Bishop to go on despite ‘quitting’

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THE leader of Lanarkshire’s Roman Catholics is to remain in post despite sending his resignation letter to the Pope this week.

Bishop Joseph Devine is due to complete 30 years in Motherwell next year and his spokesman dismissed talk that he is ready to leave.

The bishop celebrated his 75th birthday this week. Church law demands that bishops who reach that age submit a formal resignation letter to Rome.

However, the process of appointing a successor can be a slow one.

For example, Glasgow’s Archbishop Mario Conti was 78 before he was replaced last month by Bishop Philip Tartaglia.

And Bishop Vincent Logan, of Dunkeld Diocese, had to wait 18 months before his resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict in June this year.

With Bishop Devine in good health, it’s thought the Vatican will be in no hurry to replace him.

His spokesman, Gerard O’Brien, said: “The bishop regards himself as blessed that he has had nearly 30 years in Scotland’s second largest diocese.

“Although he submitted his resignation this week, it could be a year before Rome announces a replacement.

“The situation is complicated because we are still waiting on new bishops being announced for Dunkeld and Paisley - Archbishop Tartaglia’s former diocese - and the Bishop of Galloway is about to reach 75 too.

“In the meantime there is a mountain of work for Bishop Devine to do such as visiting schools and hospitals, and dealing with the day to day business of running about 75 parishes.”

Full story in the Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker, out now.