Irish bishop is first to quit over child sex abuse scandal

An Irish bishop flew to Rome yesterday to hand in his resignation after days of angry and intense pressure over his handling of cases of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Donal Murray, Bishop of Limerick (pictured), gave every sign of acting with great reluctance, after spending some days apparently playing for time in the hope of keeping his post. But the wave of shock and horror which followed publication of a damning report, which revealed a systematic high-level church cover-up of the abuse of children by priests, is in effect sweeping him from office.

The report revealed that archbishops of Dublin had over a quarter of a century ensured that the activities of paedophile priests were kept secret. The result was that in many cases priests were left free to continue their abuse. The report concluded, and the Irish public has accepted, with dismay and sustained rage, that the church routinely placed its own image ahead of the protection of vulnerable children. In the case of Bishop Murray, pictured, the report concluded that he had acted "inexcusably" in one case, and that he had handled other complaints and suspicions badly.

One attempt at mitigation, pleading that he was a relatively inexperienced bishop, has been undermined by the fact that he was a professor of moral theology with a particular expertise in ethics.

The sense of outrage against the church is so strong that although he is the first clerical casualty of the affair he may not be the last. The report concluded that various other churchmen were also guilty of acts of both omission and commission.

Most unusually, criticism has not been confined to the Irish church but is also being made of the Vatican itself.

Rome did not respond to repeated letters from the commission which produced the report, and since it appeared has refrained from offering any detailed response beyond generalised expressions of sorrow.

This has not been enough for the Irish government, with Foreign Minister Micheal Martin expressing "deep disappointment" at Rome's response. He complained: "The Pope has not responded yet to the appalling revelations of the Murphy inquiry."

The papal nuncio, who is in effect the Vatican's ambassador to Ireland, has been summoned to the Irish foreign office to give an explanation. Mr Martin said: "We will be pointing out that we need a substantive response."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee