New Scots Bishops Soon…

The Vatican will appoint a wave of new bishops to dioceses in Scotland in the coming months, the papal nuncio has told clergy.

Following Pope Francis’ acceptance of the resignation of the Bishop of Motherwell, half of Scotland’s eight dioceses are without bishops.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, met with clergy from Motherwell Diocese on Thursday last week to inform them of Bishop Joseph Devine’s resignation and to give them encouragement.

The nuncio told clergy that he hoped an appointment in St Andrews and Edinburgh would be made later this month and that appointments to the dioceses of Dunkeld and Paisley would be made by the end of the summer. He added that the plan was to name a new Bishop of Motherwell by Christmas.

It is understood that on two occasions when an individual was recommended as the new Bishop of Dunkeld this was blocked by the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican department in charge of ratifying bishops’ appointments. It is believed that on one occasion the candidate was regarded as too young.  Click here to read source

Well?  Is the Congregation for Bishops right to avoid appointing young candidates?

Or are there other, more important, obstacles to becoming a bishop?  Should the former rector of Scotus College, Fr William McFadden be appointed, for example, despite his track record as a dissenter? We reported his talk to the Assembly of Clergy in 2002, which one priest described in the feedback form leaked to us as “nothing short of a disgrace. It is a travesty that such a denigration and denial of Catholic doctrine concerning the priesthood, the sacraments and the magisterium firstly be given a voice, and secondly, not receive so much as a word of criticism from the senior clergy present.”  (Assembly of Clergy, Report, May 23, 2002).

And we’ll be reporting his input at the recent talks on the Council of Trent help in St Peter’s Partick, where the innocents abroad who attended were told that Trent was a preparation for Vatican II. Whereas, in fact, it is the Council of Trent which helps keep us sane as we suffer the “spirit of Vatican II”!

In any case, having been rector of Scotus seminary might place Fr McFadden up there as a possible candidate. Would his appointment to fill of one of the Scottish episcopal vacancies help restore the Church in this fair nation?

63 responses

  1. I am a bit surprised ro see The Tablet quoted. Is it a reliable source of information?

    I don’t think youth should necessarily be a barrier to an appointment as bishop. Quality is more important and that can be apparent at any age.

    Despite the Nuncio’s projected timescale I will not be surprised if the appointments take longer. Scotland is unlikely to be the Vatican’s highest priority. Edinburgh may well be sorted soon, but the other dioceses are pretty small potatoes.

    • Eileenanne,

      There’s nothing in the blog article to suggest that The Tablet is a reliable source of information. Nothing. I merely posted it because it contains the same information flying around elsewhere and because it allowed me to throw up the reminder of one of the possible candidates – Fr Willie McFadden – whom we definitely DON’T want to be appointed. The source of the blog discussion is irrelevant – its purpose is merely to kick-start the conversation.

      As it happens, I agree with your opinion about the timescale, despite the Nuncio’s projected timescale. I do agree that the appointments are quite likely to take longer.

      I also agree that the non-Edinburgh dioceses are “pretty small potatoes”. Indeed, the way things are going, they’re more like mashed than creamed!

  2. The sooner we have new Bishops, the better, but not at the possible cost of “rushing in” and making mistakes. These appointments simply *must* be good quality, reliable, orthodox appointments – “more of the same” simply will not do and would be like a death warrant for Scottish Catholicism.

    As a minimum, I am hoping for appointments in the vein of recent English Bishops, such as +Williams and +Egan. The new, younger generation of Bishops in England is much more orthodox and bold than the ageing and useless liberals they are begining to replace. Thats just what we need here, too.

    I dont think age is a big factor in choosing a Bishop – obviously his orthodoxy and obedience should be the first concerns. Although, as we see in England, it is the new, younger Bishops who look as though they might get the Church back on track. (Mr Blackshaw made a similar point at the conference, about the rising new generation of Bishops, globally).

    I hope the new Scottish Bishops will be well informed about the vitality of tradition and the positive effects it has had, anywhere it is given a chance. I also hope that they will be bold enough to actively address the decline of the Church in Scotland and to put an end to ecumenism – which is, these days, no more than howling at the moon.

    Protestants can be relied upon to place secular values ahead of Christian values, and even overrule Jesus Christ Himself, every time. The pretence that they are somehow Christian has reached the point of being threadbare – at best, they are culturally Christian social-clubs. However, they do not espouse or defend Christian values and they do not strive to follow a Christian lifestyle.

