Vatican rejects Irish bishops’ resignations
They will remain in their job but be given ‘revised responsibilites’
The Vatican has rejected the resignations of two Catholic bishops in Ireland who offered to quit in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said yesterday.
Archbishop Martin said in a letter to priests in his archdiocese that Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field will remain in their job but will be given “revised responsibilities”.
The bishops presented their resignations to Pope Benedict XVI in December following a judge’s damning report on the Dublin archdiocese that found the Catholic Church concealed the abuse of children by priests for three decades.
Archbishop Martin said in the letter: “Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops.”
The Archbishop said they were “to be assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese”.
“This means that they will be available to administer confirmation in any part of the diocese in the coming year,” Archbishop Martin added.
Martin Long, of the Catholic Communications Office, confirmed the contents of Archbishop Martin’s letter but said he could give no further information on what the bishops’ “revised responsibilities” would be.
The hard-hitting report by judge Yvonne Murphy that sparked the bishops’ offers to resign revealed that archbishops had effectively turned a blind eye to cases of abuse in institutions run by the Catholic Church.
One priest admitted to sexually abusing over 100 children, while another acknowledged that he had abused on a fortnightly basis over 25 years.
Auxiliary bishops Walsh and Field initially rebuffed criticism of their alleged role in hushing up the abuse but eventually offered to quit after failing to receive public backing from Archbishop Martin.
In March, the Pope published an unprecedented pastoral letter to Irish Catholics that condemned those who committed the abuse, but refused to acknowledge any culpability on the Vatican’s part.