Irish bishop says sorry, should have done more against abuse

22nd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Irish bishop whose resignation was accepted by the pope Thursday over the cover-up of clerical abuse of children in Dublin apologised and said he should have challenged a culture of secrecy.

"Again I accept that from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture. Once more I apologise to all survivors and their families," James Moriarty said in a statement.

Moriarty was auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1991 to 2002.

He tendered his resignation as bishop of Kildare and Leighlin to the pope in December after a devastating report revealed decades of abuse by clergy in the Dublin archdiocese and a cover-up by Catholic authorities there.

Pope Benedict XVI formally accepted his resignation Thursday.

Moriarty said resigning was "the most difficult decision of my ministry", saying he did not initially anticipate leaving because he was not directly criticised in judge Yvonne Murphy's damning report into the abuse.

"However, the Murphy report covers far more than what individual bishops did or did not do. Renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past," he said.

Moriarty added: "The truth is 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.

"People do not recognise the gentle, endless love of the Lord in narrow interpretations of responsibility and a basic lack of compassion and humility.

"This has been profoundly dispiriting for all who care about the Church."

Moriarty is among six bishops who have offered to resign following the Murphy report into the archdiocese -- the country's biggest -- found the Roman Catholic authorities had concealed the abuse.

The pope has also accepted the resignations of bishops Brendan Comiskey, Donal Murray and John Magee.

The leaders of the five million Roman Catholics in England and Wales also offered a full apology on Thursday and said there were "no excuses" for the child abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.

They said the crimes carried out by some priests and religious figures had brought "deep shame" to the Church.

© 2010 AFP

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