    I am always tempted to suggest to ++Tartaglia that he dispose of the Episcopal Congregation who uses one of our Churches in Dennistoun, and convert the Church into a traditional parish staffed by FSSP/ICKSP/whoever.

    I was very disappointed to hear representatives of the Episcopal Church (the homosexual Kelvin Holdsworth) denigrate Catholic morality as “bigotry from the pulpit” during the recent gay marriage carry on. Had I been the Archbishop, I would have punted our guest Episcopalians straight out the door, (and right into the stratosphere), the very second I heard those outrageous and innaccurate remarks.

  3. Gabriel Syme,

    I cannot add anything to your very wise and thoughtful post. Yes, we need younger bishops who are filled with holy zeal for the Catholic Faith and the salvation of souls. This is what we have been robbed of for far too long by the liberal old guard, which, alas, still holds some key positions of power in the Church. It may take a few more years before the Church will be entirely free of the grip of these indifferent Modernist prelates but it will happen, that is absolutely certain.

    In the meantime, I am at a loss to come up with anyone in Scotland who is even remotely in the mould of a Traditional Catholic Bishop. Maybe the Holy Father will import some for us! Maybe a few like Bishop Athanasius Schneider, for example, or the two you mention from down south. How great would it be if Bishop Schneider was raised to the Cardinalate and named as the new Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. Oh well, we can always dream!

    • I hope that the new Bishops are provided from outside the present Scottish clergy. Clearly I know very few of them, but as Scotland is a liturgical desert,it follows that there are few, if any suitable home produced candidates.

    • Athanasius,

      I agree with you. It would be wonderful to have the likes of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s mould appointed in Scotland. God knows how badly his like is needed.

  4. The name of Fr (now Monsignor) Patrick Burke is not often mentioned since he left for Rome in 2005 but I wonder if we might hear more of his name in the future? Especially, in light of the current stalemate about episcopal appointments in Scotland.

    Vocally hostile to the traditional Latin Mass (at least before 2007) and a pillar of the FAITH Movement with its science-fiction theology (and its little-mentioned origin in a series of private revelations to the mother of its founder, the late Fr Edward Holloway), I still think he would suit a mitre far better than most Scottish priests.

    No inside information – just a pure guess.

  5. I have no way of verifying or checking this for credence – it may well be empty gossip – but I heard today that Mgr Paul Conroy, (currently Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Glasgow), is favourite to become the new Bishop of Motherwell.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      Let’s hope that news is, indeed, “mere gossip”. Otherwise, I’m heading for the Erskine Bridge again!

  6. Hi Ed… I’m back…hope you didn’t miss me too much… Somehow my account was cancelled but fear not I have signed up a second time!!!!

    I do not know Mgr Conroy and have never had dealings with him, however it is clear that you don’t like him (comment above and previous thread), however he is one of the only priests of the Archdiocese to offer (at least publicly) the Traditional Mass!

    Petrus – I would be interested to know who your choice is?

    Maybe we should start a sweepstake…any bets?

    Motherwell –
    Dunkeld –
    Paisley –
    St Andrews and Edinburgh –

    • nolite timere,

      Delighted you’re back.

      I don’t dislike Mgr Conroy – or anyone else for that matter. So, let’s get that one out of the way, pronto! I think I pointed out in my report about my “visit” to Clyde Street recently, that he at least had the courtesy to grant me an unscheduled meeting (which turned out to be shorter than Summorum Pontificum) and, despite the forthright words which rolled out of my uncensored mind and off my uninhibited tongue, treated me politely and with courtesy even as he threw me out and told me to ignore the lift and walk down the several flights of stairs. So, be assured, I appreciate that he has good character points and I do not dislike him or anyone else.

      However, there’s more to being a good bishop that offering the Traditional Latin Mass for whatever motivation – let’s not go there…

      Love your idea of placing a bet. I’ll keep my powder dry for the moment, but I will place a bet, probably tomorrow, when I check out the favourites!

    • I love a bet so my best guesses are:

      Motherwell – Right Rev. Mgr. Thomas O’Hare the Vicar General
      Dunkeld – Canon McCaffrey
      Paisley – Fr David Boyd
      St Andrew’s & Edinburgh – Bishop Stephen Robson

      • I don’t really know who would get my vote – except for Paisley. That has to be Pasletanus.

        I’d need some concrete evidence that there is any priest in any diocese who would make a sound and effective bishop. After all, they’ve not exactly been beating down the metaphorical Catholic Truth door, have they? None of the names already cited were in the queue for the Catholic Truth conference on Saturday.

