The Bishop of Cork and Ross has confirmed his intention to submit his letter of resignation to the Pope within two weeks.
Under the code of canon law, all Roman Catholic bishops are obliged to submit a letter of resignation when they turn 75.
Bishop John Buckley, who has overseen the diocese for 16 years, will celebrate his 75th birthday on November 2.
He confirmed, as he is obliged, that he will submit his letter of resignation to Pope Francis on or before that date.
However, a diocesan spokesman stressed that it was then a matter for the Holy See as to when to accept the resignation.
“It is not unusual for a bishop’s resignation not to be accepted until a successor has been chosen,” he said.
“Bishop Buckley will remain in place until his successor is chosen.”
The process of choosing a successor could take up to two years. For example, the Bishop of Clonfert, John Kirby, is still in place a year after submitting his letter of resignation.
In the Diocese of Elphin, Bishop Christopher Jones submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on his 75th birthday in March 2011.
However, his resignation was not accepted until his successor, Bishop Kevin Doran, was appointed more than three years later, on May 14, 2014.
Bishop Buckley was appointed the third bishop of the 1958-formed Diocese of Cork and Ross by the Holy See on December 19, 1997, and was installed on February 8, 1998.
Born in Inchigeela in 1939, he studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and was ordained in 1965.
He taught on the staff of St Finbarr’s College, Farranferris, until he became its President in 1975.
He worked for a year as parish priest of Turner’s Cross Parish in Cork City before he was ordained Titular Bishop of Leptis Magna and Auxiliary Bishop of Cork and Ross in 1984.
He became the diocesan administrator following the death of Bishop Michael Murphy in October 1996.
And on December 19, 1997, the Holy See announced his appointment as Bishop of Cork and Ross.
He was installed during a ceremony at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne on February 8, 1998.
His 75th birthday falls on the feast of All Souls Day — a Sunday this year.
He will spend the morning celebrating Mass in his parish, before leading prayers at various cemeteries later in the day.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved