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Catholic Church have backed winner.

Byline: Tom Brown tom

PRIESTS have been known to like a bet - and those who studied the Vatican form book were on to a sure thing in the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh stakes.

Monsignor Leo Cushley was the stand-out favourite to take over the trouble-hit archdiocese because he ticked all the boxes.

He's a Scots priest who has been a personal aide to two Popes, a diplomat analysis with worldwide experience and, above all, an ultrasafe pair of hands. Having risen so high at the comparatively young age of 52, and with the prospect of higher office, he must have had reservations about returning to Scotland.

It's a post mired in sexual scandal and the flock has been demoralised by the hypocrisy and misconduct of Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

The monsignor must know his appointment doesn't close the door on the O'Brien scandal.

There are victims who still have to be acknowledged and, no matter how impressive a spiritual leader he is, the moral authority of the church has been seriously damaged.

Mgr Cushley's biggest job will be to win back national respect for the Catholic church - because it is doubtful whether it will ever be heard with such reverence in Scotland again.

Still, the betting fraternity would say if anyone can do it, he can.

And, given his qualifications and age, here's another longer term tip: One day Scotland is likely to have a Cardinal Cushley.

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DISGRACED Z Keith O'Brien
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 25, 2013
Words:244
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