Diarmuid Martin

Diarmuid Martin
The Most Reverend
 Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
and Primate of Ireland
Diocese Dublin
See Dublin
Enthroned 26 April 2004
(&100000000000000070000007 years, &10000000000000199000000199 days)
Predecessor Desmond Connell
Other posts Coadjutor Archbishop of Dublin (2003-2004); Apostolic Nuncio in Geneva and Titular Archbishop of Glenndálocha (2001-2003); Titular Bishop of Glenndálocha (1999-2001)
Ordination 25 May 1969 (Priest)
Consecration 6 January 1999 (Bishop)
Personal details
Born 8 April 1945 (1945-04-08) (age 66)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Diarmuid Martin (born 8 April 1945) is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland. He was born in Dublin.


Early life and education

Diarmuid Martin was raised and educated in Dublin, at the Oblate school in Inchicore, the De La Salle School situated on the Ballyfermot Road in Ballyfermot and Marian College, Ballsbridge. Following that, he went to University College Dublin, where he studied philosophy, and then went to the Dublin Diocese's seminary at Clonliffe, where he studied theology. He was ordained a priest on 25 May 1969 by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. Following this he pursued further education at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, though, it appears, without attaining any degrees.

Pastoral Experience

From 1973 to 1974 he was Curate at the Parish of St Brigid in Cabinteely, but actively sought to return to Rome.

Work for the Holy See

In 1976, Martin began to work in the service of the Holy See for the Pontifical Council for the Family. He later worked on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, being appointed the Under Secretary in 1986 and the Secretary in 1994. On 6 January 1999 he was ordained as Titular Bishop of Glendalough by Pope John Paul II. On 17 January 2001, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of the same diocese. This marked his appointment as the Holy See Permanent Observer in Geneva, at the United Nations Office and Specialised Agencies and at the World Trade Organisation. It was in this capacity that he represented the Holy See at various UN conferences, including the International Conference on Population and Development. He led the delegations of the Holy See to the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (Doha, 2001), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

During the 1990s, Diarmuid Martin represented the Holy See at major United Nations International Conferences, spoke about the Church's teachings on social matters at a variety of Bishop Conferences, and was a member of various Vatican Offices, including the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Also, he was involved in discussions between the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church as well as the World Faiths Development Dialogue. He also represented the views of the Holy See to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where he advocated for debt relief for less developed countries.

Archbishop of Dublin

Styles of
Diarmuid Martin
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Grace
Religious style Archbishop
Posthumous style not applicable

Martin was appointed Co-Adjutor to Cardinal Connell on 3 May 2003, and was installed as such on 30 August of that year. On 26 April 2004, following the acceptance of Cardinal Connell's resignation by Pope John Paul II, Martin automatically succeeded him as Archbishop of Dublin.

Following Summorum Pontificum, the decree of Pope Benedict XVI liberalising the use of the Latin Mass, which took effect on 14 September 2007, Martin duly established a Latin Mass Chaplaincy in the Dublin City area.[1]

Gay priests

In 2005 Archbishop Martin, said that being gay should not prevent a man becoming a Catholic priest. "You don't write off a candidate for the priesthood simply because he is a gay man," Archbishop Martin is quoted saying in a recent issue of the British Catholic magazine, The Tablet. The archbishop's remarks followed the Congregation for Catholic Education's publishing of a document in November that would ban gay men, even if they were celibate, from training for the priesthood. "You have to say that horrendous damage was done to people," said Martin. "Then you need to take steps to ensure this will never happen again." But, he noted, "you cannot identify homosexuality with paedophilia". He said that paedophilia is "not the result of homosexuality, nor is it a result of celibacy"[2]

Missionary work

In 2007, Martin announced that "a Catholic Church representative will visit every household in the Dublin Archdiocese next year. He predicted his evangelisation programme would promote greater co-operation between lay people and priests in the Church's mission and ministry".[3]

Cardinalatial and curial speculation

On 21 February 2006 The Irish Times published a front page article which stated that Martin was due to receive the red hat in the next consistory, suggesting the date for this would be the 25 March the Feast of the Annunciation. However, on the next day Pope Benedict XVI announced the names of the 15 new cardinals to be created, who did not include Martin.

On 17 October 2007, Pope Benedict XVI announced the next batch of names to be elevated to the cardinalate and once again Martin's name was not on the list, which instead contained that of Seán Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh. This was in accordance with a tradition whereby the Primate of All Ireland is more frequently chosen as a cardinal than the Archbishop of Dublin, who holds the title of Primate of Ireland.

In April 2009, a British newspaper considered Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, "likely to be succeeded by Monsignor Diarmuid Martin, the astute and able Archbishop of Dublin",[4] and a Dublin news service also reported that "Archbishop Martin is strongly tipped to get the post in diplomatic circles".[5] However, on 24 October of that year the appointment went to Cardinal Peter Turkson, then Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Civil Partnerships legislation

In response to comments by Cardinal Brady on the Civil Partnership Bill, Martin said: "We haven't expressed an opinion as an Episcopal Conference (on the Bill). I don't think anyone in the conference is against what Cardinal Brady said, but they may have said it in different ways." He also said that while the Catholic Church favoured marriage, "it is not against other forms of intimacy".[6]

Dr Martin told the Irish Independent in 2004 that "I recognise that there are many different kinds of caring relationships and these often create dependencies for those involved. The State may feel in justice that the rights of people in these relationships need to be protected." He emphasised he was not thinking mainly of homosexual relationships, but rather of caring, dependent relationships in general. At the same time, he said, he did not exclude homosexual relationships. Dr Martin said: "I have a wide range of relationships in mind. I do not exclude gay relationships but my main concern is with all caring relationships where dependencies have come into being."[7]

Ecumenical activity

On 4 November 2007 Martin became the third Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin to preach in the Anglican (Church of Ireland) Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, since the 16th century Reformation. Delivering the annual Citizenship Sunday sermon, he said that selling drugs was about trafficking with death.

50th International Eucharistic Congress

At the end of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress held in Quebec in 2008, in a video message, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the next International Eucharistic Congress would be held in Dublin in 2012: "As this significant event in the life of the Church draws to a conclusion I invite you all to join me in praying for the success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin."He took the opportunity "to greet warmly the people of Ireland, as they prepare to host this ecclesial gathering" and added: "I am confident that they, together with all the participants at the next congress, will find it a source of lasting spiritual renewal."

Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin, who attended the Congress in Quebec, welcomed the decision, stating: "On behalf of the Catholic faithful of Ireland, we are honoured and humbled that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has chosen Dublin to host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012. While the theme for the next congress has yet to be finalised, we are deeply conscious that 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council."

This is the second time that Dublin will host the congress, the first being the 31st congress in 1932. "We live in different times now", the prelates said in their statement, "and it is our hope that the 2012 congress will be an opportunity for the Catholic Church in Ireland to both reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist at the heart of our increasingly diverse community, and, to give renewed impetus to the living of faith.

On 11 November 2010 Pope Benedict met Archbishop Martin and members of the organising committee of the 50th Eucharistic Congress as well as participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace. Pope Benedict expressed the hope that the preparations in Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress would help with the renewal of the Irish church. “Your assembly has paid great attention to this event, which is also part of the modernisation programme of the church in Ireland. The theme recalls the centrality of the Eucharistic mystery for the growth of the life of faith and every authentic process of church renewal” he said.[8]

Credibility deficit of Church

Speaking in Dublin at a discussion organised by the Communion and Liberation lay Catholic movement, Martin said that, when the Church speaks, it faces a severe hindrance: "When I was younger, if you did your Leaving Certificate examination through the medium of Irish you got a bonus on your mark - I think it was either a 10 per cent or 15 per cent - just for that fact. Today for the church to make a credible statement on many aspects of public life or simply to talk about faith you start out with the opposite. You start out with a substantial percentage of credibility deficit." He wondered: "How does one really begin to speak about faith? How does one attempt to reach out and lead young people on a journey of faith, when they in many ways have lost trust in a church which many young people find no longer just 'irrelevant' but ... in which many young people say they have very little confidence".[9]

Martin again spoke on this topic when, in his homily at the pro-cathedral on Holy Thursday 2009, he said that the two biggest problems facing young people were the Catholic Church's condemnation of gay couples and the question of suicide. He said that these were causing "a disconnect" which was causing "a dramatic and growing rift" between the Church and the younger generation. He accepted that this was partly the Church's fault because young people were much more questioning today than previously - and he urged his priests to offer services in the parish that would be geared more towards their particular concerns. He said that young people "see through the superficial answers we give".[10] He added:"Our young people are generous and idealistic but such generosity and idealism does not seem to find a home in the Church. Where are we offering young people a home in our Church communities? Where are the focal points where we are helping young people to find an interpretation of their generosity, idealism and questioning in the light of the challenge and of the beauty of the message of Jesus Christ?"[11]

Commission on child sexual abuse

In his homily on Holy Thursday 2009, he also warned that the depth of the Catholic sex abuse cases "will shock us all", throwing up challenges to the Catholic Church in Ireland it has never experienced before. Martin said: "It is likely that thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests in the period under investigation and the horror of that abuse was not recognised for what it is. The report will make each of us and the entire church in Dublin a humbler church".[12] Martin also asked for the "forgiveness of anyone that I may have hurt or left feeling neglected. I know my own failings and limitations and I wish to renew sincerely today my respect and concern for each and every priest of this diocese or working in this diocese".[13]

On 25 May 2009, Martin stated in the Irish Times (partially quoting a correspondent),

