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St Andrew’s Church, Bagenalstown

Carlow priest slams Vatican over new bishop selection procedure

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St Andrew’s Church, Bagenalstown

An Irish priest has called the Vatican’s selection process “secretive and greatly imbalanced”.

Fr Paddy Byrne from Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow hit out at elective powers in Rome over the secrecy surrounding the upcoming appointment of the new bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.

The Carlow priest is the youngest in the diocese and writes a weekly column for the Carlow Nationalist newspaper. In his column this week he acknowledged that he was cynical and deeply frustrated by the no change mentality that continues to govern in Rome.

“The process of selecting our new bishop again belongs to the culture and mentality of ‘no change’. As a priest in the diocese, I have no confidence in a process that is secretive, non-consultative and greatly imbalanced. The reality is that Rome decides who our next bishop will be. A fundamental in that selection is the ‘safe pair of hands’ mentality. Being loyal to dysfunctional structures is always rewarded. The safe pair of hands is perhaps why there is such a lack of creativity and vision in our Irish Church presently,” Fr Byrne argues.

"There is a fundamental need for fresh, progressive and more authentic leadership in our church," Fr Byrne added.

The appointment of a new bishop to the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin comes in the wake of Bishop Jim Moriarty’s resignation due to the damning Murphy report which exposed sexual abuse by priests in the archdiocese of Dublin.

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