Cardinal's Successor Vows to Help Troubled Archdiocese Heal

By Christopher Lamb
The Tablet
September 21, 2013

The new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh said today he will seek to bring mercy and forgiveness to his new archdiocese, which is still reeling from allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against its former leader.

Archbishop Leo Cushley was ordained on Saturday in a ceremony lasting over two hours at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

He succeeds Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him by five men, four of them priests. The cardinal later admitted that his sexual conduct had fallen below the standards expected of a priest, archbishop and cardinal.

The archbishop, a papal diplomat who was previously working in the Vatican, said that Pope Francis had urged him during a recent meeting to be merciful in his new ministry.

"One of the things he communicated then and in the coming days was the idea that I should be merciful," the archbishop said in a concluding address. "But he [the Pope] explained that being merciful doesn't mean being soft. It means being gentle and firm at the same time. This what the Pope asked me to be for all of you."

He added: "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 rebuild, to dialogue."

The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, also spoke at the ceremony, saying that the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh had been through a period of sadness. But he said that the ordination of Archbishop Cushley was a "new beginning".

Cardinal James Harvey, Archpriest of the Basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls, was the principal consecrator during the episcopal ordination. He was Archbishop Cushley's superior at the Holy See's Secretariat of State.

Those who attended the ceremony inlcuded Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, and Nigel Baker, the British Ambassador to the Holy See.

Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Sean Brady, Primate of All Ireland, were also present.


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