The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has predicted a future of growing diversity following talks with senior Government ministers.
Sean Brady met politicians including Taoiseach Enda Kenny - just hours
after appointing a successor to his post and signalling an end to his 48
years in the Church.
Abortion and the protection of human life
were high on the agenda at the meeting, which also included a delegation
of religious representatives and members of Cabinet.
is in its seminal stage, the operation of this dialogue structure bodes
well for the future of Ireland and reflects the maturing character of a
truly pluralist state," Cardinal Brady said.
He said it was
important for Irish society that the Catholic Church could engage with
Government in a transparent and respectful way to deal with matters of
mutual concern. "It is equally important that such a forum exist so that
particular matters of concern for either party can also be discussed in
detail and in person," he added.
During the three-hour meeting
there was particular focus given to the problem of suicide.
agreed on future talks on the subject and considered commissioning
research, and increasing support for clergy, community leaders and other
Other issues discussed included recent trouble in
Northern Ireland linked with protests over the Union flag. The group
also considered the future of education - primary, secondary and third
Earlier, it emerged that Cardinal Brady is likely to retire
by 2015. The 73-year-old announced the appointment of a coadjutor
archbishop outside St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.
Eamon Martin, administrator of the Diocese of Derry and a former
teacher, was named his successor and appointed assistant in the
Archdiocese of Armagh during the transition.
One of his first
roles will be to lobby for the church's anti-abortion stance as the
Irish Government legislates to allow terminations on strict medical