English cardinal says abuse scandal has made him ‘wounded healer’
June 16, 2010
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the retired Archbishop of Westminster, told a gathering of Irish priests that he would bring the perspective of a “wounded healer” to the apostolic visitation of which he is part.
Calling for “interior conversion, newness of attitudes, and unstinted love,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor discussed his decision to reassign Father Michael Hill to ministry following credible allegations of abuse. Father Hill would subsequently abuse, among others, a 14-year-old, wheelchair-bound boy.
You know, the things I remember about my life as a priest are not the successes but rather the failures and one particular and painful failure occurred ten years ago when, owing to my grave mishandling of a priest who was an abuser, I was attacked and vilified for nearly two years. You probably know the story. How well I remember the feelings of failure and isolation and shame, not so much for myself but for my family, my Diocese, for the Catholic people of England and Wales who, to a certain extent, felt the shame of my own failure and of child abuse in general. But I also began to understand in a new way, by talking with victims, the pain and grave damage done to them. I say this to show, I suppose, that I myself am not free from blame but have had to learn from mistakes to become, as someone described it, a wounded healer. From that experience I learnt yet again to pray for perseverance, obedience to my vocation, and of suffering in a way which I did not expect and which, in the end, brought some positive benefit because of the national safeguarding policies, procedures and structures which are now in place and used in all our parishes and dioceses in England and Wales.
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