PLANS TO create a new diocese based on the Thames Valley and reduce the diocese of Portsmouth have been abandoned, it was announced this week.
In a short statement issued to all parishes in the area A. ehbishop Maurice Couve de Murville of Birmingham, and Bishop Anthony Emery of Portsmouth explained that the principal consideration was "the pastoral good of the people of God".
"After careful study and reflection of the consequences ..
we have decided that, at the present time, the pastoral disadvantages would outweigh the advantages."
In an addition to the statement, which will be read out at all Masses in the area on Sunday May 5, Archbishop Couve de Murville announced his decision to ask Pope John Paul for an auxiliary, "so as to give Oxfordshire the episcopal presence which it so much desires."
The Archbishop added, "I should be very glad if you would write to me with your personal recommendation as to who that auxiliary should be and where he should reside."