The Pope has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Dunkeld, in Scotland, as he retires over ill health.
In an open letter addressed with “all priests, deacons, religious and people of the diocese of Dunkeld,” Bishop Stephen says he first offered his retirement to the pontiff in March 2021. Despite his resignation being accepted, the decision was not to be announced until a successor had been named.
However, after his health became significantly worse, the Pope Francis allowed his resignation to become effective immediately.
Bishop Stephen said: “Since I came to the diocese in 2013, the priests, people, religious and deacons have been very good to me, and I have tried to serve them as best I can.
“I am now almost 72 years of age and although three years short of the normal retiring age I am, as you might expect, sad to have come to the conclusion that I no longer have the strength to carry on effectively shepherding the diocese.
“However, I am happy to say that the diocese is in relatively good shape, and I have every confidence that a good, younger, and fitter priest will soon be selected by the pope to carry on work of pastoring and feeding the People of God by means of the Word of God and the Sacraments.”
The decision now sparks an election for a new bishop, which is usually conducted within eight days of the post being left vacant.