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Resignations of Irish bishops not planned for abuse summit

“A casualty of all this has been the truth,’’ the Rev. Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, said. “A casualty of all this has been the truth,’’ the Rev. Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, said. (Sandro Pace/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / February 15, 2010

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ROME - Irish bishops will give an accounting to Pope Benedict XVI of their views, actions, or knowledge about decades of sexual abuse by clergy, a participant said yesterday, but resignations are not on the agenda for this week’s extraordinary summit over the scandal.

Summit participants will each have seven minutes to have their say before the pope, who will listen to the Irish prelates in group sessions at the Vatican today and tomorrow.

“A casualty of all this has been the truth,’’ the Rev. Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, said on the eve of the summit. “The fullness of the truth must come out, everything must be laid on the table.’’

Duffy, a spokesman for the Irish Bishops Conference, said the church was “admittedly slower than in needs to be’’ in grappling with a “culture of concealment.’’

Last year, an investigation revealed that church leaders in Dublin had spent decades protecting child-abusing priests from the law while many fellow clerics turned a blind eye. A separate report in Ireland had been released months earlier documenting decades of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse in Catholic-run schools, workhouses, and orphanages.

Victims quickly demanded certain Irish bishops resign. Several have agreed, but others have flatly refused.

Among the 24 bishops at the summit will be Martin Drennan of Galway, who has rebuffed calls that he stepped down. Drennan has insisted that he did nothing to endanger children and has clung to his office.