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First Jesuit bishop will bring 'special talents' to the post

Seamus McKinney.
Seamus McKinney

THE appointment of a priest from the Jesuit Order as a bishop in Ireland has been viewed by many with surprise.

However Catholic Church observers say that in appointing a fellow Jesuit, Pope Francis has endorsed the 'special talents' of the order for renewal.

According to Irish Catholic editor, Michael Kelly the appointment is in keeping with other recommendations of outgoing Papa Nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Charles Brown.

“He has favoured recommending priests from outside a diocese as new bishops and Pope Francis has followed the practice of Pope Benedict in appointing bishops from outside dioceses.

“It doesn't mean that there weren't any priests suitable within a particular diocese, it appears that there's a belief that by bringing a bishop in from outside a diocese that it helps renewal.

"You could well have priests in Raphoe who might make an excellent bishop in Cork or somewhere else,” Mr Kelly said.

While religious orders were sometimes viewed with mistrust by some diocesan priests, Mr Kelly said the Jesuits were known for having particular talents in certain areas. Fr McGuckian has particular skills in the communications field.

Mr Kelly suggested Pope Francis appointed Fr McGuckian to meet the challenges of falling priest numbers and other issues facing the Catholic church in Donegal.

“I think this will be a popular appointment. Fr McGuckian might not be well known in Raphoe but anywhere he has worked in the past, in Dublin or in Down and Connor, he has always been very popular with a reputation as a hard worker,” he said.

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