Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Theologian: Bishops named in abuse report should quit

Bishop Donal Murray
Bishop Donal Murray is under pressure to resign

A leading Catholic theologian in Ireland has said all bishops criticised in a report on clerical sexual abuse in Dublin should resign immediately.

In a letter to the Irish Times, Father Vincent Twomey said the actions or inactions of the bishops were "indefensible."

Fr Twomey, also told the paper that he found the bishops' response to last week's report "mind-boggling."

It found the church hierarchy had for decades covered-up child abuse.

Fr Twomey, who studied under the current pope, said the longer the bishops delay in resigning, the greater would be the damage.


The Bishop of Limerick, Donal Murray, is under the greatest pressure.

The abuse inquiry described his behaviour as "inexcusable."

Bishop Murray maintains he has given a "thorough response" to criticisms of him and has started engaging with the people and priests of his diocese about whether his ministry was a "hindrance or help" to it.

In an interview with the Limerick Leader newspaper, Bishop Murray said he would make a decision about his future in the next two weeks.

In the interview published on Wednesday, he said his decision would be informed by feedback from public opinion and his flock.

The Murphy Report revealed sexual abuse of children by priests over decades, a systematic cover-up by the Church and a lack of action by the Irish police.

It found the church put its own reputation ahead of the welfare of children.

The report covered a period from 1975 to 2004.

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