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England gains new bishop

By on Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bishop John Sherrington

Bishop John Sherrington

Nottingham priest and moral theologian John Sherrington was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster today at Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of England and Wales.

He said at his ordination Mass that it was “an exciting time to become a bishop”.

Bishop Sherrington said: “In the light of the Pope’s visit last year and the deep searching within many people for spiritual values and for a better life in the community, the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ can fall on fertile soil if we are courageous to proclaim it.”

The new bishop, ordained by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, will be responsible for the Hertfordshire area of the archdiocese and will be chairman of its education commission.

In his homily Archbishop Nichols said Bishop Sherrington was the first bishop to be ordained in England and Wales since Pope Benedict XVI’s visit almost a year ago.

He said an “essential task” of a bishop was to lead the laity towards a “deeper life of faith and service”. “The more faithful you are to your Episcopal ministry, the more you will – and again I use the Holy Father’s words – ‘inspire all Christ’s followers to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ’ “, the archbishop said.

He said: “Your episcopal ministry will bring you great joy but, so too, many challenges. You’re clearly a man blessed with many gifts and a wealth of experience. Nevertheless, there will be moments when you are acutely aware of your weakness and are tempted to consider that even your best efforts are fruitless.

“However, as you have said yourself, ‘you know you need to rely on God’s grace more deeply than ever and to cultivate your life of prayer’ “, the archbishop said.

The ordination Mass was attended by the nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff, 14 Catholic bishops and over 60 priests.

It was attended by Orthodox, Methodist and other Protestant representatives, as well as several peers.

An apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI, read out in the Cathedral, can be heard here.

Bishop Sherrington was ordained a priest for the Nottingham Diocese in 1987 and has been parish priest for the Good Shepherd parish in Nottingham for the past two years. He has also assisted the bishops’ conference on ethical issues and was a part of the working party for the bishops’ conference document Cherishing Life (2005).

After graduating in 1980 with a degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University and two years working for as a management consultants, Fr Sherrington was accepted in 1982 by Bishop McGuinness for the Nottingham diocese and joined seminary at All Hallows in Dublin.

In 1990 he gained an STL in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and lectured in moral theology at All Hallows in Dublin and then at St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, Guildford.

  • EditorCT

    (Archbishop  Nichols): “…an “essential task” of a bishop was to lead the laity towards a “deeper life of faith and service”. “The more faithful you are to your Episcopal ministry, the more you will – and again I use the Holy Father’s words – ‘inspire all Christ’s followers to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ’ “, the archbishop said.”

    Truly, you just could not make this stuff up!

  • Parasum

    So tell us what’s wrong with that…

  • EditorCT


    You’re an old-timer on these blogs. You know perfectly well what’s wrong with the statement from Archbishop Nichols.  For a man like him who supports and promotes the “gay”rights movement by providing a Mass for LGBT Catholics  to celebrate their gravely sinful partnerships to talking  about the bishop’s duty to “inspire Christ’s followers to conform….. to Christ” is laughable.  What a nerve.

    And don’t come back with baloney already disproved in other discussions. These Masses are propaganda meetings to promote “gay” rights, according to anyone who has ever attended one. There’s no pretence by these “gays” that they are “conforming” their lives to Christ, but a very honest admission that they want to change Christ’s teaching to suit their agenda and lifestyle.

    Archbishop Nichols is “man who speaks with forked tongue” – he ought to get that seen to.

  • Anonymous

    I’m no defender of the Soho masses, but to say that Abp Nichols is a supporter of the gay rights movement is a slight exaggeration, surely!

  • Anonymous

    What would you have him say instead? Should only those who are perfect exhort others to fulfil their duties well?

  • EditorCT

    No it is no exaggeration.  He has not only gone out of his way to provide and support these Masses, ignoring the detailed, thoroughly documented letters and reports sent to him on the matter, but in a very public television interview he told those who objected to “hold their tongues.” 

