Friday, May 7, 2010

Pope puts his stamp on diocese after two bishops stand down
Pope puts his stamp on diocese after two bishops stand down
By John Cooney and Anita Guidera
Friday May 07 2010

POPE Benedict moved yesterday to impose his conservative stamp on the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland in the wake of the clerical abuse scandals with the appointment of a new Bishop of Clogher.

At noon yesterday, the Vatican named Monsignor Liam MacDaid to succeed Bishop Joseph Duffy (76) whose resignation on age grounds was also accepted by the Pope.

Mgr MacDaid (64) has been second in command in Clogher since 1994 when he was promoted to chancellor from diocesan secretary and communications officer.

The diocese covers Co Monaghan, most of Co Fermanagh and portions of counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan.


Speaking to the Irish Independent in Bishop's House in Monaghan, Mgr MacDaid said he would like "to be free" to return to the more basic aspects of the ministry in the wake of the child abuse scandals.

"We have been, quite rightly, forced to deal with the whole question of child abuse over the last number of years and I feel that now, if all of the things that are in place are implemented, it will change drastically, and I hope that it will free us as priests of the diocese to go back to serving the people," he said.

He explained this meant offering people the word of God and the nourishment of the sacraments and being with them at a time in their lives when they most needed the support of priests.

Although Bishop Duffy submitted his resignation 15 months ago on reaching the retirement age of 75, the appointment of his successor was expected to form part of a post-Murphy Report reorganisation and reform of the Bishops' Conference.

Last month, the Pope accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, James Moriarty, but the Pontiff did not name a replacement.

Although not directly criticised by the Murphy Report, Bishop Moriarty resigned because he had failed to speak out against a culture of secrecy.

Nor has Pope Benedict appointed a successor to the diocese of Limerick which has been vacant since before Christmas when Bishop Donal Murray resigned.

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