ONE of Ireland's most respected theologians is fighting for his life in an Italian hospital after being knocked down in busy Rome traffic.
Jesuit Fr Bart Kiely (70) has been Professor Emeritus at Rome's prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University.
He suffered a suspected brain haemorrhage last Tuesday after apparently striking his head on the roadway in the wake of being struck by a car while out walking.
Italian police are investigating the accident but it is understood no witnesses have yet come forward. Police are now trying to trace the driver involved.
Fr Kiely is recovering in San Filippo Hospital, where he has been in a medically induced coma for a number of days.
A native of Cork, Fr Kiely has been based in Rome for years but has maintained strong links with Ireland and is a regular visitor to Dublin – where his order is based – and also to Cork.
He has published numerous academic works but is best remembered in Cork for his love of swimming – having completed numerous Lee Swims over the decades.
Fr Kiely has also served as a consultant of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Irish Embassy in Rome was tight-lipped about the matter, saying that enquiries should be directed to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
The Jesuit Curia in Dublin was unable to comment on the matter beyond confirming that Fr Kiely was in a Rome hospital.