New bishop of troubled Irish diocese says abuse victims to be priority

Dublin — The newly appointed bishop of Cloyne vowed he would make healing the lives of victims of abuse in the diocese a priority.

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr. William Crean, 60, to lead the diocese.

Cloyne has been without a bishop since Bishop John Magee, a former secretary to three popes, resigned in 2010. A year earlier, following sharp criticism of his handling of clerical sex abuse, Magee requested an apostolic administrator for the diocese. A government inquiry begun in 2009 later reported Magee covered up allegations of abuse against priests in his diocese.

Speaking at St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, County Cork, the bishop-designate said he had mixed feelings about his appointment.

"I am apprehensive because I am deeply conscious of the trauma of these years past -- so much suffering endured by young people at the hands of a few -- sufferings compounded by the failure of those who didn't believe them and those who didn't hear their cry for help," he said. "One thing I ask, however, is your patience to allow me time to grasp the full measure of this deep hurt.

"I commit myself to do all that I can with others in the diocese to continue to bring healing and new hope to the lives of all victims of abuse and their families," he said.

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, the primate of all Ireland, congratulated Crean on his appointment.

Speaking from Rome, Brady said: "I am confident that his ability and experience will greatly benefit the pastoral life of the diocese and, in addition ... the Irish bishops' conference."

Crean is a priest of the Kerry Diocese and was ordained to the priesthood June 20, 1976. Before his appointment, he was serving as parish priest of the Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church in Cahirciveen. He has also worked in a number of educational and catechetical appointments.

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