Philip Boyce

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For the American radio program director, see Phil Boyce. For the Star Trek character, see Phillip Boyce. For the Australian psychiatrist, see Philip Manley Boyce.
The Most Reverend
Bishop Philip Boyce OCD
Bishop of Raphoe
Church Catholic Church
See Raphoe
In office 1 October 1995- 25 January 2015
Predecessor Bishop Séamus Hegarty
Successor Vacant
Personal details
Born (1940-01-25) 25 January 1940 (age 77)
Downings, Co. Donegal
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}

Philip Boyce, OCD (born 25 January 1940), was consecrated and installed as the Catholic Bishop of Raphoe on 1 October 1995. He presides over the Diocese of Raphoe in County Donegal, Ireland.[1]

Early life[edit]

Boyce was born in Derry, Northern Ireland and grew up in Downings, a village on the Rosguill Peninsula of north County Donegal. He was educated at Derryhassen school in Meevagh parish and at Castlemartyr College, County Cork. He joined the noviciate of the Discalced Carmelites in Loughrea, County Galway, making his first profession in 1959. Having completed philosophical studies in Dublin, he studied theology at the Teresianum in Rome, where he was ordained priest on 17 April 1966. He received a doctorate in theology (D.D.) in 1977 with a dissertation on the spirituality of John Henry Cardinal Newman.

During his twenty years on the teaching staff of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of the Carmelites in Rome, he taught spirituality and dogmatic theology, and for many years was engaged in the work of formation of students preparing for the priesthood or doing postgraduate studies.

Religious career[edit]

Styles of
Philip Boyce
Coat of arms of Philip Boyce.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style His Lordship
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

Boyce was ordained a priest on 17 April 1966 for the Order of Discalced Carmelites and was appointed Bishop of Raphoe on 29 June 1995, and consecrated and installed on 1 October 1995. The principal consecrator was Jorge María Cardinal Mejía. Both Emanuele Gerada, titular Archbishop of Nomentum, the apostolic nuncio to Ireland at the time, and Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry (and formerly Bishop of Raphoe), served as principal co-consecrators. In May 1999 Pope John Paul II appointed him a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

As part of his work on the congregation, Boyce is also a member of the Vox Clara commission which, since its establishment by the Congregation on 19 July 2001, has provided advice to the Holy See concerning English-language translations of liturgical books.

In August 2011, after the release of the report on the sexual abuse scandal in Cloyne diocese, Bishop Boyce said that the Church was experiencing a testing time, having been rocked by a "secular and godless culture" on the outside and the "sins and crimes of priests" within. Boyce, who promised to publish a report into clerical abuse in his diocese, urged Catholics not to lose confidence in their faith and to act with hope and patience during the current difficult times for the church. He added that "The moment of history we live through in Ireland at present is certainly a testing one for the church and for all of us,” he said. "Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture, rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence."[2]

On January 25th 2015, Bishop Boyce reached the mandatory age of retirement for a bishop which is 75 years. In a statement released by the Raphoe Diocese, Bishop Boyce duly submitted his resignation to Pope Francis. The Pope accepted his resignation, but asked him to continue until a new bishop is appointed.

Child protection[edit]

A review, published on 30 November 2011, by the National Board for Safeguarding Children into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Raphoe has concluded that "significant errors of judgment" were made by successive bishops in responding to the accusations. Boyce said he fully accepted the recommendations contained in the review, which was undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. In a statement, he admitted that during the past decades there had been "very poor judgments and mistakes made. "There were horrific acts of abuse of children by individual priests, that should never have happened, and if suspected should have been dealt with immediately in the appropriate manner," he said.

Boyce said he was "truly sorry for the terrible deeds that have been inflicted on so many by a small minority of priests. "We offer our humble apologies once more and seek their forgiveness for the dreadful harm that has been done to them, their families and friends." Three heads of Raphoe diocese, including Boyce, were criticised for their handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the report on child protection practices, which was published this morning. Former Bishop Séamus Hegarty, and his predecessor, Bishop Anthony McFeely, also come under fire for their response to accusations of clerical child sex abuse. The Raphoe review said that in dealing with allegations, too much emphasis was placed on the situation of the accused priest and too little on the needs of their complainants. "Judgements were clouded, due to the presenting problem being for example, alcohol abuse and an inability to hear the concerns about abuse of children, through that presenting problem," it said. "More attention should have been given to ensuring that preventative actions were taken quickly when concerns came to light," the report added.[3]

See also[edit]


Religious titles
Preceded by
Dr. Séamus Hegarty
Bishop of Raphoe
29 June 1995–present