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Pressure mounts on Irish bishop for mishandling sex-abuse inquiries

January 05, 2009

Ireland's two leading prelates have voiced their full support for uniform measures to protect children from sexual abuse, after the release of a report sharply criticizing the leadership of the Cloyne diocese for failing to respond properly to abuse reports. Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh says that he has called upon all Irish bishops to promise full implementation of recommendations from the National Board for Safeguarding Children, an autonomous group set up by the Irish bishops in 2006; the cardinal said that he would encourage the group to monitor compliance by every diocese and religious order. In his homily during a January 1 Mass, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said that "we need a Church which becomes a model and a partner of protection." The archbishop had earlier said that he was worried about the differences among Irish dioceses in their child-protection policies.

Archbishop Martin has distanced himself from Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, who is under heavy pressure to resign after a public report sharply criticized the handling of sex-abuse reports in his diocese. When asked whether Bishop Magee should step down, Archbishop Martin said that the decision should be left to Magee himself. A January 4 editorial in the Irish Times conveyed an increasingly common belief: " Bishop Magee has lost the moral authority to remain in office."


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