Rev Donald Minchew of St Michael’s and All Angels in Croydon decided he’d had enough of the Church of England and persuaded 70 members of his congregation to up sticks and head to the Catholic Church down the road.

The 63-year-old probably raised a few eyebrows when he began telling parishioners that the C of E was telling them to “bugger off” by feeding them a diet of “pap and banality”.

The vicar decided to convert to Catholicism because of the Anglican Church’s liberal move to ordain women as priests and bishops.

Father Minchew said: “I never bullied or pressured anyone to join me. I let them make their own choices. They are very brave because they have answered the call of God and done it at great cost, often causing rifts and divisions with family and friends.”

“In the Catholic church, they take their faith seriously compared to the take it or leave it attitude of the Church of England, where there’s a sense of, ‘I don’t fancy it this Sunday’.”

Father Minchew and his followers were converted last week at St Mary’s Church, 500 yards from his old church. Aside from switching title from “Rev” to “Father”, Minchew will have to leave his vicarage and turn his back on a £11,500-a-year pension.