Sex case bishop's mission is over

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE FORMER Bishop of Galway, Eamonn Casey, whose secret fathering of a son after an affair with an American woman scandalised the Roman Catholic Church, has given up his campaign to regain a public role in the priesthood after a six-year exile.

In a statement effectively signalling his retirement, the 71-year-old said yesterday he was "not seeking any public ministry in the Church in Ireland, England or elsewhere".

Earlier this year, Dr Casey completed a five-year contract of mission work in a remote part of Ecuador with the Boston-based Society of St James. After spending some time in the United States, he flew to England last month.

This prompted a flurry of reports suggesting his move was aimed at forcing the Church into giving him a public role. A senior Irish bishop was understood to have sought a post in Britain on his behalf.

But the statement, issued on his behalf by the Catholic press office in Dublin, said he had resigned from the Society of St James and was living with relatives in England as he needed "some time to myself".

The final decision on his possible rehabilitation lay with the Congregation of Bishops in Rome. Cardinal Basil Hume strongly opposed any posting in his diocese, and said it would be "inappropriate" for Dr Casey to take up a post in London.

A spokesman for the London Church said most bishops in England and Wales would agree that Dr Casey should not work in public ministry there.

Dr Casey travelled to Ireland in recent weeks, and visited a former classmate in Omagh after the bombing.

Nothing quite like the Dr Casey affair has been seen in the Irish Church in centuries. The disbelief that greeted the scandal was compounded by the Irish Catholic clergy's rigid sexual conservatism.