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Shrewsbury vicar general appointed as Bishop of Portsmouth

By on Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bishop-elect Egan, right, with the Shrewsbury vocations director Fr Jonathan Mitchell (Photo: Philip Chidell)

Bishop-elect Egan, right, with the Shrewsbury vocations director Fr Jonathan Mitchell (Photo: Philip Chidell)

Mgr Philip Egan, vicar general of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, has been appointed as Bishop of Portsmouth.

Bishop-elect Egan, a philosopher and theologian, will replace Bishop Crispian Hollis, who is stepping down having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Bishop-elect Egan, born in Altrincham, Cheshire, was appointed vicar general of Shrewsbury a year ago. A biography can be read here.

He said: “It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment as the new Bishop of Portsmouth, in succession to dear Bishop Crispian.

“I look forward with joy to working with my fellow priests and with all who minister in parishes, schools and other contexts, caring for the people of God. May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to New Evangelisation.

“The ministry of the bishop, as the chief shepherd, priest and teacher of the flock entrusted to him, involves carrying the Lord’s Cross in a particular way. So as I begin this ministry and look to the years ahead, I sincerely ask you for your prayers, together with those of our brothers and sisters in the other Christian communities and indeed of every person of faith and goodwill.

“May Mary, Queen conceived without original sin, and St Edmund of Abingdon, obtain for us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that all may come to know, serve and love Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Hollis praised Bishop-elect Egan as an “able administrator” and “an excellent parish priest in the bread-and-butter world of parochial ministry”.

“He will be made very welcome by the clergy and people of the diocese and everyone is looking forward to working with him in the proclaiming and living of the Gospel,” Bishop Hollis said.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury also welcomed the appointment. He said: “In Mgr Egan the Portsmouth diocese will find a great teacher of the faith and a bishop deeply committed to the New Evangelisation.

“It is with sadness that I say farewell with the Shrewsbury diocese to Mgr Egan as vicar general but it is with joy that I look forward to welcoming him as the new Bishop of Portsmouth.”

  • Claudia

    Looks like British Catholics have a great friend in Abp Mennini! Prayers for Msgr Egan.

  • Fudge

    Oh my goodness the pre vatican II influence spreads. 

  • nytor

    We can only hope!

  • Adam

    Wonderful, wonderful news! A shame for poor Bishop Mark in Shrewsbury though!

  • Alba1

    I don’t know anything about him, apart from what I’ve just read on the Shrewsbury Diocese website. But what I want to know is – is he likely to discourage balloons at Mass, “Colours of Day” and clap-along-a-Gloria? Please, Lord…

  • Henry

     You clearly do not know Philip Egan!

  • teigitur

    If you do, we should all like to hear more………..

  • Sonja

    Msgr Egan is an amazing and truly holy man. He is an adopted member of my family and will serve the Pope well. 

  • Gregory

    It may be of interest to note that Mgr Egan attended the opening, last March, of the Shrine of St Peter & Paul and Philomena, New Brighton, now entrusted to the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Indeed, the photo used above, is from Philip Chidell’s photostream of the event.

  • Fudge

    I was brought up before Vatican II and I pray I will never return to those days.  My faith has deepened and grown with the influence of priests who have moved forward since those times.  My faith is now more personal, the liturgy (until recently) a reflection of my language and my prayer.  I thank God for those priests who have taught me and led me on my journey to a more thinking and informed faith.  Their homilies and guidance have been of great benefit to so many. 
    When I hear of terms like mortal sin, indulgences, heart relics I am saddened when too much emphasis is put on them. 
    Bp Davies and now maybe Bp Egan seem (to me) to herald a return to some of the old ways I want left in the past.  My opinion.

  • LSPT

    No, unfortunately.

  • Claudia

    Where in England is “too much emphasis” being put on mortal sin and indulgences? In my decades of churchgoing I could probably count on one hand the number of times either have even been mentioned from the pulpit.

  • LSPT

    I agree that the pre-1970s Church was not always “glory days” – with attending Mass being a habit, and frequently a Deacon leading the rosary with the people while Mass just ‘happened to be being celebrated’ in the sanctuary.  Vatican II did indeed rejuvinate the Faith (if we exclude the modernism).  Indeed, the wind is blowing in a different direction whilst maintaining a Vatican II-esque approach. However:

    There’s a lovely place to go where you can have happy songs when you’re feeling happy, sad songs when you’re feeling sad, empowered laity, and everything else in between.
    It’s called the Church of England.  Go. Noone can change the RCC to suit their whims.

