By Kirk Petersen
Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to the queen of England who went on to become a bishop in an Anglican church separate from the Church of England, converted to Roman Catholicism on December 22.
Ashenden, now a member of the Roman Catholic laity, has been a prominent voice for traditional Anglicanism. He left the Church of England in 2017 in the wake of a Koran reading in a Scotland cathedral, so that he could speak out against the event without being mistaken as a representative of the queen.
The biography on his personal website says: “Convinced that the consecration of women to the episcopate represented the replacement of apostolic and biblical patterns with the competing culture of the values of Cultural Marxism, and dissenting from the increasing accommodation of the Church of England to radical secular views on gender, he resigned from the Church of England in 2017.”
He quickly was ordained a missionary bishop in the Christian Episcopal Church, which was formed in 1992 in the United States and Canada in response to what conservatives saw as a steady move toward theological liberalism in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
He was critical of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, saying he objected to “the glorification of romantic and erotic love — saying ‘this is an experience of God,’ and then encouraging people to say, ‘let’s encourage people to love each other a bit more, and the whole world will come right.” He described the sermon as “an American taste of Disneyfication.”
Ashenden has been a weekly presence on Anglican Unscripted, a video podcast launched in 2011, since he left the Church of England. Shortly before his conversion, Ashenden talked with host Kevin Kallsen about his decision to turn toward Rome. He accepted an invitation by the local Roman Catholic bishop out of a belief that the “alliance of Anglican orthodox bodies” would not be able to build the Church, describing them as “small schismatic groups that don’t speak very well of each other.” Ashenden will continue to appear on the podcast.