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Pope names Vatican official as successor to Cardinal Keith O’Brien

By on Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Mgr Leo Cushley at today's press conference in Edinburgh

Mgr Leo Cushley at today's press conference in Edinburgh

Pope Francis has named Mgr Leo Cushley as the new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The appointment was announced at noon today in Rome. The archbishop-elect succeeds Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who led the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh from 1985 until his resignation in February.

Mgr Cushley is currently head of the English-language section of the Vatican Secretariat of State and has been a close collaborator of both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. In his capacity as Prelate of the Anticamera, Mgr Cushley has been involved in the visits of heads of state and other important guests to the Holy See. Recently he has assisted the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, and many other high-profile visitors to the Vatican.

As head of the English section of the Secretariat of State it was his task to accompany the Holy Father to English-speaking countries. In 2010 he accompanied Benedict XVI to Malta, Cyprus and Britain.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, until now apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, is introducing the archbishop-elect at a press conference in Edinburgh. The new leader will then speak to clergy, staff and media representatives and deliver his first message to the archdiocese.

In a statement Mgr Cushley said: “I am humbled that our Holy Father Pope Francis has nominated me for such an important task here in our ancient capital. I know it’s a delicate moment and that there is a lot to be done, but with God’s grace and the kind support of
the clergy and people of Edinburgh, I will work cheerfully and willingly with all the energy I can muster.

“There are certain important questions that I will also have to familiarise myself with. I have no jurisdiction in the diocese until after I have been ordained in late September. Only then will I be able to take stock of what has happened and see what can be done.

“It is my sincere hope to do this always in truth and in charity, with a view to reconciliation and healing among the Catholics of Edinburgh. My first task is to preach the good news, Christ crucified and risen from the dead, to confirm my brother priests in their Catholic faith and ministry, and to be a loving, simple, wise shepherd to the flock that has been entrusted to me.”