BISHOP Michael Cox charged a teenage couple -- one of them underage -- €100 for a 'sham' marriage, a court heard.
At a late sitting of Ennis District Children's Court on Friday evening, the 18-year-old Cork 'bride' in the case confirmed in sworn evidence that Bishop Cox had charged €100 for the marriage at Birr in Co Offaly last month.
Insp Tom Kennedy confirmed to Judge Patrick Durcan that a garda investigation was already under way into the marriage conducted by Bishop Cox.
The 'groom' in the marriage is a 17-year-old 'naïve' Co Clare juvenile -- the legal age for marriage in Ireland is 18. Bishop Cox had previously attracted controversy when he ordained Sinead O'Connor a priest in 1999 in Lourdes -- he is not a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church and is instead a bishop of the Latin Tridentine Church. In court, Judge Durcan launched a scathing attack on Bishop Cox's actions over the 'marriage' of the teens.
He said: "Now that I hear from the supposed wife of this boy that money was paid for this service, it is absolutely appalling and brings things to the lowest depths."
Judge Durcan said: "The boy at a very young age has been encouraged and facilitated at what he believes is a marriage by a man who calls himself a bishop."
"I want to say loudly and clearly [that] anyone who masquerades as a clergy man and who takes money from young people and imbues in them a mistaken belief that he has married them, is in my view committing the most serious offence."
Insp Kennedy said that an investigation had already begun.
During the hearing, the boy's new 'wife' told the judge in sworn evidence that she didn't meet Bishop Cox before the wedding and instead set it up over the phone.
Insp Kennedy said that gardai were taking a note of the evidence.
The boy was before the court for a string of offences and Judge Durcan jailed him for 12 months to St Patrick's Institution.
The boy was released on bail pending an appeal and is to live with his new 'wife' in Co Cork.