Our Westminster Correspondent Writes…

Huge changes are already afoot at Westminster Cathedral with the surprise appointment of Polish-born Neo Catechumenate poster boy Fr Slawomir Witon, to succeed the late Canon Christopher Tuckwell who died earlier in the year.

Swavek was a great favourite of Cardinal Spud Murphy O Connor, when he was Archbishop and with his successor Elsie Nichols, and was up close and personal to both of them acting as Archbishop’s MC, guiding their every step.

His appointment has sent shock waves through the prissy queen brigade who have so dominated the Cathedral scene for the past years, and in particular the former Anglican clergyman who runs the sacristy and his lay side kick Hawker.

Apparently, they have already told friends that their days are numbered, and are bemoaning the fact that one of their number wasn’t appointed. This seems to be good old-fashioned class snobbery (“does he know how to use his knife and fork?” was one comment overheard from the waspish priest, rather than the fact the 6’4″ tall administrator to-be is that most rare of things among the clergy of England and Wales, heterosexual!

He has his work cut out for him, what with the bitching of those fools to deal with (by the way, the sacristan Hawker and the priest are great friends of recently ordained Fr Alex Balzanella and are doing their level best to get him appointed to the cathedral when he finishes his studies in Rome – what a power base that will be!).

Along with falling numbers, no money and the continuing war between the choir school and the music department.

Fr Witon has a reputation for being a bit of a bruiser and so maybe that was at the forefront of Elsie’s mind when passing him the (poisoned?) chalice? Time will tell. But one thing is for sure already, heads will roll.


Westminster seems to be an awful mess these days between ex Anglicans, Newocats etc.

And Elsie has allowed everything to drift.

There is a lot of tension and unhappiness among the priests.

Many of the priests are of The Antique Disposition.

There seems to be different factions warring in the cathedral.

A wholly dysfunctional and unhappy situation.


Vladimir (or “Vlad”) is the Canary Wharf Multifaith Chaplaincy’s dedicated Catholic Chaplain for professional workers on the Estate.

In addition to his work with the Multifaith Chaplaincy, Vlad is Catholic Chaplain for sport, CEO of The John Paul II Foundation for Sport (which he launched in 2011) and is a trustee of The Passage, CaAPA and Genesis. A social entrepreneur, Vlad founded and directed two different pilgrimages to Lourdes and founded the Spiritual Peer Educational Centres SPEC, LOFT and SPECeast.  He supports anyone who asks for help and in particular helps Catholics.

Vladimir was born in Prague in 1939 and came to London at the end of World War II. He studied Civil Engineering at Imperial College London and received his Doctorate in Divinity (summa cum laude) from Lateran University in Rome.

Vlad has led retreats, lectured and spiritually guided people ever since his priestly ordination in 1969. He speaks English, Czech, Spanish, Italian, French and Latin. He enjoys friendship,  prayer and writing. He keeps as fit as possible and does press-ups daily to the total of each year of his life since conception.