Tom Burns (bishop)

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The Right Reverend
Thomas Matthew Burns
Bishop of Menevia
Province Cardiff
Diocese Menevia
Appointed 16 October 2008
Installed 1 December 2008
Predecessor John Mark Jabalé
Ordination 16 December 1971
Consecration 18 June 2002
by Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
Personal details
Birth name Thomas Matthew Burns
Born (1944-06-03) 3 June 1944 (age 73)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Bishop of the Forces

Thomas Matthew Burns SM (called Tom;[1] born 3 June 1944) is a British Roman Catholic Bishop. On 16 October 2008 he was appointed as Bishop of Menevia by Pope Benedict XVI, becoming Bishop on 1 December 2008 when he took possession of his new See, on which day he ceased to be Bishop of the Forces.[2] He is now Bishop Promoter for the Apostleship of the Sea, A Catholic organisation that provides pastoral and practical assistance to all seafarers.


Tom Burns was born in Belfast,[2] but his family later moved to Lancashire. After studying at St. Mary's College, Blackburn, a sixth form in an Exeter school, and a monastery in Paignton, Burns was ordained to the priesthood on 16 December 1971, for the Society of Mary.[2][1]

On 24 May 2002, he was appointed to head the military ordinariate of Great Britain, the Bishopric of the Forces. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 18 June from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, with Bishop Francis Walmsley and Archbishop Patrick Altham Kelly serving as co-consecrators.[1]

Burns has been a vociferous critic of the UK Ministry of Defence, complaining that troops in Iraq were "frustrated by restrictions, checks and delays that are placed on them but not on their opponents", and that their "activities are often jeopardised by poor equipment, outmoded vehicles and inadequate apparel".[3]

He also voiced criticism against Harriet Harman MP's Equality Bill, which helped lead to its withdrawal, Bishop Burns felt that it would force the Catholic Church to govern itself as an industry or business, employing priests as employees, when in fact, the Church looks upon its priests as "Brothers of Christ".[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "The Right Reverend Thomas Matthew Burns". The Diocese of Menevia. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop Thomas Matthew Burns". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  3. ^ The Independent news story
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francis Joseph Walmsley
Bishop of the Forces
Succeeded by
Richard Moth
Preceded by
John Mark Jabalé
Bishop of Menevia
2008 – present