30 September 2014
The End of the Magic Circle
The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has often been referred to as a Magic Circle, a name taken from the association of magicians who share the secrets of their tricks with each other, whilst agreeing not to disclose them with anyone outside the Circle. Until a few years ago, the Bishops Conference seemed very much like a Magic Circle that would only admit their closest friends and allies as members. That was until the appointment of Bishop Davies to the See of Shrewsbury in 2009. It soon became evident that Bishop Davies was capable of thinking for himself, and his decision to invite the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to take care of the Dome of Home in the Wirrel was something of a watershed. The appointment of Bishop Egan to the See of Portsmouth in 2012 was another nail in the coffin for the Magic Circle. The retirement of several other bishops in quick succession, and their replacement by men with more open minds, continued the process. However, the scandal which has led to the resignation of the former Bishop Conry has put the Magic Circle beyond any possibility of revival. The only remaining founder member is Archbishop Nichols, and his authority is now severely curtailed. Instead, we have a much more varied selection of bishops, and this can only be good for the Church.