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Friday, 26 October, 2001, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Archbishop's turbulent reign
Archbishop John Ward
Archbishop of Cardiff John Aloysius Ward had been in charge of the diocese for 18 years, before announcing his resignation on Friday, but it had not been an entirely smooth reign.

The 72-year-old had faced a turbulent time both personally and professionally during the past few years which recently culminated in a visit to the Vatican in Rome.

"Not only must I ask forgiveness of anyone I have hurt during my 18 years as archbishop of Cardiff, I also forgive those who have been the cause of scandal to so many

Archbishop of Cardiff John Ward

Archbishop Ward - who was the most senior Catholic bishop in Wales - faced allegations of ignoring warnings about two paedophile priests.

He had also spent most the last year convalescing from a serious illness and last week - during a private audience with the Pope John Paul II to discuss his position - he decided to resign.

The archbishop was born on 24 January 1929 in Leeds and at the age of 24 he was ordained in Peckham, London.

After seven years as the director of the travelling mission in north Wales he went on to become the guardian of the community and the parish priest in Peckham.

In 1969 he became minister provincial, and was elected an advisor to the father general the following year before being appointed coadjutor bishop of Menevia where he succeeded to the bishopric in 1981.

Father John Lloyd
Father John Lloyd was jailed for eight years

He was eventually appointed archbishop of Cardiff on 29 March 1983 where he remained until he was taken ill in November 2000.

On sick leave recovering from deep vein thromobosis, archbishop Ward had also been under pressure to stand down over his handling of the cases of paedophile priests John Lloyd and Joseph Jordan.

Lloyd, one of the archbishop's close colleagues, was jailed for eight years in 1998 for paedophile offences.

It had been claimed that when parishioners wrote to the archbishop to complain about alleged child abuse, he sent their letters back to Father Lloyd.

But despite repeatedly insisting that he had acted in good faith the incident was not the end of the archbishop's troubles.

Father Joseph Jordon was never clinically assessed
The campaign calling for his resignation gathered momentum in October last year after a second priest Joe Jordan, was convicted of sexually abusing two nine-year-old boys, and was jailed for eight years.

Later a BBC documentary revealed that the archbishop was warned that Jordan had been accused of indecently assaulting boys and it was recommended that he was assessed by an expert in paedophilia.

But Jordon was never clinically assessed, instead the archbishop arranged an interview between Jordon and a psychiatrist who had no specialist knowledge on the subject.

Archbishop Ward has insisted he did nothing wrong following accusations that he failed to protect children by employing Jordan and Lloyd despite warnings over their behaviour.

Ill health

The archbishop had initially met the Pope last week to ask if he could be allowed to return to his post after his illness.

But he said that during the course of the meeting he decided to resign.

In a statement on Friday archbishop Ward said: "Consequently I offered my resignation to Pope John Paul II and I immediately felt at peace.

"Not only must I ask forgiveness of anyone I have hurt during my 18 years as archbishop of Cardiff.

"I also forgive those who have been the cause of scandal to so many."

Archbishop Ward is to be replaced by Bishop Peter Smith who is currently bishop of East Anglia.

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