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Irish primate backs embattled bishop against calls for resignation

January 14, 2009

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"There is no pastoral issue more critical for the Church in Ireland today than to ensure the right attitudes and the right procedures are in place to safeguard children," said that Primate of All Ireland in a January 13 address. But while he insisted that "there is absolutely no room for complacency" on the issue, Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh told reporters that he did not think Cloyne's Bishop John Magee should resign in the wake of revelations that his diocese mishandled sex-abuse reports. "I know trust has been damaged," the cardinal said; "but trust can be restored."

The cardinal's vocal support for his embattled colleague drew more media attention than the remainder of his address, in which he spoke at length about the violence in Gaza and two ecclesial events of 2008: the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec and the meeting of the Synod of Bishops in October. As the Irish bishops brace themselves for new revelations about the sex-abuse scandal-- in a report about the Dublin archdiocese, which could be made public by the end of January-- commentators have questioned whether the Irish Church leadership would rally to Bishop Magee's defense, and whether such a defense would be prudent.


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