Bernard Longley

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Bernard Longley
Archbishop of Birmingham
Bernard Longley Oxford Oratory 1 2010-04-18 (cropped).jpg
Longley in the Oxford Oratory, 2010
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed1 October 2009
Installed8 December 2009
PredecessorVincent Nichols
Ordination12 December 1981
by Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Consecration24 January 2003
by Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Personal details
Born (1955-04-05) 5 April 1955 (age 65)
Manchester, England
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Bishop of Zarna (2003–2009)
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster (2003–2009)
Alma mater
MottoUt unum sint
(English: That they all may be one)
Coat of armsBernard Longley's coat of arms
Ordination history of
Bernard Longley
Priestly ordination
Ordained byCormac Murphy-O'Connor (Arun. & Brig.)
Date12 December 1981
PlaceSt John's Seminary, Wonersh, England, United Kingdom
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorCormac Murphy-O'Connor (Westminster)
Co-consecratorsArthur Roche (Leeds coad.)
Kieran Conry (Arun. & Brig.)
Date24 January 2003
PlaceWestminster Cathedral, London, England
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Bernard Longley as principal consecrator
Robert Byrne13 May 2014
Source(s): [1][2]
Styles of
Bernard Longley
Coat of arms of Bernard Longley.svg
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Grace
Religious styleArchbishop

Bernard Longley KC*HS (born 5 April 1955) is an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was named the Archbishop of Birmingham on 1 October 2009, and installed by Bishop David McGough and presented with his crozier by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, his predecessor, in St Chad's Cathedral at a Solemn Mass on 8 December 2009, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, attended by 600 people. Previously he was an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster.[3]

Early life and ministry[edit]

Bernard Longley was born in Openshaw, Manchester, and was educated at St Vincent de Paul parish school, then at Xaverian College in Rusholme. He later studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and New College, Oxford.[4] He then trained at St John's Seminary, Wonersh where he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on 12 December 1981.[5] He then served as an assistant priest at St. Joseph's Church in Epsom and as a chaplain to psychiatric hospitals.[4]

Longley became Surrey Chairman of Diocesan Commission for Christian Unity in 1991, and National Ecumenical Officer at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in 1996.[4] From 1987 to 1996, he taught dogmatic theology at St. John's Seminary in Wonersh. In 1999, he was named Moderator of the Steering Committee of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, as well as Assistant General Secretary of Catholic Bishops' Conference with responsibilities for Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs.[4]

Episcopal career[edit]

Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster[edit]

On 4 January 2003 Longley was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Zarna by Pope John Paul II.[5] He said he was "greatly honoured" and "very much overwhelmed" by his appointment.[6] Longley received his episcopal consecration on the following 24 January from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, with Bishops Arthur Roche and Kieran Conry serving as co-consecrators.[5]

In 2007, Longley played a prominent role in the integration of the independent Soho Masses Pastoral Council,[7] a group that sponsors Masses for homosexual Catholics, into the Archdiocese.[8][9] The Bishop helped to form an agreement that moved the group's liturgies from an Anglican parish to a Catholic church (Church of our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Gregory), as well as a statement on ministry to homosexual Catholics that, while following Catholic teaching on homosexuality, underscored that "the Church's pastoral outreach recognises that baptised persons with a homosexual inclination continue to look to the Church for a place where they might live in authentic human integrity and holiness of life."[8] In a BBC interview, Longley said that "it's never been the practice of the Catholic Church, as it were, to 'means-test' people before admitting them to the celebration of the Eucharist. It would be a mistake to jump to conclusions or to generalise about anybody's particular lifestyle, or their state of grace."[8]

Longley is the head of the Diocesan Pastoral Board and has responsibilities for the Deaneries of Camden, Hackney, Islington, Marylebone, Tower Hamlets, and Westminster.[4] He is considered to be a conservative who is "friendly" to the traditional Latin Mass,[10] but also a "born diplomat."[11] His name was mentioned as a possible successor to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster and thus often considered to be the 'head' of the Church in England and Wales,[9][10][12] but the position ultimately went to Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

Archbishop of Birmingham[edit]

On 1 October 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Longley as the Archbishop of Birmingham. He succeeds Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who was translated from Birmingham to Westminster earlier in 2009. Archbishop Longley was installed at St Chad's Cathedral on 8 December 2009, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Before the ceremony, Archbishop Longley spoke of how much he was looking forward to joining both the Catholic and wider Christian communities in the Midlands and contributing to their work. Archbishop Longley played a leading role in the plans for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman and presented the petition for canonisation to Pope Benedict XVI, which took place in Cofton Park, Birmingham on 19 September 2010 during the papal visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010.[13][14]

On 5 January 2011, Archbishop Longley was appointed among the first members of the newly created Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.[15]

Archbishop Longley is also co-Chair of ARCC and has previously served as Moderator of the Steering Committee of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, as well as Assistant General Secretary of Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales with responsibilities for Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs.

On Tuesday, 18 September 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Longley to serve as one of the Synod Fathers for the October 2012 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.[16]

On Wednesday, 5 August 2020, it was reported that Archbishop Longley forbade the Birmingham Oratory from distributing Communion on the tongue.[17] This action was widely criticized as it is generally understood that the ability to receive Communion on the tongue is a right of the faithful which a bishop has no authority to abrogate.[18]


  1. ^ "Archbishop Bernard Longley". Catholic News. Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. 9 July 2015. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Archbishop Bernard Longley". St. Chad's Cathedral. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI announces new Archbishop of Birmingham". Archived from the original on 8 October 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Bishop Bernard Longley". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster. 24 February 2006.
  5. ^ a b c "Archbishop Bernard Longley". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  6. ^ "New Auxiliary bishops appointed to Westminster". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster. 6 January 2003.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b c Palmo, Rocco (15 February 2007). "Church of the (Soho) Masses". Whispers in the Loggia.
  9. ^ a b Palmo, Rocco (12 March 2009). "The Choice?". Whispers in the Loggia.
  10. ^ a b Thompson, Damian (12 March 2009). "Bernard Longley to be Archbishop of Westminster, says leading Italian commentator". The Daily Telegraph.
  11. ^ Thompson, Damian (13 March 2009). "Congregation for Bishops 'fails to reach decision' on Westminster. What's going on?". The Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (12 March 2009). "Cardinals meet today to choose the next Archbishop of Westminster". The Times. London.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Birmingham Diocese welcomes new Archbishop". Archived from the original on 5 October 2009.
  14. ^ [2][permanent dead link]
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Birmingham
Preceded by
Licínio Rangel
Bishop of Zarna
Succeeded by
Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar