Pope accepts Moriarty’s resignation

POPE BENEDICT XVI has accepted the resignation of a third Irish bishop as a result of the Church’s handling of clerical child abuse.

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty confirmed he was quitting the position last December over accusations that he mishandled allegations of abuse during his time in the Dublin Archdiocese.

His resignation follows that of former Bishop of Cloyne John Magee and former Bishop of Limerick Dónal Murray

Bishop Moriarty was named in the Murphy Report as having failed to challenge the prevailing culture in the archdiocese when he was auxiliary bishop there.

In a statement released yesterday, Bishop Moriarty said the decision to resign was “the most difficult decision of my ministry”.

“I did not anticipate resigning when I first read the Murphy Report, because I was not directly criticised. However, the Murphy Report covers far more than what individual bishops did or did not do. Renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past. I was part of the governance of the archdiocese prior to when correct child protection policies and procedures were implemented.

“Again I accept that from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture. Once more I apologise to all survivors and their families. I know that words of apology are not enough.”

Clerical abuse survivor Andrew Madden welcomed the acceptance of the resignation by Pope Benedict and said it was only fitting that anyone who was part of the governance of the Dublin archdiocese at the time should stand down.

“I have just spoken with Bishop Moriarty to say that I am grateful to him for the content and tone of his resignation statement today. Bishop Moriarty acknowledges that he should have challenged the prevailing culture within the archdiocese and apologises for failing to do so. This is very welcome,” he said.

Mr Madden also welcomed Bishop Moriarty’s description of the culture within the Church at the time as “unchristian”.

“His acknowledgement that ‘the long struggle of survivors to be heard and respected by Church authorities has revealed a culture within the Church that many would simply describe as unchristian’ is also very welcome and compares very favourably to Bishop Drennan calling survivors vengeful and Cardinal Brady trying to pass himself off as a wounded healer,” he said.

All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Seán Brady paid tribute to Bishop Moriarty’s contribution to the work of the Bishops’ Conference.

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