The purpose of going to Chavagnes over this last weekend was not just to see the place again and take some pictures of a strangely painted wall…
…but was to meet the Bishop of Luçon, Mgr Castet. As you may know the permissions needed for a priest to work in another diocese are a little convoluted but actually work perfectly. You see the Church has had generations to work these things out.
So this is the way it goes. No priest can work outside his diocese without his Bishop’s permission. So if I decide that I want to go to Chavagnes, I can’t just up sticks and take up the job of aumônier (chaplain). But similarly the Bishop can’t just decide that he’s sick of me and send me off to the wilds of the French countryside.
So on the one side if I want to go somewhere, then Bishop has to agree, however if he wants me to do something outside the diocese, then he can’t just move me. We both have to agree, or its stalemate. (This is only the case when the Bishop wants to move a priest outside his diocese).
Now, factor into that another Bishop in another diocese. He has to agree to take on the priest.
So… the priest has to want to go, his Bishop has to allow him to go, and the Bishop where he is going has also to agree. My meeting with Mgr Castet was the final ‘yes’ to the whole going to Chavagnes enterprise. I want to go, and Bishop Declan, my own Bishop of Clifton, had agreed, but Mgr Castet had also to say that he would accept me into his diocese.
And, praise God, he said ‘yes’.