`Emotionally drained' bishop gets early retirement

April 4, 2011

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the early resignation
of an "emotionally drained" bishop in Australia whose diocese has been
the focus of several prominent sex-abuse scandals.

The Vatican announced on Monday (April 4) that Bishop Michael John
Malone, 71, of Maitland-Newcastle has resigned under a provision that
requires the resignation of a "bishop who has become less able to
fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause."

The ordinary retirement age for Catholic bishops is 75.

The local Newcastle Herald newspaper reported in January that
Malone, who had led the diocese since 1995, said he was seeking early
retirement because he was exhausted by dealing with cases of clerical
sex abuse.
"I'm emotionally drained by what has happened and feel
disillusioned," Malone told the paper. "I toss and turn at night over
the sex abuse committed by clergy and experience a lot of anxiety."

The bishop suggested his handling of the scandal, which included the
publication of a full-page apology in the Herald last year, had
alienated some of his own clergy.

"The priests believe I have not been supportive of them," Malone
said.

The paper also reported Malone was under investigation by local
police for the "attempted secret defrocking" of an abusive priest.