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Love scandal bishop Eamon Casey 'profoundly upset Church', funeral Mass told

Former Bishop Eamon Casey, who secretly fathered a son during a love affair with an American woman, profoundly upset the Catholic Church and "people in general", his funeral Mass has been told.

Bishop of Achonry Brendan Kelly told mourners in Galway's Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas that Bishop Casey "did much good" during his life and ministry.

Highlighting his celebrated work for Irish emigrants in the UK and for the humanitarian organisation Trocaire, he said Bishop Casey was "a defender of the rights of people who were oppressed and poor",.

Bishop Kelly recalled Bishop Casey's courage in attending to dozens of stricken people when soldiers opened fire at the funeral of his murdered friend Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in 1980, during which 50 mourners died.

"There are those of us who remember, with gratitude, his kindness and encouragement when personally we most needed it," he said.

The bishop added: "Then 25 years ago, the emergence into the light of other hidden realities in his life, beginning with the fact that he had a son, Peter, were profoundly upsetting for the Church and for people in general.

"This is neither the time nor the place to go over the details, which in any case are very well known, not only in Ireland, but all over the world.

"Yes, we are all sinners, but irresponsibility, infidelity and sin are particularly shocking in the lives of those who preach the Gospel."

Bishop Casey's son, Peter Murphy, 42, who earlier this week joined other relatives in a glowing tribute to his late father, was not present at the funeral.

Church officials said his sister, Ita Furlong, could not attend because of illness, while his priest brother, Father Micheal, who lives in Perth, Australia, did not make the trip.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, in Galway, were unable to attend because of previous commitments to ministering Confirmation, the Mass was told.

A number of Bishop Casey's sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews led the mourners.

Irish President Michael D Higgins was chief among the civic dignitaries to attend.

Bishop Casey died, aged 89, in a nursing home in the west of Ireland on Monday following a long illness.

He gained worldwide notoriety in 1992 after it was revealed that he had a child with American divorcee Annie Murphy and had paid thousands to her for Peter's upkeep in the US.

Referring to the scandal in his homily, Bishop Kelly said his former fellow bishop had "expressed his sorrow many times, apologised and asked for forgiveness".

"But people had been hurt and wounded, wounds that do not always heal easily or quickly," he told the funeral service.

"We remember these people too today. We acknowledge their suffering. We pray for continued healing and peace for them."

After the Mass, Bishop Casey was interred in the Cathedral crypt.

In a statement hours after his death earlier this week, son Peter, brother Father Micheal and sister Ita said Bishop Casey was a great source of love and support.

Ordained a priest in 1951, he was appointed Bishop of Kerry in 1969 before taking on the larger and more high-profile diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh in 1976.

A few years earlier, Ms Murphy and the cleric had an affair when she went to stay with him in Ireland after her marriage in the US broke down.

The relationship and the birth of Peter in 1974 remained a secret for 18 years and emerged along with revelations that the bishop had been making undisclosed payments to the US for years.

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