The Catholic Church in Ireland is in turmoil as Cardinal Sean Brady on Tuesday of this week backed the steadfast resistance by Bishop John Magee of Cloyne to demands for his resignation in the wake of his mishandling of allegations of clerical child sex abuse for almost a decade. Magee, a former secretary to three popes, has been subjected to a barrage of criticism since a Health Service Executive (HSE) report found he misled authorities when he said he was compliant with child protection guidelines. The HSE audit - itself severely criticized for its inadequacy - found he had not informed authorities, when he filled in an investigation questionnaire, that one of his priests was under investigation for abuse claims. Details of that audit were revealed after the Irish church's own National Board for Safeguarding Children found that Magee had failed to apply proper procedures and had thus put vulnerable children in danger. Magee was further isolated by some of his brother bishops, most notably Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. He admitted that he was "extremely concerned" that Magee's flawed approach had endangered a "one-church policy" agreed by all 26 dioceses. But the belated support of Cardinal Brady, Ireland's most senior churchman, boosted Magee's prospects of staying in office. Brady said he believes Magee should not resign. Brady accepted there had been serious failures in Cloyne, but he said Magee had learned a painful lesson and was determined to put in place proper procedures for dealing with abuse victims, and would do everything in his power to ensure that clerical sexual abuse did not happen in his diocese again. Magee had earlier apologized and accepted personal responsibility for the manner in which the allegations were handled, but he continued to stubbornly resist resignation demands, even when Children's Minister Barry Andrews ordered a new, independent, state probe into the allegations swirling around the Cloyne diocese. Magee has vowed to cooperate fully with the new inquiry, led by Circuit Court Judge Yvonne Murphy.

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