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Pope names vicar general as new Bishop of Wrexham

By on Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed vicar general Mgr Peter Brignall as the new Bishop of Wrexham.

Bishop-elect Brignall, 58, is dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Wrexham, and vicar general of the diocese. He is also chairman of the diocese’s board of trustees, chairman of the diocesan liturgical commission and an adviser on health care chaplaincy.

He said: “I am delighted for Bishop Edwin [Regan] that he is now able to take his well-deserved retirement and, after having overcome the initial astonishment of the Holy Father’s expression of confidence in me, am humbled and honoured to accept this appointment and to be able again to commit my life to the service of the Catholic Church in North Wales, a Church that now 35 years ago I chose and offered to work in and for on leaving London.”

Bishop-elect Brignall, to be ordained as bishop on September 12, said he could do “no better” than take the Year of Faith as the starting point of his ministry as bishop.

He said: “Earlier this year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Diocese of Wrexham and we are still very young in the third millennium, so any plans I might have for the future are first and foremost to build on the foundations laid by the first two Bishops of Wrexham, Bishop James Hannigan and Bishop Edwin Regan. Just a month after my ordination as bishop the Church begins the ‘Year of Faith’, a year in which Pope Benedict XVI invites Catholics to rediscover the gift of faith and so seek new ways of proclaiming it. I could do no better than taking that as the starting point of my ministry, indeed as the whole purpose of my ministry in Wales for years to come.”

Bishop Regan welcomed the appointment. He said the bishop-elect “has dedicated his life as a priest to the service of the Gospel in Wales. He has been a loyal and wise colleague as vicar general, with a deep love for the people of the diocese and his fellow clergy. Through his long experience of pastoral work in Wales, Bishop-elect Brignall understands the importance of the Welsh language and culture in modern Wales. He will continue to lead the diocese in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, especially with the advent of the Year of Faith.”

  • teigitur

    The last sentence sounds ominous.

  • Nat_ons

    The terms of the article are worrisome:

    “Through his long experience of pastoral work in Wales, Bishop-elect Brignall understands the importance of the Welsh language and culture in modern Wales. He will continue to lead the diocese in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, especially with the advent of the Year of Faith.”

    However, if this means the actual teaching of the Second Vatican Council – not the spirit of opinion that replaced it – then there is reason to hope. 

    I am not sure how far Bishop-elect Bignall is committed to his work on really implementing the New way of holding to the Roman Missal of Paul VI, and vigorously, as in the links to him ( ), rather than a dynamic priestly/ liturgist expression of something like the catholic faith that best fits the relevant message of today’s political correctness/ ecumenical communion/ magisterium of nuns etc, yet it does seem to be so.

    PS: Not that Mgr Bignall need take any heed of me, but he might encourage a more faithfully Roman aspect to Catholic Faith in his diocese (and the Church in England and Wales) if he ditches his Anglican ‘grey-jacket’ informality and requires adherence to the clerical black .. even for the White Sports Coat (minus a pink carnation)/ Lady M&S Business style of some ‘liturgical experts’ .. however that is merely a matter of personal taste not one of defined Roman discipline – or is it (Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests.)? 

  • Patrick_Hadley

    The clerical black suit, and roman collar, are modern innovations. They were the invention of protestant ministers in the 19th century and it was considered quite bold and rather “modernist” when Catholic priests copied that practice. 

  • Lee

    Sounds like another modernist mess in this culture of ‘ethnarcies’. Here are a few quotes, “has dedicated his life as a priest to the service of the Gospel in Wales.”, ” 
    Bishop-elect Brignall understands the importance of the Welsh language and culture in modern Wales. He will continue to lead the diocese in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council,” Not only do I see no ‘Jesus, nor G-d, there is nothing about his liturgy and the importance thereof in this time of indifferetism. Just sounds like the typical Protestanised Catholic clerics that bedeck the hierarchy and choke Christianity to death ! 

  • Mikethelionheart

    Wrexham cathedral is were the awful and badly misnamed ‘Newman Society’ has its regular meetings were they greatly bastardise the teachings of V2 to fit into their agenda.

  • nytor

    What is his attitude to the Extraordinary Form?

  • Nick Young

    rather than fit them to your agenda ? cafeteria catholics on both sides of the equation then ?

  • gabriel_syme

    So this will be a test of william oddies (was it?) theory that our new papal nuncio (who recommends candidates for Bishops) should ensure a supply of better bishops.  As per the obvious success of Bishop Mark Williams.

    Fingers crossed.

  • Jae

    Though I agree with you about the ills of Church that hopefully you don’t blame a valid Council of VII and realized the ills are sins and corruption of modernist clergy and laity NOT the Teachings of VII. Moreso hopefully you are not belonging to that ‘traditionalist’ movement within which in just 45 years after they split from the Chair of Peter have scattered and splintered into hundreds or more quasi groups. That is what we call REAL mess!

  • precusant

    I’d take the old bishop’s words with a grain of positivity salt. His words about sensitivity to the Welsh culture are also nicey nice and maybe quite smart but but largely irrelevant (and inconsequential at this point). Presumably it takes a few months for the Sept. installment to get in gear so the new bishop’s words about the Year of Faith may be the real test time.
    I once brought my concerns about some of the lazy and lefty problems at our OMI parish to the monsignor, specifically about the completely disrespectful way the new mass translation was introduced. Msgr. Brignal was instantly sympathetic and lamentful (although seemingly powerless). I think that he will be of the right mind and heart and so i will pray for the right administrative skills and whatever it takes to move things in the right direction.
    Till proven otherwise, I take this news as good news.

