MANCHESTER, N.H. — A longtime auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Manchester criticized by state prosecutors in a 2003 report about how the church handled sex-abuse allegations against priests has reached the retirement age for bishops at 75 and has resigned.

In 1996, Pope John Paul II appointed then-Monsignor Francis Joseph Christian as Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester and Titular Bishop of Quincy.

In the report, prosecutors accused Christian of making “apparently false statements” about a priest’s past misconduct. He said he wished he hadn’t made the statements in the manner he did.

Pope Francis accepted Christian’s resignation. As a bishop emeritus, Christian will continue to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation, accept requests for episcopal presence at various Masses and ceremonies, and will continue to serve as pastor of the parish of St. Joseph the Worker in Nashua.