Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly rejected the resignations of two bishops in Ireland who submitted their letters of resignation last December following criticism in a government report of mishandling child abuse allegations.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin provided an explanation in letter to priests and other local Church officials, saying, "Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops."
Bishop Walsh and Bishop Field submitted their resignations in Dec. of 2009 after the report of the Commission of Investigation into allegations of child abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin criticized them for how they addressed the issue. Over a dozen current and former bishops in Ireland have reportedly been complicit in failing to inform police about more than 170 suspected pedophiles in the priesthood from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s.
The Associated Press (AP) reported on Aug. 11 that the archbishop's letter said the two Dublin auxiliaries will be "assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese." However, the statement offered no specific information on these new duties.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi did not comment on why the two auxiliary bishops would stay in their positions nor did he confirm the rejection of the resignations. Rather, he told the AP that the Vatican only makes public announcements when resignations are accepted, not when they are rejected.
Multiple speculations on the significance of the rejections have circulated in the news, with one Irish editor commenting that the Vatican was not pleased with Archbishop Martin's public clash with predecessors and other Church authorities. The archbishop, who was appointed in 2004 amid Ireland's child abuse scandals, has been outspoken against implicated Church officials who suppressed reports of abuse and transferred abusive priests to other parishes in the U.K. and the U.S.
Gary O'Sullivan, editor of the weekly Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin told the AP that the “Vatican were not impressed with the way Diarmuid Martin went on PrimeTime (an Irish television news program) and called on other bishops to be accountable.”
"It's not the way business is done in Rome.”