Hugh Gilbert

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The Right Reverend
Hugh Gilbert OSB
Bishop of Aberdeen
Province St Andrews and Edinburgh
Diocese Aberdeen
Appointed 4 June 2011
Installed 15 August 2011
Predecessor Peter Moran
Orders
Ordination 29 June 1982
by Mario Conti
Consecration 15 August 2011
by Keith O'Brien
Personal details
Birth name Edward Gilbert
Born (1952-03-15) 15 March 1952 (age 64)
Emsworth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey (1992 - 2011)
Alma mater King's College London
Motto Omnia in Ipso constant (All things hold together in Him)

Hugh Gilbert OSB (born 15 March 1952) is an English Benedictine monk who currently serves as the Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland. He had previously served as the Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, of which he is a member, also in Scotland.

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

On 15 March 1952, he was born Edward Gilbert in Emsworth, Hampshire, to an Anglican family. As a child, he was educated at the independent St Paul's School in London. At the age of 18, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church on Christmas Eve of 1970. He studied history at King's College London and graduated in 1974 with a first class honours degree in History.[1]

Monastic life[edit]

Gilbert was received into the novitiate of Pluscarden Abbey in Moray, Scotland, in March 1975, at which time he was given the religious name Hugh. He made his temporary profession of monastic vows on 10 March of the following year and was then sent to the former Fort Augustus Abbey--located on the shores of Loch Ness--for studies and preparation for the priesthood. He made his solemn profession of vows on 10 March 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1982 on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) by Mario Conti, then the Archbishop of Glasgow.[1]

Dom Alfred Spencer OSB, the first abbot in the history of the monastery,[2] subsequently appointed Gilbert to various duties in the community: sub-prior in 1984, novice master in 1985, and prior in 1990. Gilbert was elected by the monastic community to succeed Spencer as abbot on 29 October 1992. He received the abbatial blessing from Conti the following 8 December, at which time he formally took office.[1] He was a member of the Council of the Union of Monastic Superiors from 1993 to 1997 and of the Abbot Visitor's Council since 1995. During his time as abbot, the community grew to 27 monks.

In 2007, when the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor reached the age of 75, the prescribed retirement age for bishops, Gilbert was mentioned as a possible successor. It was thought however that he declined the appointment.[3] Vincent Nichols, then the Archbishop of Birmingham, was appointed instead in 2009.

Bishop[edit]

Gilbert was appointed the Bishop of Aberdeen by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 June 2011.[4] He was ordained for this office at the Cathedral Church of St Mary of the Assumption in Aberdeen by Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, on the Feast of the Assumption (15 August) 2011.[5] He chose as his episcopal motto Omnia in Ipso constant (All things hold together in Him), which is a verse from the Letter to the Colossians (1:17).[6]

Gilbert will be expected to find a way of tackling secularism and boosting church attendance.[by whom?] The Catholic Church has suffered a fall in the size of its congregations in Scotland, in common with much of Europe and with other Christian denominations in Scotland.[citation needed] However, the Diocese of Aberdeen has seen an increase in its Catholic population in recent years with the arrival of workers from Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Lithuania.[citation needed]

Controversies[edit]

In August 2012, Gilbert intervened in the Scottish same-sex marriage debate by arguing that if the Scottish Government truly believed in equality it would also make incest and polygamy legal: "If we really want equality, why does that equality not extend to nieces who genuinely, truly love their uncles?" He added: "The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes, it can legislate to say that everything with four legs is a table, even when it’s a dog and not a horse, but that won’t make it so." His comments met with criticism from campaigners for equal rights who called his comments offensive.[7][8]

Author[edit]

Gilbert has written a number of journal articles and books on spirituality. His books are:

  • Unfolding the Mystery (Gracewing, 2007), a collection of homilies and conferences on the liturgical year
  • Living the Mystery (Gracewing, 2008), reflections on aspects of the Christian life.[1]
  • The Tale of Quisquis: Reading the Rule of St Benedict as Story (Gracewing, 2014), conferences on the rule of St Benedict
  • Words for the Advent and Christmas Season (CTS, 2014), homilies for Advent and Christmastide
  • Words for the Lent and Easter Saints (CTS, 2015), homilies
  • Words for Feasts and Saints Days (CTS, 2015), homilies

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Abbot of Pluscarden appointed Bishop of Aberdeen". Independent Catholic News. UK. 4 June 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Timeline". Pluscarden Abbey. 
  3. ^ Wakefield, Mary (18 March 2008). "A holy man tipped to lead the nation's Catholics". The Spectator. UK. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Rinuncia Del Vescovo Di Aberdeen (Scozia) E Nomina Del Successore" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 4 June 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Bishop Hugh (Edward) Gilbert, O.S.B.". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Rt Rev. Hugh Gilbert OSB". Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen, Scotland. 
  7. ^ "Catholic Bishop: Government should make incest legal if it really believes in equality". Pink News. UK. 5 August 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2013. /
  8. ^ Reynolds, Rory (5 August 2012). "Same-sex marriage: Anger over bishop's bigamy and incest jibe". The Scotsman. UK. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Peter Moran
Bishop of Aberdeen
2011–present
Incumbent