Friday, January 11, 2013

Bishop hopes legislators will protect unborn

The new Bishop of Limerick has said he hopes legislators will be inspired to know how best to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.

Fr Brendan Leahy from Dublin was yesterday appointed Bishop of Limerick by Pope Benedict XVI.

The 52-year-old professor of systematic theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, succeeds bishop Donal Murray, who resigned three years ago following the publication of the Murphy report.

The report, which dealt with clerical child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese, criticised Bishop Murray for his failure to adequately deal with allegations of abuse when he was an auxiliary bishop in in Dublin.

Speaking in Limerick following the official announcement of his appointment, Fr Leahy, who will be ordained Bishop of Limerick after Easter, spoke about the need to protect the life of unborn children.


“Politics is a vocation and I am convinced most people enter politics with a vision and a desire to improve the world. I want to assure them of prayers at this delicate time for the protection of life, that they may be inspired to know how best to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children,” he said.

Addressing about 300 parishioners who gathered at St John’s Cathedral in Limerick, Fr Leahy acknowledged the challenges of his new appointment. The Limerick diocese has 120 priests, based in 60 parishes with an estimated 170,000 parishioners.

“That the church is going through a period of great transition is not new news and yet it is good news . . .Yes, we have been through a very dark moment but God is not absent,” Fr Leahy said.

“We must do all we can to make sure that church settings are always good places to be, where genuine mutual love is experienced. In this regard I am pleased to recognise the observation by the recent audit by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland that the diocese has robust measures in place in the area of child safeguarding and protection,” he added.

Fr Leahy was ordained in 1986 and has been a lecturer in systematic theology at St Patrick’s College in Maynooth since 2006. He was informed of the pope’s decision by the papal nuncio on January 1st.

It is understood announcements for the dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, and Derry will be made in the coming months. 

Three other posts will also have to be filled as the bishops of Kerry, Elphin, and Ardagh Clonmacnoise have passed retirement age.

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