The Vatican has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell, who has served the diocese for 30 years.
A statement was released by the Diocese of Motherwell which said: “Bishop Devine tendered his resignation in early August 2012 on the occasion of his 75th birthday, having served as Bishop of Motherwell for 30 years.
“He had hoped that his successor would be appointed shortly thereafter. He was told however that would be unlikely and that he would have to continue into 2013.
“He is now relieved and happy that ten months after tendering his resignation that the burden of office is now being handed initially to an administrator, as has happened in other dioceses, and in the fullness of time to a younger man who will be ordained as the new Bishop of Motherwell.
“He will always have a deep fondness for the people of Lanarkshire and is greatly appreciative of the loyalty, support and generosity that he has received not only from his own congregations but from people of all faiths and none”.
Bishops can remain in office for up to two years after tendering their resignation until a suitable replacement is found.
Bishop Joseph Toal of Argyll and the Isles, has been appointed as a temporary replacement.
Bishop Toal said: “I will strive to serve the diocese and the church in every way I can. I offer my thanks to Bishop Devine for his long service to the diocese and I look forward to working with the clergy, religious and lay faithful of Motherwell.”
Motherwell is now one of four Scottish dioceses to be without a bishop.
The dioceses of Paisley and Dunkeld are led by administrators within the dioceses.
St Andrews and Edinburgh archdiocese and Motherwell diocese have apostolic administrators, Archbishop Philip Tartgalia of Glasgow and Bishop Toal, respectively.