David Richardson.

David Richardson. Photo: Craig Abraham

The Anglican ambassador to the Vatican, David Richardson, has attacked the Roman Catholic "raid'' on the Anglican Church two years ago as offensive and embarrassing.

Australian Canon Richardson, a former dean of St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, said the special Anglican wing the Vatican set up to provide a home for Anglican dissidents would not last more than 20 years.

Canon Richardson, whose term as ambassador for the Archbishop of Canterbury ended on Friday, said the Vatican told Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams only a fortnight before the announcement.

He told ABC Radio's The Religion Report, in an interview to be broadcast on Wednesday that he and Dr Williams were offended by the manner and timing of the intervention.

The ordinariate allowed Anglican ministers and parishioners disaffected especially by the introduction of women priests and bishops to become Roman Catholics while preserving their Anglican worship and heritage.