Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bern to Brum

As expected, this morning the Pope named the new holder of what's become English Catholicism's second-ranking seat, tapping the Westminster auxiliary Bernard Longley, 54, as archbishop of Birmingham.

Highly-regarded across party lines for what's been termed "an uncommon kindness combined with a keen intelligence" alongside a record of "assiduous pastoral work," the Oxford-trained theologian and musician continues the precedent begun with the prelate whose place he takes; like Vin Nichols in 2000, Longley figured significantly in the most recent stakes for the capital post, and was even reported to have gotten the nod before being sent instead to the West Midlands.

Ordained a bishop in 2003 and, until today's move, the Westminster church's vicar for North London, Longley will be installed on the 8 December solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. As the new head of one of England's four metropolitan churches, the archbishop-elect will likewise head to Rome in late June to receive the pallium from Pope Benedict.

In a video released earlier today, Longley comments on his appointment....