"'There is always a price to pay for not responding'. The church will have to pay that price in terms of its credibility. The first thing the church has to do is to move out of any mode of denial. Where the church is involved in social care it should be in the vanguard. That is different to a situation in which the church proclaims that it is in the vanguard.... in a very short time another report on the sexual abuse of children will be published, this time about how such abuse was managed in the Archdiocese of Dublin of which I am archbishop".[14]

Ordinations and commissioning of lay pastoral workers

On Saturday 27 June 2009, three men were ordained priests – two for the Archdiocese of Dublin and one for the Capuchin Province of Korea, at a ceremony in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. And for the first time in Dublin, a unique part of the ceremony saw 13 parish pastoral workers commissioned into their new roles in parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

The new priests and parish pastoral workers took up their roles as the diocese began its Year of Evangelisation - a time of renewal of faith and the call to proclaim the Gospel. The aim of the Year of Evangelisation was to support, animate and develop evangelisation initiatives throughout parishes in the diocese. This included supporting parish sacramental programmes and initiatives such as the Do This in Memory Holy Communion programme and the You Will Be My Witnesses Confirmation programme and joint initiatives with the Church of Ireland.

The men ordained were Aloysius Zuribo, from Orlu in the state of Imo in Nigeria, Colin Rothery from Kilmacud in Dublin and Stephen Kim (OFM Capuchin) from Korea, who is currently in the Capuchin Friary, Raheny.

The parish pastoral workers – women and men – came from a variety of backgrounds, were theology graduates and had just completed a year-long formation course in Mater Dei Institute. They included former teachers, a barman, a homemaker, a technician and students. Their central role would be to support priests and communities in educating people in their faith, supporting and developing parish initiatives around prayer and the sacraments.

Addressing the parish pastoral workers, Martin said that “The Archdiocese of Dublin renews itself today with the commissioning of 13 new Parish Pastoral Workers who will bring their talents and charisms as lay men and women into our parishes and help animate our communities, especially around the Word of God. Saint Augustine reminds all of us that without being first a hearer of the word in our own hearts, we will only be empty preachers of the word to others. I urge you to witness to the word through the example of your lives and through the personal holiness which your mission calls for.

Red Mass 2009

Addressing on 5 October 2009 a congregation including Supreme Court judge Mrs Justice Susan Denham, Law Reform Commission president Catherine McGuinness and High Court judge Mr Justice Declan Budd, at the formal opening of the law term in St Michan's church, Martin warned that ongoing prosperity could not on its own bring the harmony which society requires.

Urging the congregation to work to strengthen the fabric of society and make it more caring, he said self-indulgence could lead to corruption, total disregard for the rights of others, a breakdown of community and violence. Violence, he added, was "a continual threat to the harmony of society" in Ireland, was "profoundly anti-democratic" and attempted to "limit the effectiveness of community through a climate of fear". Speaking of "those whose mission it is to advance legislation which promotes harmony and equality and those whose mission it is to apply such laws and administer justice", he said: "Yours is a task of the spirit: to ensure that true communication in the fullest sense between people is not inhibited by the raw power of the self-interest of the few".[15]

Murphy Report

On 26 November 2009, the Murphy Report into abuse carried out by priests and covered up to varying degrees by the four preceding Archbishops of Dublin, namely, John Charles McQuaid, Dermot Ryan, Kevin McNamara, and Desmond Connell, was published. The report, which took three years to complete, said the archdiocese had an "obsessive concern with secrecy and the avoidance of scandal" and had "little or no concern for the welfare of the abused child".[16]

The report also noted how Church authorities used the concept of "mental reservation", which allowed clergy to mislead people without being guilty, in the church’s eyes, of lying. The report also stated that there were some courageous priests who brought complaints to the attention of their superiors. But in general there was a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.

The investigating commission identified 320 individuals who complained of abuse between 1975 and 2004, and noted that 130 complaints had been made since May 2004.[17] Cardinal Connell, the only living archbishop of the four mentioned in the report, expressed his "bitter regret that failures on my part contributed to the suffering of victims in any form".

At a press conference held on the day the report was released, Martin said: "As Archbishop of a Diocese for which I have pastoral responsibility, of my own native diocese, of the diocese for which I was ordained a priest, of a Diocese which I love and hope to serve to the best of my ability, what can I say when I have to share with you the revolting story of the sexual assault and rape of so many young children and teenagers by priests of the Archdiocese or who ministered in the diocese? No words of apology will ever be sufficient."

