A newly appointed Irish bishop, Liam McDaid of Clogher, has described the crisis of abuse which has rocked the church worldwide, but especially in Ireland, as "painful surgery", which was necessary, but has brought much-needed healing. It's a striking analogy, and like any surgery, it has certainly been painful and was clearly necessary. Has it brought healing, as he suggests? I don't know about Ireland, but from a broader perspective, I'm sceptical. It takes time to get over from major surgery, and recovery is never guaranteed. On the surgery executed on the church, the jury is still out. Has the surgeon's knife cut deep enough? Were the cuts and stitches made the correct ones? Only time will tell. Before reaching a verdict and signing off on a clean bill of health, we must continue to watch the patient closely, and monitor all symptoms.
“Painful surgery” good for Church, says new Bishop
The newly ordained Catholic Bishop of Clogher Liam McDaid has said that the Church was in need of “painful surgery” in order to cleanse it of the iniquity of having been responsible for years of child abuse.
The Bishop said that the abuse scandal which rocked the Church brought the institution to its knees, ‘but perhaps that isn’t a bad thing,’ he added.
He invited fellow clergymen and lay-person to “repentant return to the well of salvation” as he prayed for a new direction for the Church in Ireland.
A native of Bundoran, Co Donegal, Bishop McDaid said “society has forced us in the Irish church to look into the mirror, and what we saw were weakness and failure, victims and abuse. 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.
“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.”
He continued: “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.”