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Pope appoints Msgr Eamon Martin as Primate in waiting to Irish Church

By editor - 19 January, 2013

Monsignor Martin said “I am humbled and honoured to serve as bishop in this historic Archdiocese of Armagh".

Appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh

Pope Benedict XVII has appointed Mgr Eamon Martin, the diocesan administrator of Derry, to be Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh.  This means that when Cardinal Brady retires, Mgr Martin will become Primate of All Ireland.

The announcement was made yesterday at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. In the presence of the papal nuncio, Mgr Martin said he accepted the role with “with considerable nervousness and trepidation”.  “I am humbled and honoured to serve as bishop in this historic Archdiocese of Armagh. I feel like the apostles in chapter 5 of Luke’s Gospel, being called by Our Lord to be courageous, to ‘put out into the deep’,” he said.

Welcoming him to his new role, Cardinal Brady said his first reaction was “one of great joy and great gratitude”.  In 2010 he had asked the pope for a Coadjutor to assist him. “.  “Today my request has been granted and I am so very thankful to the Holy Father for acceding to my request.”

Mgr Martin is one of a family of twelve, with five brothers and six sisters.  He has degrees in Mathematical Science, Theology  and Education from Irish universities and a Master of Philosophy degree from Cambridge.

He has served as Executive Secretary to the Irish Episcopal Conference and since November 2011, has been the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry.  He is also a Director of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, a role which has given him a great sensitivity to the issue of clerical sexual abuse.

“I think today of all those who have been abused by clergy  and the hurt and betrayal they have experienced,” he said yesterday.  “As the words on the Healing Stone at the International Eucharistic Congress remind us – they have been left with a lifelong suffering.”

Mgr Martin said he was saddened that many good Catholics were “let down so badly” over the issue of abuse to the point that some have even stopped practising their faith. He went on

[quote]“I believe that faith in Jesus Christ brings meaning and purpose to our lives and gives hope and healing to anyone who feels broken or in despair. As Church, we must continue in our efforts to bring healing to victims and ensure that young people are always protected, respected and nurtured.” [/quote]

Mgr Martin is also a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Bioethics Committee (of the three Bishops’ Conferences of Ireland, Scotland and England & Wales).  Yesterday he called for renewal in the church and for a “mature relationship between church and society”.  “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,” he said.

Today, more than ever, said Mgr Martin, people of faith are called to present to the world ‘a coherent ethic of life’ – one which knits together a conviction about the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the person, with a commitment to solidarity and the family, to the fair distribution of goods and environmentally sustainable development, to justice and peace.

Bishop Edward Daly, the former bishop of Derry who ordained Mgr Martin, said he joined people in praying that “the Holy Spirit will guide and watch over Eamon Martin in his huge responsibility in the years that lie ahead and that he will give inspiring leadership and bring a new vitality and hope to the Irish Church at this challenging time.”

by Susan Gately