Some time ago I wrote a blog post about the desperate gesture of twenty-five French priests writing to Cardinal Ouellet and asking him to the help the Holy Father to select better bishops
I do not know whether the letter had a direct effect on this appointment (and it might, in fact, well be that the decision had been taken before the letter being received), but one can certainly say that the new appointment for Aberdeen will not cause any such letter to be written.
Abbot Hugh Gilbert, OSB is known to be a holy and very orthodox man. He had been openly rumoured as a successor for the unspeakable Archbishop Murphy O’Connor (so openly, in fact, that it moved the Spectator to write an article about him) and with the benefit of hindsight it is no less than a tragedy that instead of him the almost-as-unspeakable Vincent “Quisling” Nichols was the chosen one.
Perhaps the key to this appointment’s interpretation lies in the clear perception that Nichols’ appointment was a serious mistake, and that the best thing to do now is to react by injecting a good dose of holiness and orthodoxy in the clergy of the British Isles, clearly in dire need of it.
Pluscarden is a success story not only because of the prestige of the institution and the reputation acquired by its Abbott, but because it thrives. Once again, it is plain to see that seriously intended Catholicism – not trendy waffling around – is what is needed.
I am not as deluded as to think that the new Bishop will now avoid some political adjustment to the new situation and in fairness, being a bishop is not the same as being an abbot; still, it is fair to say that one can have the highest hopes of his becoming an exemplary bishop and to shame Vincent “Quisling” Nichols just by way of contrast.
Congratulations to the Abbot for his new appointment and best wishes for his, no doubt, excellent work as Bishop.