In a letter to the priests and laity read out at all Masses on Sunday 29 November 2009, Martin wrote that "The damage done to children abused by priests can never be undone. As Archbishop of Dublin and as Diarmuid Martin I offer to each and every survivor, my apology, my sorrow and my shame for what happened to them. I am aware however that no words of apology will ever be sufficient".[18]

Martin said on 1 December 2009 that he was writing to Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray, a former auxiliary bishop of the Dublin diocese who was strongly criticised in the report but who, while saying he regretted his actions, did not immediately resign from his Limerick post, and to all other auxiliary bishops who served in Dublin and who were named in the report.[19] He said he was “not satisfied” with some of their responses so far. He pointed out that those bishops named in the report, but no longer serving in the Dublin archdiocese, could not tailor their responses to people in their current dioceses. What they did and did not do failed people in Dublin and they owe them a response, he said.[19]

On 11 December Archbishop Martin and Cardinal Brady met with Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the Murphy Report.[20] Pope Benedict was accompanied by a group of Curial officials including the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Cardinal Prefects of the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Clergy and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.[21] The Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, also attended.[22]

After the historic two-day meeting between the Irish bishops and Pope Benedict, there was a certain dismay in the Vatican at the widespread negative Irish media reaction.Speaking of what he called a “dialogue between deaf parties”, one commentator said neither the Holy See nor Irish public and media opinion had fully understood the other. What seemed a very useful, groundbreaking meeting to one, looked like a total waste of time to the other. Vatican insiders argue that a meeting like that held this week could never produce obvious, tangible results. This meeting was much more about listening and understanding. Issues such as the resignations of bishops and arranging a “symbolic gesture” meeting between abuse survivors and Pope Benedict were simply never on the agenda.[23]

After the meeting, the Holy See's Press Office released a statement that included the following: "Today the Holy Father held a meeting with senior Irish bishops and high-ranking members of the Roman Curia. He listened to their concerns and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the Irish Commission of Investigation's Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. After careful study of the report, the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents. He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large. ... The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the Report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children. The Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.[24]

Asked if the meeting and the ensuing Vatican statement would go some way to answering criticism about the perceived silence of the Holy See in the wake of the publication of the report, Martin said: "What appeared to us today is that maybe things were not said but certainly people were reflecting on matters".[25]

Some survivors of child abuse and their representatives reacted negatively to the Holy See's statement. Marie Collins, who was abused in 1960 by a priest when she was a patient at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, said: "I can’t say I was disappointed because I didn’t have any high hopes."Acknowledging the sincerity of the pope’s call for prayers for those abused and their families, and possible initiatives where reorganisation of the Irish Church was concerned, she pointed out the statement "doesn’t deal with the past. No one has taken responsibility for what went on in Dublin. There is no accountability".[26]

Bishops Eamonn Oliver Walsh and Ray Field offered an apology to child-abuse victims, as they tendered their resignations during Christmas Midnight Mass on 24 December 2009.[27] This came in addition to the resignation of two other bishops, Donal Murray of Limerick and James Moriarty of Kildare, following the publication of the Murphy Report.

In a joint statement Walsh and Field said they hoped their proffered resignations "may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims (and) survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologise to them". Martin had called for his two auxiliary bishops to quit,[citation needed] but both initially refused. In his Christmas sermon, Martin said the church for too long placed its self-interest above the rights of its parishioners, particularly innocent children. He said they, as well as the dedicated majority of priests, had been betrayed by their leaders. "It has been a painful year," he told worshippers at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. "But the church today may well be a better and safer place than was the church of 25 years ago – when all looked well, but where deep shadows were kept buried." On 11 August 2010, however, it was revealed that Pope Benedict had not accepted the resignations of Bishops Walsh and Field. "Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops," Archbishop Martin said in a letter to priests of the diocese[28]

Prior to offering their resignations, Walsh had been a bishop for 19 years and ran the diocese of Ferns for four years after Brendan Comiskey resigned as a bishop over his cover-ups of abuse. Field had served for 12 years in Dublin and was president of the hierarchy's Commission for Justice and Social Affairs.[29]

Of the five serving bishops who were mentioned in the Murphy report, only one, the Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan, decided not to offer his resignation. In a radio poll 93% of local people in Galway said that they supported his decision. Likewise, Galway West TD Frank Fahey declared that Drennan should not resign.

Martin came in for criticism among other high ranking clergy for calling for the resignations. In the Connaught Tribune newspaper, Father Tony Flannery was critical of how Martin communicated with his own auxiliary bishops: "These bishops are not recalcitrant teenagers; they are intelligent and mature men, so it was pathetic of Diarmuid Martin to use the media to communicate with them".[30]

In January 2010, the Archbishop expressed surprise at claims made in the previous month by Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan that he had attacked Drennan's integrity. It followed a call by Martin, following publication of the Murphy report, for all current and former Auxiliary Bishops of Dublin to be accountable for their actions on child protection issues. In a radio interview, after the Archbishop made his comments, Drennan said: "I don't know if Martin intended it or not but it has put a question mark over my integrity, yes. Now that I've responded to him and given him the evidence he needs he might want to reflect on that and see what response he should make to it." Speaking to the media in Maynooth on 22 January, as a day-long extraordinary meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference concluded which had also been attended by Drennan, Martin said: “I'm surprised that anybody would say that, by asking people to be accountable, to stand up and explain themselves, that was an attack on anyone's integrity.” He said he had received lots of correspondence supporting him for saying people should be accountable, which did not mean heads should roll, he said.[31]

