Cardinal Daly set to retire
BY CR1STINA ODONE
CARDINAL CAHAL Daly, Primate of Ireland, announced his retirement this week and, in a surprise move, named as his successor a little-known monsignor.
The unexpected appointment of Mgr Sean Brady, parish priest of Ballyhaise, Co 4,, Cavan, and former Rector of the Irish College, signals a clean break from the Irish hierarchy, at present embroiled in numerous scandals. By choosing a monsignor who is not even a bishop, it seems clear that John Paul II has opted to replace Cardinal Daly with a self-proclaimed "outsider" untouched by the recent spate of paedophile priest scandals.
Mgr Brady, whose title is Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, with the right of succession to Cardinal Daly, stressed his distance from the hierarchy when he said, in his acceptance speech last Tuesday, that "although my work has brought me into close contact with many bishops over the years, I can have only an outsider's grasp of the challenges, the responsibilities and the difficulties of episcopal leadership today."
Mgr Brady left his post as Rector of the Irish College in Rome last autumn, to become parish priest of Ballyhaise, just south of the CavanFermanagh border.
Cardinal Daly, who submitted his resignation to the Pope on his 75th birthday, as requested under the Canon Law , welcomed his successor as "eminently qualified to lead the historic see of St Patrick into the new millennium".
Cardinal Basil Hume joined the Primate of Ireland in welcoming the new Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh. "I warmly welcome the announcement that Mgr Sean Brady has been appointed to help and in due course succeed, Cardinal Cahal Daly.
"His previous experience in Rome and elsewhere will have fitted him to be a worthy successor to Cardinal Daly."
Mgr Brady, 55, said that the 1300 parishioners of Ballyhaise "are going to be amazed at today's news." He promised to "give it my very best shot".
In Rome, Vatican observers saw the Pope's decision to appoint an outsider as Primate of Ireland as "very much dictated by the present mood of suspicion with which the Irish see the hierarchy."
In Dublin, the appointment was welcomed by one Church man as a "positive step towards healing the terrible rift that resulted from the scandals uncovered this past month. Mgr Brady's appointment can be seen as part of an attempt at a clean hands policy," Cardinal Cahal Daly had been expected to retire for the past two years, but speculation about a likely successor for the Primate of Ireland had focused on four bishops: Duffy, Smith, Murray and Hegarty. The four, according to Churchobsexvers, were tipped to step into Cardinal Daly's post because of their experience with the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The issue was known to be of key concern for Cardinal Daly, who was seen as instrumental in the peace brokering that began with last September's IRA ceasefire.
But according to a Cavanbased priest, Fr Ray Brady, "Although Mgr Brady has never lived in the North of Ireland he is very politically alert. He is a great human being, a man of soul and I think he will be a great servant of the people," Fr Brady told the Catholic Herald following the surprise appointment.