BY No Author | September 27 2013 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Archbishop Cushley pledges to be ‘merciful’

The newly ordained Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh brings Papal message to Scottish Catholics

The new archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has been counselled by Pope Francis to be merciful in his ministry in Scotland, and to take special care of young Catholics.

Vatican diplomat Mgr Leo Cushley of Motherwell Diocese was ordained and consecrated as archbishop on Saturday, the feast of St Matthew, by his former boss at the Vatican Secretariat of State, Cardinal James Harvey, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, in his capacity as Apostolic administrator of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

“One of the things [the Pope] communicated… was the idea that I should be ‘merciful’ in my ministry here,” Archbishop Cushley, 52, said after the congregation’s applause before he spoke died down.

Archbishop Cushley addressed the congregation with the Pope’s message after his Episcopal ordination at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, in the presence of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Cardinal Seán Brady and many Scottish bishops. First Minister Alex Salmond, Dr Lorna Hood, the Moderator of the General Assembly, Bishop John Armes, Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh, Nigel Baker, the British Ambassador to the Holy See, and his predecessor Francis Campbell attended the ordination. The congregation queued outside the cathedral to enter, overflowing as the ordination began with some watching the historic event on a screen outside St Mary’s.

“Merciful, this has already become a key word in [Francis’] pontificate, and it’s an idea that comes to him from the Gospels but filtered through his thinking about a quotation that he likes from the Venerable Bede, the famous English historian,” Archbishop Cushley, the eighth Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh since the restoration of the hierarchy, said.

“It is also Pope Francis’ proposal for the way we priests ought to be with each other: firmly resolved to be merciful, to forgive, to be humble, to re-build, to dialogue.”

Archbishop Cushley becomes pastoral leader of St Andrews and Edinburgh at a difficult time for the Church in Scotland. He follows Cardinal Keith O’Brien, whose future has yet to be determined since his retirement, in the role.

In his homily, Cardinal Harvey addressed directly the challenges facing the Church and Scottish Catholics.

The cardinal said that, while it may paint an ‘ugly picture of what it means to be a bishop’ the ordained were ‘not perfect beings without weakness.’

“God chooses real human beings, real men with real faults and weaknesses… and does great things,” he said.

During the Episcopal ordination the nuncio offered the Holy Father’s and his own prayers for Archbishop Cushley.

The new archbishop also showed humility and humour when addressing the congregation on Saturday.

Referring back to his previous role as Prelate of the Anticamera, assisting the Pope as he received visitors, he teased on Saturday that ‘like the new Archbishop of Canterbury meeting the Pope, I have no idea what I am doing here’ and said he had a ‘lot to learn.’

He also welcomed the Vatican diplomats he had worked with, speaking of the ‘simpler times’ they had shared prior to his new appointment.

The archbishop concluded with a message to the young people of St Andrews and Edinburgh from the Pope.

“He told me to have a special care for all of you, and to make sure that you have the best preparation for your adult lives from our Catholic schools,” the archbishop said.

“You are the future, you are our future fathers and mothers, priests and sisters. Sitting among you are the next priests of this archdiocese: you will stand here too one day and guide this Church. This is your greatest challenge—don’t be afraid to become priests, to pick up where we will leave off and to give the Gospel, entire and whole, to the next generation.”

Guests at the ordination and reception that followed at the Gillis Centre included Lord Gill, Lord President and Lord Justice General, Sire Tom Framer, the US Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia of from Elgin, Abbott Mark Caria of Nunraw and Archbishop Cushley’s mother, brother and sister.






—This story ran in full, with additional photographs, in the September 27 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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