Another day, another Irish Bishop resigns. The Vatican has now accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee.

Magee, a Down native, was already in deep trouble over victim abuse in his Cork diocese, and had stepped aside temporarily while his actions were examined.

Magee is a controversial figure. He was personal secretary to three Popes: Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II -- and was present at each of their deaths.

He was one of the first who discovered Pope John Paul I dead in his bed.

Various conspiracy theories have accused him of cover-ups. He claimed to have found the dead Pope first, but later retracted that and said a nun had found him.

In 1981, he gave Communion and a Crucifix to dying Irish hunger-striker Bobby Sands in his prison cell as part of a mission from the Vatican to try and defuse the hunger strike issue.

He was called back to Rome from Cork for undisclosed reasons when Pope John Paul 11 passed away, and it was never made clear what he did there.

By then he had been quietly moved to Cloyne, but soon ran into trouble on the issue of child abuse.

In a statement today, Magee said he wanted to sincerely apologize to victims of abuse in Cloyne.

"To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon," he said.

"I also sincerely hope that the work and the findings of the Commission of Investigation will be of some help towards healing for those who have been abused," he said.

"I welcome the fact that my offer of resignation has been accepted, and I thank the priests, religious and faithful of the Diocese for their support during my time as Bishop of Cloyne, and assure them of a place in my prayers always."

Responding to the announcement, Cardinal Seán Brady said in a statement: "I wish to acknowledge the long and varied ministry of Bishop John Magee in the Church. I thank him for his contribution to the work of the Irish Bishops' Conference over the past twenty years, particularly in the area of Liturgy. I assure him of my prayers at this time and wish him good health in his retirement.

"However, foremost in my thoughts in these days are those who have suffered abuse by clergy and those who feel angry and let down by the often inadequate response of leaders in the Church," he said.

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