Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Leo Cushley as the new Archbishop of St. Andrews & Edinburgh, replacing Cardinal Keith O’Brien who resigned after inappropriate behavior came to light.
“I am humbled that our Holy Father Pope Francis has nominated me for such an important task here in our ancient capital,” Bishop-designate Cushley said in a July 24 statement.
He also acknowledged that “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.”
Bishop-designate Cushley, who is a priest of the Motherwell diocese and has been working as head of the Vatican Secretariat of State’s English-language section, will be taking over from the diocese’s apostolic administrator, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia.
The saga that led to the resignation of Cardinal O’Brien as Archbishop of St. Andrew’s & Edinburgh began just before Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down from the papacy.
Cardinal O’Brien became the focus of media attention after three priests and one former priest charged that he made sexual advances toward them in the 1980s. The allegations were particularly hard for the Church because it has been engaged in preventing the legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” in Scotland.
The cardinal announced Feb. 18 that he would not attend the conclave and at the same time revealed that Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation, effective Feb. 25.
On May 15, the Vatican released a statement saying that Cardinal O’Brien “will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer, and penance.”
Bishop-designate Cushley will bring his expertise as a diplomat to the difficult situation in Edinburgh.
“There are certain important questions that I will also have to familiarize myself with,” he said.
“It is my sincere hope,” the bishop-designate added, “to do this always in truth and in charity, with a view to reconciliation and healing among the Catholics of Edinburgh.”
He sees his first task as preaching “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.”
Msgr. Cushley will be ordained a bishop on Sept. 21 in Edinburgh’s St. Mary’s Cathedral.