THE Diocese of Limerick has received “no indication” from the Vatican that a new Bishop of Limerick will be appointed over Easter.
Reports this week suggest that the vacancies in Limerick and Cloyne - two of seven dioceses around the country currently without bishops - will be the first to be filled.
But a spokesman said there had been “no indication to the diocese as to when an appointment will be made although we do hope that it will be sooner rather than later”.
Limerick has been without a bishop since the resignation of Dr Donal Murray in December 2009. His departure was clouded in controversy after his handling of child abuse complaints while auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin was criticised in the Murphy Report. Part of the reason for the delay in appointing new bishops was the Vatican’s intention to reform the Irish Church in the wake of the abuse scandals.
An apostolic visitation from the Vatican visited Ireland last year as part of that process but the Diocese of Limerick has heard nothing from Rome since.
While it has been speculated that some smaller dioceses will be amalgamated, the Diocese of Limerick, as one of the largest in the country, is expected to survive in tact and this could allow for a new bishop to be installed in the coming weeks.
While Limerick priests have criticised the Vatican for the delay, there may now be fresh impetus from Rome following the appointment of Charles Brown as the new papal nuncio to Ireland earlier this month.