Second bishop resigns over Irish abuse inquiry

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The Independent Online

A second Irish bishop dramatically resigned today over the damning findings of a state clerical child abuse inquiry.

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty faced mounting pressure to quit after Limerick Bishop Donal Murray stepped aside six days ago over his "inexcusable" mishandling of an abuse case.

Despite previously insisting he should not resign, Bishop Moriarty said he accepted the inquiry's findings and that he should have challenged Church handling of paedophilia.

"I know that any action now on my part does not take away the suffering that people have endured," he said.

"I again apologise to all the survivors and their families.

"I have today offered my resignation as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin to the Holy Father. I hope it honours the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned."

Bishop Moriarty served as an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin Archdiocese between 1991 and 2002.

The inquiry, based on a sample 46 priests, revealed a catalogue of paedophilia and subsequent cover-ups over three decades because the Catholic hierarchy, obsessed with secrecy, was granted police immunity.

In 1993 complaints were made against a Fr Edmondus based in Ednemore in Dublin about his contact with children.

It was reported to Bishop Moriarty who was in charge of the area.

The senior clergyman warned Edmondus about his behaviour and told him to stop.

While the inquiry did not explicitly criticise Bishop Moriarty, it said diocesan authorities made no attempt to check the archives or other files relating to the priest when the complaints were received.

Marie Collins, who was abused by Fr Edmondus in a children's hospital almost 50 years ago, did not accept the cleric's claim that he had not been criticised in the report.

She maintained that after a complaint was made, the bishop did not see if his superior had checked the priest's file, which would have shown his history of abuse.

"That would have shown immediately that Fr Edmondus was very dangerous," she said.

"It meant that Fr Edmondus remained in that parish for a further four years until my own report went in.

"If anyone was abused during those four years, you have to say if the investigation had been thorough, they may not have been hurt."