  • Chris Crompton

    Poor Mgr Brignall is under attack from anonymous bloggers before he’s even started, and so far your commentators have nothing to say about Bishop Edwin’s inspirational incumbancy.  Bishop Edwin has been waiting for this event since he reached 75 in 2010, but he has no ambition to retire from priestly ministry, he is likely to be returning to parish work. We have a lot to be grateful for, he is deserving of our prayers of thanksgiving for 17 plus years as bishop and for his future well-being.

    Mgr Peter Bignall’s stated aims are “to build on the foundations laid by the first two Bishops of Wrexham, Bishop James Hannigan and Bishop Edwin Regan”.  We must rejoice.

  • Mikethelionheart

    And what agenda is that?

  • Nick Young

    in denial ? lol

  • David Anthony Edwards

     My understanding is the Instute of Charity (Rossminion Father’s) brought the Clerical Collar, and the Forty Hour Devotions to these Islands.

  • Galgani

    If Mgr.Peter Brignall is to succeed as Bishop, he will have to learn to reply to
    letters, email’s and texts. As it is now, he is very poor at responding to any
    communication. The people of Wrexham diocese need a Bishop they can go to with
    their concerns and expect at the very least a courteous acknowledgement. Mgr.
    Brignall’s lack of ‘people skills’ certainly let him down as Vicar general, he
    did not inspire confidence nor did he give the impression that he held any power
    whatsoever, let us hope things will improve.
    The Diocese of Wrexham is
    comparatively small, if Bishop Regan remains it will prove to be divisive. Like
    the spectre at the feast, he will be a constantly looking over the new Bishops
    shoulder, a small band of clergy will constantly feed that situation for their
    own ends and Mgr. Brignall will never be allowed to flourish, and run the
    diocese in his own way. I wish him well, but I doubt this will prove to be an
    easy transition, either for the new Bishop or the people.

  • Galgani

     Let us hope and pray that he has the courage and the tenacity to breath new life into this diocese. Not follow and build on the poor legacy of previous Bishops. We would like to see what the Mgr is really made of, can he deliver? I certainly hope so.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Denial of what?

    If you’ve got something to say then say it.
    Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
    Speak up or stop being so tiresome.


    LOL !

  • Nick Young

    but surely you’ve already said it all !

  • Chris Crompton

    Poor legacy?  I’d never come across any adverse criticism of Bishop Regan until I read these comments, indeed whenever to topic has come up I’ve heard nothing but words of admiration for him and his running of the diocese.  I don’t know who you are or what your grievance is, but thankfully your opinion is very much a minority one.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Spit it out Nick.
    Three posts and you’ve said nothing.
    Yawn yawn yawn
    Hurry up and grow a pair.

  • Galgani

     If you really believe that then you don’t know this diocese at all! Bishop Regan has made the faith in Diocese of Wrexham too much about the Welsh Language and not enough about Catholicism. He promotes the Welsh language at every turn to impress his buddies in the Cylch Catholig and the TCC. In a way, I and many others are mightily relieved that Mgr. Brignall does not speak Welsh, as we have had the Welsh language rammed down our throats for far too long. The greatest service  Bishop Regan can do for this diocese is to pack his bags in September, and shuffle back to South Wales where he came from, allowing Mgr. Brignall to get on and run this diocese in his own way.

  • Chris Crompton

    And where did you come from?

  • Nat_ons

    Truish, Patrick, much as the soutane was a preference of the French Revolutionary regime for the clergy - rather than the knee britches of the ancien regime in common Catholic use of the time. The origin of the type is not the issue here, rather a sense of fidelity to a Roman rule is (whatever that rule might be or become). If communion with the Holy Father and his will and his practice, in the Roman form, is important – this is one symbol that can easily witness to it (as can liturgical orthodoxy of form, matter and intention etc).

  • Nat_ons

    Of course, as you properly response demonstrates, it is not a fashion statement that is at issue – whether modern or ancient. That there is a rule to follow indicates that it is a measure – the further one drifts from it the less one is willing to follow it (or any ‘rule’ but one’s own). I make no comment on the rule – in aesthetic terms – but being modern and being ‘modernist’ cannot be equated in terms of Catholic orthodoxy .. the clerical collar, conformity and the Forty Hours Devotion are orthodox however late in introduction.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Yawn yawn yawn

    Boring Nick, very boring.
    Have the courage to say something.

  • Gog

    Not only where did you come from, but having read all your nasty, personal comments, what religion do you practice?

    I’d like to know where you’ve had the Welsh language rammed down your throat by the way? Daily, weekly, monthly, annual Welsh language mass?!

  • Robert Ian Williams

    Bishop Regan is a gracious and Godly pastor. Even though I disagreed with him on joint schools , he  always treated me with courtesy.

    Monsignor Brignall is also a gracious person, who has kept high standards at the Cathedral as regards worship and liturgy.

    As for Welsh,, Bishop Regan was aware that  40 per cent of the population of his diocese speak Welsh..which is actually the ancient British language….which was displaced in Eastern Britain by Anglo-Saxon immigrants.

    Our Diocese boasts a Catholic school where Welsh is the medium of instructiuon and several Welsh mass centres.

  • OldForm

     Agreed. And I do live in Wrexham Diocese. The fact this diocese has only a dozen or so active diocesan clergy is shocking and this diocese seems to be unable to attract vocations for some reason (although I have a good idea why). Bishop Edwin perhaps ought to have addressed the situation some time ago but chose to ” impress his buddies in the Cylch Catholig and the TCC” to use your words.