Irish bishop Donal Murray of Limerick is traveling to Rome with a delegation of Irish bishops to meet with Pope Benedict XVI and members of the Curia regarding the “painful situation of the Church in Ireland,” the BBC reports. Following a letter to parishioners in his diocese, it is believed that Bishop Murray will offer the Pope his resignation.
According to L'Osservatore Romano, Fr. Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said that the Irish delegation and the Holy Father will meet on Friday “to be briefed and to evaluate the painful situation of the Church in Ireland, following the recent publication of the Murphy Commission Report.”
The Murphy report, which was published on Nov. 26, is a state-sponsored investigation into the Catholic Church's handling of clerical abuse. The report states that Bishop Murray acted “inexcusably” by not thoroughly investigating Fr. Tom Naughton when Murray was bishop of Dublin. Fr. Naughton has since admitted to a series of serious sex offenses.
This past Sunday, a letter from Bishop Murray, 69, asked parishioners to pray for him as “he is reflecting on the decision that he now has to make.” The letter also said that he “is acutely aware of the pain and anguish that has been experienced and expressed in the last week.”
According to the BBC, Cardinal Seán Brady, president of the Irish Conference of Bishops, said that Bishop Murray had “been in contact with me, as you know he is considering his position and hopes to be in a position to comment soon.” “I'm confident Bishop Donal will do the right thing," Cardinal Brady added.