Archbishop Longley congratulates Cardinal Nichols for recent appointments of bishops

Archbishop Bernard Longley’s address at Mass of Welcome – Cardinal Vincent Nichols

St Chad’s Cathedral   30 March 2014


‘I am delighted that Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton and Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham are with us for this celebration – and I take this opportunity to offer our congratulations to Bishop Malcolm on his appointment as Archbishop of Liverpool. With the appointment to Liverpool and Fr Robert Byrne’s appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham in the last fortnight Cardinal Vincent’s membership of the Congregation for Bishops is rapidly bearing fruit!

December 2013:

The Tablet reports:

‘Pope Francis today appointed the Archbishop of Westminster to the Vatican’s bishop-making body.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols will take up a post as a member of the Congregation for Bishops which plays a crucial part appointing leaders to dioceses across the vast majority of the world. He will attend the regular meetings of dicastery when they discuss appointments to dioceses including those in England and Wales.

Comment: We pray for our Cardinal, our Bishops and for the fruit they are bearing.

11 comments to Archbishop Longley congratulates Cardinal Nichols for recent appointments of bishops

  • sally

    Perhaps he could now appoint Mgr Armitage to Brentwood.

  • John Vasc

    Mrs D, I’m only trying to be helpful here: I think a typo or misunderstanding may have inadvertently crept into your heading. In your linked report, Archbishop L didn’t ‘congratulate’ Cardinal Nichols on the episcopal appointments, he congratulated Bishop McMahon.
    The report says Archbishop Longley *welcomed* Cardinal Nichols’s return visit to Birmingham as Cardinal, and *thanked him* for doing so, *recalled* Cardinal Nichols’s achievements as former Archbishop of Birmingham. Archbishop Longley expressed *pride* that Nichols had become a Cardinal. Then +Longley *congratulated* Bishop McMahon on his recent appointment.
    Also reported: “As a sign of *congratulations and affection* for the new Cardinal, the Archdiocese of Birmingham collected a gift of over £30,000.” (Those congratulations were of course for the red hat, not the new bishops.)
    I can see you strive to get these things right.
    In Domino

  • John Vasc

    PS. I’ve noticed that +Longley also said ‘With the appointment to Liverpool and Fr Robert Byrne’s appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham in the last fortnight Cardinal Vincent’s membership of the Congregation for Bishops is rapidly bearing fruit!’
    But even that isn’t really *congratulating* him (I think it would look patronizing if he did!)

  • Gary

    We all know these ‘deals’ are often power struggles between bishops and bishops conferences.. Cormac got Francis the job, Cormac got Vin the job and Vinny got Longley the job…of course one can never rule out the possibility of the Holy Spirit leading things at this level, but of course we can never infallibly know!

  • Paul Waddington

    The procedure for appointing bishops in England, Wales and Scotland is mostly in the hands of the nuncio, who is charged with presenting three names to the Congregation for Bishops. These are then considered by the staff of the congregation, whose prefect puts one name forward for approval by the members of the congregation, of whom Archbishop is one. At this point there would be the opportunity to exercise a veto, but I suspect that this is rarely exercised.

    Archbishop Nichols, together with all bishops, and indeed all the faithful, do have opportunities to suggest names to the nuncio. It is widely thought that there is something of a battle going on between the two of them. In part, this may explain the slow appointments. I also understand that a number of candidates put forward by the nuncio have declined position.

    • I apologise for the fact that I have only just seen this post. Paul, your description of the process seems to me to be rather flawed. As I understand it, every three years the Metropolitan of a province must prepare a list for submission to the Holy See of those priests within the Province (including religious) thought most suitable for appointment as bishop/archbishop. When a vacancy falls to be filled the metropolitan on behalf of and in agreement with the bishops of the province submits a “terna”, a list of three names of priests thought most suitable ranked in order of preference, to the Nuncio for onward transmission to Rome. If it is the Metropolitan whose position has been vacated then the remaining suffragans together submit the terna. In addition, the suffragans can individually submit a name or names and so to can the President of the Bishops’ conference and, indeed, the Nuncio himself.

      When the names are received in the Vatican by the Head of the English Language Section of the Secretariat of State (lately Mgr, now Archbishop, Cushley) they will be forwarded to the Congregation for Bishops and the Secretary of that Congregation must ensure that they are then presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for their consideration (and I am sure also to that for the Clergy, but I may be wrong on that point). They investigate the priests recommended, for example any books/theses/articles they have published, and have to assent to their orthodoxy, or not as the case may be. This is one of the routine matters dealt with at the Friday morning (11.30) weekly staff meeting held at in the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio. This done, the Congregation for Bishops then present their recommendation to the Holy Father who, of course, has the final say.

      You say that at the point where the members of the Congregation for Bishops are presented with the staff’s recommendation (at the monthly meetings) “there would be the opportunity to exercise a veto…” I presume by this that you are here averring that Cardinal Nichols has a right of veto. That is not the case. Moreover, I doubt very much if he had any real input to these most recent appointments — Archbishop McMahon and Bishop Byrne — not because they are not his sort of prelate, which on all the evidence with which I am familiar they aren’t, but because there simply wasn’t time for him to influence their appointments. And that is all he will have: influence. He has no veto but as you would expect that as President of the Bishops’ Conference (he is not a Primate) great weight to be given to any view he cares to express.

  • Freddie

    Why not Mons Gordon Read

  • Freddie is the first person to state what has long been obvious to anyone living in the diocese of Brentwood.
    Maybe the Monsignor is one of the increasing number to refuse the position.The number of which should be of concern to all of us.

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