Clergy and parishioners in Galway want the Vatican to lift a ban on controversial former Bishop Eamon Casey.
The 83-year-old is currently banned from saying mass in public as the Church investigates claims of abuse made against him by a woman.
Irish police have already cleared the Bishop of the allegations which date back 30 years when Casey was a priest in Limerick.
Their investigations discovered that the woman had made similar unproven allegations against a number of other men.
The Director of Public Prosecutions ruled in 2006 that Casey had no case to answer and that no prosecution was necessary.
But the Church is still undertaking its own investigations and Casey is banned from saying Mass anywhere other than in the privacy of his own home.
The Irish Independent spoke to Casey and Catholic Church Authorities with the latter refusing to say when, if ever, the ban on Bishop Casey saying Mass in public will be lifted.
The paper approached the former Bishop at his home in the Galway village of Shanaglish where he has lived for the past five years.
Casey told the Irish Independent that, while he had ‘endured some ill health’ in recent years, his health was now ‘great’.
He apologized to the paper for being unable to speak about his continuing inability to say Mass in public but locals in Galway believe the ban should be lifted.
One senior priest in the Galway Diocese, who asked not to be named by the Irish Independent, also backed a lifting of the ban.
“You would think that he would be allowed to say Mass at least in the convent in Gort,” said the priest.
“I think that’s what he would like himself, but the powers that be in the church have decreed otherwise.”
Gort parish priest Fr Tommy Marrinan, a close friend of Dr Casey, told the paper the former Bishop is not the sort of question the Vatican’s stance.
“It’s a decision for the church authorities and it’d be great if he could say Mass in public again. It’s a pity he cannot,” said Fr Marrinan.
“But he is a churchman to his fingertips and he won’t question the authorities.”