Malcolm McMahon

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The Most Reverend
Malcolm McMahon
Archbishop of Liverpool
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Liverpool
Province Liverpool
Appointed 21 March 2014
Installed 1 May 2014
Predecessor Patrick Altham Kelly
Ordination 26 June 1982
by Basil Hume
Consecration 8 December 2000
by James Joseph McGuinness
Personal details
Birth name Malcolm Patrick McMahon
Born (1949-06-14) 14 June 1949 (age 67)
London, England
Nationality English
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Bishop of Nottingham
Motto Non nisi te
(Only you, Lord)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Malcolm McMahon
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Grace
Religious style Archbishop

Malcolm Patrick McMahon, OP (born 14 June 1949) is an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. Since 2014, he has been the ninth Archbishop of Liverpool. Previously, he was Bishop of Nottingham from 2000 to 2014.

Early life and ministry[edit]

Malcolm McMahon was born in London, the second of three brothers and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology before working for London Transport. In 1976, he decided upon an ecclesiastical career and joined the Dominican Order. Making his religious profession in December 1977, McMahon studied philosophy at Blackfriars, Oxford and theology at Heythrop College. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Basil Hume on 26 June 1982.

He served as chaplain of Leicester Polytechnic for the 1986/7 academic year, whence he served in a London parish. McMahon later became Parish Priest of St Dominic's in Newcastle upon Tyne (1989), and of St Dominic's in Haverstock Hill (1990). He was elected prior provincial of the Dominicans' English Province in both 1992 and 1996. In 2000, he was elected prior of Blackfriars, Oxford.

Episcopal career[edit]

Bishop of Nottingham[edit]

On 7 November 2000, McMahon was appointed Bishop of Nottingham by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 8 December from James Joseph McGuinness, with bishops Victor Guazzelli and Patrick O'Donoghue serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas.

McMahon's name had been mentioned as a possible successor to Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster[1] and to Kevin McDonald as Archbishop of Southwark. He serves as Chairman of the Department of Education & Formation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales, Chairman of the Catholic Education Service, Chairman of the Catholic Trust of England & Wales, Ecclesiastical Advisor to the Knights of St Columba and President of the British Section of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace movement.

Archbishop of Liverpool[edit]

On 21 March 2014 Pope Francis appointed Bishop McMahon as the ninth Archbishop of Metropolitan see of Liverpool.[2]


Bishop McMahon has said that there is no doctrinal reason preventing priests from having wives:[3]

There is no reason why priests shouldn't be allowed to marry. It has always been a matter of discipline rather than doctrine[...]It is a question of justice for those men who want to be priests and to have a wife. Marriage should not bar them from their vocation but they must be married before they are ordained. The justice issue also applies to communities which could be deprived of the Eucharist because there aren’t enough priests.

He considers clerical celibacy as a "spiritual necessity". In a pastoral letter read in the Diocese of Nottingham on Sunday 25 October 2009, Bishop McMahon said:[4]

Another aspect of priesthood that is often challenged is that of mandatory celibacy for our priests. Yet the celibate priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church has always been understood as a special gift that we should treasure. In our tradition, celibacy is not a mere external rule but a spiritual necessity.

He also supports the role of women in Catholic Church, but is against the ordination of women as priests:[5]

I look forward to the day when women play a greater role in ministry and take up more of a place in the Church, but not in sacred orders.

In the same pastoral letter, Bishop McMahon said:[6]

In the Mass, the Church follows the words of Christ himself when the bread and wine are consecrated; it has not made up these words, neither does the Church consider that it has the authority to make such a change. In a similar way only men are ordained in the Church because to ordain women would be to devise something that Christ did not institute.

In April 2010, Bishop McMahon appeared on the BBC's Hard Talk to discuss the Church's response to the sexual abuse of children. He defended the work of the Holy See and the Church in England and Wales on this and expressed the hope that the Vatican would become more open and transparent in its treatment of victims and perpetrators.

Personal info[edit]

The Bishop enjoys playing golf and is a keen Arsenal F.C. fan. In his free time he likes to listen to live music at the Lakeside and Opera North at the Theatre Royal but also admits to being a fan of Norah Jones.


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James Joseph McGuinness
Bishop of Nottingham
Succeeded by
Patrick McKinney
Preceded by
Patrick Kelly
Archbishop of Liverpool