Bishop-elect admits these are ‘difficult days’ for priests

Fr Denis Nulty will become country’s youngest Catholic bishop

A file image of Fr  Denis Nulty who has been  appointed at the Bishop of  Kildare and Leighlin. Photograph: PA

A file image of Fr Denis Nulty who has been appointed at the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Photograph: PA


The new bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has said these are “difficult days” for priests as they see their numbers dwindle but pledged to work to encourage vocations and develop “collaborative ministry”.

Fr Denis Nulty, who turns 50 next month, will become the country’s youngest Catholic bishop when he is ordained at a ceremony in Carlow Cathedral on a date yet to be confirmed but likely to be during the summer.

A native of Slane in Co Meath and currently the parish priest in Drogheda, Fr Nulty will fill a vacancy in the diocese which has existed since December of 2009 when Bishop James Moriarty offered his resignation following publication of the Murphy report.

In his resignation statement Bishop Moriarty said "I accept that, from the time I became an auxillary bishop [of Dublin], I should have challengeed the prevailing culture."

The announcement of the new bishop for Kildare and Leighlin was made by Pope Francis this morning.

At a welcoming ceremony outside Carlow Cathedral, Fr Nulty said he was “conscious” of people who had been “wounded by the Church and the terrible sins of individuals who should have brought life, but instead inflicted pain and destruction on too many”.

He also referred to last Saturday’s “mother and child” prayer vigil in Knock and quoted the Irish bishops’ preliminary response to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in which they said “the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong”.

The bishop-elect asked his new diocese to be patient as he embarks on a journey of learning that will take him to all the parishes in Kildare and Leighlin and said he wants to listen to priests, support the “faith growth of the young who may feel at times isolated or on the fringe” and encourage seminarians.

“For many priests these are difficult days as they see their number grow perhaps older and fewer and the demands heavier - let us work together to encourage vocations and to develop collaborative ministry”.

In a statement, Cardinal Seán Brady congratulated Fr Nulty on his appointment and described the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, the home of St Brigid, as “a place of vibrant faith today”.

Kildare and Leighlin comprises all of Co Carlow as well as parts of Cos Laois, Kildare, Wexford, Offaly and Kildare. It has 56 parishes and 95 active priests.