  • Fudge

    Did I mention happy and sad songs and the rest?   If what I have experienced and have been inspired by are whims then there are many people who are closer to God and the way of Christ because of them and what more can you ask?
    I do not want to go to the Church of England and see no need for your comment

  • teigitur

    An organism( as the Church is) that is cut off from its roots, withers, and will die. Happily this has at long last been recognised in the Church. We need to remember who we are, and where we came from, and not throw any more babies out with the bathwater.

  • nytor

    Well it would be reassuring to know if he attended because he had to because his bishop wanted him to, or whether he is in fact in sympathy with the EF. Another bishop with an improper attitude towards liturgy who will not rein in or will indeed even encourage abuses is the last thing Portsmouth needs after the catastrophic years of Hollis and the aptly-named Worlock.

  • nytor

    You don’t like hearing about mortal sin? Oh dear!

  • nytor

    But mortal sin certainly should be.

  • Gregory

    “Well it would be reassuring to know if he attended because he had to because his bishop wanted him to, or whether he is in fact in sympathy with the EF” I’m given understand it was both. I think you can feel quietly confident, nytor.

  • Alba1

    Please explain, LSPT - is the bishop-elect known for actually liking those things,or is he just scared or the people who do (like so many other bishops)?

  • Alba1

    I see Fr Tim Finigan welcomes this appointent, which is reassuring.

  • Burt

    I think Bishop elect will benefit from as much prayer and support as possible. He will have to take on a diocese with a hotbed of Modernist lay busybodies in place, who no doubt are horrified at this appointment. 

  • Kevin Jones

    Perhaps you ought to consider Anglicism as terms such as mortal sin, indulgences, heart relics are all very Catholic.

  • Fudge

    There is sin, some more serious than others.  It is not for us to decide for God who will or not be accepted into His Kingdom.  With every sin there is a background of a human being with life experiences which nobody fully understands except for God.  Yet, we as humans, decide this sin is venial and that is mortal and tell the person who commits a mortal sin that they will be damned for ever if they die without being forgiven.  That cannot be right, just or fair nor I believe is it true.   At Confession, we are forgiven by the grace of God and the priest can advise us and encourage us to change our ways, he doesn’t need a category for the sin.  Leave the rest to the God of mercy and compassion.   
    Indulgences – I do not believe that God has a book-keeping system which ticks off the benefits from indulgences ONLY if you fulfil certain criteria.  We put pressure on some people who become worried if they have missed an aspect and on others because they cannot attempt to complete it at all.  Indulgences supposedly reward those able to conform to the demands asked and exclude the vast majority of people from whatever the specified benefit is said to be. 
    I wonder if sometimes God shakes His head and wonders where we get these ideas from.
    And NO I will not consider Anglicanism.

  • veritas

    No Fudge, it is our Holy Mother the Church who through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit decides.  Not humankind but God Himself.

  • Bac3864

    “Holy Mother Church” is no different in this matter than any human. The sin is categorised as mortal or venial irrespective of the circumstances of the person. Judgement of the sin is made from stark description of the deed. God in His infinite love and mercy can see deep within the heart and being of each of us and as I said He, and He alone, will decide who will enter His everlasting Kingdom.
    If you believe it right that damnation should be sentenced by bare facts then you forget the God of mercy and compassion.

  • Georgina

    Bishop Crispian Hollis has done an excellent job over the last 23 years, in the spirit of Pope John XXIII. It will be a sad time for our vibrant diocese if all this is to be reversed.

  • Burt

     Nice to see how smugly satisfied you are with the dessertion and loss of faith pf the young in Portsmouth with all the misery of drugs and aimless lives many, many would be Catholics have in the Portsmouth Diocese.

  • Madeleine

    I am a Portsmouth born and bred Catholic, baptised, confirmed and married in our beautiful Cathedral church, and I do not recognise the description of this diocese from the comments below. Is there another Portsmouth diocese somewhere full of strange radicals? I think not. Just this one, full of Catholics doing their best to be faithful followers of our Lord.

    I too am saddened deeply by the retrograde moves to practices and attitudes that our Lord would not recognise and away from the principles He established – community, equality, and fairness for all. I don’t see the current obsessions with central control and the minutiae of ritual anywhere in Scripture. I hope that our new Bishop is indeed a man of prayer and open fully to the influence of the Holy Spirit so that he can look beyond such matters of the flesh.

  • Domine Jesu

    I pray there are enough non radical modernists left, ready to step forward from the shadows cast by the ultra-liberals to right the wrongs. Our Lord and Saviour has looked kindly on the Diocese of Portsmouth with the appointment of Bishop-Elect Egan. Jesus is Lord

  • northern priest

    do not judge the man before he arrives – deeply holy, depply commited to the Gospel and its proclamation – radically faithful to the Tradition of the Church and its authentic magisterium…all part of our beautiful Catholic faith as handed to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church of 1992

  • Deacon Augustine

    Actually it was St. Peter to whom Christ gave the Keys of the Kingdom in order that he could judge what should be bound and loosed and who, therefore, could be admitted into the Kingdom.

