Southwark Archbishop-elect John Wilson

Southwark Archbishop-elect John Wilson

The Holy See announced today that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Wilson as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Southwark.

Archbishop-elect Wilson succeeds The Most Reverend Peter Smith, who has been Archbishop of Southwark since 2010. Archishop-elect Wilson, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster since 2015 and previously a priest in the Diocese of Leeds, will be the 11th Archbishop of Southwark and his Episcopal Installation will be celebrated in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, on 25 July.

Speaking of his appointment, Archbishop-elect Wilson said: "Someone once said if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. In whatever way I might have imagined God's plan for my life to unfold, the news of my appointment by Pope Francis as the new Archbishop of Southwark came as a complete surprise. I am grateful to His Excellency Archbishop Edward J Adams, the Apostolic Nuncio, for his encouragement, and for reminding me of CS Lewis' invitation to be 'surprised by joy.' It is the joy of the Gospel, the Good News of God's love for the world in His Son Jesus Christ, that sustains and animates the Church's mission in which I am to share in a new way.

"To say I am deeply humbled by my appointment, while absolutely true, hardly seems adequate. It is an immense privilege and I will do my very best to serve joyfully after the example of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Aware of my unworthiness and limitations, and with more than a little trepidation, I am grateful to Pope Francis for entrusting me with this new mission in the service of the Lord and His people in the Archdiocese of Southwark. There is so much that is new to me and I know I have much to learn. I rely totally on the Holy Spirit to guide my new ministry of witnessing to the love of God for each person so that we might be evermore a Church of joyful missionary disciples, alive in Christ, our risen Saviour.

"For the past three and a half years I have served as an auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Westminster. Through the great kindness and example of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, together with the support of my fellow Bishops, and the clergy, religious and lay people of the Diocese, I have begun to understand what it means to exercise episcopal ministry. I move to Southwark grateful to the Cardinal for all I have received in Westminster, and not least from the parishes of the western pastoral area and the schools and colleges of the Diocese, for which I have had particular oversight. There have been so many blessings for which I thank the Lord sincerely. I also remain indebted to the Diocese of Leeds where I was nurtured as a priest, and to my family and friends for their constant support and encouragement.

"I have received a warm welcome from Archbishop Peter Smith for which I thank him sincerely. I know how much he and his ministry will be missed. I am so pleased that he will be retiring within the Archdiocese. His continued presence and counsel is a great reassurance. We will continue to build on the important foundations he has put in place.

"It is with faith-filled anticipation that I look forward to sharing the Church's mission with Bishop Patrick Lynch and Bishop Paul Hendricks, and with the priests, deacons, religious and lay people of the Archdiocese. Together we step out into the future with confidence, trusting that the Lord is indeed with us. As we deepen our love for Him, we will continue to look outwards in the service of our brothers and sisters, not least the weakest and the poorest.

"The Lord Jesus says to each of us 'I call you friends' (Jn 15:15). It is in friendship that I come, a friendship as wide and embracing as the wonderful variety of people and places within the Archdiocese of Southwark, both inside and beyond the Church.

"I am reminded again today of the words of Pope Francis which I take to heart: 'The bishop must always foster this missionary communion…following the ideal of the first Christian communities, in which the believers were of one heart and one soul (cf. Acts 4:32). To do so, he will sometimes go before his people, pointing the way and keeping their hope vibrant. At other times, he will simply be in their midst with his unassuming and merciful presence. At yet other times, he will have to walk after them, helping those who lag behind and - above all - allowing the flock to strike out on new paths.' (Evangelii Gaudium 31)

"My appointment is announced on the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. May Our Lady, with her heavenly maternal care, pray for everyone in our Archdiocese. May she, the Star of the New Evangelisation, teach us to love Jesus as she loves Him so that others too might know His love.

"Please be sure of my prayers for you and for our journey together in faith, hope, love and joy. And please pray for me as I prepare to begin this new ministry of service as a witness to Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Smith said: "It was with great delight that I received the splendid news that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Wilson as the next Archbishop of Southwark. It was nine years ago today that I was installed as the 10th Archbishop of this Archdiocese, and I am pleased to pass on my responsibilities to such a capable successor. The Archdiocese of Southwark has a vibrant and multi-cultural Catholic population to which Bishop John will bring new energy and enthusiasm. I wish him every blessing for his episcopal ministry in Southwark and assure him of my prayers and good wishes."

