Auxiliary to auxiliary

Auxiliary to auxiliary

This jumped out at me in today’s Vatican bulletin:

Appointed Bishop William Kenny C.P., auxiliary of the diocese of Stockholm, Sweden, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Birmingham (area 8,735, population 5,245,000, Catholics 286,442, priests 358, permanent deacons 76, religious 705), Great Britain.

It seems unusual to me that an auxiliary bishop in a Swedish diocese would be appointed as an auxiliary bishop of a British diocese. It’s not unusual for non-natives to be made bishops in countries without large native Catholic populations—it’s common in Africa and Asia—and I suppose Sweden might have a small Catholic population.

Still, it seems odd especially since auxiliary bishops aren’t usually re-appointed as auxiliaries in another diocese. Lateral moves are uncommon. By the way, C.P. means he’s a Passionist priest.

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  • I suspect that Stockholm may well want to appoint a native Swede as auxilary which makes sense. They may well have one lined up. the reason why they have an auxilary is a combination of physical size of the country and the severe winters rendering travel difficult for just one bishop.

    Vincent Nichols is no longer the favourite for Westminster but he is still in the running. (One intriguing possibility is that Kenny himself might now be in the frame). Vincent has made himself something of a star with his stand against the BBC but my source tells me that Rome is not 100% happy with him nor are the priests of Westminster where he served as an auxilary.

    MacDonald in Southwark remains favourite for red although he has exerted little influence in his current role. He lost control of his provincial seminary to Portsmouth’s Crispin Hollis (whom “Mac” beat to the Southwark post) and Portsmouth remains the dominant see within the English Catholic church: Crispin placed one of his own men in MacDonald’s former see at Northampton. Peter Smith of Cardiff is a strong possibility also.

    I would be happy if Cardinal “Comic” stays on for no better reason than there is simply nobody obvious to replace him. In any event, would the UK really need 3 Cardinals?

    Interesting to hear that the Vatican is examining our finances. I suspect that what happened in Lancaster is suspected to be happening elsewhere. Watch out for the self-serving liberal mafiosi who administer the English Church to fight back. These people are aggressive and nasty when cornered – they will spit back venom as always (in the English way)and the Vatican will back down.

  • Joe

    I take your point. My thoughts on Wonersh were based on the fact that the new rector is Portsmouth as is Cormac of course. Doyle, as you rightly state, is also Portsmouth. Rod Pread of Christian Order suggested to me that the new Wonersh rector is a Hollis initiative despite what the website states. Rod described the new rector as an absolute “shocker”.

    Wonersh had a reputation of being “conservative” and under the influence of the neo-con “Faith” movement. My understanding is that influence is being arrested. Of course conservative doesn’t in any event signal orthodox. How an 18 yo first year is meant to distinguish between the two is anyone’s guess? I suspect that most can’t. In any event, conservatism down in Surrey would appear to be off the menu for the time being.

    Interesting times?

    I’m not sure about that. The endgame of the British hierarchy is to maintain the status quo and to stop Rome imposing any alternative solution (i.e. one that might work) to confront the crisis in the local Church. It’s jobs for the boyz (and galz) as usual. The Lancaster experience has shown that “lay empowerment” in the post-V2, UK church is nothing better than a system of preferment for liberal lay folk to draw salaries from the Catholic church whilst working for some Orwellian style diocesan or even nationally sponsored quango.

  • Thanks Fr PF. Doesn’t fully explain joe’s point about the unusual nature of the sideways move.

    Given that he is a ‘geordie’ (i.e. from Newcastle), it’s a wonder he wasn’t offered Hexham & Newcastle when it became available a couple of years ago. As joe says, the only see up for grabs in the next 12 months is the big one itself.

    I wouldn’t put it past Comic to hang on for another year, at least. Perhaps Vincent is nevertheless a shoe in for Westminster, as has been said, earlier so Kenny then gets Brum (Birmingham).

    All will be revealed.

  • Flab

    seems strange that an appointment should be imposed on Vincent. Difficult to explain. My bet was always that one of the existing Archbishops would go to Westminster and then Roche would get the pallium in the vacated See. The exception being Cardiff, where Bishop Evans (geddit?) of East Anglia might get the Cardiff post if Peter Smith were to head back East.

    Roche is a typical neo-con (yoof 2000 fan) but my understanding is that ICEL has been something of a shambles. He is an intellectual lightweight and after Comic do we want another one stuttering on BBC Newsnight?

    Roche hangs around around with a secretary who is a Cambridge English graduate and there are rumours that he writes all of Arthur’s stuff. The secretary’s brother is a Labour MP but not a Blair loyalist.

    Don’t rule out Fitzgerald – the Egyptian nuncio. Even the government might find it useful to have an Arabic speaking prelate about the place. They always come in handy in the event of kidnaps and terrorist related issues etc.

    Generally the Vatican will do whatever posh Brits ask them to do and presumably it was the Duke of Norfolk who got Comic the promotion – Comic was his next door neighbour. If the government ask for “Fitz” they would get him in other words.

    It’s an open race but according to William Oddie, Peter Smith was available at 10-1 with Paddy Power bookmakers which represented “great value”. It’s a measure of the depth of Oddie’s conversion from Anglicanism that he now refers to Irish bookmakers.

    Welcome on boad Willy!

  • Joe

    how did he end up as a “Professor” in Sweden with just a theology degree from Heythrop? Any clues to his academic record? It would be good to have someone smart around the place.

    Did anyone read Bishop O’Donoghue’s pastoral explaining the financial crisis to the good folk of Lancaster? It contained truly abysmal grammar and punctuation errors. I’m no Shakespeare but I can recognise poor English when I read it. I like POD but how are these men gaining promotion?

  • Birmingham site finally posted the news. He has a secular degree from a Swedish university plus a phd from the LSE. Will be one of the few British bishops with brains. Although born in Newcastle, he has spent most of his early life in Brum. Seems to be a Newman fan which is promising. Has toughed it out in one of the most secular countries in the World. Could be good or bad.