Loyal locals lament the departure of 'no fuss' Bishop Jim
THERE was "no fuss" about Bishop Jim.
He bought his paper in the same shop every morning and greeted parishioners on his regular walkabouts in Carlow town.
The handful of loyal parishioners who attended 10am Mass in Carlow Cathedral yesterday were all aware of the criticisms of their Bishop in the Murphy report into cover-ups of clerical child sex abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin.
They had heard the speculation, they had read the papers, but it hadn't quite sunk in.
There was hardly a mention of his imminent departure inside the Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
After his 11-year stint as auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Bishop Moriarty arrived in Kildare and Leighlin in 2002. He immediately set about letting it be known that he had no time for traditional church formality and stuffiness.
Shunning conventional titles such as 'your Grace', he was often heard saying, "call me Bishop Jim".
Yesterday morning's Mass in Carlow came hours before the Bishop's statement confirming his offer of resignation.
The Mass was celebrated by Fr John Cummins. The local priest invited those present to the nearby cathedral parish centre for tea and coffee. He gave the results of the organ restoration fundraising raffle but there was little inclination after Mass to criticise the bishop.
Most who commented didn't want to be named. One man remarked that the media were "hounding" the bishop. Another man, Dan Carbery, said that he understood the principle of "collective responsibility" among the church leaders, "notwithstanding the fact that he may not have had a direct involvement".
Asked if he thought it was fair that Bishop Moriarty himself should have to resign on that basis, Mr Carbery replied: "I would consider it unfair, but that's the way of modern thinking."
One local man who knew the Bishop well said that he was a humble man, who would always stop to chat on the street and made a point of attending as many local events as possible. "There was no fuss about him."
A group of Mass-goers leaving the cathedral offered their full support to the embattled bishop. "Why should he?" said one man when asked if Bishop Moriarty should go. "Some people have got their pound of flesh, why are they looking for a gallon of blood?"
Another said that the bishop was "a very fine man" who always looked after the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. "An honourable, decent man," was the description.
Fr John Cummins himself said after Mass that he had "no idea" what Bishop Moriarty's plans were. "I've heard all the speculation but that's all I know about it," he told the Irish Independent.
It's understood that Bishop Moriarty left his house early yesterday morning, proceeding to Portarlington for a meeting with diocesan priests.