THE second Vatican official in a matter of months is to be ­parachuted into Scotland to help address the high-profile problems of the past year.

Monsignor Patrick Burke, ­regularly touted as a frontrunner to head one of Scotland's eight dioceses, will effectively become the number two within the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

He has already been called back to the Archdiocese where he was ordained and is expected to be named vicar general, the principal deputy of the bishop in charge of the administration of a diocese.

Monsignor Burke moves from a key role within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department responsible for enforcing Catholic orthodoxy.

Until the last minute he had been touted as the potential Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh before Leo Cushley was appointed.

Archbishop Cushley personally requested the return of Monsignor Burke, with the move to Scotland seen as something of a backwards career step taken to deal with the crisis on his home patch.

It again fuels the ­speculation as to who will take over any of the vacancies at the various dioceses currently with no bishop or a bishop about to depart.

Rhodesian-born, educated at St Andrews and fluent in German, Monsignor Burke was well-known to Pope Emeritus Benedict and was said to be the former Pontiff's behind-the-scenes troubleshooter with the Anglican faith.

Like Archbishop Cushley, the Vatican will hope his talents will be used to heal the wounds in the Archdiocese after the Cardinal O'Brien fiasco, while addressing other issues in Scotland.

Cardinal O'Brien resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh nine months ago after admitting decades of sexual behaviour with other clerics and was exiled by the Vatican from Scotland in May. He remains a cardinal.

One source said: "Burke was hated by Keith O'Brien. Here we had this multi-lingual, intellectual guy who O'Brien prevented going to Rome because he thought he was too right-wing and sent him to Burntisland and then Bannockburn."

Another said: "It says something about both the guys they've come back to Scotland to sort out a mess not of their making. Leo was a year or two away from becoming a nuncio (papal ambassador) and Patrick had been expected to rise upwards in the Vatican.

"It shows that for now Pope Francis isn't treating Scotland as the backwater it was for a long time."