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Dublin Dermot O’Mahony strongly criticised Martin, claiming that he had failed to support priests in the Dublin diocese following publication of the Murphy report. “The archbishop did nothing to counteract the statement of the Murphy report, widely circulated in the media, that the majority of clergy knew and did nothing. Indeed, I feel he made matters worse by giving an example of a parish that could be clearly identifiable to the priests of the diocese,” wrote O’Mahony in letters sent to Martin and the Council of Priests. He added: “To suggest our approach failed to take cognisance of the safety of children is inaccurate and unjust. The acceptance by media and current diocese policy that a cover-up took place must be challenged,”, and took the unusual step of circulating his own correspondence with Martin to the Council of Priests.[32]

In a letter to Martin on 30 December, Bishop O’Mahony wrote that he had been shocked at the tone of a previous letter he had received from Martin, which had addressed the Murphy report. A spokeswoman for Martin told The Irish Times that this letter to O’Mahony, which was dated 2 December 2009, had been sent following detailed conversation between them. It was sent three days after a meeting of the diocesan council which discussed the Murphy report.[32]

A meeting of priests heard demands that Martin be confronted over his handling of the fallout from the Murphy report on clerical child sex abuse. It also heard claims that the archbishop had become “a source of division” among priests and bishops. About 25 Dublin priests attended the meeting on 18 January 2010. The minutes state that the majority of priests in attendance were middle-aged and all got a chance to speak. The meeting was specially convened to discuss the Murphy report. “Anger, frustration and a sense of helplessness [were] expressed at the lack of compassion shown by the diocese in recent months, particularly towards the auxiliary bishops,” the minutes report. The minutes go on to say that priests were “dumbfounded” by Martin’s letter to former auxiliary bishop O' Mahony. “To say his good name had been tarnished was untrue, cruel and insulting”.[33]

Archbishop Martin in August 2010 said that bishops have “a long history of a lack of unity”, according to an English translation of the address he delivered in Italian at Rimini.[34]

Pope's Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics

Pope Benedict's letter to Irish Catholics was signed on Friday 19 March 2010 and was released on the 20 March[35] The letter follows the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports into child abuse by Church authorities. After the letter was released Archbishop Diarmuid Martin welcomed the pope's statement, describing it not as a final word but as “a further step in the process of renewal and healing in the Catholic Church in Ireland following the crisis of the sexual abuse of children". Martin said the pope acknowledged the suffering and betrayal experienced by survivors of clerical abuse. “The pope recognises the failures of Church authorities in how they dealt with sinful and criminal acts,” he said.[36]

Refusal to call for resignation of Cardinal Brady

In response to a journalist's question following publicity given to Cardinal Brady's role in canonical investigations in 1975 concerning paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, Martin commented: "I never tell people to resign. I never said people should stay. I ask for accountability. Resigning is a personal decision a person has to make on their own. People should be accountable, and render account of what they've done. Resignations are personal decisions." Asked whether it was acceptable that Cardinal Brady did not stop Smyth after the 1975 investigation, he said Smyth "was not stopped by who had the power to stop him", and "somebody should have stopped him".

In the same interview Martin was asked if he had been recently silenced by the church. He replied: "No, I haven't been asked to stop talking. I gave four major interviews in the last four weeks to Irish and international television." Asked if he had been ostracised by other members of the church, he said: "I do things in my own way, which may not please everybody, but in no way was I ostracised. I have to maintain also my own independence of thought."[37]

Apostolic visitation

In October 2010, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, along with Cardinal Brady, Archbishops Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly met for high-level talks with heads of Vatican congregations over the apostolic visitation of Irish dioceses in the wake of the Murphy and Ryan reports. While in Rome, the Irish churchmen came face to face with a team of investigators appointed by Pope Benedict to examine the four Irish archdioceses and "some other as yet unspecified dioceses".

They included Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Cardinal-Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, who inspected Cardinal Brady's archdiocese of Armagh, and Sean O'Malley, Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, who inspected the Dublin diocese. Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins to investigate Cashel, while Ottawa's Archbishop Terrence Prendergast will look at the west of Ireland archdiocese of Tuam. An investigation of the state of Irish seminaries will be conducted by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. The investigators, known as apostolic visitors, will report their findings directly to Pope Benedict XVI.[38]

2011 Liturgy of Lament

Archbishop Martin on 20 February 2011 said that the Church has a long way to journey in honesty before it merits forgiveness for the abuse of children. Archbishop Martin then made what victims said was the most explicit apology to date for the role of the Church hierarchy in enabling the abuse. Apostolic Visitor Sean Cardinal O'Malley of Boston, who was sent to Ireland by the Vatican to study the response of the Dublin archdiocese to sexual abuse, lay prostrate in front of an empty stone altar at the start of the service. They later invited five women and three male victims of abuse to the altar, where they knelt down and washed their feet.[39] Three of the victims held hands and sobbed as Martin poured water on their feet and Cardinal O'Malley dried them with a towel.[40]

