Bishop Cox And Sinead O'Connor
Sir, - Father Vincent Twomey of Maynooth (The Irish Times, April 27th) is more Roman than the Pope. He says that the Vatican has never pronounced on the validity of the Holy Orders passed by the Vietnamese Archbishop Peter Martin Kno Din Thue (himself a member of the Vatican Curia) to Bishop Michael Cox. The fact that the Pope excommunicated the Archbishop is itself evidence of validity! You can only be excommunicated in this context by consecrating a bishop without a papal mandate. If the Pope excommunicated the Archbishop it was because the Pope accepted that the Archbishop had passed on valid episcopal orders without papal approval. Father Twomey can't have his cake and eat it.
Father Twomey works for the Irish Catholic Bishops at Maynooth. Bishop Cox resides in the Diocese of Killaloe. Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe, one of Father Twomey's superiors, wrote of Bishop Cox's orders:
"My understanding is that [Michael] Patrick Cox was ordained to the priesthood by a Catholic Bishop. His ordination would therefore be valid even if unlawful as the said Bishop was acting without approval of the Holy See. My understanding is that the priest Patrick Cox was later consecrated a bishop by a Catholic Bishop. His consecration as bishop would be deemed valid even if unlawful because the said Bishop was acting without the approval of the Holy See."
I can supply anyone who wishes it with a copy of Bishop Willie Walsh's letter. Bishop Walsh has confirmed to me in person that he wrote that letter. He asked me not to use it publicly. I told him I would only do so to defend the validity of the episcopal orders of Bishop Cox and myself. I suggest that Bishop Walsh have a quiet word in Father Twomey's ear.
Father Twomey is a member of a religious order and a teacher. Bishop Willie Walsh is a successor of the apostles and pronounces with apostolic authority. Surely Father Twomey is not going to go against the teaching of the magisterium, the bishops and the authority of the Church?
For many years now the Archdiocese of Dublin has been trying to convince Bishop Cox to apply to be laicised. Why would the church want to laicise a man who is not in valid Holy Orders?
Bishop Cox's consecrator has already been laicised by the Bishop of Ferns and is now married. Why was he laicised if he were not valid?
When I was consecrated a bishop by Bishop Cox last May it was suggested to me by members of the Hierarchy that I approach Bishop Willie Walsh for confession and confess I had become a bishop without a papal mandate. Under the seal Bishop Walsh would forgive me, I was told, and then apply to the Congregation in Rome to have me returned to the state of priest. Why would all that have been necessary if indeed I were not the bishop I am?
Father Twomey has displayed a very poor grasp of the situation. He is pronouncing where the Pope has not pronounced and he is contradicting a highly respected and much loved member of the Catholic Hierarchy. -Yours, etc., Patrick Buckley,
Presiding Bishop, The Oratory Society, Larne, Co Antrim.