IN THE wake of the Pope's visit, Westminster archdiocese is to see an administrative shake-up. Cardinal Hume's assistants are to be given new responsibilities in a revised chain of command.
Cardinal Hume himself is to have a new secretary, Fr Gladstone Liddle, aged 33, a recent convert, who will replace Fr John Crowley.
' Fr Liddle, who has been an assistant priest at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward, Chiswick, West London, was born in Durham and received into the church four years ago. He had been an Anglican clergyman in the St Albans diocese.
He said this week that the appointment came as a great surprise to him, and only to some extent a pleasant one. He had some apprehensiveness, because his experience was limited to work in a parish. He felt it would be difficult to follow , someone so good as Fr Crowley.
"After my conversion and ordination," he said, "I was looking forward to being settled for a bit and keeping my head down. I have enjoyed my years in this parish very much."
Mgr "Ralph Brown, the national co-ordinator of the Pope's visit, is to share the rank of Vicar General with Fr Crowley, until now the Cardinal's secretary.
Up to now, there have been three vicars general, Mgr Brown, Mgr David Norris and Mgr Timothy Firth. Under the new sys em, the tasks undertaken by three vicars general will be undertaken by two. Fr Crowley, with the title of Monsignor, will be devoting his energies to priests' welfare and allied areas.
Mgr Norris is to retain his job as secretary to the Bishops' Conference and his honorary status. Mgr Firth is to leave the administrative corps of Archbishop's House to become Parish Priest at Brook Green, West London, where the incumbent has been until now the revered veteran, Mgr Canon Joseph Williams.
The appointments will come into effect after the summer holidays which Cardinal Hume and his helpers tend to keep during August.
Fr Michael Smith, curate of St Bede's, Clapham Park, and press co-ordinator for Southwark during the papal visit is being appointed as assistant secretary to Archbishop Bowen.