It could mean that Bishop Philip Boyce could be the last ever bishop of Raphoe.
The Irish Bishops are said to be resisting demands from the Pope that smaller dioceses are done away with and merged with others.
The Irish Catholic newspaper also reports that the Vatican’s investigation into the Church in Ireland, known as the Apostolic Visitation, triggered the idea to perhaps reduce the 26 Irish dioceses.
In February 2010, the month prior to the Visitation, Pope Benedict XVI had met with Irish bishops and Vatican officials have been “floating the reform” ever since.
During that meeting, The Irish Catholic was told that many of the clergy were resisting the changes, but have realised in time that change is inevitable. They are, however, attempting to “minimize the cuts.”
The dioceses which could disappear are Cashel and Emly, Achonry, Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Clogher, Clonfert, Dromore, Elphin, Killala, Kilmore, Ossory and here in Raphoe.
A senior cleric in Raphoe told us yesterday: “It makes sense and Derry would be the natural alliance geographically.”
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