Pope Benedict has announced the appointment of Bernard Longley, currently Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, as the next Archbishop of Birmingham in succession to Vincent Nichols.
Bishop Longley has made a considerable impression in his current role for his pastoral sensitivity and openness. Before moving to Westminster he played a significant role in encouraging ecumenical relationships, and in engaging the Catholic Bishops with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).
Nichols, now the Archbishop of Westminster and spiritual leader of Catholics in England and Wales, said: “I welcome the news of the appointment of Bishop Bernard Longley as Archbishop of Birmingham. I am confident that he will be warmly welcomed, right across the Archdiocese: in Stoke on Trent, Stafford, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Birmingham, Worcester and Oxford. The clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese will appreciate the qualities he brings: his gentleness and sensitivity; his firmness and intelligence; his profound and joyful faith; his willingness to listen. I am sure, too, that Bishop Bernard will grow to love this fine Archdiocese, just as I did.“
The Diocesan Administrator for the Birmingham Archdiocese, Bishop William Kenney, CP, said: “I am delighted to hear [of the appointment]. I am sure that the Auxiliary Bishops, priests, deacons and the lay people of the Archdiocese will make him feel very welcome in the Midlands.“
Bishop Longley was ordained as a priest and later as a bishop by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. About the appointment, the Cardinal said: "I had the privilege of ordaining Bishop Bernard as a priest in 1981 and later as a bishop in 2003. Bishop Bernard has been an exceptionally good priest and bishop, exhibiting at all times those Christian qualities of kindness and compassion in his ministry.”
After receiving news of his appointment, Bishop Bernard Longley commented: “I look forward to serving the priests and deacons, the religious and all the people of the Archdiocese and to working alongside my brother Bishops there. I also look forward to knowing and appreciating the life of the Diocese and the many ways in which it reaches out with the love and truth of Christ, in its parish and school communities and through ecumenical and inter-religious friendships."