12 Aug 2010

Resignations by bishops refused

6:01 am on 12 August 2010

Pope Benedict has refused to accept the resignation of two Irish bishops who were found to have acted improperly in their child abuse cases.

Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field announced their resignations on Christmas Eve 2009. They were both auxiliary bishops of Dublin.

On Wednesday, an Irish Catholic newspaper said it had seen a letter sent to priests in the Dublin diocese by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin telling them of the Pope's decision.

"Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as Auxiliary bishops," the letter read.

Archbishop Martin went on to say the two men are "to be assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese".

The One in Four group, which offers support to survivors of sexual abuse, said it appeared to be an "extraordinary decision by the Vatican".