Sunday, 21 February 2010

Irish Episcopal Vacancies

With the resignation of Bishop Donal Murray (now Bishop Emeritus of Limerick) and the imminent resignation of Bishop James Moriarty (Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin) two Irish Sees will fall vacant. The Diocese of Cloyne is not vacant but is under an Apostolic Administrator.

Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher reached the age of seventy-five years on 3rd February, 2009, at which point, under Canon 401 §1, he was requested to offer his resignation to the Pope. Bishop Colm O'Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise reached the age of seventy-five on 11th January, 2010, and Bishop William Walsh of Killaloe on 16th January. That is to say Ireland is now in need of at least five new Diocesan Ordinaries.

Next year, two further resignations will be offered when Bishop Christopher Jones of Elphin reaches that age on 3rd March, 2011, and Bishop William Murphy of Kerry reaches that age on 6th June, 2011. Whatever else may be, Bishop John Magee, still Bishop of Cloyne, although the Diocese is now administered by the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly as Apostolic Administrator, will reach that age on 24th September, 2011, by which time Ireland will have had eight episcopal vacancies in two years.

Canon 378 §1 states: To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must:

1. be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfil the office in question;
2. be held in good esteem;
3. be at least 35 years old;
4. be a priest ordained for at least five years;
5. hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in Sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well versed in these disciplines.

St. Conleth of Kildare pray for us!