Bishop's resignation accepted


Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, it was announced today.

Dr Magee stood aside last March after it was revealed he did not follow proper child protection guidelines. Today's announcement was made at 11am in the form of a press release issued through the Irish Bishops’ Conference, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare.

The short statement read: "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne. This announcement was made today in Rome at 12:00 local time."

In a statement issued from the Cloyne diocesan centre, Dr Magee (73) welcomed the acceptance of his resignation. He extended his "sincere apologies" to any person who was abused by "any priest" during his time as bishop, "or at any time".

"To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon. As I said on Christmas Eve 2008 after the publication report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, I take full responsibility for the criticism of our management of issues contained in that report," Dr Magee said.

He said he would continue to be available to the Government commission of Investigation into child protection procedures in the diocese "at any time".

Dr Magee added he "sincerely hopes" that the work and the findings of the Commission "will be of some help towards healing for those who have been abused." Dr Magee once served in Rome as personal secretary to Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II.

In a statement today, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said he wished to acknowledge the "long and varied ministry" of Dr Magee in the Church.

Cardinal Seán Brady said: "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."

He added: "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."

Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who was appointed apostolic administrator to the Cloyne diocese and is Ireland’s longest serving Catholic Archbishop, said: "I would like to thank Bishop John Magee for the co-operation he has given me since my appointment as Apostolic Administrator to the Diocese of Cloyne on 7 March 2009.

"I wish him all God’s blessings in his retirement. I ask for the continued prayers and support of the lay faithful, priests and religious of the Diocese of Cloyne for all those who have suffered abuse."

Dr Magee's decision to stand aside from the governance of Cloyne diocese was applauded last March by the Boston-based lay Catholic group Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) as “an example of accountability for bishops everywhere”.