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New Irish bishop: ‘We have been brought to our knees’

July 26, 2010

Ireland’s newest bishop compared recent reaction to the clerical abuse scandal to a “surgeon’s knife” that “has been painful but necessary.”

“Society has forced us in the Irish Church to look into the mirror and what we saw were weakness and failure, victims and abuse,” said 65-year-old Bishop Liam MacDaid during his July 25 ordination ceremony as bishop of Clogher, a rural diocese that straddles the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. “The surgeon’s knife has been painful but necessary. A lot of evil and poison has been excised. There comes a time when the surgeon’s knife has done what it can, is put away and a regime of rehabilitation for the patient is put in place.”

He continued:

We have been brought to our knees but maybe that is no bad thing. It can bring us closer to the core of the mystery. Jesus was on his knees when he washed the feet of the disciples. This was the last and definitive gesture he left us before he celebrated the meal which was to become our Eucharist. There was no room for privilege, for earthly pomp or power or for lording it over anyone. In the strength of the Eucharist and led by the Spirit of God we were to walk humbly before God and serve one another unselfishly and without discrimination. This was to be the well where we were to be nourished spiritually in a way that would lead us to eternal life.

So while society keeps the mirror in front of us and rightly checks that we are sincere in our intentions and efforts towards rehabilitation, can I invite you, priests and people of the diocese of Clogher, to join me in a repentant return to the well of salvation. The journey will include for many facing the enormous challenge of forgiveness. Despite his intense suffering, Jesus forgave those who mocked, spat at, scourged and abused him. One of the co-crucified could not bring himself beyond abuse and excluded himself; the other rose to embracing forgiveness and was welcomed into the kingdom. There are many painful experiences in life where only forgiveness can bring closure.


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  • Posted by: - Jul. 26, 2010 7:26 PM ET USA

    Strange that the one comment which stood out for me was in paying tribute to his predecessor: "He [Bishop Duffy] was never afraid to take bold steps such as re-ordering this Cathedral". I find it sad that the laity are still being forcefed this "spirit of Vatican II" rubbish- as if Vat II ordered the cathedral to be changed in any way. Yes,it certainly was a "bold step"- not bold as in merely adventurous, but bold as in disobedient and dishonest in needlessly destroying a beautiful sanctuary.