Pope announces new Catholic Bishop of the Forces

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Pope Benedict XVI has announced that Monsignor Richard Moth, currently Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Southwark, will be the next Bishop of the Forces.

Richard Moth served for five years as a Territorial Army chaplain attached to 217 General Hospital RAMC (V).

Bishop-elect Richard will be ordained bishop on Tuesday 29 September 2009.

The Administrator of the Bishopric, Monsignor John Walsh said: “We are delighted at the news that Monsignor Richard is to become our next bishop. On behalf of clergy, servicemen and women and their families, I bid him welcome. We are looking forward to his leadership and to working with him in the years to come. He has our congratulations, our very best wishes and most of all, our prayers”.

Bishop Tom Burns, Bishop of Menevia who was the previous Bishop of the Forces said: “This is great news for the Bishopric. I wish Bishop-elect Richard every happiness as he takes on my former role. He is very experienced and his service as a Territorial Army chaplain will give him a good idea of what lies ahead. He has my best wishes and prayers”.


The Bishopric of the Forces is a diocese without geographical boundaries, consisting of Service personnel and their dependants, served by over 40 full-time Catholic Chaplains and a number of TA and Officiating Chaplains. The Chaplains are drawn from dioceses in England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Gibraltar and from religious orders. They are seconded to the Bishopric during their military service.

Chaplains are currently serving in the UK including Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. Chaplains are also serving at sea with the Royal Navy.

In addition to his responsibility for service chaplaincy, the Bishop-elect will also become Apostolic Visitor for the Prefecture of the Falkland Islands, which also includes St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Ascension Island, and South Georgia.


Pope Benedict announces Mgr Moth will be next Catholic Bishop of the Forces (pdf)
Statement from the Bishopric of the Forces (pdf)
Statement from the Archdiocese of Southwark (pdf)

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Bishopric of the Forces (internal)
Bishopric of the Forces (external)
Bishop-elect Richard Moth’s page
Archdiocese of Southwark


Bishop-elect Moth was born on 8th July 1958 in Chingola, Zambia, the son of Charles and Barbara Moth. The family moved to England in 1960 and settled in Edenbridge, Kent. He was educated at St. Andrew’s Convent, Edenbridge and Holmewood House Prep School, Langton Green before going to The Judd School, Tonbridge. After leaving school in 1976, he began formation at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh and was ordained for the Diocese of Southwark on 3rd June 1982.

His first appointment was as assistant priest, St. Bede’s, Clapham Park. While at the seminary, he had developed an interest in Canon Law and, in 1985, left St. Bede’s to study Canon Law at St. Paul University, Ottawa. Having completed the course there, he returned to the Diocese in 1987, and was appointed assistant priest at. St. Saviour and Ss. John the Baptist and Evangelist, Lewisham. While there he also worked at Archbishop’s House, Southwark, with the Marriage Tribunal. It was at this time that he served as a Territorial Army Chaplain with 217 General Hospital RAMC (V).

In 1992, Archbishop Michael Bowen appointed him as his Private Secretary. During the years that were to follow he served also as President of the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Second Instance of Southwark and Vocations Director. In 2001 he was appointed Vicar General and Chancellor of the Diocese.

He was appointed Ecclesiastical MC to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 1993 and has been involved as Spiritual Director for the Order’s pilgrimages for some years. He has been a Benedictine Oblate for 30 years.

For relaxation, the Bishop-elect enjoys horse riding and walking.