THE new Papal Nuncio to Ireland drove on the 'wrong side' of the road -- for him -- when he travelled to a Eucharistic Congress at the weekend.
Pope Benedict XVI's representative here, Archbishop Charles Brown (53) from the US, who is used to driving on the right, drove himself to the Kildare and Leighlin Diocesan Eucharistic Congress in Carlow town, Co Carlow, on Saturday.
He had no entourage and made a low-key entrance to the Cathedral of the Assumption, where he attended prayer services, workshops, and concelebrated Mass.
He did not leave until late on Saturday evening and spent the day meeting Catholics from the diocese.
The laid-back approach of the Papal Nuncio surprised onlookers who said it reflected a "new departure" for the Catholic Church.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Archbishop Brown said 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.
"All I can say is that we're doing everything we possibly can to find good and holy bishops."
Archbishop Brown said it was "hard to say" what the timeframe would be for appointing new bishops.
The Papal Nuncio arrived in Ireland one month ago and described his reception as "extraordinarily warm and kind".
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."
More than 1,400 people took part in the Eucharistic Congress.