    The Catechism (even the NEW Catechism) teaches that there are nine ways of being complicit in the sin of another.  Archbishop Nichols fits under several headings. 

    If that is not supporting the “gay” rights movement, I’d like to know what it is he IS doing.  

  • EditorCT

    If this is addressed to me, re. my comments about Archbishop Nichols, what he should be saying to the “gays” is exactly the same that he should be saying to the rest of us – do not approach for Holy Communion if you are in a state of unrepented mortal sin.

    This should lead him into an explanation of Catholic morality – including sexual morality – and as is his duty as a Catholic and as a bishop, he should expound, explain, defend and promote Catholic doctrine and morals.


  • Anonymous

    and there’s nothing in what you say CT that I disagree with, but as it was an Episcopal Ordination that was being celebrated I think what he preached on was probably more appropriate for the occasion.

  • EditorCT

    I misunderstood your question and you, with respect, have misunderstood my original point. 

    What the Archbishop said at the episcopal consecration was correct in itself.  It was the irony of this particular bishop saying what he manifestly does not believe, as evidenced by his own actions and inactions, the “gay” Masses being a case in point.

  • Nat_ons

    No one, I trust, who knows of my posts here would confuse me with the wild and woolly mindset of the protest against catholic orthodoxy, even amid the slightly – but only slightly – muted efforts of the liberal elite at Westminster. 

    Yet one must differentiate between the pastoral needs of a set or group of individual human beings and an organised pressure group in opposition to orthodoxy, Catholicism and the Faith. That a forked tongue has its uses any snake will demonstrate, that it is the very opposite of what is needed in genuine pastoral is seen in the confusion, hostility, even the bitterness wrought in seeking to build up the welfare of men who attracted sexually to men and women to women – in Christ. A ‘Mass for LGBT Catholics’ is a contradiction in terms, like having Benediction with ‘Nuns In Support Of Abortion’, or Lauds at a ‘Catholics Demand Divorce and Remarriage, Women Priests, No Pope Here’ conventicle, unless these are taken to be satanic mockeries; that, however, is to misdirect the purpose of outreach, any devoted confraternity or sorority, or Catholics gathered in prayer even among the divorced, the vast array of differing souls dealing with same-sex attraction and  those meditating on the priestly mission of women (and men) outside the sacrament of ordination – in the light of our Faith.

    The Snake Pit aka the governance at Westminster Cathedral or ‘the clique’, as personified by you in Archbishop Nichols, is as much a symptom as a cause of this muddle-me-mix for genuine care and political statement. It is not that the Archbishop or his governing body are at war with Catholic Orthodoxy, nor even that they may be seeking to undermine it, quite the opposite (I like to suppose, although at times one has one’s doubts). There can be no firm reason in faith, let alone of grace or by law, that would prohibit pastoral welfare for souls in need, even in provision of liturgical support where they desire it, if this ‘care’ is not a statement of political or divisive rejection of the Faith; and here is where the governance fails (in typical snake-pit writhing), the Soho Mass is – or has become – a human statement not a prayerful, atoning sacrifice in Christ; it need not be protesting, nor need it become a platform of fomented venom with which to attack those desiring care or those who offer it in misguided formats (it would seem to descend into a D-I-Y liturgy of the Clown Mass variety or an occasion of sin more suited to St James’ Piccadilly – no doubt a worthy group of Christian-minded souls, but ill-suited to expressing orthodox Catholicism).

    In my experience orthodoxy is what men and women who are seriously concerned with their spiritual welfare most appreciate, not least among those with same-sex attractions, divorces, priestly concerns etc (obdurate adulterers, fornicators, abusers, thieves – and the whole run of humanity – sitting in the pews of the yearly/ monthly/ weekly/ daily Mass need the Faith taught in homily, prayer and example not human wisdom nor special care programmes .. well, really, just like all the rest of us).

    God bless, Nat.