Bishop: Ultimate delusion to ‘extinguish’ right to life

The newly-ordained Bishop of Ossory has weighed into the debate on abortion on his first day in office, describing as “paradoxical and in some ways the ultimate delusion” the proposal to “extinguish” the right to life of a child.

The Episcopal Ordination of Dermot Farrell as Bishop of Ossory in St Mary's Cathedral Kilkenny on Sunday 11th March 2018

Bishop Dermot Farrell, aged 63, also used his episcopal ordination ceremony in Kilkenny city to call on the Government to “act with urgency” to deal with the homelessness crisis, which sees 3,000 children without a place to call home.

The new Bishop of Ossory is a former President of St Patrick’s College in Maynooth and was lately parish priest of Dunboyne in Co Meath and vicar general of the diocese of Meath. His appointment was confirmed on January 3 by Pope Francis.

The Chief Ordaining Prelate at the ceremony, attended by nearly 1,000 people at St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny city, was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, who was assisted by the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, and the Bishop of Meath, Bishop Michael Smith.

Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin, also concelebrated the Mass, as did Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel & Emly, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, and many other bishops from across the country.

Bishop Farrell said in his remarks that it was “a particular joy” that his mother, Carmel, was present on Mother’s Day and remembered his late father, Dermot.

Speaking on abortion, he said:

There is no such thing as a human life that has no value. However, it is paradoxical and in some ways the ultimate delusion, to extinguish the most fundamental right of all, the right to life of the innocent child, in the name of personal and civil rights.

He also referred to some problems in Irish society such as homelessness and direct provision.

“It is surely not an impossible dream to hope that no person, particularly no child, in this country would be left homeless or go to bed hungry,” he said.

With more than 3,000 children in this country who have no place to call their home, with families who do not have a front door to call their own, who have no family table, do we not have an obligation to call those in political leadership who hold power and carry responsibility to act with urgency for the wellbeing of our sisters and brothers.

Bishop Farrell is from Castletown-Geoghegan in Co Westmeath and was ordained a priest in 1980, following eight years of study in Maynooth.

He spent time in Mullingar and in Rome, where he was director of formation in the Irish College, before returning to Maynooth as a lecturer in 1989, becoming President of St Patrick’s College in 1996.

From 2007 until his appointment as Bishop of Ossory, he was parish priest of Dunboyne in Co Meath, and vicar general to the diocese of Meath from 2009.


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