Pope Benedict XVI has officially accepted the resignation of Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray. Murray stepped down due to information made public in the Murphy Report on Nov. 26 that showed he failed to properly respond to allegations of sexual abuse.
Bishop Murray's name was mentioned several times in the Murphy report, which published the results of a study into allegations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1975 to 2004. Murray's lack of action in response to the possible cases of child sex abuse by clergy brought to his attention is described in this document as "inexcusable."
Murray came to Rome originally on Dec. 6 to meet with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, to discuss his handling of information relevant to the cases and to deliver his resignation, as Murray told members of St. John's Cathedral in an address this morning in Limerick.
Cardinal Re took the bishop's letter of resignation to the Pope, who had the final say in whether or not to accept the bishop's wishes to step down.
The Irish Times published the entirety of Bishop Murray's address to the faithful at St. John's upon the release of the Pope's decision. In the address, he said that he had asked the Pope's permission to resign and be replaced because he believes his presence "will create difficulties for some of the survivors who must have first place in our thoughts and prayers."
He also admitted that his resignation "cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day."
"I humbly apologize once again to all who were abused as little children," he continued. "To all survivors, I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can, on their journey towards finding closure and serenity."
He closed by saying, “Let my last words as Bishop of Limerick be those I spoke in St. Joseph's on 29th November last: 'We are people who believe that God’s mercy and God’s healing are without limit. We are meant to be bearers of that hope to one another and especially to people whose trust was betrayed when they were just little children and who endured the terror, helplessness and suffering inflicted by a frightening and dominant adult. They should always have a special place in our prayers.'"
Murray's resignation was accepted in accordance with Canon 401 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law which reads, "A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."
This is enacted when a bishop must resign before reaching the age limit of 75 years old.