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Mystery over bid to stop priest becoming a bishop; Anonymous complaint sent to the Pope's office.

Byline: Martin Shipton

ACARDIFF priest is the subject of a campaign to stop him becoming a bishop becausehewas awitness at a friend's wedding nearly 30 years ago.

Monsignor Bob Reardon, the vicar general of the Catholic Archdioceseof Cardiff, isbeing tipped to become the Bishop of Menevia, a diocese covering Mid and West Wales.

But ananonymous complaint has been made to the Pope's official representative in Britain about Mgr Reardon's agreement to act as a witness at the wedding of a fellow priestwho haddecided to leavethe Church. At the time of the wedding in 1979, Mgr Reardon was a parish priest at Hirwaun.

The complainant claims that because the priest getting married had not been "laicised" (removed from the priesthood) the wedding was against Church law. According to the complainant, Mgr Reardon's decision to act as a witness at the wedding showed he was unfit to hold the senior position he has, let alone be promoted to a bishopric.

Mgr Reardon said: "When I was a young priest, a friend of mine who had trained with me at seminary and hadbecome anassistant priest himself decided that he could not continue in the Church and that he wanted togetmarried.Heaskedme if I would act as a witness at his wedding, and I agreed to do so. He was a good friend of mine, and I felt that supporting him was the right thing to do.

"The wedding took place in a register office in Bristol. I've never made a secret of being a witness, and there were other people there who knew who I was. I have remained a friend of the man whose wedding it was, and he remains happily married with children.

"Since then, no-one has raised this matter with me at any time.

Recently the Archbishop told me the Papal Nuncio had received a letter of complaint. I have no idea who is behind these letters, so I can't comment on their motive.

"If someone can show me the Church law I amsupposed to have broken, I would be interested, but I'm not aware of it."

Archbishop Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, said that under canon law a cleric who adjudicates suchamarriage incurs anautomatic suspension, but that the penalty only applies to the priest involved, and not for persons who witnessed or attended the ceremony. He added: "Monsignor Reardon has proved to be a first-class vicar general and has been anenormous help and support to me."


CRITICISM: Monsignor Bob Reardon PICTURE: Wales News
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 25, 2008
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