.- Monsignor Leo Cushley, who will be consecrated a bishop and installed as Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh on Saturday, Sept. 21, said Pope Francis has personally encouraged him in his new calling.
Msgr. Cushley is a priest of the Motherwell diocese in Scotland, but has served as a Holy See diplomat, heading the Vatican state department's English-language section. He has collaborated closely with both Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, assisting with the visits of heads of state to the Vatican and with papal visits to English-speaking countries.
“Just recently, I came down to do my job and he (Pope Francis) called me in and instead of me doing my job, he sat me down and we talked. For the first time I perceived something about him, which was that here before me was a man of pastoral experience as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and he brings that with him,” Msgr. Cushley told CNA in a September interview.
“And, as he talked to me about what I would face in Edinburgh, he was doing this with the heart of a man who had been there before me. And it was very touching, very moving, and very useful, because he was a man of great pastoral experience on the ground.”
Msgr. Cushley will take over administration of the archdiocese from Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, who has been Edinburgh's apostolic administrator since its last head, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, resigned Feb. 25 following allegations that he had made sexual advances towards several men in the 1980s.
On July 24, when Msgr. Cushley's appointment was announced, he stated that it is “a delicate moment and … 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.”
In his recent conversation with CNA, Msgr. Cushley said his time as a Vatican diplomat will shape his episcopacy.
“I will bring back with me a personal closeness and a personal affection for the person of the Pope – be it Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict, Pope Francis, but the Pope, whoever the Pope may be – and that’s something that’s very important to us in the diplomatic service.”
“It’s something that is absolutely essential to the union of the local Churches with the Church of Rome,” he reflected.
He added that Scotland has “natural links” with Rome, and the two cities, Rome and Edinburgh, are “not very far away.”
He added that the Pontifical Scots College, a pontifical Roman university where Scottish seminarians are formed, is “one of the oldest,” having been established in 1600.
“I will be here regularly to follow our seminarians, to encourage vocations at home,” Msgr. Cushley said.
“But, more importantly perhaps,” he reflected on his time in Rome, “is the effective and affective link that you take away with you and that every bishop ought to have, that connect him to the universal Church and to Christ through the figure of the Pope.”