Three former Anglican bishops have been ordained as Catholic priests, becoming the first ex-bishops to take advantage of a new Vatican system designed to make it easier for Anglicans to embrace Roman Catholicism.

The crowded ceremony at Westminster Cathedral made priests of former bishops Keith Newton (right), Andrew Burnham (second from left) and John Broadhurst (left), Anglicans who had been unhappy with the church's direction.

They cannot be Catholic bishops because the Catholic church ''does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as bishops''.