Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of two Irish bishops on the grounds of ill health and named a bishop to a diocese that has been vacant since 2014.
On Friday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishops Seamus Freeman and Martin Drennan, both 72 and in poor health for some time.
The pope also appointed Fr Fintan Monahan of Tuam (pictured) as Bishop of Killaloe. In the Archdiocese of Tuam, Bishop-designate Monahan served in parishes, Catholic education, administration and child safeguarding.
Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam called Bishop-designate Monahan “a man of deep faith, integrity and humility, someone who radiates a great love for and joy in priesthood. All those qualities are very much appreciated by those to whom he ministers. He brings great qualities of generosity, wholesomeness and leadership to his new responsibility.”
Bishop Freeman, head of the Diocese of Ossory, suffered a stroke in September 2013.
“It was my hope that I would continue my episcopal service until the retirement age of 75 years,” he said. “However, due to ill health, for some time now I have found my ministry as bishop to be somewhat of a challenge. Therefore, after prayerful reflection and with a sense of sadness, I came to my decision to retire, as I have been very happy and blessed among you, the good people, priests and religious of the Diocese of Ossory.”
“With God’s help, I am confident that I have made the right decision,” he added.
Bishop Martin Drennan is also stepping down from his leadership of the Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh upon medical advice.
A short statement from the Catholic Communications Office confirmed the pope had accepted the retirement of Bishop Drennan “on grounds of ill health and on medical advice.”
In 2009, Bishop Drennan resisted pressure to resign following the Murphy Report into the handling of allegations of abuse made against priests in the Dublin Archdiocese. Bishop Drennan had been an auxiliary bishop in Dublin during the period the allegations of abuse were made.
In the report, Judge Yvonne Murphy concluded that there was a widespread culture of abuse in Dublin and that the Church’s reputation and the avoidance of scandal had been prioritised over child protection.