Press statement regarding the health of Bishop Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry

07 Nov 2011

Press statement regarding the health of Bishop Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry

In July of this year, a local newspaper indicated that I had been undergoing medical tests.  At the time, I stated that, while this was accurate, I had not received any diagnosis or treatment.  However, very recently, I received a diagnosis of a condition which is, unfortunately, irreversible and progressive.  I am now receiving treatment for this condition.

The conclusion of recent medical assessment indicates that I am no longer able to fulfil the role of Diocesan Bishop due to my medical condition.  Mindful of the requirement of the Code of Canon Law, canon  401 §2, in which a bishop is “earnestly requested to offer his resignation” when, because of illness, he becomes unsuited for the fulfilment of his office, I have in the past few days submitted my letter of resignation as Bishop of Derry to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

I had hoped to continue until the age of 75 as diocesan bishop, but my medical condition is such that I have an obligation to submit my resignation.  Due to my condition, I will have to scale back on my duties while the Holy Father considers my letter of resignation.  It is my hope that my resignation will be accepted.  It is my intention to maintain a pastoral ministry, to the extent that I am able, into the future.

I ask for prayers at this time.

+ Séamus Hegarty

Bishop of Derry

Notes for Editors

  • Bishop Hegarty was born in 1940, he was ordained priest on 19 June 1966, was consecrated Bishop of Raphoe on 28 March 1982 and appointed Bishop of Derry on 1 October 1994 and installed as bishop in the diocese on 6 November 1994.
  • No further comment will be made at this time.
  • Issued by: Fr. Michael Canny, Diocesan Media Liaison Spokesperson


Further information:

Catholic CommunicationsOffice Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444