Northern Ireland bishop's health problem prompts resignation
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Seamus Hegarty from the Diocese of Derry in Northern Ireland for health reasons, effective Nov. 23.

“The Holy Father has very kindly considered my letter, along with the medical reports provided by experts, and today graciously accepted my resignation,” the retiring bishop said in a statement released by the Derry diocese.

Bishop Hegarty, 71, had offered his resignation to the Pope due to a health condition he said was “assessed to render me unable to fulfill the obligations of my office as Diocesan Bishop.” Bishops must offer their resignation at age 75, but are encouraged to take the step earlier under certain conditions.

The bishop revealed on Nov. 7 that he was being treated for an “irreversible and progressive” illness.

“I would ask for prayers that the Holy Spirit may guide the selection of the new Bishop of Derry,” Bishop Hegarty said in his announcement.

“On a personal level, I would entrust my health to the prayers of the people of the diocese.”

Ordained a priest in 1966, Bishop Hegarty became the Bishop of Raphoe in the spring of 1982. He took up his position as the Bishop of Derry in November 1994.

A report on the handling of sex abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Raphoe, spanning several decades that include Bishop Hegarty's term of leadership, has been completed and is awaiting publication. He has declared his support for the inquiry, and urged prosecution of those who committed abuse.

Northern Irish Member of Parliament Mark Durkan, former leader of the country's Social Democratic and Labour Party, praised the retired bishop in comments to BBC News on Nov. 7.

Durkan said Bishop Hegarty had a “particular passion” for education, and had “always impressed” him as “someone who is straight-talking and hard-working with a keen and active interest in the whole range of public affairs.”

With his resignation, Derry becomes the fourth Irish diocese without a bishop. The bishops of Cloyne, Kildare and Leighlin, and Limerick have resigned during that time and have not yet been replaced.

Ireland also currently has no apostolic nuncio as of September 2011. The Vatican recalled and reassigned its representative after Ireland's prime minister accused the Holy See of trying to cover up abuse cases. The Vatican’s spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said those claims are untrue and the accusations show the Irish government does not understand how canon law works.

A group of eight priests will elect a member of the clergy as the Diocesan Administrator of Derry, while the diocese waits for the appointment of a new bishop.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27