        So, folks – convince me!

      • My hunch is that Bishop Robson won’t get Edinburgh, but he may well get one of the other dioceses. My guess is that the Bishop of Aberdeen might move to Edinburgh.

        • Eileenanne – why? On what basis do you choose those names or have a hunch that those appointments may be made?

          What have they done to make you think they’d be good bishops?

          • Nothing more than gut feeling, and I made no comment as to the suitability of those I mentioned.

            If I had to think out where my gut feeling is coming from, I would say that Edinburgh needs someone with at least a bit of experience, and Bishop Gilbert fits the bill. Also, if there is, as others here have suggested, a shortage of suitable candidates, it seems each diocese should get one bishop before one archdiocese has an auxiliary. However, like everyone else, I am merely speculating.

      • If Canon McCaffrey was in the frame for Dunkeld, I think it might have happened by now. As VG, wouldn’t he have been considered early on?

        • So, Eileenanne, you seem to be basing your choice on the need for someone with administrative experience of “running a diocese” – not on the qualities we need in Scotland, after years of decline, with the Faith almost a thing of the past…

          Unless, that is, you agree with Liz Leydon, Editor of the SCO, speaking on Newsnight Scotland recently, that the fact that there are various groups in parishes, and, notably, ecumenical activity, we’re doing just fine, thank you very much and a good administrator will fit the bill nicely…

          • I did not say anything about whom I would choose if I had any influence. I was speculating in what I think MIGHT happen. Suggesting a name as a possible candidate to be bishop is not the same as expressing a desire to see that person appointed.

      • Fr David Boyd, for Paisley? Or Anywhere? You are having a laugh surely. Thanks be to God Administrators rarely become Bishops.

    • When Fr Stephen Dunn of Sacred Heart went on sabbatical, Fr Paul Conroy was appointed to replace him at Sacred Heart and, hey presto, was able to offer the Sunday TLM but not the weekday Mass some of us had attended. At the time of our extremely brief if eventful meeting, I didn’t get the chance to ask him if he really wanted to provide the TLM or if this was a case of “needs must when sabbaticals drive.”

        • As far as I know, yes. I have not attended, but I’m told he is offering the TLM. This is the Una Voce – organised Mass, of course, it is not that he has chosen to do so under the terms of Summorum Pontificum, as far as I am aware.

          • That’s unbelievable really. I wouldn’t have though Mgr Conroy could spell the word “Tridentine” never mind say the Mass!

  7. Naughty, Petrus…

    I would be interested to know what Mgr Conroy thinks now that he’s been offering the TLM for some weeks. Has it, I wonder, had the same impact on him that it has had on other priests who came to it late?

    • Naughty, but true.

      I’d be interested in finding that out too, editor. I think it can only be a positive thing, even if he has only done it for Una Voce’s sake.

  8. As far as Bishop Robson is concerned, I was astonished when he was filmed around the time of the scandal, driving an enormously expensive Volkswagen (£40k+). Hardly the humility and poverty of the Pope!

  9. My guesses are (and only my guess not who I would personally choose):

    Edinburgh: Mgr Leo Cushley – for his work at the Vatican and being from outside Scotland
    Dunkeld: Possibly Bishop Robson or Mgr Ken McCaffrey
    Paisley: Mgr Paul Conroy
    Motherwell: Fr Charles O’Farrell – Current rector at Salamanca and currently outside Scotland

    Dont think these are who I would want but its up to the Holy Spirit and God will not see his Church further destroyed.

    • Dunkeld lost their Bishop through retirement and Paisley lots theirs as he was promoted. For that reasons I think their successors may come from within Scotland.
      Motherwells Bishop retired however with the whole Fr Despard thing and with Devine’s history I think it will be an outside as will Edinburgh due to their situation. Just a thought though.

      Editor who would you like it the choice was yours…..

  10. If Fr. Mc Fadden is made a bishop then I’m becoming a Mormon! I met him years ago when he did supply at our parish. My son asked him about the priesthood and he replied: Oh, we don’t do much praying and you could even have your own boat etc., (or words to that effect). Disgraceful. Now WHY on earth would a normal young man even WANT to become a priest in today’s climate? Why waste one’s life to be an administrator AND a celibate one at that? Far better a nice wife and a large Catholic family!!

    I know there are good and holy priests out there but their hands are tied by their bishops.

