THE Pope announced yesterday that a long-serving parish priest had been appointed as one of Scotland's most senior figures in the Roman Catholic Church.

Canon Peter Antony Moran was named bishop of Aberdeen by John Paul II in Rome and will take over the position formerly held by Mario Conti, who is now archbishop of Glasgow.

Canon Moran is not a liberal who will challenge the Church's view on homosexuality, celibacy, and contraception. When asked about his attitude to gay relationships yesterday, he said: ''I have no hesitation in agreeing with the line the Catholic Church takes.''

He added: ''In general I think contraception is used for motives which are wrong but there might be some restricted instances like the prevention of disease in which it would be well worth looking at the possibility of using it.

''The really important thing in any debate about contraception is the attitude of people to why they are using it.''

The bishop-elect, a priest for 44 years, was born in Glasgow but considers himself an Aberdonian by adoption, having lived in the north-east for 39 years.

When Mario Conti was appointed as archbishop of Glasgow in early 2002, Canon Moran, 68, was elected as diocesan administrator of Aberdeen. He will be ordained in December.

Canon Moran is a graduate of Aberdeen and Glasgow universities and trained at Jordanhill College of Education before joining the staff of Blairs College, where he taught from 1964 to 1986.

From 1979 he was priest in charge of St Mary's Parish, at Blairs, and for the past 10 years he has been parish priest of Inverurie and its 50 satellite towns and villages.

He has also been chaplain to the French-speaking Catholic community in the north-east since the 1970s.