December 25, 2009 / 10:38 AM / 10 years ago

Two more Irish bishops to resign over child abuse report

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Two more Irish bishops have said they will offer their resignations to the Pope, bringing the total number of church leaders to quit after a damning report into child sex abuse by priests to four.

Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, the only two serving auxiliary (assistant) bishops in the archdiocese of Dublin, said they had informed Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of their decision.

“It is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologise to them,” they said in a statement released late on Thursday.

Like Bishop Jim Moriarty who resigned on Wednesday, both bishops had said the report had shown that they had done nothing wrong.

Moriarty admitted that he should have challenged the “prevailing culture” that allowed criminal acts against children to take place.

Last week Bishop Donal Murray became the first bishop to quit since the publication of the report, which said Church leaders in overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland had covered up widespread sexual abuse of children by priests for 30 years.

The report, issued on Nov. 26, said the archdiocese had been more preoccupied with protecting the Church’s reputation than safeguarding children and had “obsessively” hidden child abuse from 1974 to 2004.

Walsh has served as an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Dublin since 1990. Field took up his post in Dublin in 1997.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin

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