New leader for Catholic Church in Ireland has ‘no baggage’

The future leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop-elect Eamon Martin, has been described as “a clean pair of hands” who “does not carry any baggage from the past with him”.

Archbishop-elect Martin has been appointed coadjutor archbishop of Armagh, making him the designated successor to Cardinal Sean Brady, who has been under pressure to resign.

Cardinal Brady will turn 75, the age at which he must submit his resignation to the Pope, in August 2014 but commentators are predicting that Archbishop-elect Martin will replace him before then.

The editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper, Michael Kelly, described the appointment as an “exit strategy” for Cardinal Brady.

The new coadjutor, currently adminstrator of Derry diocese, told the media there is “need for renewal in the Church, so that the message of Christ, in all its richness, is presented in ways which engage a new generation”.

“There is a need for a mature relationship between Church and society, in both parts of this island, and people of faith have a vital role to play,” he said.

“It would hugely impoverish our faith if we were expected to ‘leave it at home’ or ‘keep it for Sundays’, excluding it from our conversations and actions in daily life.”

Cardinal Brady’s tenure as primate of all Ireland and president of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference since 1996, has been marked by controversy over clerical sex abuse.

Advocates for abuse victims have called for his resignation since 2010, when it emerged that he had failed to inform civil authorities about an abusive priest who went on to molest children in several countries.

The former Bishop of Derry, Bishop Edward Daly, said Archbishop-elect Martin was seen as “a clean pair of hands” after the Church’s abuse scandals.

“He does not carry any baggage from the past with him,” Bishop Daly said.

The archbishop-elect is a former executive secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.



Irish Times

Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

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