Peter Smith (bishop)

Peter David Gregory Smith (21 October 1943 – 6 March 2020) was an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark. He previously served as the Bishop of East Anglia (1995–2001), Metropolitan Archbishop of Cardiff (2001–2010) and Metropolitan Archbishop of Southwark (2010–2019).[1]

Peter Smith
Archbishop of Southwark
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed30 April 2010
Installed10 June 2010
Term ended10 June 2019
PredecessorKevin McDonald
SuccessorJohn Wilson
Ordination15 July 1972
Consecration27 May 1995
by Basil Hume
Personal details
Birth namePeter David Gregory Smith
Born(1943-10-21)21 October 1943
Battersea, London, England
Died6 March 2020(2020-03-06) (aged 76)
Chelsea, London, England
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
Coat of armsPeter Smith's coat of arms
Ordination history of
Peter Smith
Priestly ordination
Date15 July 1972
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorGeorge Basil Hume, O.S.B.
Co-consecratorsMichael George Bowen,
Alan Charles Clark
Date27 May 1995
PlaceSt John the Baptist Cathedral, Norwich
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Peter Smith as principal consecrator
Michael Charles Evans19 March 2003
Philip Anthony Egan24 September 2012
Styles of
Peter Smith
Coat of arms of Peter David Smith.svg
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Grace
Religious styleArchbishop

Early lifeEdit

Smith was born on 21 October 1943 in Battersea, London, England. He was educated at Clapham College, then an all-boys Catholic voluntary-aided grammar school. He studied at Exeter University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in law. He then undertook studies for the priesthood at St. John's Seminary in Wonersh and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome (earning his doctorate in canon law).

Ordained ministryEdit

Smith was ordained to the priesthood on 5 July 1972. After doing pastoral work from 1972 to 1974, Smith began teaching canon law at his alma mater, St John's Seminary, Wonersh, in 1977. He then served as a curate in Thornton Heath (1984–1985) and as the rector of St John's Seminary (1985–1995).


On 21 March 1995, Smith was appointed Bishop of East Anglia by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 21 May from Cardinal Basil Hume OSB, with Archbishop Michael George Bowen and Bishop Alan Charles Clark serving as co-consecrators. Smith was later named Archbishop of Cardiff on 26 October 2001,[2] following the resignation of the Capuchin, John Ward, amid a controversy about paedophile priests in the archdiocese.[3][4] In regard to these sexual abuse cases, Smith declared that he "wanted to help people bind up the wounds and bring healing".[5] He also voiced his opposition to living wills in 2004, fearing that "a proxy could make a decision to do away with someone for the motive of killing someone".[6]

Smith has been chair of the Catholic Truth Society and the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship within the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales from 1998 to 2019. He was also chairman of the Central Religious Advisory Committee (CRAC) of the BBC and ITC from 2001 to 2004. In 2002 he was made a sub-prelate and chaplain of the Venerable Order of Saint John. In 2004 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales, Lampeter and also of Cardiff University in 2006. On 30 April 2010, Smith was named as the Archbishop of Southwark, replacing Archbishop Kevin McDonald who resigned the see due to ill health. He was installed on 10 June 2010.[7] On the 10 June 2019 Smith's resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Southwark was accepted by Pope Francis, and Bishop John Wilson named as his successor.[8]


In March 2015 it was heard at Southwark Crown Court that Smith was one of two bishops responsible for allowing Antony McSweeney to be appointed as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia following an incident in 1998 in which "a housekeeper found what she said were pornographic images at his [McSweeney's] home."[9] The matter was regarded by Smith as an incident for clergy discipline and not investigated by the police.[10] McSweeney has since been jailed for abusing boys at the Grafton House children's home between 1978 and 1981.


External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alan Clark
Bishop of East Anglia
21 March 1995—26 October 2001
Succeeded by
Michael Charles Evans
Preceded by
John Aloysius Ward, OFM Cap
Archbishop of Cardiff
26 October 2001—10 June 2010
Succeeded by
George Stack
Preceded by
Kevin McDonald
Archbishop of Southwark
10 June 2010—10 June 2019
Succeeded by
John Wilson