THE FUNERAL OF former Catholic Bishop Eamonn Casey took place this afternoon, with the homily from Bishop Brendan Kelly praising Casey for his good work while also acknowledging the “suffering” caused by the revelation that he had fathered a son.
President Michael D Higgins was among the mourners in attendance for the well-known figure, who was one of the most recognisable faces from the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Casey played a major role in the charity Trócaire and was a prominent figure during the Pope’s visit to Ireland.
He gained notoriety in the media through a variety of incidents, such as when he witnessed the riot at the funeral of Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1980, and when he was arrested for drink driving in 1986.
Casey was most famous, however, for the scandal that led to his resignation as Bishop of Galway in 1992. It had emerged that he had fathered a child with an American woman, Annie Murphy, in 1974.
The homily of Bishop Kelly drew attention to these incidents from Casey’s life, and began by saying that those in the service of God must acknowledge that they themselves are sinners.
“Eamonn Casey had a long life as priest and bishop,” he said. “He did much good… There are those of us who remember, with gratitude, his kindness and encouragement when personally we most needed it.
Kelly did say that the funeral of Casey was neither the time nor the place to delve further into the details of these revelations, but added: “Yes, we are all sinners, but irresponsibility, infidelity and sin are particularly shocking in the lives of those who preach the gospel.”Then 25 years ago, the emergence into the light of other hidden realities in his life, beginning with the fact that he had a son, Peter, were profoundly upsetting for the Church and for people in general.
While Casey had sought forgiveness and apologised on many occasions, Kelly acknowledged that damage had been done by his actions.
The funeral took place at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway city.But people had been hurt and wounded… wounds that do not always heal easily or quickly. We remember those people too today. We acknowledge their suffering. We pray for continued healing and peace for them.