Leo Cushley

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The Most Reverend
Leo Cushley
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese St Andrews and Edinburgh
Province St Andrews and Edinburgh
Appointed 24 July 2013
Installed 21 September 2013
Predecessor Keith O'Brien
Ordination 7 July 1985
by Joseph Devine
Consecration 21 September 2013
by James Harvey, Philip Tartaglia, Antonio Mennini
Personal details
Birth name Leo William Cushley
Born (1961-06-18) 18 June 1961 (age 54)
Airdrie,[1] Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Eileen and Bill Cushley
Coat of arms
Styles of
Leo Cushley
Coat of arms of Leo William Cushley.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Grace
Religious style Archbishop

Leo Cushley (born 18 June 1961) is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland. Cushley previously served as head of the English language section of the Vatican Secretariat of State.[2]

Early life[edit]

Leo Cushley was born on 18 June 1961[3] in Wester Moffat Hospital, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire,[4] the first child of Bill and Eileen Cushley; he has a younger brother, Kenneth, and a younger sister, Carey.[5]

He attended All Saints' Primary School, Coatdyke (1966–1967), before finishing his primary education at St John the Baptist's Primary School, Uddingston (1967–1973). He went on to attend Holy Cross High School, Hamilton (1973–1975), and St Mary's College, Blairs, Aberdeen (1975–1979).

Formation, studies and priesthood[edit]

Cushley first began studying for the priesthood at St Mary's College, Blairs, Aberdeen. From 1980 to 1985 he studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Motherwell on 7 July 1985 at the Church of St John the Baptist, Uddingston, by Bishop Joseph Devine. From 1979 to 1987 he attended Pontifical Scots College, Rome. He continued his studies in Rome being granted a Licence in Sacred Liturgy (SLL) at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in 1987.[6]

He returned to the Diocese of Motherwell that year as an assistant priest at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Good Aid, where he remained until he was appointed curate at St Serf's Parish, Airdrie and concurrently chaplain to St Margaret's High School in 1988. He remained there until 1992 when he was sent to St Aidan's Parish, Wishaw as well as serving as chaplain to St Aidan's High School, Wishaw and chaplain to Our Lady's High School, Motherwell.[6]

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 1994 he was summoned to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, studying diplomacy at the same time as studying for a doctorate in canon law (JCD) at the Pontifical Gregorian University, which he earned in 1997. He formally entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See on 1 July 1997.[6] Cushley has served in the nunciatures of Egypt, Burundi, Portugal and the United Nations in New York and South Africa.[6]

From 2009 until 2013, Cushley was head of the English-language section of the Vatican Secretariat of State.[3] In that capacity, he has been responsible for accompanying the pope during all his visits to English speaking countries, such as the visits by Benedict XVI to Malta, Cyprus and the United Kingdom in 2010.[7] In 2012, he took on an additional role in the Vatican when he was appointed to the ceremonial position of "prelate of the anticamera", with duties that include assisting when the pope receives visits from prominent dignitaries such as heads of state.[3]

Episcopal appointment[edit]

On 24 July 2013, Cushley was appointed the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. He was consecrated and installed on 21 September,[8] the Feast of Saint Matthew, where the principal consecrators were Cardinal James Michael Harvey of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls; the Papal Nuncio, Antonio Mennini; and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow. On appointment, Cushley stated:

I am humbled that our Holy Father Pope Francis has nominated me for such an important task here in our ancient capital. I know it's a delicate moment and that there is a lot to be done, but with God's grace and the kind support of the clergy and people of Edinburgh, I will work cheerfully and willingly with all the energy I can muster.[9][10]

Cushley plans to restart a dormant office dealing with poor and marginalised people.[11]

Keith O'Brien[edit]

In September 2013 Cushley said that Cardinal Keith O'Brien should not return to Scotland. "Cushley...revealed that O’Brien will not be permitted to return to Scotland and is likely to spend his remaining years in exile."[12] according to The Scotsman. By contrast the BBC claimed "Cushley conceded it was "not impossible" that the cardinal would one day return. But he made it clear he did not believe that possibility was likely or desirable."[13] Cushley also said he did not believe an independent investigation into O'Brien was necessary.[13] The cardinal stood down following allegations by three priests and a former priest of improper sexual contact in the 1980s. It was announced that O'Brien would leave Scotland "for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance". His current location is not known.[13]

Talking about the situation with Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Cushley denied that the church was at a low ebb and claimed that the people of the Archdiocese wished to leave the matter behind.[14]


  1. ^ Dunn, Ian. "Pope names Vatican diplomat as new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh". Scottish Catholic Observer. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Pope names Vatican official as successor to Cardinal Keith O’Brien". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Glatz, Carol. "Pope names Vatican diplomat to lead scandal-struck Scottish archdiocese". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Other Pontifical Acts". Vatican Information Service. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Monsignor Leo Cushley named as Cardinal Keith O'Brien's successor". The Herald (Glasgow). 24 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "NOMINA DELL’ARCIVESCOVO METROPOLITA DI SAINT ANDREWS AND EDINBURGH (SCOZIA)". RINUNCE E NOMINE (in Italian). Vatican. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Cardinal O'Brien's replacement named as Monsignor Leo Cushley". BBC News. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Monsignor Leo Cushley installed as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
  9. ^ Chris Marshall; Stephen McGinty (24 July 2013). "New Archbishop Cushley promises ‘reconcilliation’". The Scotsman. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Pope names Vatican official as successor to Cardinal Keith O’Brien". Catholic Herald. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Archbishop vows helping the needy will be his priority
  12. ^ Leo Cushley: O’Brien will not return to Scotland
  13. ^ a b c Monsignor Leo Cushley says Cardinal Keith O'Brien should not return to Scotland
  14. ^ O'Brien successor in talks with Pope over scandal-hit diocese
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Keith O'Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh