Father Matthew Ring, who left the Diocese of Cloyne nine years ago in disgust at how child sex allegations were being covered up, told Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza there is a sense of “hurt and betrayal” in the diocese.

Fr Ring has repeatedly called for Dr Magee’s resignation since a damning church report found he put children at risk by delaying reporting clerical sex abuse complaints to gardaí and failing to remove alleged offenders from ministries. The Office for the Minister of Children has also questioned his honesty when responding to HSE questions on child abuse in his area.

In his letter to Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, Fr Ring spoke of the “culture of denial” that exists in Cloyne and that has been “allowed to prevail and go unchecked for an incredibly long period of time”.

He suggested Pope Benedict take the necessary steps to remove Bishop John Magee and Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan from their positions of responsibility in the diocese.

“I am currently being contacted by some of my former parishioners in the Diocese of Cloyne and there is seething anger and a demand that something constructive happens. The hurt and betrayal is not just confined to clerical sex abuse victims but their parents and families, priests of the diocese and parish congregations,” he said.

He claimed in the letter that there is “a deliberate culture of lies, deceit, obstruction and evasion” in the Diocese and warned of fears that Bishop Magee might not co-operate fully with the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation. He told the Archbishop that the contents of the National Board for Safeguarding Children report came as “no surprise” to him.

The former North Cork curate is refusing to row back on his campaign to have Bishop Magee sacked, even though, in what is widely seen as an attempt to draw a line under the saga, Cardinal Sean Brady yesterday gave his colleague his full backing by saying that he shouldn’t resign.

Speaking in Kerry yesterday, Cardinal Brady said Bishop Magee had apologised, taken responsibility for what had happened and was introducing changes.

“The main concern here is the safeguarding of children. I have known John Magee for almost 50 years and I have always found him a reliable and dependable person,” he said.