By Cian Molloy - 03 October, 2016
The 71-year-old organised for a pastoral letter to be read out at all Masses in the Clogher diocese yesterday, so he could personally explain why he had asked the Pope for permission to resign.
“It is at least seven years ago since many of you noticed the tell-tale tremor in the hands at the altar which was subsequently diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease,” he wrote. “The medical booklet describes it as a ‘designer disease’, which sounds posh, but is really just saying that the symptoms and progression of the disease are very individual and differ a lot from one to another.
“When I was appointed to take on the responsibility of being your Bishop, I was advised medically not to let this condition prevent me from taking on the challenge (Pope John Paul II was also a sufferer) but to keep it under review and follow medical advice.”
Earlier this year, the bishop’s neurologist, Prof Daniel Healy, reported: “Bishop MacDaid has bravely tried to continue to the best of his abilities with his mission and episcopal responsibility. However, I am now of the view that this is having a negative impact on his quality of life and health.”
On receiving that advice, the Bishop sent a request to resign to Pope Francis, but asked for a further six months in office to complete work that was in hand.
An administrator will be appointed within the next few days to run the diocese while Rome goes about the business of choosing a successor.
The Bundoran-born bishop was noted for having a collaborative style of ministry. A notable achievement of his six years in office was the development of Clogher don Óige, the diocesan youth ministry. He also built on the work of his predecessor, Bishop Joe Duffy, in the development and implementation of child protection policy and practice within the diocese.
Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh expressed “deep gratitute” to his episcopal colleague, and particularly noted “Bishop Liam’s generous contribution to ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care, … his commitment to the publisher Veritas … and his compassionate and tireless advocacy for greater road safety awareness.”