Stephen Robson

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Stephen Robson
Bishop Emeritus of Dunkeld
Bishop Robson in 2015
Appointed11 December 2013
Installed9 January 2014
Term ended28 December 2022
PredecessorVincent Paul Logan
Ordination17 March 1979
by Gordon Joseph Gray
Consecration9 June 2012
by Keith Patrick O'Brien
Personal details
Stephen Robson

(1951-04-01) 1 April 1951 (age 72)
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsLeslie and Margery Robson
Alma mater
  • Peregrinator pro Christo
  • (Pilgrim for Christ)
Styles of
Stephen Robson
Reference styleThe Right Reverend
Spoken styleYour Lordship
Religious styleBishop

Stephen Robson (born 1 April 1951) is the retired bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld. From 2012 to 2014 he was auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

Early life[edit]

Stephen Robson was born in Carlisle, in the Diocese of Lancaster, on 1 April 1951. Baptised in the Anglican tradition on 15 May 1951,[2] he became a Roman Catholic while a teenager.[3] After secondary school he attended the University of Edinburgh where he obtained a degree in biological sciences with a specialisation in medical technology at Napier College of Science in Edinburgh. He was heavily influenced by the local Jesuit community while studying in Edinburgh.[4]

Formation and further studies[edit]

Robson completed his studies for ordination at St Andrew's College, Drygrange. During his ministry at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome he gained a Licentiate and Doctorate in Spiritual Theology and a Licentiate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In 2004, his doctoral thesis, entitled "With the Spirit and Power of Elijah: The Prophetic-reforming Spirituality of Bernard of Clairvaux as Evidenced Particularly in His Letters", was awarded the Gregorian University's Bellarmine Medal (Theology),[4] awarded to recognise the best thesis submitted each year in theology. Cistercian P. Alkuin Schachenmayr wrote that "dozens of passages in Robson’s dissertation"[5] seemed identical to passages published by other authors, yet without giving them proper attribution. An investigation by the Gregorian cleared Robson of these charges in 2020.[6]

In 2021, philosopher M.V. Dougherty identified multiple further examples of plagiarism in Robson's monograph and raised concerns about the thoroughness and independence of the Gregorian's investigation.[7]


Robson was ordained deacon on 12 February 1978, and priest on 17 March 1979 for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.[2]

He subsequently held the following pastoral assignments:

  • Parochial Vicar at St. Mary's, Kirkcaldy (1979–1981)
  • Tutor at St Mary's College, Blairs (1980–1986)
  • Assistant at the Department for Religious Education in Edinburgh then Episcopal Vicar and Director of the same (1987–1993)
  • Pastor at Our Lady and St Margaret's, Duns (1988–1989)
  • Pastor at Our Lady of the Waves', Dunbar (1990–1993)
  • Pastor at St John Vianney's, Gilmerton. Edinburgh (1993–1997)

Following his period at St Mary's College, Blairs, he spent over a year living at Ampleforth Abbey while discerning a vocation to monastic life.[3] He later served as Cardinal Keith O'Brien's private secretary.

From 1998 to 2006 he was the spiritual director of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.

On returning to Scotland he became Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh and pastor of the united parishes of Our Lady's in North Berwick and Dunbar. He also served as a judge of the Scottish National Catholic Tribunal.

Episcopal Ministry[edit]

Auxiliary bishop[edit]

Robson's appointment was announced on 8 May 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI and he received episcopal consecration on 9 June 2012, the Feast of St Columba, from Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien with Archbishops Antonio Mennini and Mario Conti serving as co-consecrators.[8] He was assigned the titular see of Tunnuna in Tunisia.[9]

Immediately following his episcopal consecration he served as the representative of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin from 10–17 June 2012.[10] As auxiliary bishop, Robson became a member of the bishops' conference. Following his episcopal ordination, he continued Chancellor of the archdiocese and served as parish priest at Ss John Cantius and Nicholas, Broxburn, beginning in September 2012.[11][failed verification]

When Cardinal O'Brien resigned in February 2013 after being accused of sexual misconduct by other priests, Robson was named apostolic administrator and entrusted with running the daily affairs of the archdiocese.[12] Robson and O'Brien had been close for over 30 years; they met while colleagues on the staff of St Mary’s College, Blairs.[13]

In March 2013 Robson was appointed to be one of the twelve members of the controversial McLellan Commission, which was to review how the Scottish Church deals with accusations of sexual abuse;[14] Kevin McKenna of The Guardian called its August 2015 report a "whitewash".[15]

Bishop of Dunkeld[edit]

On 11 December 2013, Robson was appointed as Bishop of Dunkeld by Pope Francis. He was installed in St Andrew's Cathedral, Dundee, on 9 January 2014. He announced his resignation on 28 December 2022, citing ill health.[16]

Apostleship of the Sea[edit]

In February 2015, Robson was appointed Bishop Promoter and a Trustee of Catholic seafarers' charity Apostleship of the Sea.[17]


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh". Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Inspiration that led to a priestly vocation". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b "News from the Vatican - News about the Church - Vatican News". Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  5. ^ Alkuin Schachenmayr (2019). "Concerns about Bishop Stephen Robson's Dissertation on Bernard of Clairvaux" (PDF). Analecta Cisterciensia. 69: 420–428.
  6. ^ "Gregorian University clears Scottish bishop accused of plagiarism". 4 March 2020. Archived from the original on 4 March 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  7. ^ M. V. Dougherty (2021). "Plagiarism in the Sacred Sciences: Three Impediments to Institutional Reform" (PDF). Philosophy and Theology. doi:10.5840/philtheol2021622134. S2CID 237745829.
  8. ^ "Bishop Stephen Robson". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Titular See of Tunnuna, Tunisia". GCatholic. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  10. ^ "LIVE BLOG FROM IEC 2012—What an opening, 'like a homecoming'". SCO News. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Home". Archdiocese of Edinburgh. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Message to the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh". Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Stephen Robson appointed to Dunkeld". 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Review of Catholic Church in Scotland to hear from abuse victims - BBC News". 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  15. ^ "The Catholic church must think upon its sins | Kevin McKenna | Opinion | The Guardian". 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Bishop - sede vacante". DIOCESE of DUNKELD. Retrieved 28 December 2022.
  17. ^ Apostleship of the Sea (13 February 2015). "Grangemouth Port Visit 71". Retrieved 22 March 2020.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Dunkeld