    • semperfidelis,

      If these “good and holy priests” have their hands tied by their bishops, they should get out of that diocese. Those who carried out Hitler’s orders in the war are not going to be let off the hook because “their hands were tied” by Hitler.

      If, in fact, all these “good and holy” priests exist who are so blindly obedient to their disobedient (and perhaps immoral, double living) bishops, then they should inundate the Pope with requests for something to be done. They can’t just sit back and make excuses.

    • Fr John Keenan permits all sorts of dissenters to speak in the Catholic Chaplaincy at the University. Do you really think that he would be any different as a bishop? Do we really want to reward negligent priests with more responsibility, no matter how “nice” he may be, no matter his reputation for “orthodoxy”? Strange kind of orthodoxy which thinks nothing of allowing dissenting views to poison the Faith under his very nose and on his watch.

      Priests and bishops are supposed to protect the faithful from the wolves. Do you really think Fr Keenan will suddenly do his duty in this regard when he has failed to do so as a priest? I know that he has received telephone calls from a concerned layman on this subject. Said layman was fobbed off with a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders and a “what can I do about it?” response. Exactly the same response as lay people receive from bishops when they write to express concerns about dissident publications on sale in parishes and bookshops, and speakers being invited onto Catholic premises to attack the Faith.

      I’m about to write to Archbishop Tartaglia about a book currently on sale in the St Paul’s/Pauline Bookshop in Glasgow. I’m going to work very VERY hard at my tone and style. Anyone want to place bets on the outcome?

      • I’ll take that as a no then. 🙂

        All the best with your letter to Archbishop Tartaglia, but does he actually have direct control over what the Sisters sell in the shop? I doubt it. Wouldn’t a letter to the superior of their order be the way to go?

        I once pointed out to one of the Sisters in the shop that a book aimed at helping children cope with their parents’ separation, explained that in time Mummy or Daddy might find a new partner!! I don’t know if the book was ever removed from sale and I’m afraid I never followed it up. I haven’t been in there for a long time.

        • Canon Law # 823 among others gives the bishop the duty and right to veto writings and publications in his (arch)diocese, so yes, the Archbishop DOES have direct control over what is sold – should he exercise his authority.

  11. Ed- Are you in a position to tell us what book you are complaining about????? Is it a novus ordo missal per chance????

    In terms of bishops, i know that Mgr Mccaffery has been pretty much running he diocese for a while(long before the bishops intention to resign was made public or accepted).

    You would assume that if it were to be he then he would have been appointed already as current ‘rumours’ suggest that the nuncio’s lust has already been vetoed 3 times.

    I would also think that St. Andrews & Edinburgh would get someone already a bishop so that leaves Bishops Toal or Gilbert which in turn would leave their respective diocese Vacant.

    Who are the current staff if Scots College Rome? Would they provide an option?

    Petrus- I have been told that Mgr Conroy does indeed celebrate the Traditional Mass at 9.45am in Sacred Heart, however I have not seen it with my own eyes.

    You still haven’t told us who you would suggest??

    • nolite timere,

      The book is entitled Catholic Update guide to Vatican II, edited by a Mary Carol Kendzia. Dreadful stuff. Prominently on display – take a look if you’re passing. There’s plenty other rubbish, of course, but one thing at a time, nolite timere, one heresy at a time.

  12. If the Scotsman is correct, I would be very interested to know who it is with the inside information who cannot keep his / her mouth shut. I have no time at all for blabbermouths who cannot maintain confidentiality. I hope whoever it is is hunted down and removed at once from any position where they have privileged information about anything.

    On the other hand, the Scotsman might be doing what newspapers sometimes do and reporting its speculation as if it were fact.

    • In respect of your first sentence, Eileenanne – not guilty! This blabbermouth DOES know how to keep her mouth shut on occasion!

      Regarding your final sentence – I have good reason to believe that the Scotsman is NOT speculating about this…See, I CAN keep my mouth shut sometimes!

      • I never suspected you editor. If you wanted to spill the beans, why would you give the Scotsman the story?

        If you have reliable information that the Scotsman story is accurate, someone must have spoken out of turn to you. You may not be a blabbermouth, but it sounds as if you might know one!

        • Nay, nay, Eileenanne. Nobody has spoken out of turn to me – I just keep hearing the same names trotted out all the time. Especially from the pen of Stephen McGinty who seems to reach the sources none of the rest of us can reach. He being something of a numpty, this is irksome, but such is life…

  13. I’m right we’re due an Archbishop of Edinburgh by the end of June, according to the Nuncio. By my reading of the stars that be this weekend (must desist from astrology).

