Monday, June 22, 2015


Rumours that Roman Catholic Bishop Denis Wiehe had resigned in reaction to the celebration of Seychelles’ first gay wedding last week, were denied yesterday by the Diocese in Mauritius.

Bishop Denis Wiehe has written to the Vatican asking to be relieved of his responsibilities as Bishop of Victoria, the Catholic Church has confirmed. Pending the Vatican’s approval, Bishop Wiehe should step down. This approval has not been granted yet.

The news however surprised many in the Catholic Church in Seychelles. While the diocese says Bishop Wiehe made an announcement on the radio last week-end, Catholic priests we spoke to say they had not been informed of Denis Wiehe’s decision.

This has led to rumours that Bishop Wiehe’s decision was linked to his displeasure at Seychelles’ first gay wedding celebrated on Saturday 13 June by British High Commissioner Lindsay Skoll at her residence.

Seychelles first gay wedding
 But sources at the Diocese in Mauritius said Bishop Wiehe had told them the gay wedding had nothing to do with the Catholic Church and that it was the Anglican Church that was more concerned by this.

“When they reach the age of 75, all Bishops are required by Church law to send their resignation letter to the Vatican where an ecclesiastic committee will study the request before approving or rejecting it. If they do grant approval, then Bishop Wiehe will step down as Bishop but will continue to act as a priest”, a source at the Diocese in Mauritius said.

Asked whether the Vatican has already approved the request, our source replies in the negative and adds that as at now, the issue of Bishop Wiehe’s replacement does not arise. But sources in Seychelles say it is doubtful Bishop Wiehe will be replaced by a Seychellois.

Denis Wiehe, this newspaper was told, turned 75 on 21 May. His secretary also confirmed that he is still acting as Bishop. The Bishop himself was unavailable for comment.

Denis Wiehe was appointed Bishop of Victoria on 1 June 2002 and will have completed 13 years as Diocesan Bishop on his retirement, if approved.

It was in November 2014 the Vatican confirmed that the retirement age for Bishops will be 75.