02 May 2014
Bishops and palaces
It is, with the greatest respect, misleading for Edmund Adamus, (Letters, 19 April) to pretend that "whoever Pope Francis appoints as the next Bishop of Salford has no choice but to live [at Wardley Hall] according to the terms of the purchase during the 1930s".
My late father was one of a group of Catholic businessmen instumental in that purchase. Certainly, if that residence ceases to be the bishop's seat, certain restrictive covenants could be triggered, and the diocese may well suffer financially – although by now I imagine that there could be legal remedies. But that financial disadvantage is precisely the "choice" that has to be made if the bishop were to move elsewhere, in fulfilment of Vatican ll's exhortation that "priests and bishops … have the kind of residence which will appear closed to no one, and which no one will fear to visit , even the humblest", (Presbyterorum Ordinis, n17). He may well decide that for a bishop today to live in a "Tudor (formerly moated) mansion", falls foul of that requirement, as well as being an instance of what your own editorial identifies as "the worship of false gods, and neglect of the poor" and a contradiction of Prophet Pope Francis's own example and encouragement.
Towards the end of Vatican 11 the then Bishop of Salford, Thomas Holland, enlivened many a meal at the English College as he freely discussed with his brother-bishops and others precisely this question – should he move from Wardley Hall? He decided not to – but he had the choice, and so does the next bishop.
Basil Loftus, Sutherland
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