Crisis in Cardiff

  Parishioners in Cardiff are to have a second archbishop to work alongside Archbishop John Ward until he retires or resigns. In a letter read out at all Sunday Masses, Archbishop Ward, 71, said he has asked the Pope to appoint a 'co-adjutor' to share his responsibilities, and then succeed him in the role. The last time this procedure was used was in 1983. The move comes weeks after calls were made for the Archbishop to resign, for failing to pass on warnings about a priest, who was later jailed for sexually abusing children. In the three-page letter the Archbishop spoke of the "recent and trying days" and his own "deep sorrow and regret at the unhappy events which have so seriously marred the Catholic community over these last two years". He then refers to his own recent ill-health and says since his stroke he lacks the energy he once had. The letter came hours ahead of a BBC Panorama documentary 'Power to Abuse' - due to be shown last night at 10.15pm. The programme examines the cases of two Catholic priests in Wales, John Lloyd and Joseph Jordan, who were jailed recently for sexually abusing children. Father Lloyd was once the archbishop's press officer. According to the programme, when parishioners wrote to the archbishop to complain about alleged abuse of children, he simply sent their letters to Fr Lloyd to deal with. On the programme, the BBC said a senior priest in the diocese, Father Bill Boxall, describes what Fr Lloyd did with them: "He would hold these letters in his hand as he stood at the altar in the church in Chepstow and name these people who had written them. "He would wave these letters and he would say, 'I have told you it's no point in writing to him as he sends these letters back to me'. This madness was always accepted as the norm." As a result, the programme says parishioners stopped complaining and Lloyd continued to abuse women, girls and boys, until he was finally stopped in 1998 and sentenced to eight years in jail. The second priest, Joseph Jordan, was an English teacher at Don Valley High School in Doncaster before he became a priest. Several pupils complained that they were sexually abused by him. On the programme, one of his victims, Tony Smith, describes in graphic detail how he was molested by Jordan. After a string of allegations Jordan was tried in court but the case was acquitted. Nevertheless, the school barred him from teaching. At this point he applied to train for the priesthood. The programme says warnings about his character while he was at the English College in Rome were ignored. When Jordan applied for a job in Wales, the Bishop of Plymouth, Christopher Budd, wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Cardiff to tell him about Jordan's previous court case. But the archbishop did not apparently tell the appointments board about this case. The programme said a psychiatrist appointed to examine Jordan was also not told to make a paedophile assessment. This was in breach of the church's own child protection guidelines, set up in 1994.

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