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Irish Roman Catholic bishops resign over child abuse coverups

DUBLIN - Two Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland resigned on Christmas Day in the wake of a damning investigation into decades of church cover-up of child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.

Dublin Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field offered an apology to child-abuse victims as they announced their resignations during Christmas Mass. Priests read the statement to worshipers throughout the archdiocese, home to a quarter of Ireland's 4 million Catholics.

Earlier this month two other bishops, Donal Murray of Limerick and Jim Moriarty of Kildare, quit following the Nov. 26 publication of a three-year investigation into why so many abusive Dublin priests escaped justice for so long.

The government-ordered investigation found that church leaders spent decades shielding more than 170 pedophile priests. They began providing information to police in 1995 - but continued to keep secret, until 2004, many other records of reported abuse. - AP

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