Disgraced (and former} Limerick Bishop Donal Murray

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of disgraced Limerick Bishop Donal Murray.

If the Irish Catholic public had one reaction to the "firing" by Pope Benedict of Bishop Donal Murray on Wednesday, it was "too little, too late." And if there was another resounding response, it was that the disgraced "cover-up cleric" belonged in jail.

Most agreed the embattled Murray had no alternative but to put his own head on the Vatican chopping block after his role in the shocking child sex-abuse scandal was revealed in the Murphy Report into clerical abuse and its cover-up.

The report detailed the extent of child abuse in the Dublin Diocese, and criticized Murray for withholding information and concealing child abuse by members of the clergy.

In particular, the bishop was roundly criticized for shielding pedophile priest Father Thomas Naughton, who was jailed for abusing a boy in the early 1980s — and abusing him for years.

After vowing to consider his position and asking parishioners to pray for him, Murray went to Rome, and on his return, announced that the Pope had accepted his resignation.

Reaction to Murray's resignation from some IrishCentral readers who posted comments on the site's Facebook page was scathing:

"Aiding and abetting is a crime. He should be jailed right along with the other," thundered one reader.

"It's only the tip of the iceberg! The Catholic church in Ireland is one big cesspool of pedophilia," warned another.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, was more direct on what measures should be taken to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

"Wounded adults and vulnerable children need widespread reform, not sacrificial lambs," he said.

In Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin released the following statement:

“I believe Bishop Donal Murray did the right thing for his diocese and for the wider Irish Church, and I appreciate the personal difficulty and pressure he has been under.

 "Responsibility must be taken by all who hold a position of authority and collective responsibility.

"There have been serious difficulties of structure and communication at management level in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

"The Murphy report indicated how decisions were taken which resulted in further children being abused.

"Accountability must be assumed for that and radical reform is required in the archdiocese, not just in the area of children protection.

"I am satisfied with our current situation in the child protection area but I am not complacent – and it requires ongoing commitment.

"I am and will be meeting those in this diocese who are named in the report about the way this archdiocese is managed about changes I want and that I consider vital for the future of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

"This will not be complete until early in the New Year and I will not discuss it publicly before then. There will be wider consultations also. This is without doubt a period of deep crisis in this archdiocese.

"Priests and people of this diocese see there can be no healing without radical change. Along with many others I am committed to that change.

Cardinal Sean Brady also made a statement on the resignation, again underlining the need for the Church in Ireland to reach out to abuse victims.

"I acknowledge and respect the decision of Bishop Murray to resign as Bishop of Limerick, as was announced earlier today.

"As Bishop Murray said in his statement this morning, the survivors of abuse must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.

"I apologize 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.

"I wish to acknowledge and thank Bishop Murray for his contribution to the work of the Irish Bishops' Conference. He is in my prayers at this time ."

However, the "man-in-the-street" reaction was unforgiving in the belief that Murray was not the only member of the Church in Ireland that should be getting his resume ready and checking the help-wanted ads. If not hiring a defense lawyer.

"I think he made the inevitable decision, but it is a decision that thy could all take,” one parishioner told RTE News.

“He knew what was going on and I knew 20 year ago what was going on, He had to go,” said another.