McAreavey remains bishop despite resignation announcement
Resignation yet to be accepted by Pope and has no validity until then
Dr John McAreavey will remains Bishop of Dromore until Pope Francis accepts his resignation. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
When it does, the Dromore diocese college of consultors will then meet and, in accordance with its rights and duties under canon law, elect a diocesan administrator who will take charge of affairs until a new bishop is appointed.
A spokesman for the Catholic bishops confirmed that Bishop McAreavey’s resignation has yet to be accepted by the pope and that until then he remains Bishop of Dromore under canon law.
Bishop McAreavey, a noted canon lawyer, announced his resignation on March 1st through Arthur J Downey and Company solicitors in Banbridge, Co Down. It is understood this was done without advance consultation with Rome or the Irish Episcopal Conference.
On March 3rd, in a letter to the people, priests and religious of Dromore diocese, the bishop announced his resignation “with a heavy heart” and “following recent media coverage which has disturbed and upset many people”.
This was a reference to media reports, particularly on BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme, which raised serious questions about the bishop’s handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations made against the late Fr Malachy Finnegan, former president of St Colman’s College, Newry, and later parish priest at Clonduff/Hilltown near Newry.