During the service Archbishop Martin said "I can express my sorrow, my sense of the wrong that was done to you. I think of how you were not heard or not believed and not comforted and supported. I can ask myself how did this happen in the Church of Jesus Christ where as we heard in the Gospel children are presented to us as signs of the kingdom. How did we not see you in your suffering and abandonment?" he contiuned saying "Someone once reminded me of the difference between on the one hand apologising or saying sorry and on the other hand asking forgiveness. I can bump into someone on the street and say “Sorry”. It can be meaningful or just an empty formula. When I say sorry I am in charge. When I ask forgiveness however I am no longer in charge, I am in the hands of the others. Only you can forgive me; only God can forgive me. I, as Archbishop of Dublin and as Diarmuid Martin, stand here in this silence and I ask forgiveness of God and I ask for the first steps of forgiveness from of all the survivors of abuse."[41]

Comments on Vatican response to report

In May 2011 Archbishop Martin emphasised he was not criticising Pope Benedict, but was encouraging a sense of urgency on the part of the Pope’s “collaborators” in the Roman Curia. Speaking in Dublin he said the pace of change in Irish religious culture was such that “the longer the delay in advancing the fruits of the apostolic visitation, the greater the danger of false expectations, and the greater the encouragement to those who prefer immobilism to reform, and the greater the threat to the effectiveness of this immense gift of the Holy Father to the Irish Church”. He was “impatient to learn about the path that the apostolic visitation will set out for renewal for the Irish Church so that our renewal will move forward decisively. At the same time, I am also becoming increasingly impatient at the slowness in the process, which began over a year ago. This is not a criticism of the Holy Father. It is an appeal to his collaborators.” Archbishop Martin was speaking at All Hallows College, Dublin, to delegates from almost 70 countries attending a conference held in anticipation of the 2012 Eucharistic Congress. His “greatest concern” was “the rift which is growing between the church and young people”.[42]

Church role in education

In March 2010, Martin welcomed an announcement by Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe that his department “will shortly be providing an initial list of about 10 urban areas that can be used to test the concept of reducing the number of Catholic schools”. Martin also said that solutions would have to be found to respect the rights of teachers “who do not wish to be involved in religious education”. He welcomed the fact that “the Minister has indicated that there will be consultations with parents, teachers and local communities”.[43]

Fr Michael Drumm, executive chairman of the Catholic Schools Partnership, also welcomed “the prospect of greater diversity of school provision” as indicated by the Minister yesterday. However, he queried the Minister’s “mention of an eventual reduction of Catholic provision in demographically stable urban areas to 60 per cent”.[43]

In his address to the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association in Dublin, Minister O'Keefe said that “the issue of the Catholic Church divesting itself of certain schools was originally explicitly raised by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and it has also found expression in the work of the Bishops’ Conference and through its engagement with my department.” He said that the archbishop’s “public identification of this reality” was “a timely and important contribution not just to the future of Catholic schools but to the future of the primary sector generally,” he said.[43]

“In overall terms, I know it has been acknowledged that the Catholic primary sector, which currently represents over 90 per cent of overall provision, may ultimately fall to between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of overall provision and that this percentage of overall provision will still be enough to allow the church fulfil its expressed commitment to meet the needs of parents who wish their children to have a Catholic education.”[43]

In March 2011 Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has set up an expert group to decide how up to half of all primary schools will be moved away from Catholic Church patronage. The forum will be chaired by Prof John Coolahan, professor emeritus at NUI Maynooth, and will meet for the first time in May 2011. They will advise the Minister on how best it can be ensured that the education system provides a sufficiently diverse number and range of primary schools catering for all religions and none and the practicalities of how transfer of patronage should operate for individual primary schools in communities where it is appropriate and necessary.[44]

Comments on the Cloyne report

On 13 July 2011 the report in the sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne was published. Archbishop Martin said on reading his report that his "first emotion that came to me was anger".[45] Archbishop Martin has warned that further investigations of clerical child sex abuse in dioceses will not get to the truth if people in the Catholic Church are not prepared to tell the truth. Senior church figures who were not prepared to be honest would only be “discovered” through an “invasive” audit of child protection practices in their dioceses, he said. He said the Vatican, in responding to the findings of last week’s report on child abuse cases in the Cloyne diocese, should reiterate its support for the Irish church in applying existing “norms”, or rules, on child protection. The Vatican should also support the reporting of cases to the State authorities and the carrying out of audits to show exactly where the situation was in relation to child protection. He acknowledged that people could feel deceived by the church, he said the norms set down by the present pope in 2001 had been ignored in the Cloyne diocese. “What sort of a cabal is in there and still refusing to recognise the norms of the church?” he asked. All the other Irish bishops had put these norms into practice, “as far as I know”, he added. Dr Martin said six elderly priests were verbally abused at a colleague’s funeral this week when someone challenged them, claiming they “should be ashamed of themselves”. “Those who felt they were able to play tricks with norms, they have betrayed those good men and so many others in the church who are working today,” he said.[46]

