Bishop Donal Murray could resign within three days

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

Murray was one of many Irish Catholic Church bishops criticized in the Murphy Report into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004.

“The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Limerick, presented by Monsignor Donal Brendan Murray, in conformity with ... Canon Law."

The Church's rules on the subject, crafted by Pope John Paul II in 1984, reads: “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly required to present his resignation from office”.

Asked about the “other grave cause” which prompted Murray’s resignation, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the press: "That seems to me obvious, given the situation that had been created by the publication of the (Murphy) Report and given that he was one of the people involved in the events dealt with by the report. For that reason and for the good of the Church, for a greater serenity, he spontaneously presented his resignation.”