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Bishop resignation 'right thing'

Dr Donal Murray has resigned as Bishop of Limerick
Dr Donal Murray has resigned as Bishop of Limerick

The Bishop of Limerick "did the right thing" by resigning, the Archbishop of Dublin has said.

Dr Donal Murray resigned on Thursday, weeks after his handling of child sex abuse allegations was criticised.

The Murphy Report on abuse by priests in the Dublin Archdiocese found his handling of one case while an auxiliary bishop in the 1980s was "inexcusable".

Dr Diarmuid Martin said "responsibility must be taken by all who hold a position of authority".

"This is without doubt, a period of deep crisis in this Archdiocese. Priests and people of this diocese see that there can be no healing without radical change," the archbishop continued

"Along with many others, I am committed to that change."

Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said Dr Murray was "in his prayers".

"The survivors of abuse must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.

"I apologise again to all who were abused as children by priests, who were betrayed and who feel outraged by the failure of Church leadership in responding to their abuse.

"Their suffering must always be the primary consideration in any assessment of past failings, as a Church and as individuals."

To all survivors of abuse, I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can on their journey towards finding closure and serenity
Dr Donal Murray

The Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004 was highly critical of the Catholic church hierarchy's handling of priests suspected of being child abusers.

Dr Murray said Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation on Monday but agreed that he should return to Limerick to allow him to be in his diocese when the announcement was made.

He said: "I know full well my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day."

The report said many bishops were more concerned with preserving the reputation of the church rather than protecting children.

It found that during Dr Murray's time as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1982 to 1996, he was dismissive of complaints about a priest who went on to abuse again.

"I humbly apologise once again to all who were abused as little children," he said.

"To all survivors of abuse, I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can on their journey towards finding closure and serenity.

'Inexcusable'

The Murphy report said Bishop Murray did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns that were expressed to him in relation to one priest, Fr Tom Naughton in 1983.

A short time later, factual evidence of Naughton's abusing emerged in another parish.

The Murphy report found Bishop Murray's failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions was "inexcusable".

In May 1998, Naughton pleaded guilty to six counts of indecently assaulting three boys in 1985 and 1986. He was jailed for three years, reduced on appeal to two-and-a-half years.

On Wednesday, Naughton was jailed again - this time for three years for sexually abusing an altar boy between 1982 and 1984.



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