bishop, and to continuing the task of deepening the relationship of communion which our Churches share. He will succeed Bishop Fritz-René Müller, also a close friend of our diocese and well known to Anglican parishes in the Swiss Archdeaconry.

The Christ-Catholic Church of Switzerland dates from just after the Vatican I declaration of Papal Infallibility in 1870, when a lay-led revolt in Switzerland resulted in the organization of a Catholic Church outside the jurisdiction of the Pope. It has over 40 parishes and clergy. It is a member of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht. In 1931, the Churches of the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrect came into communion through the Bonn Agreement.

The consecration will be held in the Augustinerkirche in Zurich on 12 September at 11 am. (Unfortunately I have had to send Fr Harald my regrets, as I have a previous commitment in Copenhagen that day). The diocese in Europe assures Dr Rein of our prayers and warm wishes as he prepares for his ministry as a bishop in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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