Bishop Philip Boyce
The former bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce has pledged to try to bring healing to those who have been hurt in his first address as the interim Bishop of Dromore.
Former Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey stood down in March amid controversy over celebrating Mass with paedophile priest the late Fr Malachy Finegan.
Bishop Boyce, who retired as bishop of Raphoe last June, has announced as the interim replacement.
The address came a day after a retired priest spoke out against his appointment.
Speaking at the annual Chrism Mass in the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman in Newry Bishop Boyce said: “I am here at this time to serve as your shepherd”.
“On this significant day for you, I wish to declare wholeheartedly that my presence here today is to serve as your shepherd, shepherd of the people, religious, deacons and priests, of the young and the old, of the sick and the healthy, and most especially a shepherd of those who have been hurt in any way in the past.”
Local priest Fr Eamon Murray described the appointment as disgusting.
Fr Eamon Murray was referring to criticism of Philip Boyce over his handling of clerical sex abuse allegations when he was Bishop of Raphoe.
Fr Murray who is living in the Diocese of Dromore, said news that Bishop Boyce is to replace John McAreavey "rubs salt on the wound" of an already hurt community.
"I think it is a disgusting appointment. I am really really upset about the appointment of him to Dromore," he told the BBC.
A review into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Raphoe in 2011 found that a "significant level" of clerical abuse occurred in the diocese.
Cases of abuse
The report said the diocese now had a robust safeguarding policy in place and that Bishop Boyce had been willing to learn the painful lessons of the past. However, they were critical of how successive Bishops of Raphoe had handled serious cases of abuse.
At the time, Bishop Boyce fully accepted the recommendations and apologised for "poor judgements" in managing priests accused of "horrific acts of abuse" against children.
Fr Murray said Bishop Boyce's role in the historic case involving paedophile priest Fr Eugene Greene means he is unsuitable to be the apostolic administrator in a diocese that has been hurt by historic clerical abuse.
Eugene Greene was jailed for 12 years in 2000 after pleading guilty to 41 sample charges against 26 victims between 1962 and 1985.
Speaking on the Nolan programme Fr Murray said he was "frightened" for speaking out, but he was "so incensed" with the appointment of Bishop Boyce to Dromore.
"I can't believe this man has been appointed after his tenure in Raphoe," he added.
Acknowledging that Bishop Boyce accepted the findings of the 2011 report, Fr Murray said "words are cheap" and that he believes the community in Dromore "should resist" the appointment.
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