ALDERSHOT, England, JULY 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Richard Moth, currently serving as vicar general of the Southwark Archdiocese in England, as bishop of the British military forces.
The Pope’s appointment was announced Saturday in London at the apostolic nunciature.
Monsignor John Walsh, administrator of the Bishopric of the Forces, stated, “We are delighted at the news that Monsignor Richard is to become our next bishop.”
He continued: “On behalf of clergy, servicemen and women and their families, I bid him welcome.
“We are looking forward to his leadership and to working with him in the years to come. He has our congratulations, our very best wishes and most of all, our prayers.”
Bishop-elect Moth, 51, is replacing Bishop Thomas Burns, who became bishop of Menevia, Wales, last October.
The previous Bishop of the Forces affirmed that this appointment is “great news for the bishopric.”
He noted that the bishop-elect is “very experienced and his service as a Territorial Army chaplain will give him a good idea of what lies ahead.”
Richard Moth was born in Zambia, and moved to England with his family at age two.
He was ordained a priest in 1982, and served for five years as a Territorial Army chaplain.
He has been vicar general and chancellor of the Southwark Archdiocese since 2001.
Bishop-elect Moth, who will have his episcopal ordination on Sep. 29, said, “It is a great honor for me to be asked by the Holy Father to take up this new responsibility.”
He added, “I ask for prayers as I take up this new ministry as bishop.”
“I look forward to working with our Naval, Military and RAF chaplains in the service of the men and women of our Armed Services and their families, all of whom are facing particular challenges at this time,” the bishop-elect affirmed.
The Bishopric of the Forces diocese consists of the service personnel and their families, served by some 93 priests.
The chaplains are currently serving throughout the United Kingdom, as well as Germany, Cyprus, Afghanistan and Iraq.