I have decided to publish the main parts of a letter written to me (14 June 1994) by Bishop Graham Leonard. He was the senior bishop of the Province of Canterbury after the Archbishop; he was received into full communion after the vote of the General Synod in 1992 to "ordain" women to the presbyterate. Rome decided that he should be ordained to the presbyterate sub conditione.
"... after discussions with the Cardinal [Hume] over many years, and finally after the vote, I petitioned the Holy Father to be received into the Catholic Church, setting out the position as I saw it over my Orders. I had always made it clear (vide my article in the Catholic Herald in November 1992) that I did so as a suppliant without presumption. All I asked was that I should not have to deny my former ministry. I did not seek conditional ordination which was offered by Rome. Cardinal Hume delivered my petition personally to the Pope [S John Paul II]. I am told that it was considered by 4 Cardinals and 10 consultors. The decision that I should be ordained to the priestood per saltum and not first to the diaconate was a personal decision of the Pope.
" ... B T Simpson played a crucial part. The Bishop who ordained me in 1948 was Edward Wynn [Bishop of Ely 1941-1957], who was consecrated by Simpson in 1941. Rome was particularly concerned about his intention in conveying Old Catholic Orders. Fortunately, Simpson executed a document of which a copy exists in Pusey House Library, certified by Darwell Stone, which makes his intention clear beyond any doubt. He writes of his 'express intention of transmitting the Old Catholic Succession as well as the Anglican'. Through the Cardinal I provided Rome with a copy of the document.
"So much for my ordination as a priest: the question of my consecration to the episcopate [as Bishop of Willesden in 1964] remains an open one. In my petition, I had said that at my age, I had no desire to exercise episcopal functions, whatever decision be made about my episcopal orders. I did point out that nine bishops in the Old Catholic succession took part in my consecration. The intention of six of them gave no cause for doubt. The then Bishop of London [Robert Stopford] and the then Bishop of Kensington had themselves been consecrated by Old Catholics, the former Archbishop of Utrecht having participated in both consecrations. I was present at the consecration of Ronald Goodchild as Kensington [in 1964] and remember what happened. However, as I say, no decision has been made about my episcopal orders. ..."