Crispian Hollis

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The Right Reverend

Crispian Hollis
Bishop Emeritus of Portsmouth
ChurchRoman Catholic
ProvinceRoman Catholic Province of Southwark
DioceseRoman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth
In office5 May 1987–11 July 2012
PredecessorAnthony Joseph Emery
SuccessorPhilip Egan
Ordination11 July 1965
by William Theodore Heard
Consecration5 May 1987
by Maurice Noël Léon Couve de Murville
Personal details
Birth nameRoger Francis Crispian Hollis
Born (1936-11-17) 17 November 1936 (age 82)
Bristol, England
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsChristopher Hollis & Madeleine Hollis (née King)
Previous postRoman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham and Titular Bishop of Cincari

Roger Francis Crispian Hollis (born 17 November 1936, in Bristol) is the Bishop Emeritus of Portsmouth for the Roman Catholic Church.

Family life[edit]

Crispian Hollis' parents were Christopher Hollis (1902–1977), the author and parliamentarian, and Madeleine Hollis (née King). Both his parents were received into the Roman Catholic Church. He is possibly unique among Catholic bishops in being the grandson of an Anglican bishop, the Right Revd George Arthur Hollis (1868–1944), vice-principal of Wells Theological College and later suffragan Bishop of Taunton, and the nephew of another, the Right Revd Arthur Michael Hollis, Bishop of Madras (1942-1954).[1]


In 1981 he was appointed Administrator of Clifton Cathedral in Bristol and Vicar General of the Diocese of Clifton, with special responsibility for ecumenical affairs.[citation needed] While still in this post, he was appointed a member of the IBA's panel of religious advisers and in 1986 became a member of the Central Religious Advisory Committee (CRAC) for the BBC and the IBA.[citation needed]

As Bishop[edit]

In February 1987, Hollis followed in the family footsteps when, like his grandfather and his uncle, he was appointed as auxiliary bishop (known as a "suffragan bishop" in the Church of England) to Archbishop Maurice Noël Léon Couve de Murville of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Hollis was given special responsibility for the Oxfordshire area. This was not to last, for he was installed as Bishop of Portsmouth on 27 January 1989.

Hollis has been Chairman of the Catholic Media Trust and also Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Europe. He served as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in the Vatican, as Chairman of the Bishops' Conference Department of Mission and Unity, Representative for the Bishops' Conference of the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and a Member of IARCCUM (International Anglican Roman Catholic Committee for Unity and Mission). He is said to enjoy cricket and golf and, in the family tradition, to take a keen interest in current affairs.

Holy Trinity Monastery, East Hendred, a monastery of contemplative Benedictine nuns[2] situated in the Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire,[3] and part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth was founded by Hollis in 2004.

In 2011, aged 75, Hollis announced that he would be retiring as soon as a replacement could be found. On Tuesday 11 July 2012, an official press release from the Vatican Information Service (VIS) of the Holy See Press Office stated that Pope Benedict XVI had named Philip Egan, the Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury, as Bishop-Elect of Portsmouth.[4] Egan was consecrated as the Eighth Bishop of Portsmouth, with Bishop Hollis serving as Principal Consecrator, on 24 September 2012, the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham.[5] Bishop Hollis retired from his position as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Portsmouth. He now lives in the small village of Mells, Somerset. The diocese issued a special commemorative edition of their newspaper to mark his retirement.[6]


Hollis actively encourages people to travel to Lourdes, to which he has a great attachment, first going there in 1967 as a chaplain with the Oxford University Pilgrimage and then going annually with them until 1981. On returning to the Diocese of Clifton he travelled with the Clifton Pilgrimage each year up until 1986 and with the Portsmouth diocese since 1987.

The Portsmouth diocese, together with the Dioceses of Clifton, East Anglia, Northampton and Southwark, plus Stonyhurst College travel each year with the Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes. Hollis was the Patron of the Catholic Association Hospitalité until 2011.[7]


The road outside Bishop's House, Portsmouth and St John's Cathedral was renamed Bishop Crispian Way on 3 April 2011, to mark his forthcoming retirement after 22 years service.[8]

High Court ruling[edit]

In November 2011, the High Court of England and Wales ruled that Roman Catholic bishops were vicariously liable for the torts committed by priests who held ecclesiastical offices to which those bishops had appointed them. The court also appeared to hold that acts of the bishop of a Roman Catholic diocese in England and Wales could create vicariously liabilities for their successors.[9]

The ruling refers to a civil action being brought by a 47-year-old woman who claims that she was subjected to repeated sexual assault by a priest of the diocese in a care home belonging to a religious order independent of the diocese but situated in the territory of the Diocese of Portsmouth.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory 1940-41 Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1941
  2. ^ Benedictine Yearbook 2011, ed. Rev Dom William Wright, OSB, p. 176
  3. ^ "Property - Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth Directory". Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  4. ^ " - Translator". Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Fr Philip Egan ordained as Bishop of Portsmouth". 24 September 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Portsmouth People" (PDF). December 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Catholic Association Pilgrimage News: Bishop Crispian receives a road honour". 4 April 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Landmark ruling on church liability for abuse by priests" Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 6 June 2017.