Father Denis Nulty, 49, from Slane in County Meath, has just been picked by Pope Francis to become Ireland's newest and youngest bishop and already he has used his appointment to weigh in on the new Irish abortion bill controversy.
According to the Irish Examiner Father Nulty will take up the high-ranking role which has remained empty for more than three years because of the child sex abuse scandals that rocked the church.
Following the publication of the Murphy Report, the former Bishop Moriarty offered his resignation to Pope Benedict on 23 December 2009. Bishop Moriarty was named in the report because of inadequate church investigations into a pedophile priest in Dublin in the 1990s.
This week, in his first public address as a Bishop-elect, Father Nulty praised a demonstration held at Knock Shrine in County Mayo at the weekend to protest laws that could allow abortion in certain medical circumstances.
'Mothers deserve nothing less than the best medical and psychiatric care available, especially during pregnancy when the lives of two persons – the life of the unborn and the life of the mother – are at stake,' he said.
Father Nulty also reiterated a statement from the Catholic bishops last week, that 'the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong.'
According to the Examiner father Nulty has 25 years pastoral experience, including a position as parish priest at Saint Mary's in Drogheda over the last 15 years. At the time of his appointment to Drogheda, he was reportedly the youngest parish priest in the country.
Bishop of Meath Michael Smith, who oversees the parish of Saint Mary’s, said Father Nulty will bring many gifts to his task as 'chief shepherd' of Kildare and Leighlin.
'His leaving us leaves a deep void since his contribution to the mission of faith in the diocese went far beyond his own parish,' he said.
'He has at all times brought to his priestly ministry great dedication, commitment and wisdom both during his 10 years in the cathedral parish, Mullingar and since 1998 as parish priest of St Mary’s.'
Father Nulty is the youngest of five children, with two brothers and two sisters.
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