Belfast Telegraph

New bishop for Armagh Catholics will be based in Dundalk

Auxiliary bishop Michael Router
Auxiliary bishop Michael Router

By Sarah MacDonald

A new auxiliary bishop for the Catholic archdiocese of Armagh - one of the Irish dioceses which will be most affected by Brexit, with parishes on both sides of the border - will be based in Dundalk.

Pope Francis announced yesterday that he had appointed Fr Michael Router (54), the parish priest of Bailieboro, as Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh.

He will assist the head of the Irish Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin, in Armagh, which has 61 parishes and a Catholic population of 267,803 spread across counties Armagh, Louth, and parts of counties Tyrone, Derry and Meath.

Archbishop Martin said Fr Router's appointment was particularly welcome as he had recently taken on additional responsibility as Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore.

Dromore has had no bishop since Bishop John McAreavey resigned last year after victims of child abuser Fr Malachy Finegan called for him to stand down over his decision to officiate at the priest's funeral mass in 2002.

The new auxiliary bishop has been given the Titular See of Lugmad, which is an ancient episcopal see in Co Louth.

The Catholic Church in Ireland is an all-island institution and will be seriously affected in the event of a hard Brexit, with bishops in dioceses which straddle the border facing the prospect of border checks to visit their parishes.

Some dioceses such as Armagh already have to deal with two currencies as well as coping with the administration of operating in two different jurisdictions.

In a statement, Bishop-elect Router said the Church in Ireland had become "too comfortable in its position of temporal as well as spiritual authority".

However, the present time, he continued, was a period of "unprecedented change for the Church in this country and the pace of change will only continue to increase in the years ahead".

Belfast Telegraph


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