VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin, Ireland, who said he should have challenged the culture of silence in the Irish church when priests were accused of sexually abusing minors.
The Vatican announced April 22 that the pope accepted the resignation of the 73-year-old bishop under a provision in canon law for retiring before age 75 "because of ill health or some other grave cause."
In a statement April 22, Bishop Moriarty again apologized to victims of clerical sex abuse and said it was blatantly un-Christian of bishops to argue about their degree of responsibility for the scandal when the victims were in such pain.
Bishop Moriarty announced Dec. 23 that he had offered to resign, saying at the time, "I fully accept the overall conclusion" of an independent commission "that the attempts by church authorities to 'protect the church' and to 'avoid scandal' had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong."
In his April 22 statement, the bishop said the decision to resign was "the most difficult decision of my ministry."