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said: "On behalf of the people, priests and religious of Westminster I assure Archbishop-elect Wilson of our whole-hearted support and prayers as he moves to take up his role as Archbishop of Southwark. We thank him most warmly for his service in Westminster both as an area bishop and a dedicated part of episcopal oversight of the Archdiocese, especially in education."

The Archdiocese of Southwark is part of the Metropolitan Province of Southwark, which covers the South of England. The Cathedral Church is St George's Cathedral, Southwark. The Archdiocese covers the London boroughs south of the Thames, the county of Kent and the Medway Unitary Authority. Southwark was one of the dioceses established at the restoration of Catholic hierarchical structures in 1850 by Pope Pius IX.

Archbishop Elect John Wilson was born on 4 July 1968 in Sheffield. He studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology and religious studies at the University of Leeds and began formation for the priesthood for the Diocese of Leeds at the Venerable English College, Rome in 1989. During his seminary training he completed a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a Licence in Moral Theology at the Accademia Alfonsiana. He was ordained a deacon on 13 July 1994 by Bishop Cyril Restieaux.

He was ordained to the priesthood on 29 July 1995 by Bishop David Konstant. He was appointed Assistant Priest at St Joseph's, Pontefract in 1995, as well as hospital, hospice and school chaplain. He was appointed Assistant Priest at St Joseph's, Bradford in 1998, and also served as a school chaplain.

In 1999, he was appointed Lecturer in moral theology at St Cuthbert's Seminary, Ushaw College, Durham. He also completed a PhD at Durham University and latterly served as Vice Rector. In 2005, he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation in the Diocese of Leeds, a role he held until 2012. From 2008 to 2014 he was also sessional chaplain at HMP Leeds. In 2011 he was named a Chaplain to His Holiness by Pope Benedict XVI. During the vacancy of the see, he was elected Administrator of the Diocese of Leeds by the College of Consultors from September 2012 to November 2014. From 2015 to 2016 he served as Parish Priest of St Martin de Porres, Wakefield.

On 24 November 2015 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Lindisfarne by Pope Francis. He was ordained to the episcopate by Cardinal Vincent Nichols on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, 25 January 2016. He had pastoral care of the deaneries in the western area of the diocese. He was also Chair of the Education Commission and had oversight of ecumenical work and inter-religious dialogue at diocesan level. He was also responsible for Liturgy, Art and Architecture, as well as the Historic Churches Commission.

On 10 June 2019 he was appointed Archbishop of Southwark by Pope Francis on the retirement of Archbishop Peter Smith. His installation will take place in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, on 25 July 2019, the Feast of St James the Apostle.

Tags: SouthwarkNew Archbishop

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Pope Francis with Bishops

Pope Francis is calling a meeting of Church leaders from across the world to discuss child protection as he seeks to step up his response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

On Wednesday 12 September, the Vatican announced that Francis will hold a meeting with the Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences from across the world on the “Protection of Minors.” It will take place in Rome on the 21-24 February 2019.

This is the first time a global gathering of bishops has taken place to discuss the worldwide scandal of abuse in the Church and was ordered by the Pope following a request from his cardinal advisory body. 

Paloma García Ovejero, the deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists today that the Council of Cardinals have been reflecting with the Pope on the issues of abuse. 

The council has been meeting with Francis over the last three days and on Monday expressed their “full solidarity” with the Pope noting that the Vatican was preparing a response to an explosive dossier from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

The former papal diplomat has alleged the Pope knew about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s abusive behaviour with seminarians and that Benedict XVI had placed sanctions on the former cardinal. 

Tomorrow Francis will meet with leaders of the United States Bishops’ Conference to discuss their response to the McCarrick case and the findings of a Grand Jury Report in Pennsylvania into clerical abuse and its cover-up in six dioceses. 

A spokesperson for the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, told the Tablet: “This is a welcome development by the Holy See in ensuring the protection of minors in all countries across the world given the difficulties and complexities involved in safeguarding. It stands alongside the Holy See’s safeguarding initiatives with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and also the setting up of the The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) of the Pontifical Gregorian University.”

There are more than 5,000 bishops worldwide,while an episcopal conference is an official assembly of bishops in any given area that allows them to address problems collectively. Presidents of conferences are ordinarily elected to their post by their fellow bishops.

The council of nine cardinals advising the Pope, known as the C9, met with Francis from the 10 September to 12 September. Three members were not present including Cardinals Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, 84, Laurent Monsengwo, 78 and George Pell, 77. It is likely they will be replaced from the council due to advanced age. Chilean Cardinal Errázuriz has been accused of mishandling sexual abuse complaints in his home country while Cardinal Pell is back in Australia defending himself against allegations of historic sex offences. Pell denies the allegations. 

