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The handing of a prominent north London parish to a French Catholic movement has been delayed for at least six months due to disagreements over property and a lack of hospitality from some parishioners, the Archbishop of Westminster announced last Sunday.
Last weekend, members of the Chemin Neuf community were due to take over the running of Christ the King, Cockfosters.
Four Chemin Neuf has risen in prominence after it was announced that four members are to move into the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London headquarters, Lambeth Palace, next month.
But last weekend Archbishop Vincent Nichols explained that the induction of Chemin Neuf’s Fr Michel Le Piouff as parish priest of Cockfosters – previously run by the Olivetan Benedictines for 77 years – would not go ahead straight away.
Archbishop Nichols, who paid tribute to the service of the Benedictines to the parish, explained that Chemin Neuf had agreed to take over the parish on the understanding they would acquire the monastery next to the parish church.
But in a statement, the archbishop said that the Benedictines had instead decided that the monastery will now house a language school run by a member of the Italian lay Catholic group Comunione e Liberazione.
The Cockfosters parish is a complex of buildings and Archbishop Nichols said that discussions over the use of the property were ongoing.
He also explained that some members of the parish had “lacked the tradition of Benedictine hospitality which I would have expected and indeed had requested,” he said.
He stressed that the plan for Chemin Neuf to take over the running of the parish will still go ahead and hoped this would be achieved in the summer and that a parish priest would be in place by the end of June. Until then Cockfosters will be served by a rota of diocesan priests.