The Diocese of Westminster is one of the smallest dioceses in England and Wales in geographical area, but the largest in terms of catholic population and priests. The diocesan boundaries include the London Boroughs north of the River Thames, between the River Lea to the East, the Borough of Hillingdon to the West, and including the County of Hertfordshire to the North. Since the restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in 1850, its bishop has traditionally been a Cardinal. Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is the tenth Archbishop of Westminster, being created Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva on 21st February 2001. As a “Particular” or “Local” church it ministers within a unique setting in the Catholic Church in England and Wales in that its territory includes the home of the parliament of the nation, the principal residence of the monarch, and the financial centre which is The City of London. London also has an international reputation for the arts and for tertiary education. In an increasingly cosmopolitan city, the Diocese is mindful of the ethnic and cultural diversity of its members and the multiplicity of traditions and faiths of the wider population of London and its environs.
The Diocese comprises 216 parishes
, of which 37 are administered by religious congregations. At the beginning of 2005, there were 241 priests of the Diocese working in the Diocese itself, together with 31 priests from other dioceses and 319 priests of religious congregations. The Diocesan Trustee also has responsibility for 163 primary schools, 39 secondary schools and 2 Sixth Form colleges.
The Diocese of Westminster is also a Metropolitan See, having as members of its Province the Dioceses of Brentwoood, Northampton, Nottingham and East Anglia.
The governance of the Diocese is under the care of the Archbishop’s Council, the members of which are the Cardinal, the Auxiliary Bishops, the Vicars General, the Cardinal’s Private Secretary, the Financial Secretary and the Principal Advisor for Public Affairs; while the day to day administration is directed through the four principal departments of Clergy and Consecrated Life, Pastoral Affairs, Education and Ecumenism, Interfaith and Justice and Peace.