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Wednesday, 20 December, 2000, 09:28 GMT
Vatican to send envoy to Wales
Archbishop John Ward
A second archbishop could work alongside John Ward
The Vatican is to send a Papal envoy to Cardiff after it was announced a stand-in archbishop had been appointed to the archdiocese.

The hand-over of power from the Archbishop of Cardiff, John Ward, to the Bishop of Wrexham, Edwin Regan, was announced by the Roman Catholic Church earlier this week.

BBC Wales has learned the Vatican is now sending its ambassador - the Papal Nuncio - to Cardiff in the New Year to speak to priests within the diocese.

The arranged meeting is thought to be highly unusual and is being seen as a means of rebuilding confidence within the diocese after two recent cases of priests being convicted of paedophilia.

St Mary's church, Canton
Father Jordan was on secondment at St Mary's church, Canton
Fathers Joe Jordan and John Lloyd were jailed for their crimes.

Archbishop Ward - who is recovering from deep vein thrombosis - has refused requests for him to resign since he was accused of covering up the cases.

Archbishop Puente, will visit Cardiff on 9 January.

He will be inviting priests to talk to him and discuss the future of the diocese.

The Catholic Church said the visit is an opportunity for direct discussion with the clergy.

Fresh calls for the leader of the Catholic Church in Wales to go followed a BBC documentary, which uncovered evidence that Archbishop Ward ignored warnings about paedophiles working in his diocese.

It was revealed the archbishop had ignored serious warnings about Father Lloyd - jailed in 1998 - and Father Jordan.

Cardiff crown court
Cardiff crown court heard of the priest's offences
The Archbishop of Cardiff had expressed sorrow over events and he said he always acted in good faith.

A spokesman for the Catholic Media Office said: "Pope John Paul II has appointed the Rt Rev Edwin Regan, Bishop of Wrexham, to be apostolic administrator for the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff.

"The position will be a temporary appointment to provide episcopal governance for the diocese while the current Archbishop, the Most Rev John Aloysius Ward, is convalescing.

Archbishop Ward wrote to the Pope asking him to appoint another archbishop to work alongside him.

'Coming to terms'

Bishop Regan is now due to meet the chapter of canons to present himself to the diocese.

He told BBC Wales he would do his best to fulfill his new role.

"It gives the church in south Wales a chance to come to terms with what has happened.

"I want to listen to people and discern with them the best way forward.

"I will give the archdiocese of Cardiff my attention without neglecting my duties here."

The Bishop of Wrexham was born in Port Talbot in 1935 and was ordained as a priest of the Cardiff Archdiocese in 1959.

BBC Wales's Hugh Turnbull reports
"The Papal envoy's visit to Wales is a surprise move"
Father Kieron Connolly, Catholic Church spokesman
"It does show the Catholic Church is willing to listen and respond"
See also:

05 Nov 00 | Wales
05 Nov 00 | Wales
06 Nov 00 | Wales
19 Dec 00 | Wales
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