no resignation without a question
Two Irish bishops have resigned. The Vatican announcement explained that the two-- Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher and Bishop Francis Lagan, an auxiliary in Derry-- had reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. All very simple and straightforward, right?
Wrong, in the eyes of the New York Times, where an eagle-eyed reporter notes: "Bishops are required to tender their resignations at 75, but the pope can decline to accept and, in some cases, he has kept bishops well past that age."
That's true. Actually both Irish bishops were already well past their 75th birthdays-- in Lagan's case by 6 months, in Duffy's by more than a year-- and the Pope was already tardy in accepting their resignations. Still, since the Pope is not required to accept a resignation, there is an element of uncertainty. Leave that door even an inch ajar, and the New York Times comes bursting through with its favorite topic:
In March, Bishop Duffy said that he had known about abuse allegations against a priest in his diocese but that he had not told the civil authorities at the request of the victim’s parents, Irish news media reported.
Does that fragmentary report give you any logical reason to suspect that Bishop Duffy's resignation was forced? No. But the Times has served notice. Effective immediately, any time a Catholic bishop's resignation is accepted short of his 125th birthday, the Times will have another opportunity to raise the topic of abuse. Questions can always be raised; evidence is optional.
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