THE NEW papal nuncio to Ireland says he is not yet in a position to say when the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin will have a new bishop.
'All I can say is that we're doing everything we possibly can to find good and holy bishops,' Archbishop Charles Brown was quoted as saying on the sidelines of a eucharistic congress event in Carlow at the weekend.
More than 1,400 people attended the gathering at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Archbishop Brown made a low-key entrance to the cathedral with an informality and a common touch that impressed many of the people there.
The archbishop did not leave until late on Saturday, having spent the day meeting people from the diocese.
The Irish Independent quoted him as saying the church was 'doing everything' possible to find 'good and holy bishops' for dioceses where positions were vacant throughout the country.
' There are a number of dioceses in Ireland that are waiting for bishops, not just Kildare and Leighlin. The fact we've had a change of nuncios certainly slows down that process,' he said.
Archbishop Brown said it was ' hard to say' what the timeframe would be for appointing new bishops.
On the question of attracting Irish people back to their faith after the clerical sex abuse scandals, Archbishop Brown said the church needed to 'continue to preach the gospel of Christ'.
'If we preach the gospel of Christ to people... I know that people will respond.'
Archbishop Brown was speaking during his first formal visit to the diocese, where there has been criticism of church leaders for not appointing a successor to Bishop Jim Moriarty, who resigned in the wake of damning revelations of the church's handling of child abuse allegations in the Dublin archdiocese.
He served in Kildare and Leighlin from 2002 until his resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2010.