Third Edition of the Roman Missal

In August 2011 Archbishop Martin defended the new, more accurate English translation of the Roman Missal[47] entering into force by Advent 2011. A gradual introduction of the missal will begin at Masses in Ireland from Sunday, 11 September. It is planned that it will be in full use throughout Ireland and the English-speaking Catholic world by the first Sunday of Advent this year, 27 November. In a letter to the priests of the Dublin diocese earlier in August, Dr Martin said that since the current Roman Missal was introduced in 1975, “many additional texts have been made available for use. These include new eucharistic prayers for reconciliation I and II, and for Masses for various needs I to IV, Masses for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Masses for new feasts of saints, and other new material.” Those familiar with translations in other languages had come to realise “that often there were key phrases and rich biblical allusions missing from the English translation” in the current missal, he said. Also, “some theological vocabulary had been lost in the 1975 edition” and the new missal “addresses some of these weaknesses”.Those familiar with translations in other languages had come to realise “that often there were key phrases and rich biblical allusions missing from the English translation” in the current missal, he said. Changes to the wording of the Confiteor, the Gloria and the Creed are included in the new Roman Missal. The phrase “begotten, not made, of one being with the Father”, from the Creed, has been changed to “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father”. The response to “the Lord be with you” has been changed from “and also with you” to “and with your spirit”, while the opening three sentences of the third eucharistic prayer have been replaced with a 72-word sentence.[48]

Future of the Church in Ireland

Archbishop Martin said in a speech on the future of the Church on 10 May 2010, that the Gospel reminds "us that the Father would send the Spirit who, at each moment in the history of the Church, would teach us all things in Jesus name. In that sense I cannot be pessimistic about the future of the Church in Ireland." He continued saying that "The future of the Catholic Church in Ireland will see a very different Catholic Church in Ireland. I sometimes worry when I hear those with institutional responsibility stress the role of the institution and others then in reaction saying that “we are the Church”. Perhaps on both sides there may be an underlying feeling that “I am the Church”, that the Church must be modelled on my way of thinking or on my position. Renewal is never our own creation. Renewal will only come through returning to the Church which we have received from the Lord."[49]

On Church teaching, Archbishop Martin said that, "There are further challenges to be addressed regarding Church teaching. Within the Church and outside of it discussion focuses around challenges in the area of sexual morality where the Church’s teaching is either not understood or is simply rejected as out of tune with contemporary culture. There is on the other hand very little critical examination of some of the roots of that contemporary culture and its compatibility with the teaching of Jesus. The moral teaching of the Church cannot simply be a blessing for, a toleration of, or an adaptation to the cultural climate of the day."[49]

On the need for greater evangelisation he said that "The use of modern media mechanisms to support the distribution of the Gospel is something important and innovative. In this context, we are very fortunate to have a group of scripture scholars who put their knowledge and personal perception of the scriptures at the service of parishes and bible study groups. This material is accessible to any individual who would wish to avail of it on the website www.yearofevangelisation.ie."[49]

He said that "The Catholic Church in Ireland is coming out of one of its most difficult moments in its history and the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off. The Catholic Church in Ireland will have to live with the grief of its past, which can and should never be forgotten or overlooked. There is no simple way of wiping the slate of the past clean, just to ease our feelings. Yet the Catholic Church in Ireland cannot be imprisoned in its past. The work of evangelization must if anything take on a totally new vibrancy."[49]

He closed saying that "Perhaps the future of the Church in Ireland will be one where we truly learn from the arrogance of our past and find anew a fragility which will allow the mercy and the compassion of Jesus to give us a change of heart and allow others through a very different Church to encounter something of that compassion and faith for their lives."

On 20 February 2011, he made what was regarded by abuse survivors as his most explicit apology yet.[50]

At a talk on the future of Irish Catholicism on 22 February 2011 for the Cambridge Group for Irish Studies, Magdalene College, Cambridge Archbishop Martin said that "there are parishes in Dublin where the presence at Sunday Mass is some 5% of the Catholic population and, in some cases, even below 2%. On any particular Sunday about 18% of the Catholic population in the Archdiocese of Dublin attends Mass. That is considerably lower than in any other part of Ireland." He continued saying "the conformist Ireland of the Archbishop McQuaid era changed so rapidly and with few tears was read as an indication of a desire for change, but perhaps it was also an indication that the conformism was covering an emptiness and a faith built on a faulty structure to which people no longer really ascribed" and that "The Catholic Church in Ireland will inevitably become more a minority culture. The challenge is to ensure that it is not an irrelevant minority culture." In the context of lay pastoral workers he said "The narrow culture of clericalism has to be eliminated. It did not come out of nowhere and so we have to address its roots from the time of seminary training onwards". He said that of the Church that the "paradoxical thing is that the farther the Church goes in adapting to the culture of the times, the greater is the danger that it will no longer be able to confront the culture of the time", he concluded saying that "I am convinced that one of the principal ways in which the Church can reform itself and bring its message more incisively to society is through developing a renewed biblical apostolate".[51]

