POPE Francis has appointed a new Catholic bishop of Arundel and Brighton after the diocese’s former head resigned.
Bishop Richard Moth will be installed in his new role at the end of May, at a service inside Arundel Cathedral.
It comes after the previous bishop, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, stepped down from the position last September after he said he had been ‘unfaithful’ to his promises as a Catholic priest and brought ‘shame’ on the diocese.
Bishop Moth, who will leave his current role as Bishop of the Forces, was born in Chingola, Zambia, in 1958 and brought up in Kent.
Speaking of his appointment to the diocese, Bishop Moth said: “It is a great privilege to have been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and I am very conscious of the trust that has been placed in me.
“In these last 50 years since the foundation of the diocese, so much has been done to build up the church and in the proclamation of the gospel and, with God’s help, I look to guide and serve the diocese to that same end.”
A former pupil of the Judd School, Tonbridge, Bishop Moth was ordained as a priest in 1982.
He served as a priest in Southwark, including acting as Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese before being ordained Bishop of the Forces in September, 2009.
In addition to his role as Bishop of the Forces, he is chairman of governors at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, liaison bishop for prisons, episcopal advisor to the National Catholic Scout Fellowship and holds a brief on mental health on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Prior to his appointment to Arundel and Brighton, the diocese had been under the temporary stewardship of the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, who acted as the apostolic administrator overseeing the area after Bishop Conry’s resignation. An inquiry into Bishop Conry’s resignation is still on-going.
Bishop Moth has since praised the work by the archbishop to care for the area as well as describing his time working with the forces, as a ‘wonderful’ five-and-a-half years.
He added that he looked forward to his new role leading the Arundel area.
The bishop will be officially installed at Arundel Cathedral on May 28 – the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese.