- The case for mercy
The leading proponent of relaxing the ban on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics tells Christopher Lamb that the Church too often appears rule-bound
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Kasper says Pope Francis would like to see an ‘opening’ on church teaching on divorced and remarried
- Pell adds voice to growing opposition to Kasper’s efforts to relax Communion ban for remarried divorcees
- Fleeing Iraqi Christians flood French consulate in Erbil with visa applications
- Children make noise in church – welcome it, says evangelisation bishop
Pope Francis has appointed an Oratorian priest as a new auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
Fr Robert Byrne, 56, is a former provost of the Oxford Oratory and has until now been National Ecumenical Officer for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
He is the first Oratorian to be made a bishop in England and Wales since 1874, when Fr Edward Bagshawe was appointed Bishop of Nottingham.
Byrne entered the Birmingham Oratory in 1980 and founded the Oxford Oratory ten years later. During his time as provost in Oxford a weekly Old Rite Mass was established.
Fr Byrne’s ministry also includes working as a prison and school chaplain and his new role gives him responsibility for deaneries in Birmingham, Kidderminster and Worcester.
The bishop-elect got to know Cardinal Vincent Nichols well when the cardinal was Archbishop of Birmingham (2000-09).
Fr Byrne praised Pope Francis in a statement following his appointment. “[Francis’] example will continue to inspire and shape my ministry in Birmingham, especially to serve the poor, the marginalised and those who may feel alienated from God and society,” he said. “In the spirit of St Philip Neri – the founder of the Oratory and a saint with a great sense of humour – I am committed to helping share the joy of the Gospel message with others.”
Byrne will succeed Bishop Philip Pargeter, 80, who retired in 2009, and his episcopal ordination will take place at St Chad’s Cathedral on 13 May.