We have had a surprise announcement this morning, that Archbishop Peter has been appointed Archbishop of Southwark in London. The previous archbishop there resigned before Christmas on health grounds, and I wondered at the time whether Peter would be in the running. With everything else that has been going on, the question fell off my radar. He will be installed there on 10th June. His authority here in Cardiff ceases today.
So, an era comes to an end. Peter came to us after the events surrounding the last years of Archbishop Ward's ministry here. Southwark is his home diocese.
Within eight days our diocesan consultors (ie the eight deans plus one or two ex officio members) have to meet to elect a diocesan administrator until we get a new archbishop. The administrator has quite wide powers, but not to make any changes that would be permanent, such as appointing parish priests etc.
Some diocesan officers lose their position in these circumstances, such as the Vicar General, who is Mgr Bob Reardon at the moment. The VG's authority flows from the bishop's, so - no bishop, no VG. Others carry on, such as the Judicial Vicar (ie me!) as justice must always be available. I do lose one of my other hats, though, as chairman of the Council of Priests. This is a body advisory to the bishop, so - no bishop, no council.
We congratulate Archbishop Peter, whom we shall miss, and seek the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit over the coming months.