On the sixth anniversary of his election to the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI appointed a new archbishop of Cardiff. It is Bishop George Stack, until today one of the three auxiliary bishops of Westminster. The metropolitan see of Wales had been vacant since Archbishop Peter Smith was appointed to Southwark almost a year ago.
Archbishop-elect Stack was born in Ireland in 1946. In 1972 he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Westminster, the same archdiocese of which he became an auxiliary bishop in 2001. He now becomes the ninth ordinary of Cardiff, which is an archdiocese since 1916.
Cardiff is one of three Catholic dioceses in Wales – the others are Wrexham and Menevia – but in numbers it is fairly small. Only about 6% of the population, some 82,000, is Catholic. Nonetheless, it is the first diocese of Wales. Both Menevia and Wrexham were created out of the archdiocese, which once covered all of Wales and adjoining counties in England, although it was then known as the Vicariate Apostolic of Wales.
Via the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop-elect Stack writes:
“I am humbled and honoured at the trust Pope Benedict XVI has placed in appointing me Archbishop of Cardiff.
“Although I am sad to be leaving the Archdiocese of Westminster, in which I have served as priest for 29 years and auxiliary bishop for 10 years, I look forward to serving the people and clergy of the Church in Cardiff with love and faithfulness in the years that lie ahead.
“I am aware of the long and noble history of Christianity in Wales and the special gifts the Celtic people bring to the Universal Church. I hope to share in this rich tradition of faith.”
A date for the installation for the new archbishop will be published soon.