Thursday, December 17, 2009

Four more will resign as Bishop Murray steps down

Independent.ie
Four more will resign as Bishop Murray steps down
By John Cooney Religious Affairs Correspondent
Thursday December 17 2009

THE resignation of Donal Murray as Bishop of Limerick will be announced this morning.

And it is expected that as many as four other bishops will follow suit over the coming weeks.

The development will be officially declared in the Vatican's Bolletino, the papal bulletin used to convey such news.

The Irish Independent learned last night that Bishop Murray's resignation for his "inexcusable" investigation of Dublin paedophile priest Fr Thomas Naughton comes on foot of a recommendation from the head of the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

Naughton (78) was yesterday jailed for two years for abusing a six-year-old altar boy more than 70 times in Valleymount, Blessington, Co Wicklow in the 1980s.

Last week, Bishop Murray met Cardinal Re to explain his handling of abuse cases arising from severe criticisms of him in the Murphy Report into the Archdiocese of Dublin and pleaded mitigation.

Bishop Murray's long-awaited departure should trigger at least two further resignations today of Dublin auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, both of whom have protested that they did no wrong.

The defences of both are likely to become untenable when they attend a meeting this morning at Archbishop's House in Drumcondra of the advisory but influential Dublin Priests' Council.

The news from Rome about Bishop Murray's fate will have a dramatic impact on the council which is composed of priests from across the archdiocese. The overwhelming demand of priests and parishioners is that it is necessary that the named bishops in the Murphy Report should go for the sake of the Church.

The 'domino' effect of Bishop Murray's resignation will also impact on former Dublin auxiliaries, Jim Moriarty, now Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and Martin Drennan, Bishop of Galway.

Andrew Madden, victim of convicted paedophile priest Fr Ivan Payne, welcomed Bishop's Murray's imminent resignation, which was reported in the Irish Catholic, quoting Vatican sources.

Mr Madden said the continued presence in office of several other bishops was "an insult to every child sexually abused by a priest in the Dublin archdiocese".

- John Cooney Religious Affairs Correspondent

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