CALL FOR IRISH CARDINAL TO QUIT (Accused of shielding priests in abuse cases)

Cardinal Desmond Connell, the leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics, apologized for the unspeakable harm inflicted by pedophile clergymen as alleged victims picketed outside, demanding his resignation.  He also sought God's forgiveness and healing at a Mass honoring the man who founded the Christian Brothers religious order, which is embroiled in the unfolding sex-abuse scandal in the predominantly Catholic country.  Among those attending the

ceremony was Bishop Eamonn Walsh, appointed by the Vatican on Saturday to run Ireland's southeast diocese of Ferns after its popular bishop, Brendan Comiskey, resigned.  Comiskey admitted he had not done enough to prevent sexual abuse by priests, particularly the Rev. Sean Fortune, who faced 66 counts of molesting and raping teenage boys when he committed suicide in 1999.  

Pressure mounted yesterday for Connell to resign over clerical sex abuse scandals, as a parish priest urged him to follow the example of Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law.  Connell won support from the head of the Dublin Diocese Council of Priests, who called on him to stay.

(Dublin, Ireland)