Fallout from the Catholic child sex abuse scandal spread across Europe on Thursday as the Vatican retired an Irish bishop, a German offered to step down and prelates in England and Wales apologised for the “terrible crimes” of priests.
The Vatican said Pope Benedict, under criticism from victims for not doing enough about past cases of abuse by priests now being revealed, had accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty, the third Irish bishop to leave over the scandal.
Moriarty said in a statement that he was auxiliary bishop of Dublin from 1991 to 2002, before child protection policies were implemented. “I accept that from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture,” he said. “I apologise to all survivors and their families.”
In Germany, Walter Mixa, who is bishop for Augsburg and for the German armed forces, offered to resign late on Wednesday after admitting he physically abused children decades ago. His diocese said he did this “to avert further damage to the Church and to allow a new start.”
Bishops in England and Wales issued an apology for the scandal and urged Catholics there to pray for the Church.