By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – Errant former Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey may retire to a position in England, according to this week’s Irish Catholic newspaper, which says discussions about a post for him in London are under way.
Editor David Quinn says negotiations are ongoing with Cardinal Basil Hume’s diocese of Westminster, where the controversial bishop may take a low-profile, minor chapliancy role.
He said the position will probably be under one of Cardinal Hume’s auxiliaries, mostly likely involve a role with a London hospital.
The Vatican-based Congregation of Bishops would have the final say on the matter.
However, a spokesman for Cardinal Hume has discounted the report. An Irish Times report quotes the spokesman as saying that “the cardinal would always wish to help anyone in need, pastorally, but there are many reasons why it would be inappropriate for Bishop Casey to be in London.”
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Quinn, meanwhile, says their story is based on information from four sources in Britain and Ireland, one of them in Westminister Cathedral.
“What a source there told us was that he has an awful lot of friends there and excellent contacts,” Quinn said. “Whatever job he is given, it will be a very quiet brief with a very low profile.”
Casey worked in London in the 1960s with migrant Irish, helping them to find housing. He was director of the Catholic Housing Aid Scheme.
The 1992 revelation that Casey had an affair with American divorcee Annie Murphy and fathered a son, Peter, with her rocked the church.
When the scandal became public, the high-profile cleric, who had been Bishop of Galway for 16 years, fled the country without explanation.
Casey, who’s 72, has since been working as a missionary priest in the impoverished parish of San Miguel de Los Bancos in Ecuador.
His five-year missionary contract with the Boston-based order of the Society of St. James Apostle’s is ending and he has made clear he wants to come home.