The resignation of Richard Burke, the catholic Archbishop of the Nigerian Diocese of Benin City, accused of molesting a teenage girl, was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI on Monday 31st May, 2010.
Dolores Atwood had alleged she was sexually abused by Archbishop Burke when he was a priest in Warri. At that time Dolores was a 14-year-old patient in an unnamed hospital in Warri.
In his letter of resignation, the humiliated Archbishop wrote: “I take full responsibility for my actions. I wish to express my deepest sorrow for my inappropriate, irresponsible and repeatedly sinful conduct.”
According to newspaper reports, Burke, of Tipperary in South-Central Ireland, “voluntarily” left his position. The problem with this statement is that the indicated remorse came only AFTER Dolores had filed the complaint – in far away Canada. Burke had been named Archbishop of Benin City in 2008.
Last edition we referred to a statement by a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, affirming that: “ Anywhere there is a substantial Catholic population there is the potential for this type of scandal." The situation with the Archbishop Burke confirms this statement for Nigeria, and should be food for thoughts for the wise and prudent. (Story from The Sun Publishing Tuesday, June 1, 2010, still available on-line here> http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/index.php?topic=76436.msg306038)