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Pope accepts Irish bishop's resignation in abuse scandal

The Pope accepted the resignation of Irish Bishop John Magee of Cloyne (pictured), who has been accused of mishandling reports of clerical child sex abuse allegations in his diocese. The bishop begged the forgiveness of abuse victims in a statement.

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AFP- Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Irish bishop John Magee a year after he quit over his handling of a paedophilia priest scandal, the Vatican said.

The bishop of Cloyne in southern Ireland, who served as the private secretary of three successive popes -- Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II -- resigned after a Church report criticised his handling of two Cloyne priests accused of abusing children.

The report by the Irish Church's own National Board for Safeguarding Children said there "was no evidence that risk had been appropriately identified or managed, thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm."

The Vatican said in a statement that the pope accepted Magee's resignation in accordance with an article of canon law stating that a bishop who, because of "his illness or some other grave reason has become unsuited for the fulfilment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation."

Magee for his part offered his "sincere apologies" for his actions and begged forgiveness from victims of abuse.

"As I depart, I want to offer once again my sincere apologies to any person who has been abused by any priest of the Diocese of Cloyne during my time as bishop or at any time," he said.

"To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon."

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