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The Welsh archbishopric

24 April 2020

April 23rd, 1920.

THE choice of the title “Archbishop of Wales” for the metropolitan of the new province was necessitated by circumstances. In itself it is not happy, and we have never defended it. We should have preferred the erection of a tiny see of Caerleon, from which the metropolitan might take his title, holding Caerleon with one of the four existing dioceses. But the choice has been made, and when a writer in the Tablet attacks it as new, unhistorical, incongruous, and ecclesiastically incorrect, it becomes necessary to see what may be said in its defence. That it is new we admit, the arch-diocese of Cardiff is also of yesterday. That it is unusual may also be admitted, but it is not unique. In the course of his article the writer in the Tablet says that “an archbishop normally takes his style from the city of his see, not from the territory or tract of country included in his province.” The adroit use of the word “normally” saves the situation and the argument; with the memory of Numidia and Mauretania in ancient times, and perhaps of Yucatan in our own, the writer could not have contended that the title “Archbishop of Wales” was entirely without precedent. In another column Miss Anderson-Morshead suggests that the Roman Catholics themselves have used the style, as a titular designation, and from motives and courtliness. With the writer’s further contention that Mr Lloyd George was wrong in styling Dr Edwards the successor of St David we are not concerned; we delivered our opinion — for what it might be worth — on that point last week.

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