'Surgeon's knife' has cut abuse evil from church, says new bishop
IRELAND'S new bishop has admitted that "the surgeon's knife" had been necessary to rid the Catholic Church of the evil of clerical child abuse.
In his first address as Bishop of Clogher, Monsignor Liam McDaid told a large congregation, which included Taoiseach Brian Cowen, that Irish society has forced the church here to look in the mirror.
"What we saw were weakness and failure, victims and abuse," said Bishop McDaid, who celebrated his 65th birthday last week. "The surgeon's knife has been painful but necessary. A lot of evil and poison has been excised."
Although he was second in command in Clogher since 1994, he was born in Donegal and is the first native of Bundoran to become a bishop.
In his younger days, Bishop McDaid was a keen footballer with Bundoran's St Joseph's GAA Club.
Donegal-based Tanaiste Mary Coughlan joined Bishop McDaid's brother Christopher and other relatives at the ceremony in St Macartan's Cathedral in Monaghan yesterday.
The chief concelebrant was Cardinal Sean Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, who was assisted by Monaghan-born prelate Noel Treanor, who is Bishop of Down and Connor.
In his homily, Bishop McDaid said Irish church leaders had been brought to their knees. "But maybe that is no bad thing," he added.
"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."
Bishop McDaid paid a special tribute to his predecessor, Dr Joseph Duffy, who retired yesterday with over 50 years of service as priest and 31 years as Bishop of Clogher.
The new bishop's motto on his crest is 'Per Christum Dominum Nostrum', which translates as 'We are the instruments, God does the work'.