Thursday, December 24, 2009

Second bishop to step down over abuse cover-ups

A SECOND Catholic bishop named in the shocking Murphy Report into cover-ups of clerical child sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin is expected to announce his resignation today.

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty will explain that he is stepping down as head of the diocese in order to give the priests and lay people a fresh start for 2010.

The decision of Bishop Moriarty, a former Dublin auxiliary under Cardinal Desmond Connell, comes six days after Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray's resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI.

Dr Murray stepped aside over his "inexcusable" failings when investigating complaints against notorious paedophile priest Fr Thomas Naughton when he too was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin.

This dramatic second resignation will intensify pressure on two existing Dublin auxiliaries, Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, to quit as well even though both have told Archbishop Diarmuid Martin that they did no wrong and that it would be a miscarriage of justice for them to resign or be fired.

A fifth former Dublin auxiliary now at risk of losing high office is the Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan, who until now has put up fierce resistance to going on the grounds that he too did no wrong.

He has also strongly criticised Archbishop Martin's impassioned plea for him to accept collective responsibility for the cover-ups as questioning his personal integrity.

A sixth former Dublin auxiliary, Dermot O'Mahony, who is in retirement, resigned from the presidency of a body which organises annual trips to Lourdes for the disabled and has been ordered by Archbishop Martin not to administer Confirmation to children next spring.

Last night four informed sources in Dublin and Kildare separately said that "Bishop Moriarty will resign tomorrow in order to give his diocese a fresh start for 2010".


One source suggested that over the weekend Bishop Moriarty (73) decided after intense consultations with trusted colleagues and friends at his residence in Carlow that he would go quickly.

An announcement of acceptance of his resignation by Pope Benedict could come as early as midday today, Rome time.

Other sources, however, questioned this timescale and suggested that Bishop Moriarty plans to say today that he has offered his resignation to the Holy Father.

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