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Pope appoints Derry priest as successor to Cardinal Brady, future Primate of All Ireland

Catholic World News - January 18, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Msgr. Eamon Martin as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh. Msgr. Martin, 51, will succeed Cardinal Seán Brady, now 73, as successor to St. Patrick and Primate of All Ireland upon the cardinal’s resignation or retirement.

Cardinal Brady has been under public pressure to resign since it emerged that in 1975, as a young priest working in canonical affairs, he was involved in the case of a notorious pedophile priest, Brendan Smyth. Cardinal Brady said that at the time he was merely acting on behalf of his ecclesiastical superiors, and did not have the authority to take action against Smyth. Nevertheless he apologized for his role in the case.

Cardinal Brady told his critics in 2010 that he would not resign. But that same year he asked Pope Benedict XVI to appoint a coadjutor to help him in the Armagh archdiocese. Msgr. Martin will now be in position to take over the leadership of the archdiocese when Cardinal Brady steps down. The cardinal will reach the normal retirement age of 75 in August 2014, although he may offer his resignation before that date.

Msgr. Martin, one of 12 children, was ordained to the priesthood in 1987 and served in faculty and administrative positions at St. Columb’s College, a Catholic school in Derry, from 1990 to 2008. He then served as secretary general of the nation’s episcopal conference for two years before becoming vicar general and then diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Derry.

“Msgr. Martin has a keen interest in music, particularly in choral and classical music as well as liturgical music generally,” the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference stated in a press release. “He has a particular interest in sacred music, especially Gregorian chant.”

As he was introduced as the future Archbishop of Armagh, Msgr. Martin reflected on the challenges facing the Irish Church:

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. 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. I believe it would equally impoverish society if the fundamental convictions of faith were unable to be heard in public debate; it would diminish our understanding of the human person and dilute the concept of the common good.

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