Pope Benedict accepts resignation of third Irish bishop

Pope Benedict accepts resignation of third Irish bishop

Bishop Jim Moriarty.
Bishop Jim Moriarty.


The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of another Irish bishop implicated in the Irish government's Murphy Report. Bishop Jim Moriarty, who has officially been relieved of his assignment as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, expressed his hope that his resignation would honor survivors and create a better future.

The announcement from the Holy See on Thursday was quickly followed by statements from Cardinal Sean Brady and Bishop Moriarty himself through official Irish Bishops' Conference channels.

The resignation is the third accepted by the Holy Father from an Irish bishop in the last five months together with those of Bishops Donal Murray of Limerick and John Magee of Cloyne.

Bishop Moriarty said Thursday that for the Catholic Church in Ireland, "renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past."

The Murphy Report, released on Nov. 26, offered the results of an extensive government investigation into cases of sexual abuses by minors in the Archdiocese of Dublin and shed light on what has been called a "clerical culture" that led to cases of abuse being frequently mishandled and covered up.

The bishop said that although he was not directly criticized in the report, as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1991 - 2002, he "should have challenged the prevailing culture."

"Once more," he added, "I apologize to all survivors and their families," he said.

Repeating his words from Dec. 23, when he offered his resignation papers, he expressed his hope that his stepping down "honors the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned."

The bishop said that the "long struggle of survivors to be heard and respected by church authorities has revealed a culture within the Church that many would simply describe as unchristian" and has been "profoundly dispiriting for all who care about the Church. "

“Let us be clear,” he said, “our failures have damaged our people’s faith and the strength of our witness.”

Bishop Moriarty echoed the words of Pope Benedict XVI from the Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland last month in which he called for "a new vision ... to inspire present and future generations" and to deliver justice to abuse victims.

Bishop Moriarty tendered his resignation to Benedict XVI in December as did Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field who have not yet received word from Rome.

Recognizing the departure of the bishop and his "great pastoral wisdom and experience," Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady wished him "well in the future" and assured him of his prayers.

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