Every bishop in the Catholic Church is appointed by the Holy Father.

Pope Francis has not yet appointed the next Bishop of Plymouth. And whilst there is no time frame for appointing a new bishop, there is a time frame for designating someone to lead and coordinate the affairs of the Diocese.

After a See is vacant (meaning the seat of the bishop is vacant), the College of Consultors of a diocese will meet within eight days of the vacancy to elect a Diocesan Administrator. The College of Consultors consists of priests of the diocese who were chosen by their bishop to act as special advisors. They will also assist the new Diocesan Administrator with the governance of the diocese.

In Plymouth Diocese, the Chapter of Canons function as the College of Consultors. The Chapter is a college of priests, called canons, whose primary function is to give God solemn worship in a cathedral or collegiate. A canon is a member of the Chapter. The Chapter met on 21st June 2022 and elected Canon Paul Cummins to serve as the Diocesan Administrator whilst in Sede vacante (lit. ‘the time of the empty throne’ in Latin) the term used for the state of a diocese whilst without a Bishop.

“Heavenly Father, send your Spirit on the Church in this time of discernment for a new pastor for our diocese. May the servant chosen to lead and inspire us in the years to come be an ardent and gentle shepherd to us all. Grant this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”