In response to the announcement today that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop William Walsh as Bishop of Killaloe and the announcement of the appointment of Reverend Kieran O'Reilly, SMA, as Bishop of Killaloe, the following statement was issued by Cardinal Seán Brady, President of the Irish Bishops' Conference:
"I wish to acknowledge the contribution that Bishop Willie Walsh has made to the work of the Bishops' Conference and to the Diocese of Killaloe. Bishop Walsh has served the Bishops' Conference for 16 years and he has served his diocese as priest and bishop for 51 years.
"The motto which Bishop Walsh took at his Episcopal Ordination in October 1994 was 'Cinealtas Chriost' which means 'the gentleness of Christ' and he has very much lived out this motto in his Episcopal Ministry. Bishop Walsh is never afraid to speak out and to use his talent in communication to speak for the poor and the marginalised in our society or when it came to issues of injustice and wrongdoing.
"I warmly acknowledge Bishop Walsh's pastoral support for marriage through his work with ACCORD, the Catholic Marriage Care Agency. He has been involved with ACCORD in his own diocese since its inception there and in recent years as President of ACCORD at a national level. In this time of challenge for marriage, Bishop Walsh has been an inspirational leader who has at all times demonstrated deep compassion and understanding for all entering into marriage and also for those experiencing difficulties in their marriages and relationships.
"I offer him my prayers and blessings and I wish him many years of good health and happiness in his retirement.
"I want to take this opportunity also to congratulate Reverend Kieran O'Reilly, Superior General of the Society of Missionaries of Africa on his appointment today as Bishop of Killaloe. I have known Father O'Reilly for many years and we worked together as recently as October 2008 at the General Synod of the Church in Rome, the theme of which was 'The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church'.
"He is well aware of the deep faith of the people of the diocese and I have no doubt that he can count on their prayers and support as he takes on his new role as Bishop.