Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Thursday, 24 December 2009

Derry bishop 'unsure' if resignations help

Bishop Seamus Hegarty
Bishop Hegarty said resignations may not help the healing process

The Bishop of Derry, Dr Seamus Hegarty, has said he is unsure whether it would be helpful for more bishops to resign over the Murphy Report.

It is the first time the bishop has spoken since the report into clerical sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese was published a month ago.

Two bishops, James Moriarty and Donal Murray, have already resigned.

Bishop Hegarty said he was "not sure" if more resignations would "contribute in any great way towards healing".

"In recent times I have been talking to victims who had been involved in court proceedings.

"They would say their experience in court was much more traumatic for them that the original sexual abuse," he said.

However, Marie Collins, who was abused as a child by a priest, has criticised the Bishop of Derry.

She said she "was appalled that any bishop could hold this point of view and could express it at this time".

Ms Collins said "the idea that maybe you shouldn't report cases, it's not going to do the victim any good... that sort of justification just has no place at the present time".

Bishop Hegarty also said he would mention the resignations in his Christmas message.

In November he called on anyone who had been abused by a member of the clergy to go to the civil authorities.

The Murphy Report condemned the Catholic church for covering up decades of abuse of children.

The report also criticised the civil authorities for failing to investigate many of the crimes.

The Catholic church in Ireland has apologised.

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