    Catholics believe that the Popes are his successors and have received the ministry of the Keys by virtue of that fact.  If you struggle with these doctrines, can I suggest that you read St. Matthew’s Gospel and the Catechism of the Catholic Church?  You will find that Our Lord was very clear on these matters – all you need to do is believe Him.

  • Deacon Augustine

    You are quite right that it is God alone who judges the culpability for any particular sin, as He alone is able to know the heart and soul of us sinners.  However, its leaving it a bit late to have the culpability for our sin exposed, if we leave it until we stand before the judgment seat.

    The Church in her mercy signposts the worst sins in order that we know to avoid these at all costs in our earthly existence, and so that, in the unfortunate event that we fall, we know to repent and do penance for these before all others.  If we come before the judgment seat unshriven then we have only ourselves to blame.

    God is merciful and He is also just.  But His greatest attribute is His holiness.  Sin cannot exist in the presence of holiness any more than darkness can exist in the presence of light.  Serious sin is rightly termed “mortal” because it renders us incapable of enduring  the presence of God – if we die in such a state then we would beg for the mercy of banishment to hell.

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    I met him at Allen Hall back in the late 70′s. It was truly a dire place and still is if that documentary on the BBC is anything to go by. I admire anyone who lasts 6 years there. I wanted to vomit after 6 minutes and regret not doing so.

  • John-of-Hayling

     hello Madeleine, as pompey girl you will also recognise that there is more to life than a book …there is that over-arching thing called Tradition. The Navy runs on tradition…. why else do they keep HMS Victory in dry dock? Why do they call shore establishments HMS something or other?
    Likewise the Church…. you may not find what you believe to be the definitive answer in scripture  ( have you studied the Catechism though? it is full of references to scripture and the writings of the early church fathers), but the answer will be there in Tradition. This is why the Church has a Magisterium….
    You say ‘retrograde’ , others say something like ‘back to the future’ . Churches go through cycles…. if you ask people to name something specific about Orthodoxy they might well say ‘Icons’. Yet the Orthodox Church went through an iconoclastic period when many icons were taken down and burnt. On the return of the images I expect that some people called it retrograde!

  • Angelopatrick

    Catholics are Christians Most of all the new Bishop said he comes to Our beatif
    Diocese with trepidation so he starts of with humble words and speaks
    of Bishop Chrispian with affection so I’m sure he will cost him and will
    listen to the people of the Diocese and we in our part in time then must
    listen to him as our Leader,Teacher and Shepherd as we as Catholic
    Christians face laws that offend God and his creation. Life from
    conception we know is already destroyed now we need Leaders like Bishop Egan to put as St Paul tells have fire in your bellies for the Truth but Love in your Heats. After 2yeA

  • Angelopatrick

    Sorry for wrong words: cost should read Consult Bishop Chrispian. Beautiful Diocese. Love in your Hearts. After 2years and I’m told 3priests saying no to the task let us rejoice the Holy Father has relieved our Bishop to take his
    well earned rest and as bishop Chrispian asks us to now welcome The New Bishop.

  • A Parishioner at St Agatha’s

    Surely there is room in the Church for everyone. Speaking from just over the road from St John’s Cathedral-if you want formal ritual do come and see us-let’s welcome the new bishop and hope that he will build on the wonderful legacy of Bishop Chrispian Hollis.

  • AnimaChristi

    May the Bishop-Elect be inspired by the Holy Spirit to encourage the traditions of the Mother Church.  We need to move away from balloons, clapping and the like towards a more tranquil and reverent worship, taking pride in the rites unique to our faith, and a respect for the Magisterium.

  • Madeleine

     All I can say is tradition does not always develop in the spirit of its origins. We need strongly to stay in touch with the roots of our faith. Even the Navy needs to rethink from first principles occasionally! And so does the Church: this is what it attempted at Vatican II, but this was clearly too frightening for many and we are seeing the attempt to flee ‘back’ (not far enough!) to what was familiar and what felt secure. This is not the right way to go.

  • Dwight

    Philip Egan has been instrumental in developing not just my relationship with the Church but with Christ. As he stated in his final homily at St Christopher’s, if we do not have a meaningful, personal relationship with Christ then all else is meaningless. He is genuine and a very holy many- he’s also human and has a good sense of humour and a keen kindness. Portsmouth are very lucky the parishioners of Romiley are bereft!