Cardinal Brady's assistant appointed

The Catholic Church has named Cardinal Seán Brady's successor as Archbishop of Armagh.

Published 18/01/2013 12:00

Monsignor Eamon Martin, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry, was appointed on Friday morning as recipient of the role of Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh.

Speaking at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in the city, the respected cleric said he was humbled and that he had reflected a lot "on this new calling from God in my life" over the last few days.

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

He went on to address the issue of abuse in his speech.

"One of the greatest challenges facing our Church is to acknowledge, live with, and learn from the past, including the terrible trauma caused by abuse," he said.

"I think today of all those who have been abused by clergy, and the hurt and betrayal they have experienced.

"As the words on the Healing Stone at the International Eucharistic Congress remind us - they have been left with a lifelong suffering."

I am saddened that many good Catholics were let down so badly over the issue of abuse and that some have even stopped practising their faith.

Monsignor Eamon Martin

"It saddens me because I love God and I love the Church that I serve. 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," he continued.

His predecessor Cardinal Seán Brady, a native of Co Cavan, has led the church in Ireland for more than 16 years.

"Monsignor Martin will receive a great welcome here in Armagh. I can assure him of that. The good and faithful people of Patrick's City never fail to give a cead míle failte to those who come at the request of the Holy Father.

"Not alone do they welcome them but they support us with their prayers and in many other different ways," he announced.

Cardinal Brady, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, was caught up in accusations that he mishandled allegations of child abuse - amid wider cover-ups in the church - after it emerged he interviewed two child victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

In 2011, Cardinal Brady confirmed he was present at the 1975 meeting where two teenagers abused by Fr Smyth were asked to take a vow of silence.

He apologised for failing to alert the authorities about the serial abuser.

Last May, Cardinal Brady said he would not resign over the affair.

Serial sex abuser Smyth was later revealed to be responsible for the rape and assault of hundreds of children in Ireland, Britain and America as the Catholic Church covered up his crimes.

His case rocked the church and the Irish Government - which collapsed in 1994 over delays in granting his extradition to Northern Ireland to face sex abuse charges.

Father Smyth was later jailed and died, aged 70, in August 1997 - one month into his 12-year prison sentence.

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