THE Catholic Church in Scotland welecomed a new archbishop today with the ordination of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s successor, Monsignor Leo Cushley.
Mgr Cushley became Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh at a ceremony in the capital this morning.
It was announced in July that Mgr Cushley was to replace Cardinal O’Brien, who left the post because of inappropriate sexual conduct during his religious career.
The appointment marks a return to Scotland for the 52-year-old who was born in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire and ordained a priest in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire.
He was until recently head of the English language section of the Vatican’s secretariat of state and accompanied the Pope on visits to English-speaking countries.
Alex Salmond and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lorna Hood, attended expected to attend the ordination ceremony in St Mary’s Cathedral at 11am.
Mgr Cushley was consecrated by Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, administrator of the St Andrews and Edinburgh archdiocese, and Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Pope’s representative in the UK.
The homily was delivered by Cardinal James Harvey from the US state of Wisconsin, a colleague of Mgr Cushley from his time in the Vatican.
Cardinal Harvey said: “I am delighted and honoured to be part of this historic moment in the life of the Church of St Andrews and Edinburgh. Archbishop Cushley brings many gifts of mind and heart to his new office.
“I am convinced that these gifts, suitable for prudent pastoral governance, will redound to the good of this archdiocese and beyond.”
Cardinal O’Brien stepped down after 27 years at the end of February when three priests and a former priest made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.
He later issued an apology, saying that “there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me”.
Mgr Cushley said he was “humbled” by his appointment on July 24.
“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,” he said.