A STAUNCH pro-life champion nicknamed 'The Machine' will head up the Catholic Church in Ireland, paving the way for Cardinal Sean Brady to step down.
Eamon Martin has been appointed assistant in the Archdiocese of Armagh,
but it will be 2015 at the earliest before Cardinal Brady retires.
Brady announced Msgr Martin's appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of
Armagh outside St Patrick's Cathedral after a scheduled morning Mass. It
is a position Cardinal
Brady held in the 1990s when the Vatican moved
to replace Cardinal Cahal Daly.
One of Msgr Martin's first roles
will be to lobby for the church's anti-abortion stance as the Government
legislates to allow terminations on strict medical grounds.
recent times he has taken a prominent role in asserting the church's
pro-life message; he attended last month's pro-life vigil in Dublin.
Closer to home, he is co-ordinating a 40-day campaign of prayer and
activism within his diocese to oppose moves allowing abortion on either
side of the Border.
Msgr Martin will become the first Derry man to lead the Catholic Church in Ireland.
administrator of the Diocese of Derry is the third new bishop to be
appointed in recent weeks following a gap of almost three years in
appointments despite several vacancies.
He is known for his
administrative ability, indeed his nickname among clerics is 'The
Machine' because of his high work ethic. He is a mathematician and a
After a wide-ranging address to parishioners in Armagh
following the announcement, the 52-year-old said the church had to have
the courage to speak out on issues.
"Sometimes it is a voice that people would prefer not to hear, particularly on the issue of abortion," Msgr Martin said.
"(Protections) could be clarified in the form of guidelines and made clearer – so that none of our doctors and none of our nurses feel that they do not know, or they would not be secure, in doing what they believe is the best thing to protect life."
sources revealed that Cardinal Brady is now expected to retire as
archbishop and head of the church in Ireland in the next two to four
years. Aged 73, he has led the church here for more than 16 years.
Martin is the third episcopal appointment under the watch of Archbishop
Brown. It is too soon to discern a pattern, but the papal nuncio will
have a further chance to show his game plan in coming weeks.
and Limerick have new bishops and now Armagh has an exit strategy for
But Kerry, Kildare and Leighlin, Ardagh and Clonmacnois
and Derry all await a new bishop.