VATICAN CITY - A Roman Catholic bishop in Ireland has resigned after an investigation into child sex abuse by clergymen accused him of ignoring reports of crimes by priests in his diocese, the Vatican said yesterday
The one-line announcement that Bishop Donal Murray had resigned did not mention the scandal.
But a statement that Murray read to colleagues and curates in the western Irish city of Limerick left no doubt that he was going because of an Irish government investigation's findings about his time as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1982 to 1996.
"I know full well that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day," said Murray, 69. "I humbly apologize once again to all who were abused as little children."
Murray had been widely expected to resign after last month's report from a government-appointed commission. It ruled that Murray had handled reports of child-abusing priests "particularly badly" - and condemned his failure to crack down on one particular abuser, the Rev. Thomas Naughton, as "inexcusable."
Murray transferred Naughton to new parishes despite receiving reports that he was molesting children. Naughton since has been convicted twice of raping altar boys.
The investigation found that four other serving bishops and five retired bishops, including Cardinal Desmond Connell, played a role in a decadelong cover-up.
The report said church leaders in the Dublin Archdiocese failed to inform authorities about sexual abuse by priests, while police failed to pursue allegations because they considered church figures above the law.
The leader of Ireland's four million Catholics, Cardinal Sean Brady, offered his own apology "to all who were abused as children by priests, who were betrayed and who feel outraged by the failure of church leadership in responding to their abuse."
One abuse survivor, former altar boy Andrew Madden, said that Murray's resignation was not enough and that other church leaders should quit too.
The Vatican has been harshly criticized in Ireland for failing to answer letters from the Dublin Archdiocese investigators.
Last week, the Vatican described Pope Benedict XVI as being "deeply disturbed" by the sex-abuse scandal and said he will write a letter to Catholics in Ireland with the Holy See's response. It said also the pope shares the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by many Irish faithful.