The last of five bishops named in an expose of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sex abuse will not resign, his spokesman said tonight.
Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan is the only remaining prelate named in the shocking Murphy Report not to stand down.
Dublin’s only two serving auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, bowed to mounting public pressure late on Christmas Eve when they announced they would quit their posts.
Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty and Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray have also resigned over the inquiry into the Catholic hierarchy’s shielding of paedophile priests.
Tonight, Fr Sean McHugh, a spokesman for the Galway Diocese, rubbished reports that Bishop Drennan was poised to follow in the steps of the four others.
“Bishop Drennan is not on the verge of resigning, he is not resigning at all,” he said.
Speculation mounted since Christmas Eve that the former Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin would also stand down after being named in the report into decades of abuse in the archdiocese.
But Fr McHugh insisted Bishop Drennan’s case was completely different from his other senior clerical colleagues.
Bishop Drennan was not called before the investigating commission to give evidence and had not been given an advance copy of the section that related to him – as had been the case for other named bishops, he said.
Fr McHugh also said Bishop Drennan was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997, after church guidelines were brought in on child protection.
It was not the role of auxiliary bishops to deal with allegations since then, Fr McHugh said.
Bishop Drennan’s position was that his was a “pastoral role, not a decision making role” at the time, said his spokesman.
The Murphy inquiry, based on a sample 46 priests, revealed a catalogue of paedophilia and subsequent cover-ups over three decades because the Catholic hierarchy was obsessed with secrecy and was effectively granted immunity by the Garda.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told Christmas Mass-goers the diocese must now be called to renewal by recognising what happened in the past, accepting responsibility for it and investigating criminal behaviour.
In his homily he said the interests of the ordained had been given priority over the needs of the baptised.
“It has been a painful year,” he said.
“But the Church today may well be a better and safer place than was the Church of 25 years ago when all looked well, but where deep shadows were kept buried.”