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Bishop Robert Byrne (Mazur/

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a British bishop who has quit almost a decade before he was due to retire, saying the demands of his office were “too great a burden”. Source: Catholic Herald.

Hexham and Newcastle Bishop Robert Byrne announced his resignation “with great sorrow and reluctance” in letters issued at the same time to the people of his diocese and to his brother bishops.

The bishop said he intended to leave Hexham and Newcastle for the Oratorian community in Oxford that he founded in 1990.

“For some time now I have been discerning my future and after much prayer and reflection, it is with a heavy heart that I now find the office of the diocesan bishop has become too great a burden and feel I can no longer serve the people of the diocese in the way I would wish,” Bishop Byrne wrote.

“My sincere thanks go to the Holy Father for considering and accepting my resignation as Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.

The Manchester-born bishop is just 66 meaning that ordinarily he would remain a serving bishop until he reached that age of 75 when Canon Law would require his resignation on grounds of age.

A former priest of the Birmingham Oratory and the founder of the Oxford Oratory, Bishop Byrne became the first Oratorian bishop in England in 140 years when he was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham by Pope Francis in 2014. In 2019, he succeeded Bishop Seamus Cunningham to become the 14th Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.

An apostolic administrator has been appointed until Pope Francis chooses a successor to Bishop Byrne.


Bishop quits after finding role ‘too great a burden’ (By Simon Caldwell, Catholic Herald)