    Anyways, Mgr. Cushley, Fr. Burke or Bishop Gilbert on the shortlist, according to the previous speculation. All seem possible/probable for different reasons – any further insights?

    • OK Crossraguel I’ll play along.

      Is it just coincidence that Bishop Hugh will be leading the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Pluscarden Abbey on the last day of June? What a great place to inform his gathered clergy and laity of his promotion.

      Hubble, bubble, toil and ……………..

      • You’re a decent sport Benedict, though years of transfer deadline day rumours utilising such coincidences, airport sightings and friend’s dog’s mother’s taxi driving uncle having run some big name to Parkhead invariably ended in disappointment so I’ll leave that one a 90% probability.

        You heading up on Sunday?

  14. Crossraguel,

    I wish I could rejoice at this news, but my Catholic conscience forbids it. I will, however, pray for the Archbishop, who is much in need of prayers.

      • Crossraguel,

        Well, we shall have to wait and see if the good Lord will grant us a Shepherd strong in the Catholic Faith who will set matters aright in this country blighted with Modernism. We could all be doing with some good news.

    • Well, the dissenters are delighted with Pope Francis, and his liturgical “leanness” is one reason. For example, in this weeks’ RMBL column (Rubbish From Mons Basil Loftus) he concludes a very nasty piece on pomp and ceremony by suggesting, with the thinnest of veils over the suggestion, that the Traditional Latin Mass (which he calls the extraordinary form, of course) should be done away with, since it could be a problem in the future. Words not in front of me right now but they will be in front of you when your August newsletter arrives – I’m spoilt for choices of Leftus/Loftus quotes but that’s one I’m definitely going to include.

      I repeat; as one of our parishioners said to me last week “Pope Francis is a poor pope all right, only not in the way he thinks!”

  15. This week’s Catholic Observer carries an explanation of the delayed episcopal appointments:

    Scotland’s vacant dioceses may have to wait for hierarchical appointments

    NEW bishops for Scotland’s vacant dioceses may not be appointed in the near future.

    Catholics in St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese had expected a new archbishop to be appointed last month, but that has now been delayed.

    The Apostolic nuncio to the UK, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, suggested last month that a new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh would be appointed by the end of June, followed by the filling of vacancies at several other Scottish dioceses.

    However, that has not happened and it was reported last week that a spokesman at the Papal nuncio’s London office said that Archbishop Mennini, whose role includes the recommendation of bishops to the Pope, had been ‘perhaps a little optimistic,’ adding that there had been a delay in the appointment.

    Saying he hoped the appointment would be ‘soonish,’ the spokesman added that he could not predict when Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s successor would be appointed as it was ‘in the hands of Rome’ and there was ‘nothing else we can say.’

    Though a new archbishop for St Andrews and Edinburgh is still expected to be the first new bishop appointed, bishops for the other vacant dioceses are not now expected this summer.

    Four of Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses are currently without bishops. As well as St Andrews and Edinburgh, Bishop Vincent Logan retired from Dunkeld last year, Paisley Diocese has been vacant since Archbishop Tartaglia moved to Glasgow Archdiocese last October and Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell’s resignation wad accepted earlier this year, as he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

  16. The English bishops have been petitioning Rome to unseat Abp Mennini – I hope that this isn’t a sign that they’ve gained influence in Rome.

  17. The plot against the Nuncio, cont.
    By Damian Thompson June 12th, 2013

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100221628/the-plot-against-the-nuncio-cont/

    I’ve written before that the Magic Circle of liberal English bishops don’t like the Pope’s splendidly independent-minded Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini.

    Now word reaches me that their lobbying against him has reached Francis himself. My source adds: “It’s also rumoured that [a very senior English prelate but not Archbishop Nichols] has been advising whoever will listen to slow down the appointments process at home on the basis that our Nuncio won’t be around very long and that *wink, wink* the new one will allow the sorts of appointments we want.”

    Many Catholics are outraged that the papal ambassador should be the subject of this whispering campaign: there’s even a Facebook group in Archbishop Mennini’s support. Why not join it?

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/584043524939255/

    • As ever, dear old Damian wishes to protect Archbishop Nichols. Note the disclaimer in parenthesis. Not so long since Damian was agitating for the red hat to be given to + Nichols for no other reason than he made a great job of organising the papal visit. Gimme strength!

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