The recent announcement of the appointment of a retired archdeacon as a diocesan bishop in the Church of England was made in the following terms:

‘The Venerable Christine Hardman is appointed as Her Majesty’s Bishop in the diocese of Newcastle.’

What are we to conclude from this? A renewed Anglican enthusiasm for Establishment and the Royal Supremacy? Surely not!

Obviously the expression would be useful and meaningful in other circumstances. ‘Her Majesty’s Bishop of Liverpool’, for example, is clearly not Malcolm McMahon and ‘Her Majesty’s Bishop of Southwark’ is not Peter Smith.

Ignatius has a suggestion. Perhaps the time has come for Seamus Cunningham to drop the superfluous ‘Hexham’ and call himself, simply, ‘The Pope’s Bishop of Newcastle’. Or just ‘Chateauneuf du Pape’.


Her Majesty’s Bishop of Newcastle

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