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Cardinal Connell of Dublin dies at 90


  • Irish Cardinal Desmond Connell, retired archbishop of Dublin, pictured in an undated photo, died Feb. 21 at age 90. (CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo)
  • Irish Cardinal Desmond Connell, retired archbishop of Dublin, pictured in 2002 photo, died Feb. 21 at age 90. (CNS photo/Aidan Crawley, EPA)
  • Irish Cardinal Desmond Connell, retired archbishop of Dublin, right, is pictured in a 2012 photo with Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Connell died Feb. 21 at age 90. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Irish Cardinal Desmond Connell, the retired archbishop of Dublin, died Feb. 21 at the age of 90.

A philosopher and strong defender of traditional Catholic values, including regarding divorce, contraception and abortion, Cardinal Connell's accomplishments during his 16 years as head of the Archdiocese of Dublin were overshadowed by the church's sluggish pace in coming to terms with the scope and devastation of clerical sexual abuse scandals.

During a Holy Thursday Mass, about two weeks before his retirement was announced in 2004, Cardinal Connell asked for forgiveness from those he offended, especially those abused by priests.

"I ask pardon of all whom I have offended, especially of those who suffered unspeakable abuse by priests of the diocese and experienced a lack of the care that ought to have been provided," said the cardinal, who was 78 at the time.

"I can only hope that the steps now taken will ensure that the future will see no repetition of what happened in the past," he said at the time.

More than five years later, in November 2009, a report was released by the independent Commission of Investigation, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, looking specifically at the handling of some 325 abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin during the period from January 1975 to May 2004. Cardinal Connell had become archbishop in 1988.

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