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Scotland: mgr. Hugh Gilbert is the new president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

A Benedictine, an Englishman, not from a Catholic family. Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, the new president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, comes from an unusual background for such a position. As well as not being either an archbishop or a cardinal. At the news of his appointment, he said he is “honoured” and “aware that the Church should keep being a beacon, in an often confused world”. He also wanted to explain that, in Scotland, each one of the eight bishops is a leader in his own diocese, and his only role will be to offer guidance. The appointment lasts three years and, in addition to bishop Gilbert, the bishop of Paisley, John Keenan, was appointed deputy president, while bishop Brian McGee was appointed secretary. In a secularised scenario as the Scottish one is, this former Benedictine abbot stated that he “wants to explore, with the other bishops and members of several associations, new ways of proclaiming the Resurrection of Christ and keeping faith alive in the interest of our people and of society as a whole”. In a speech he gave in 2015, the newly-elected president of the Bishops’ Conference had the courage to remind the Scottish Parliament that, for 400 years, in the age of the Reformation, it had turned Pluscarden Abbey, of which he was the abbot, into ruins.

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