Catholic Church in Great Britain

From Academic Kids

The Catholic Church in Great Britain is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome.

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Oratory Church of St Aloysius Gonzaga, Oxford, with the flag of the Vatican City flying at half mast the day after the death of Pope John Paul II.

The Roman Catholic Church is the world's largest Christian Church, and its largest religious grouping. There are an estimated 5 million baptised Catholics in Great Britain (the majority of whom would be Irish, with French in second place ).


Brief History of Roman Catholicism in Britain

Christianity arrived in Britain in the first or second centuries and survived in small scattered communities. The Pope sent St. Augustine in the 5th Century from Rome to evangelise the Angles. Scotland was being evangelised by the Celtic Church of St.Columba, who submitted to the authority of Augustine and Rome at the Council of Whitby in 644. England remained a Catholic country for a thousand years, but then separated itself from Rome in 1534 during the reign of King Henry VIII, though it briefly rejoined Rome during the reign of Queen Mary I in 1555. The last Roman Catholic monarch of Great Britain was James II and VII, deposed by the Glorious Revolution.

The present hierarchy was established in 1850, and specifically avoided using places that were seats of Church of England dioceses as seats, which formerly belonged to the Catholic Church before King Henry VIII. There are now four dioceses based in the same town (Birmingham, Liverpool, Portsmouth, and Southwark) — this being a result of the Church of England establishing cathedrals in cities that already had Catholic cathedrals.


The presiding bishop is the Archbishop of Westminster, currently His Eminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

Within Great Britain the hierarchy consists of:

Province of Birmingham Archdiocese of Birmingham St Chad's Cathedral
Diocese of Clifton Clifton Cathedral
Diocese of Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Cathedral
Province of Cardiff Archdiocese of Cardiff Saint David's Cathedral
Diocese of Menevia Saint Joseph's Cathedral
Diocese of Wrexham Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Sorrows
Province of Glasgow Archdiocese of Glasgow St Andrew's Cathedral
Diocese of Motherwell Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral
Diocese of Paisley St. Mirin's Cathedral
Province of Liverpool Diocese of Hallam Cathedral Church of St Marie
Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle St Mary's Cathedral
Diocese of Lancaster Lancaster Cathedral
Diocese of Leeds Leeds Cathedral
Archdiocese of Liverpool Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Diocese of Middlesbrough Middlesbrough Cathedral
Diocese of Salford Salford Cathedral
Province of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh Diocese of Aberdeen St. Mary's Cathedral
Diocese of Argyll and the Isles St. Columbia's Cathedral
Diocese of Dunkeld St. Andrew's Cathedral
Diocese of Galloway Good Shepherd Cathedral
Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh St Mary's Cathedral
Province of Southwark Diocese of Arundel and Brighton Arundel Cathedral
Diocese of Plymouth Plymouth Cathedral
Diocese of Portsmouth Cathedral of St John the Evangelist
Archdiocese of Southwark St George's Cathedral Southwark
Province of Westminster Diocese of Brentwood Brentwood Cathedral
Diocese of East Anglia Cathedral of St John the Baptist
Diocese of Northampton Northampton Cathedral
Diocese of Nottingham Nottingham Cathedral
Archdiocese of Westminster Westminster Cathedral

Roman Catholic Hierarchy in Great Britain
England and Wales
    LiverpoolHallam | Hexham and Newcastle | Lancaster | Leeds | Middlesbrough | Salford
    WestminsterBrentwood | East Anglia | Northampton | Nottingham
    BirminghamClifton | Shrewsbury
    CardiffMenevia | Wrexham
    SouthwarkArundel & Brighton | Plymouth | Portsmouth
    GlasgowMotherwell | Paisley
    Saint Andrews & EdinburghAberdeen | Argyll & the Isles | Dunkeld | Galloway
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