Pope Benedict XVI announces new Archbishop of Birmingham

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The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has announced that Bishop Bernard Longley, currently Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster, will be the next Archbishop of Birmingham.

Bishop Longley was named the ninth Archbishop of Birmingham on 1 October 2009. He succeeds the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols (2000-2009).

On learning of the Papal announcement, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols said: “I welcome the news of the appointment of Bishop Bernard Longley as Archbishop of Birmingham. I am confident that he will be warmly welcomed, right across the Archdiocese: in Stoke on Trent, Stafford, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Birmingham, Worcester and Oxford. The clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese will appreciate the qualities he brings: his gentleness and sensitivity; his firmness and intelligence; his profound and joyful faith; his willingness to listen.

“I am sure, too, that Bishop Bernard will grow to love this fine Archdiocese, just as I did.“

The Diocesan Administrator for the Birmingham Archdiocese, Bishop William Kenney, CP, said: “I am delighted to hear that Bishop Bernard Longley is to become the new Archbishop of Birmingham. I am sure that the Auxiliary Bishops, Priests, Deacons and the Lay people of the Archdiocese will make him feel very welcome in the Midlands. We look forward to Bishop Bernard becoming a follower in the footsteps of Bishop Ullathorne, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham and to his taking a lead in the preparations for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman.“

Bishop Longley was ordained priest and later bishop by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. About the appointment, the Cardinal said: “I had the privilege of ordaining Bishop Bernard as a priest in 1981 and later as a bishop in 2003. Bishop Bernard has been an exceptionally good priest and bishop, exhibiting at all times those Christian qualities of kindness and compassion in his ministry. The priests and people of the Archdiocese of Birmingham should rejoice and be glad in welcoming their new Archbishop who will, I know, prove a most generous and caring shepherd.”

After receiving news of his appointment, Bishop Bernard Longley said: “I feel immensely honoured and very humbled that the Holy Father has appointed me to succeed Archbishop Vincent Nichols as Archbishop of Birmingham. I look forward to serving the Priests and Deacons, the Religious and all the People of the Archdiocese and to working alongside my brother Bishops there. I also look forward to knowing and appreciating the life of the Diocese and the many ways in which it reaches out with the love and truth of Christ, in its parish and school communities and through ecumenical and inter-religious friendships. I am grateful to Bishop William Kenney for his faithful service as Diocesan Administrator over recent months and for the welcome that he has already shown to me.

“It won’t be easy to leave the Diocese of Westminster which has been my home for the past seven years. It will be sad to say goodbye, especially to the East and Central London parishes where the Priests, Parishioners and Religious have become good friends. It has been a privilege to work with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and my fellow Auxiliary Bishops and more recently with Archbishop Vincent, and I thank them for all that I have learnt from their insights and experience.”

Bishop Longley will be Installed as Archbishop of Birmingham at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Chad on 8 December 2009, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and one of the patronal feasts of the Archdiocese (St Chad being the other).

More information

Video interview

Click for an interview with the Archbishop-elect shortly after the announcement.

Transcript of the video interview with Bishop Bernard Longley

Transcript: Interview with Archbishop-elect Bernard Longley (pdf)


Archdiocese of Birmingham
Diocese of Westminster


Two official photographs of Bishop Longley can be downloaded here:

Note: to download, right click on the links above and ‘save target as’ or ‘save link as’.


Click here for Bishop Bernard Longley’s biography.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham

The Archdiocese of Birmingham comprises the counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Worcestershire and those parts of Oxfordshire which belong to the former County of Oxfordshire (north of the Thames). The Metropolitan See is the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Chad. There are 282,592 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and 278 diocesan priests. The Archdiocese covers an area of 3,836 square miles and is divided into three Pastoral Areas; the Central and Western Pastoral Area, until recently looked after by Bishop Pargeter, covering Birmingham, Kidderminster, Worcester; the Northern Pastoral Area, under the care of Bishop David McGough, covering Staffordshire and the Black Country; the Southern Pastoral Area, under the care of Bishop William Kenney, CP, which covers Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.


Bishops of Birmingham

Bishop William Bernard Ullathorne (1850 – 1888)
Bishop Edward IIsley (1888 – 1911)

Archbishops of Birmingham

Archbishop Edward Ilsley (1911 – 1921)
Archbishop John McIntyre (1921 – 1928)
Archbishop Thomas Williams (1929 – 1946)
Archbishop Joseph Masterson (1947 – 1953)
Archbishop Francis Grimshaw (1954 -1965)
Archbishop George Dwyer (1965 – 1981)
Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville (1982 – 1999)
Archbishop Vincent Nichols (2000 – 2009)