Pope accepts resignation of Irish bishop who covered up abuse
Complete statement from Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare
Here is the complete text of his statement:
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has today formally accepted my resignation as Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, which I offered on 23rd December, in the wake of the Murphy Report.
The decision to offer my resignation was the most difficult decision of my ministry. I did not anticipate resigning when I first read the Murphy Report, because I was not directly criticised. However, the Murphy Report covers far more than what individual Bishops did or did not do. Renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past. I served as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1991 until my appointment to this diocese in 2002. I was part of the governance of the Archdiocese prior to when correct child protection policies and procedures were implemented. Again I accept that from the time I became an Auxiliary Bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture. Once more I apologise to all survivors and their families.
I know that words of apology are not enough. Before speaking on other matters, it is important to be able to report that, learning from the past, the Irish Church now has excellent child safeguarding procedures in place. Kildare & Leighlin Diocese has fully subscribed to the definitive 'Standards and Guidance' document published by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in 2008. This is exemplified in the policy document we subsequently produced ourselves, in our training programmes undergone by priests and lay people, many of the latter having volunteered to act as 'designated person' in their parish, our use of Garda vetting and our co-operation with civil and Church audits. We remain keenly aware of the need for constant vigilance and updating to ensure that the Church is the safest possible place for children.
When I announced before Christmas that I was offering my resignation to the Holy Father, I explained what I hoped it might achieve - 'I hope it honours the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned'.
The truth is that the long struggle of survivors to be heard and respected by church authorities has revealed a culture within the Church that many would simply describe as unchristian. People do not recognise the gentle, endless love of the Lord in narrow interpretations of responsibility and a basic lack of compassion and humility. This has been profoundly dispiriting for all who care about the Church. As I stated in my contribution at the recent gathering of Irish Bishops with the Holy Father - 'Let us be clear, our failures have damaged our people's faith and the strength of our witness'.
The truth is also that the Church is 'at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal' (Lumen Gentium 8). I believe the spiritual well-being of the People of God demands that this principle of the Church as always in need of reform, which was embraced at the Second Vatican Council, should again come to the forefront of Church life. I believe, as I said at the recent Vatican gathering 'that the goal should be a new fellowship (cf. Acts 4:32-37); a deeper sharing of the mission that transcends the kind of clerical culture that led us here.'
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