It emerged that Pope Benedict has refused toaccept the resignations of two auxiliary bishops who offered to step down in the wake of the Murphy report into clerical abuse in the Dublin diocese.
Instead, Bishops Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh will remain in their positions and are expected to be assigned new, revised responsibilities.
The Murphy report said the archdiocese had dealt “extremely badly” with allegations of abuse against Fr Noel Reynolds. It said Bishop Walsh in the 1990s had advised an alleged victim of the priest to write to a clerical chancellor and that he did not report the allegations to gardaí.
However, neither bishop was the focus of the main criticisms made of senior members of the Hierarchy in the Archdiocese of Dublin made in the Murphy report published last year.
Overall, it claimed the archdiocese’s investigation of complaints against Fr Reynolds, which involved Bishop Walsh in a minor role, was extremely bad as numerous indications of abuse and admissions by the priest were ignored.
The Commission said complaints against another priest known as Fr Dante which involved Bishop Walsh were dealt with appropriately.
Bishop Field had a minor role in the investigation of two clerical abusers: FrHoratio and Fr Sergius. In another case, the Commission noted that he had acted promptly in contacting a third priest, Fr Benito, against whom complaints were made. However, Bishop Field should have provided more information about the allegations concerning Fr Benito to local priests when he was appointed to a new parish.
Both auxiliary bishops initially resisted calls for resignation but later submitted them to Pope Benedict on Christmas Eve last.
The Irish Examiner confirmed last night a letter written by Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to priests this week confirmed both bishops would not be resigning.
A section of the letter read: “Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops.”
The letter continued: “This means they will be available to administer confirmation in any part of the diocese in the coming year.”
It is understood both men may be given different roles in dioceses.
Archbishop Martin’s office refused to comment on their new role yesterday.
Angry clerical abuse survivors last night criticised the Vatican for failing to take responsibility for the findings of report and the “cover-up of abuse by archbishops and bishops for decades.”
Abuse survivor Andrew Madden said: “It is hard to believe that, after all we have learned from both Church and state failure to protect children, such failures, whether past or present, should still invoke in some people the desire to put their own interests above the needs or welfare of others.”
Both bishops failed to return calls when contacted.