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Bishop Byrne, English bishop who resigned last month, accused of abuse

January 24, 2023

Bishop Robert Byrne, who resigned in December as bishop of Hexham and Newcastle after only three years in office, has been accused of committing abuse, the Catholic Herald reported.

A priest of another diocese made the allegation last month, and the allegation has been reported to the police.

Ordained to the priesthood as an Oratorian in 1985, the future Bishop Byrne became the founder and provost of the Oxford Oratory, which is known for its Latin liturgy in the ordinary and extraordinary form, as well as its rich devotional life. In 2014, Pope Francis appointed him auxiliary bishop of Birmingham, and in 2019, bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops asked Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, the metropolitan archbishop and the apostolic administrator of Hexham and Newcastle, to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bishop Byrne’s resignation, as well as the diocese’s safeguarding procedures. The prelate is investigating a rumored sex party hosted by the late dean of Newcastle Cathedral, who committed suicide last May after he was accused of abuse.

The Catholic Herald reported that concerns have also been raised “over attempts by Bishop Byrne to move Timothy Gardner into cathedral house, even though the former Dominican priest was convicted in 2014 of making 5,005 images of child pornography.”

 


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