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Pope declines resignations of two Irish bishops

August 11, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen not to accept the resignations of two Irish bishops who were criticized in an independent report on Dublin’s sex-abuse scandal.

Bishops Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh—both auxiliaries in the Dublin archdiocese—offered their resignations in December, after the Murphy Commission sharply criticized the leadership of the Dublin archdiocese for covering up evidence of sexual abuse. But the Irish Catholic newspaper reported on August 11 that Pope Benedict has not accepted their resignations.

Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has written to the priests of the archdiocese, informing them that Bishops Walsh and Field will remain active, and will be given different responsibilities in the Dublin archdiocese, the Irish Catholic reported. The archbishop wrote: “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.”

Late last year, calls arose for the resignations of bishops responsible for covering up the abuse. Bishops Field and Walsh had initially resisted the pressure to step down, but eventually did submit their resignations— after Archbishop Martin pointedly declined to say that his auxiliaries should stay in place.

Pope Benedict has already accepted the resignations of two other Irish bishops who were auxiliaries in Dublin during the time covered by the Murphy Commission, and later became heads of their own dioceses: Bishops Donal Murray of Limerick and James Moriarty of Kildare. One other former Dublin auxiliary, Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway, has to date resisted calls to resign.


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