Comments: Diocese to be known as ‘Diocese of Leeds’

A sensible move or just part of the growing trend of emphasising the metropolitan church over the rural church?

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 12:29pm BST

As it should have been in the beginning, as it should be now, and as it should be forever, world without end.

Posted by Sam at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 1:57pm BST

Obviously was going to happen, rather than the other way round.

Shame that North Yorks and Dales are now lost, but the Bishop will hold all needs together, until he moves to York!

Posted by George Davies at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 2:03pm BST

Will it therefore be unique in mainland England by being the only diocese without a cathedral in the place name of the diocese?
Now that it is soon to be vacant why not co-op Sheffield into the Diocese of Leeds, that would save a Bob or two in administrative costs?

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 2:13pm BST

I thought it was illegal for Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses to share the same names. Except Liverpool, Southwark and Birmingham of course where the RC one is an archdiocese. Newcastle's counterpart is Hexham and Newcastle; Sheffield's is Hallam.

Posted by David Emmott at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 4:11pm BST

It is very odd that the official announcement refers to the confusion caused by the old title: Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, when the new title is bound to cause confusion with the Catholic Diocese of Leeds. How stupid can you get?

Posted by PaulWaddington at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 4:23pm BST

Most people will think this makes sense and they will be right. I'm just a tiny bit sorry that the announcement doesn't reference the ecumenial issue - if you enter you won't be taken to the website of the Anglican diocese. We once forbade the Catholics church from duplicating our titles (hence their use of titles from Hexham to Westminister), so all duplications have been the result of our subsequent action (Liverpool was the chief example until Leeds), but we later became more sensitive (e.g. the deliberate choice to use Brixworth rather than the more obvious Northampton as the title for the new Suffragan See in the diocese of Peterborough, and, I believe, consulting the diocese of Nottingham before changing the name of the diocese of Southwell to 'Southwell and Nottingham'.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 4:30pm BST

As to David Emmott's comment, it was indeed illegal under the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 for an RC prelate to use an extant Anglican title:

"And whereas the right and title of Archbishops to their respective provinces, of Bishops to their sees, and of Deans to their deaneries, as well in England as in Ireland, have been settled and established by law; Be it therefore Enacted, That if any person after the commencement of this Act, other than the person thereunto authorized by law, shall assume or use the name, style or title of Archbishop of any province, Bishop of any bishoprick, or Dean of any deanery, in England or Ireland; he shall for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of One hundred pounds."

However, when Pius IX published Universalis Ecclesiae in 1850 (and Cardinal Wiseman got perhaps a little over-excited in its wake), the then Whig/Liberal ministry of Lord John Russell over-reacted in response to protestant 'fury' and passed the Ecclesiastical Titles Act 1851, which banned RC clergy from using any territorial designation. This was repealed by another Liberal ministry, that of Mr Gladstone, with the Ecclesiastical Titles Act 1871 (a single section statute).

However, there is no ban on Anglican bishops using the same territorial designations as their RC counterparts, and never has been; the old rule was a one-way street, and one designed by an overwhelmingly protestant legislature to put the newly emancipated RCs 'in their place'.

The Anglican diocese was established in 1914 and the RC diocese in 1980, both long after the rule on territorial designations was abolished. Also, Hallam is a perfectly sensible name for the RC bishop covering that part of South Yorkshire/West Riding, as Hallamshire was an ancient territorial division of the West Riding within which Sheffield was situate, roughly corresponding with the post-1974 county of South Yorkshire (there are other 'shires' within Yorkshire, such as Cravenshire, Richmondshire, Hullshire, etc.).

Posted by Froghole at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 12:40am BST

I recall that an act of Parliament requires that a diocese be named for a city, not a region, county or a river. Hasn't the official name been Diocese of Leeds from the start?

Posted by Richard at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 5:52am BST

From the diocesan website: Bishop Nick says, “We have always legally been the Diocese of Leeds, but the experience of the past two years has shown that having two names for the diocese is simply too confusing for people both inside and outside the Church."

Posted by Richard at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 5:55am BST

Thank you to Froghole for providing the history.

It is interesting that, even after the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1871, the Catholic Church has refrained from using any title that could cause offence or confusion. On the other hand, the Church of England have several times taken on titles that were already in use by the Catholic Church.

Examples that come to mind are Birmingham, Southwark, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Lancaster, Shrewsbury and Plymouth. There may be others.

On the other hand, the Catholics chose Southwark, Clifton, Hexham, Westminster, Beverley, Salford and East Anglia to avoid confusion and to obey the law.

It does seem a little discourteous of the C of E to usurp existing titles.

Posted by Paul Waddington at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 1:18pm BST

As the Anglican organist of a Catholic Cathedral, I agree with Paul Waddington's comment about discourtesy. I suspect the name change will come to be seen in that light, whatever the legal position might be.

Posted by Stephen King at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 9:19pm BST

It can't be impossible to name a diocese after more than one city: Bath and Wells for example. So why on earth did they not call this one Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, which would avoid giving offence not just to our Catholic friends but to at least two of the cities which have been deprived of their own diocese? Or Ripon and Breedsfield if three names are felt to be too many (though some Irish dioceses have more than that)?

Posted by David Emmott at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 9:52pm BST

I had assumed all along that the use of 'W Yorks & t'Dales' was a considerate avoidance of this clash with the Roman diocese. In Birmingham & Southwark, the C.of.E appropriation of an already existent Roman see's title was, I have long understood, a prime reasons for the rather clever RC response of elevating these to arch-sees to eliminate further confusion. Certainly the motivation now offered that switching to 'Leeds'-only will *avoid* confusion – blandly with no mention of the RC Diocese – is a piece of spin worthy of HMG. But maybe +Leeds(RC) will now become an Archbishop ;-)

Posted by Keith Battarbee at Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 10:09pm BST

Meanwhile, beyond the 'mother church', out here in the colonies it's fairly common for Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses to share the same name. We do here in Edmonton, and we all get along fine; we refer to ourselves as 'the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton', and they refer to themselves as 'the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton'.

But if you lot could change the name of that suffragen bishop of Edmonton you have over there in darkest London, that would save a lot of confusion!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 15 April 2016 at 5:08pm BST

That's fine where the Anglicans are not sniffily superior as we are in England. If C of E namesake dioceses were content to refer to themselves as 'the Anglican diocese of N.' we would get on fine. It's only because our Catholic brothers and sisters are forbearing and tolerant of our eccentricities, that they put up with the implication, 'well, we are the *real* diocese of N.' I don't know why they put up with such things as the Anglican cathedral in Liverpool being officially, and generally, known as 'Liverpool Cathedral' while the other one is 'Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.'

Posted by David Emmott at Friday, 15 April 2016 at 11:07pm BST

The name Diocese of Leeds, is very confusing, particularly as the Roman Catholics have had a diocese of Leeds for many years. If we want to use the name Leeds, it should be coupled with a parallel name (like Bath and Wells). Why not the ancient Christian princedom of Leeds - Elmet?

Posted by John Hunter at Monday, 28 August 2017 at 11:45am BST
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