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Public pressure hastening Dublin Cardinal's 'imminent' retirement

Cardinal Desmond Connell is expected to tender his resignation as Archbishop of Dublin within the next few weeks.

Sources in Rome and close to the archbishop's palace say an announcement is "imminent". Connell, who is 76, offered the Pope his resignation on reaching his 75th birthday, as is required of all bishops. The Pope asked him to stay on for the time being, but it's understood that the strain of the past year has taken its toll and the cardinal now feels that it's time to go.

At a news conference last year, the cardinal told journalists he had suffered "agonies" over "this thing" which had "devastated" his period of office. In a rare public show of feeling, he told journalists: "I am as human as any of you."

Last week, Connell issued a public apology to a 28-year-old man who had been abused by a Dublin diocesan priest. The apology, which was read out in the High Court, was part of a record $A633,989 abuse settlement.

The cardinal is due to celebrate his 77th birthday on 26 March, and an announcement of his resignation is expected before that date. The former professor of metaphysics in UCD was appointed archbishop of the country's largest diocese in January 1988. Twelve years later, he was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

Sunday Business Post

The jury is out on Connell's successor (Sunday Business Post)
Connell dismisses resignation reports (Irish Examiner)
Cardinal's apology for failure to tackle abuse (The Universe)
Dublin Cardinal Expected to Resign (Catholic World News)
Irish Cardinal promises cooperation with Government probe (25/10/02)
Irish cardinal heckled after Mass while apologising for abuse cases (Catholic News Service)
Irish Catholicism in crisis (BBC)
Statement of Cardinal Desmond Connell (23/10/02)
Statement from Bishop Eamonn Walsh, Apostolic Administrator Diocese of Ferns
Statement issued by the Dublin Diocese in relation to Prime Time programme of 17th October 2002
RTE News Prime Time: "Cardinal Secrets" | Real Media video of report | Real Media video of TV discussion

4 Feb 2003