Friday, December 18, 2009

More bishops may quit over abuse scandal
More bishops may quit over abuse scandal
By John Cooney
Friday, 18 December 2009

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin last night strongly signalled that his two auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, will quit in the new year as Bishop of Kildare Jim Moriarty was on the brink of taking early retirement.

Hours after the expected resignation of Donal Murray as Bishop of Limerick, 73-year-old Bishop Moriarty, due to resign in two years' time, said he would go sooner if it would “serve the Church, the victims and the people” — in a clear hint he will bow out in 2010.

A spokesman for Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, the fifth bishop implicated in the Murphy report, denied there was growing pressure on him to step down after a meeting of local clergy yesterday to discuss the fallout from the report.

Bishop Drennan was a Dublin auxiliary bishop from 1997 to 2005. Despite his continued resistance to resignation calls, a ‘domino-effect' was emerging yesterday after Bishop Murray's resignation.

Bishop Murray made his announcement exactly three weeks after the publication of the damning Murphy report, which called his inadequate monitoring of Dublin paedophile priest Fr Tom Naughton “inexcusable”. The bells of Limerick's St John's Cathedral tolled his official departure at 11am Mass as Bishop Murray told a hushed congregation that Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation.

Bishop Murray “humbly apologised” to victims abused by priests as children and said he knew full well that his resignation could “not undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day”.

In a strongly worded statement last night, Dr Martin indicated that the list of fallen bishops would expand after he completes a review in the early new year of how to restore confidence in Dublin archdiocese.

“I believe Bishop Donal Murray did the right thing, for his diocese and for the wider Irish Church and I appreciate the personal difficulty and pressure he has been under,” he added.

Dr Martin revealed he would be meeting “those in this diocese who were named in the report” about radical changes he wanted made. This was a clear reference to the roles of auxiliary bishops Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, former chancellor Alex Stenson and the present chancellor, Monsignor John Dolan.

“This will not be complete until early in the new year and I will not discuss it publicly before,” said the archbishop. “There will be wider consultations also,” he added in a veiled reference to Rome, the Papal Nuncio and the Conference of Irish Bishops.

“This is without doubt, a period of deep crisis... Priests and people of this diocese see that there can be no healing without radical change. Along with many others, I am committed to that change.”

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