Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, James Moriarty, on April 22 according to the British Press Association.
Moriarty is the third European bishop to leave amid a scandal over the mishandling of allegations of clerical child abuse.
His announcement followed German Bishop Walter Mixa’s letter to Pope Benedict offering to resign over ongoing allegations of physical abuse and financial misconduct. Mixa felt the resignation would offer a “new start” for his diocese, according to the Augsburg Diocese.
“I ask the forgiveness of all those to whom I may have been unfair and to those who I may have caused heartache,” Mixa wrote, adding that he was “fully aware of my own weaknesses.”
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, head of the church in England and Wales, expressed the church’s “heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed.” He referred to the crimes of the priests as a “profound scandal” that “bring deep shame to the whole church,” according to the London Telegraph.
Pope Benedict said on April 21 that the Church would take “action,” after receiving criticism from victims’ groups for his vague language used to address the accusations of child abuse in the United States, Austria, his native Germany and elsewhere.