Tuesday, September 29

1850: The Hierarchy Restored

On this day in 150 Pope Pius IX restored the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales. At the Reformation the English bishops had broken links with Rome, and after that time the life of English Catholics was overseen directly from the Vatican. Before the restoration of the hierarchy there were bishops in England, but no dioceses; the bishops were known as 'Vicars Apostolic' - meaning that they deputised for the Pope and exercised his authority here. 159 years ago today that changed; dioceses were founded, with a Metropolitan See at Westminster - its first Archbishop, Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, is pictured here. Lancaster at that time became part of the Diocese of Liverpool, in which it remained until 1924.