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The Way Out: Closure of and Departure from Anglican Religious Communities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 August 2016

Francesca Quint*


Anglican religious communities are currently experiencing decline. Member numbers are decreasing as their average age increases, recruitment of young people is virtually impossible and it is not uncommon to find a small and dwindling group of elderly religious inhabiting premises designed for a time when committing oneself to life as a member of a religious order was much more fashionable. There are several underlying reasons: young people are offered a wider and more diverse array of possible occupations; employment with a specific employer is no longer undertaken for life, but people tend to move from one job to another and from one sector to another; women in particular have more choices than previously and for those with a religious vocation the priesthood is a more exciting alternative; and, bearing in mind that many Anglican religious communities incline to the Anglo-Catholic end of the spectrum, the Ordinariate beckons.

Copyright © Ecclesiastical Law Society 2016 

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2 Advisory Council on the Relations of Bishops and Religious Communities, A Handbook of the Religious Life, fifth edition (Norwich, 2004).

3 Ibid, para 502.

4 Ibid, para 503.

5 Ibid, paras 504 and 508.

6 Ibid, para 505.

7 Not usually, presumably, where dismissal is occasioned by marriage or a public renunciation of faith.

8 Ibid, paras 401–409.