Irish bishops deny pressing bishop-elect to step aside: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 6. May 13, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.
Tags: Diocese of Meath & Kildare, Leslie Stevenson, Michael Jackson, Richard Clarke
The Ven. Leslie Stevenson was not pressured to decline consecration as Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Archbishop of Dublin said last week.
Dr. Michael Jackson released a statement saying the three bishops who visited the Archdeacon’s home the night before he announced he would not go forward with the ceremony had visited him “in a pastoral capacity, without the expectation of a predetermined outcome to the conversation.”
On 29 April 2013 — three days before he was set to be consecrated — Archdeacon Stevenson announced that he was declining the post in light of public turmoil over allegations of his alleged personal misconduct. The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Richard Clarke, on 3 May 2013 responded by releasing a statement denouncing “incorrect statements of fact and unfounded allegations [that] have caused much hurt and distress.”
The House of Bishops had been “informed of circumstances in 1998 which led to the Archdeacon, then incumbent of the Parish of Donaghadee in the Diocese of Down, resigning his office. The Archdeacon has publicly referred to his relationship with a female parishioner, which he acknowledged, both by his resignation, and in recent statements, he should not have allowed.”
He added that: “Following his resignation, the Archdeacon undertook a period of personal discipline, during which he did not exercise parochial ministry. At the end of a period agreed within the House of Bishops, and following discussions both within the House of Bishops and between the Bishop of Down and Dromore and myself (then Bishop of Meath and Kildare), I subsequently instituted Mr Stevenson as incumbent of the Parish of Portarlington in the Diocese of Kildare, and some ten years later as archdeacon.”
Dr. Jackson explained that the bishops’ visit to the Portarlington Rectory was undertaken to express “their personal concern for Leslie”.
“The bishops were not representing the House of Bishops, nor were they seeking to revoke the decision of the House of Bishops who had previously confirmed his election,” he said, adding that “Archdeacon Stevenson, by his own decision, withdrew from the forthcoming consecration.”