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VATICAN CITY (RNS) An Irish Catholic bishop implicated in a recent report on clerical sex abuse resigned on Wednesday (Dec. 23), making his the second such resignation in less than a week.
In a statement announcing the move, Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin apologized to “all the survivors and their families,” and expressed hope his resignation “honors the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned …”
Moriarty was one of a number of church leaders criticized or implicated in November’s Murphy Commission report, which traced a pattern of clerical physical and sexual abuse from 1975-2004 that had been covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin, at times with the collusion of the Irish police.
The report said the church had placed greater importance on protecting its reputation and maintaining secrecy than on children’s welfare or justice for victims. Starting in 1940, four successive archbishops of Dublin were aware of complaints, the report said, but church authorities failed to implement most of their rules for dealing with abuse.
In his statement, Moriarty noted that he served as an auxiliary bishop of Dublin “prior to when correct child protection policies and procedures were implemented.”
“It does not serve the truth to overstate my responsibility and authority within the archdiocese,” Moriarty said. “Nor does it serve the truth to overlook the fact that the system of management and communications was seriously flawed. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I accept that … I should have challenged the prevailing culture.”
Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI expressed “outrage,” “shame,”
and “profound regret” over the report’s revelations, which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said would lead to a “very significant reorganization of the church in Ireland.”
Moriarty’s resignation follows that of Bishop Donal B. Murray of Limerick, which was announced by the Vatican on Dec. 17. The report faulted Murray for his failure, while serving as an auxiliary bishop of Dublin, to act on sex abuse charges against a priest later convicted of abusing a boy at least 70 times in the early 1980s.
Irish media have suggested three other present or former auxiliary bishops of Dublin might still resign as a result of criticisms in the report.
By Francis X. Rocca
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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