DUBLIN — Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of an Irish bishop Wednesday for his failure to report child-molesting priests to police – and faced a renewed reminder of the German abuse case most closely linked to his own time in charge of Munich.

Bishop John Magee – who served as secretary to Benedict’s three papal predecessors before returning to Ireland in 1987 – apologized to victims of any pedophile priests who were kept in parish posts during his 23 years overseeing the southwest Irish diocese of Cloyne.

“To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon,” the 73-year-old Magee said in his resignation statement. Irish government investigators are continuing to explore Cloyne abuse cover-ups.

The Vatican is on the defensive over ever-unfolding accusations that church leaders have protected child abusers for decades in many countries.

Benedict last week issued an unprecedented letter to Ireland addressing the 16 years of church cover-up scandals here.

But he has yet to say anything about his handling of the Rev. Peter Hullermann, the case known to have developed on the pope’s watch when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he oversaw the Munich Archdiocese from 1977 to 1982.

Munich Archdiocese spokesman Bernhard Kellner said Wednesday a new person has come forward claiming to have been abused in 1998 by Hullermann.

Hullermann had been accused of abusing boys in Essen, western Germany, in the 1970s when Ratzinger approved his 1980 transfer to Munich to receive psychological treatment for pedophilia.

Hullermann was convicted in 1986 of abusing a youth, but church officials insist the new abuse happened after

Ratzinger was already promoted to higher duties in the Vatican. Hullerman recently was removed again from parish duties.

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