THE debate in the diocese of Meath & Kildare continues after
the failure, on Tuesday, of a reconvened electoral college to
appoint to the vacant see after the Bishop-elect, the Ven. Leslie
Stevenson, stood down (
News, 3 May).
It reflects the continuing anger and disappointment at what is
seen in the diocese as pressure because of the intense press
interest surrounding his divorce and subsequent "inappropriate"
relationship with a female parishioner, when he was Rector of
Donaghadee, in Northern Ireland, 14 years ago.
Archdeacon Stevenson, whose election had been ratified by the
House of Bishops, withdrew after a night-time visit to his rectory,
at Portarlington, by three bishops, just hours after he had
attended a rehearsal for his consecration, due to take place a few
The bishops' visit was led by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr
Michael Jackson, and included the Bishop of Tuam, Killala &
Achonry, the Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, and the Bishop of Limerick
& Killaloe, the Rt Revd Trevor Williams. On Tuesday, after the
collapse of the new election, Archbishop Jackson confirmed that the
visit did not in any sense represent the House of Bishops, but was
"as three friends to offer him support and to offer him a
sounding-board; and on the basis of that he made his decision".
The electoral college, which comprises 64 members of the clergy
and laity, spent five hours deliberating. The selection of a new
Bishop will now be a matter for the House of Bishops at a later