Bishop Reveals He Is to Quit

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Bishop Reveals He Is to Quit


Byline: By Jane Picken

Bishop Ambrose Griffiths is to retire as head of the Catholic Church in the North East.

The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle announced his retirement today and spoke of his affection for the parish he will leave behind.

Bishop Ambrose confirmed he was due to stand down after handing his resignation to Pope John Paul II in June, and said he will miss the North East and its people.

In an exclusive interview with the Chronicle, he said: "I shall be very sorry to leave the diocese because this is a wonderful part of the world and the people here are so warm.

"For me there is no doubt this is the best part of the country and there is the most beautiful countryside here. It really has been a pleasure over the past 12 years.

"It's always difficult to leave somewhere and I shall be leaving many good friends but it's the right thing to do."

Bishops traditionally offer their resignation at 75, and, after turning 75 in December, Bishop Ambrose was happy to comply.

He said: "I think it will be good for the diocese if I retire. At this age you don't always have the nervous energy to make big decisions and keep working hard.

"The diocese needs a fresh mind and after 12 years most people have given their best and I think it's good for a new person to get in there and carry things forward.

"One of the things I'll always remember is the youth work we have built up here, helping youngsters with their struggles and in their faith. I have worked with some wonderful people."

He will be succeeded by Kevin Dunn, 53, a senior assistant to the Bishop of Birmingham, who will be ordained and officially named Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle on May 25, the feast day of Saint Bede.

Bishop Ambrose's resignation takes effect from today although he is expected to continue to run the parish until the new bishop takes over.

The new bishop has received an enthusiastic seal of approval from Bishop Ambrose and since the announcement the pair have become good friends.

Bishop Ambrose said: "He has had lots of pastoral experience and I'm sure he will do very well. …

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