Belfast Telegraph

Statement from the diocese in full

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Dromore said: "Some concerned parents from the Hilltown area whose children are to receive the sacrament of confirmation later this year inquired whether they could meet the Bishop last Thursday. That request was immediately responded to and a meeting took place on Friday 16th.

"The parents were met by the Bishop, the Director of Safeguarding and an advisor to the diocese.

"The advisor chaired the meeting. Parents expressed their reservations about this year's confirmation service in light of the revelations of the Spotlight Programme. The Bishop made it clear that he understood their position and that he would not be an obstacle to their wishes when the time came. That remains his position.

"The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and the discussion was frank but courteous. The Bishop went to Hilltown on Saturday February 17 to address Clonduff parishioners at the vigil Mass with the local parish priest. He met many of those who attended and was warmly received.

"The main priority for Catholic schools in the diocese is to concentrate on the preparation for this important milestone in the lives of the children. Nothing should distract or detract from that.

"As is the practice in many other Irish dioceses, including Dromore, any priest may be authorised to carry out confirmation.

"There have been some sporadic concerns expressed by some other parents in a few other areas. Decisions on these will be taken at a parish basis in consultation with parish priests closer to the time of confirmation and an announcement will be made at that time."

Belfast Telegraph

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