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Barricaded Irish priest appeals to Vatican

A 70-year-old priest who refused to leave his presbytery to make way for a younger successor has appealed to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy against Bishop Brendan Comiskey's decision to move him.

Catholic World News reports that Fr James Cashman has been in the house in St. Leonard's parish, County Wexford, for seven weeks and has even summoned the police after claiming that the new parish priest, Fr Patrick Banville, 42, was attempting to break in.

Bishop Comiskey last week told The Universe there would be no pressure on Fr Cashman to leave during the next three months while his appeal is considered. "My main concern is the people of the parish and I'm happy they are being looked after by Fr Banville," he said.

Fr Cashman has turned down offers of a choice of temporary position in a Dublin parish, relief work in his present diocese, and the option of working anywhere else on pension or complete retirement.

He has said, "In the normal course of events a priest cannot be compelled to retire. They can continue indefinitely unless they are suffering from ill-health or decide to retire of their own accord."

Bishop Comiskey confirmed that parishioners were looking after Father Cashman and his living expenses were being covered.