The changing profile of Church leadership in Ireland will continue during 2014 as several new members are expected to be appointed to fill vacancies within the hierarchy.
Pope Francis is expected to shortly appoint new bishops to the
Dioceses of Derry and Elphin, while a candidate is still being sought
for Waterford & Lismore after Bishop William Lee announced his
retirement due to ill health in October 2013.
Derry has been vacant
since Seamus Hegarty retired in 2011 due to ill health and Bishop
Christopher Jones submitted his retirement as Bishop of Elphin in March
2011 on reaching age 75.
Bishop John Kirby’s retirement as Bishop of Clonfert, which he
submitted on his 75th birthday in October 2013, is expected to be
accepted once a successor has been chosen.
Later this month, Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly will
reach retirement age and so submit his retirement to the Holy See while
Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross will reach retirement age in
Additionally, Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh turns 75 in August and
his resignation as Primate of All-Ireland is expected to be accepted
paving the way for Archbishop Eamon Martin to take over the top job.
Of the 24 bishops now leading Irish dioceses, half were appointed by
John Paul II, nine by Benedict and three by Pope Francis.
By the end of
2014, Francis is likely to have appointed six new bishops, meaning he
will have appointed as many as Benedict XVI during his entire
Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher, who was appointed in May 2010, is the
last bishop to have been chosen from among the clergy of the diocese.