Caretaker appointed to run Moriarty's former diocese
A CARETAKER administrator will run the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin until the Vatican names a successor to Bishop James Moriarty.
The former bishop's resignation was accepted by Rome last week.
The new administrator is Monsignor Brendan Byrne, the parish priest of Tullow, Co Carlow. Since 1998 he has been the diocese's number two cleric as its Vicar General.
A diocesan administrator is responsible for administering day-to-day affairs while a new bishop is awaited.
Last Thursday Pope Benedict accepted Bishop Moriarty's resignation which he submitted on December 23 after public fury over the Murphy Report's revelations of extensive cover-ups of paedophile priests in the Dublin archdiocese.
Bishop Moriarty (73) served as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1991 until his appointment to Kildare in 2002. While not criticised directly in the Murphy Report, he fully accepted that attempts to protect the church and avoid scandal had dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong.
Yesterday in Portlaoise a group of senior clergy assembled privately under canon law as the diocese's College of Consultors to elect a diocesan administrator. It was later announced via the diocesan press office that the consultors elected Msgr Byrne.
"I am privileged to accept this new role and hope to continue the good work of Bishop Moriarty in encouraging us to respond to the challenges of the Gospel," Msgr Byrne said.
"I look forward to continuing the dialogue begun by Bishop Moriarty at recent diocesan meetings, which considered a response to Pope Benedict's letter to the Irish people.
"Further meetings, to reflect on Pope Benedict's letter and also on Bishop Moriarty's own statement made on the day of his resignation, are already planned."
A native of Knockananna, Co Wicklow, Msgr Byrne studied for the priesthood at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was ordained in 1961.