Friday, December 25, 2009

Dublin's two auxiliary bishops resign

Dublin's only two serving auxiliary bishops have announced they are offering their resignations to Pope Benedict.

The decision by Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field brings the number of bishops serving here who have stepped down to four after being named in the Murphy Report on the cover-up of clerical child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

These latest resignations were announced in a joint statement close to midnight.

The departure of the two barrister-bishops comes four weeks after the Murphy Commission's confirmation that the Archdiocese of Dublin had shielded from the law clergy who had criminally abused children.

The bishops expressed the hope that, on Christmas Day, their action might help to bring Christ's peace and reconciliation to the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to whom they again apologised.

They assured those who had so bravely spoken out and others who continued to suffer in silence of their thoughts and prayers.

Both men were among the senior clergy who Archbishop Martin had urged to face collective responsibility for the scandals. But a week ago, Dr Walsh said it would be unjust if he had to step down.

Like Bishop Field, he protested he had done nothing wrong.

Of the five serving bishops who were mentioned in the Murphy report only one, the Bishop of Galway, Dr Martin Drennan has not declared his intention to resign.

Dr Walsh has been a bishop for 19 years and ran the diocese of Ferns for four years after Brendan Comiskey resigned as a bishop over his cover-ups of abuse.

Dr Field has served for 12 years in Dublin and is president of the hierarchy's Commission for Justice and Social Affairs.

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