Pope opts to leave dioceses without bishops 'for months'
THE appointment of six new Irish bishops will be delayed for months after Pope Benedict XVI opted to leave the promotions to his successor.
Just two of eight vacant bishoprics were filled by the Pope over the past three years, with Irish church officials admitting it was now likely to be "some time" before the remaining six were filled.
One senior bishop said Ireland would have to wait for major diocesan appointments until the Papal conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor was concluded.
"I would say that whatever is going to happen in the next month has already been decided and would have to be sanctioned by the Holy Father," The Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Dr Eamon Walsh said.
"After that we will have to wait awhile."
Pope Benedict opted not to sanction any 11th-hour appointments for the church worldwide before he left the Vatican.
He had sanctioned two new Irish bishops for Cloyne (Cork) and Limerick but six other dioceses have been awaiting new bishops, some for almost three years.
Former Kerry parish priest Dr William Crean was ordained as Bishop of Cloyne last month and Fr Brendan Leahy will be ordained as the Bishop of Limerick in St John's Cathedral on April 14 next.
It is understood the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown (pictured), has given a list of recommendations to the Vatican for the majority of the Irish dioceses which require new bishops.