15 Nov 2010

Second bishop resigns in wake of Murphy Report on clergy abuse in Dublin archdiocese

Google News - AFP December 23, 2009

Second Irish bishop resigns over child abuse scandal

By Andrew Bushe (AFP)

DUBLIN — A second Irish bishop said he had offered his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday over a clerical child sex abuse scandal in Ireland.

"I have today offered my resignation as bishop of Kildare and Leighlin to the holy father," James Moriarty said in a statement.

A damning report last month by judge Yvonne Murphy on the Dublin archdiocese -- the country's biggest -- found that Roman Catholic authorities in the Irish capital concealed rapes and attacks on children for three decades.

Moriarty served as an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin archdiocese from 1991 to 2002.

"With the benefit of hindsight, I accept that, from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture," he said.

Earlier this month the pope accepted the resignation of Donal Murray, bishop of Limerick. He had been an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1982 to 1996.

The Murphy Report found that church leaders in Dublin did not report abuse to police as part of a culture of secrecy and a determination to avoid damaging the reputation of the Catholic Church.

"While the Murphy Report does not criticise me directly, I feel it is important to state that I fully accept the overall conclusion of the commission -- that the attempts by Church authorities to 'protect the Church' and to 'avoid scandal' had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong," Moriarty said.

"I know that any action now on my part does not take away the suffering that people have endured. I again apologise to all the survivors and their families."

Pressure remains on other prelates to go over the scandal that has rocked mainly Catholic Ireland.

The other bishops are Martin Drennan, an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1997 to 2005 who is now Bishop of Galway in western Ireland, and Ray Field and Eamonn Walsh who are still auxiliary bishops in Dublin.

In an interview on KCLR radio last week, Moriarty said he did not consider there were "any grounds... upon which he should resign".

"But I want to add that no bishop can put his own position before the good of the Church," he said.

"I am 73 years old and I am obliged to hand in my resignation when I turn 75. However, if it will serve the Church, the people and the victims, I am prepared to go sooner."

In his Christmas message, Ireland's top Catholic churchman Cardinal Sean Brady said many were dealing with the "agonising" and "horrendous scandal of child abuse".

Pope Benedict met last week with Brady and the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, Ireland's second most senior Catholic official.

In a statement Friday, the pope apologised for the abuse, saying he "shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland (over) these heinous crimes".

Christine Buckley, a leading anti-abuse campaigner, on Wednesday called on the pope to spend a "seven-day repentance" in Ireland.

"It is time that you came to Ireland," she said in an open letter to the pontiff. "It is time that you listened to the pain of all the victims of abuse."

She said she was "utterly dismayed" at the "apparently apathetic" approach of the pope to "heinous acts of depravity" perpetuated by Catholic clerics.

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