Most Reverend Excellency,

With the Motu Proprio MAGNUM PRINCIPIUM, dated 3 September 2017, entering into force on 1 October, made known through the Press Office of the Holy See on 9 September and published in
L’Osservatore Romano
on 10 September in Latin and in Italian, the Holy Father modified canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law.

The new guidelines, concerning the translation and the adaptations of liturgical books into the modern languages, concern both this Dicastery and the Conferences of Bishops.

As such, we all must, with respect and acknowledgement, accept the thrust of this Pontifical document, of the motivations and principles raised in it, in a particular way, the intention that brought about the modification of this canon, namely to "make the collaboration between the Holy See and Bishops Conferences easier and more fruitful.” The Pope, in fact, wishes "a constant collaboration full of mutual respect, vigilance, and creativity."

The Motu Proprio does not have retroactive force. The important outcomes come to maturity in recent years, in obedience to the discipline up until now in force, retain their value. For the future, the guidelines concerning liturgical translations are to be interpreted in the light of what has been indicated by the Holy Father.

In recalling the genuine responsibility of Bishops’ Conferences, the new norms do not fail to underscore the grave task of fidelity in translating texts for liturgical prayer that belongs to the Bishops, who must guarantee the unity of the Church that celebrates the Mystery of Christ. Liturgical adaptations require discernment and the sensus Ecclesiae, with the awareness that no one is master of the holy mysteries that we celebrate, rather, we are all servants, obedient to the mandate received from the Lord Jesus.

The collaboration between the Holy See and the Conferences of Bishops must be strengthened for the good of the Church and to the glory of God.

To this letter, which is known to the Supreme Authority is attached the commentary and the note that accompanied the publication of the Motu Proprio. The Dicastery will provide, in due time, further indications of a practical and procedural nature.

I take this opportunity to give my sincere greetings, with a profound sense of respect [for Your Excellency].

Fr. Corrado Maggioni, S. M. M., Undersecretary

Bishop Paul Swarbrick

Installed as the seventh Bishop of Lancaster on the 9th April 2018 on the Solemnity of the Annunciation.

“Just grin and bear it” is not a rubric that appears in the currently authorised translation of the Mass into English. Maybe it should. It sums up the outcome of a discussion at the latest meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, in the light of a change in canon law giving them more authority over liturgical translations. But not enough authority, they have decided, to dispose of a seriously flawed translation and replace it with a very much better one – or even to allow that alternative translation to be used beside the current one. 

Pope Francis’ motu proprio Magnum Principium was hailed – and recognised as such by Archbishop Peter Smith at the press conference at which the bishops’ decision was announced – as part of his programme of reform intended to return to diocesan bishops and hence to episcopal conferences their jurisdiction over such matters as the translation of the liturgy best suited to their territories. Under the previous system, translations had been imposed by Rome irrespective of the wishes of the bishops. That was wrong in principle, theologically unsound, and contrary to the intentions of the Second Vatican Council. But the bishops of England and Wales, and of every other English-speaking part of the Catholic Church, felt they had no choice but to knuckle under when in 2010 Rome issued the English text of the Roman Missal now in use, despite the fact that they had previously agreed to a superior translation.

According to guidance – which the bishops said they were “grateful” for – from the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW), the change in canon law does not allow bishops to interfere with translations already authorised. But guidance from the Roman Curia to the bishops can always be challenged, and even rejected. Pope Francis could have been appealed to directly, and a review of the version the bishops themselves had commissioned and approved be commissioned immediately, to make it ready for use.

The bishops of England and Wales are well aware of the unpopularity of the current translation, and of its flaws, as Archbishop Smith was candid enough to concede. It includes many crude attempts to find literal equivalents in English to the official Latin text. Some English-speaking Catholics may have become inured to its poor, exclusive language, and the bishops may be counting on them to accept the status quo. They are mindful too that new missals cost money.

Yet England is the motherland of the English language. English Catholic bishops have missed the chance to show the way forward to the other 10 nations where the Mass is usually said in English. Before deciding to “grin and bear it” they could at least have consulted the others, including the bishops of New Zealand, who have already indicated they are considering reviving the translation the Vatican buried. It is quite possible that bishops in other English-speaking countries too will not take the CDW’s “guidance” lying down. Might we one day witness the sight of the Catholics of England –  who have included Chaucer, Shakespeare, Pope, Newman, Hopkins, Chesterton, Tolkien, Waugh and Greene – being reluctantly dragged along behind?