2011 general election comments

Archbishop Martin in February 2011 called on Christians in Ireland to be vocal about the values they want for "a caring" society. Addressing a church celebration of the World Day of the Sick in Clontarf, Archbishop Martin said: "We stand at an important moment regarding the future of our Irish society." He continued saying "In a climate marked too often only by criticism and mud-slinging, we Christians are called to drive for a sense of common purpose regarding the type of society we wish our political leaders to generate and the values that we would wish to see enshrined in that society," Dr Martin said.[52] Shortly afterwards the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference released a guide to voters for the general election.[53]


The Archbishop's brother, Seamus Martin, was a left wing journalist with The Irish Times newspaper.


  1. ^ Irish archbishop sets up traditionalist chaplaincy. New Liturgical Movement. Published 19 September 2007.
  2. ^ Don't ban gay priests, urges Irish Catholic archbishop
  3. ^ Archbishop sends out his missionaries across city. The Irish Independent. Published 21 March 2008.
  4. ^ The Times, 20 April 2009
  5. ^ Diarmuid Martin tipped for post as Pope's top advisor. The Herald. Published 23 April 2009.
  6. ^ Bishops differ over emphasis on civil unions. The Irish Times. Published 11 November 2008.
  7. ^ Archbishop backs legal rights for gay couples
  8. ^ Pope meets Irish delegation on Eucharistic Congress
  9. ^ Church faces credibility deficit, says archbishop. The Irish Times. Published 1 January 2009.
  10. ^ 'Rift growing' between youths and the Church. The Irish Independent. Published 10 April 2009.
  11. ^ Chrism Mass 2009. Archdiocese of Dublin. Published 9 April 2009.
  12. ^ Ireland archbishop admits child abuse report 'will shock us all'. The Guardian. Published 10 April 2009.
  13. ^ Archbishop says abuse report 'will shock us all'. The Irish Times. Published 9 April 2009.
  14. ^ Tarnished orders have a last chance at redemption. The Irish Times. Published 25 May 2009.
  15. ^ Judges called on by churches to help create a just society. The Irish Times. Published 6 October 2009.
  16. ^ Church 'routinely covered up' child sexual abuse for 30 years. The Irish Times. Published 27 November 2009.
  17. ^ "Abuse 'covered up' by Dublin Archdiocese". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. 26 November 2009. http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1126/abuse.html. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  18. ^ Archbishops Statement on the Publication of the Dublin Report. Archdiocese of Dublin. Published 26 November 2009.
  19. ^ a b Archbishop Martin not satified with response of some bishops. The Irish Times. Published 2 December 2009.
  20. ^ The Holy Father meeting with representatives of the Irish Bishops' Conference and head departments of the Roman Curia. Vatican News Service. Published 11 December 2009.
  21. ^ Pope 'shares outrage and shame' at Murphy report. The Irish Times. Published 11 December 2009.
  22. ^ Martin and Brady meet pope today over abuse. The Irish Times. Published 11 December 2009.
  23. ^ Dismay in Vatican at negative Irish response to 'historic' meeting. The Irish Times Published 18 February 2010.
  24. ^ Full Pope Statement on the Murphy Report. NewsTalk. Retrieved on 28 March 2010.
  25. ^ Martin and Brady stress significance of pope's promised pastoral letter. The Irish Times. Published 12 December 2009.
  26. ^ Victims are left cold by pope's statement. The Irish Times. Published 12 December 2009.
  27. ^ Two Irish Catholic bishops resign over church cover-up of child abuse. The Guardian. Published 25 December 209.
  28. ^ Pope rejects resignation of two Dublin auxiliary bishops
  29. ^ Two auxiliary bishops offer to resign. RTÉ News. Published 25 December 2009.
  30. ^ Bishop of Galway stands firm. Ireland.com. Retrieved on 28 March 2010.
  31. ^ Archbishop 'surprised' at reaction to remarks. The Irish Times. Published 23 January 2010.
  32. ^ a b Archbishop Martin criticised for failure to support priests. The Irish Times. Published 28 January 2010.
  33. ^ Irate priests critical of Archbishop Martin. The Irish Times. Published 5 February 2010.
  34. ^ Irish bishops have history of disunity, says Martin
  35. ^ Pastoral letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland. Vatican News Service. Published 20 March 2010.
  36. ^ Pope apologises to victims for 'grave errors' of church. The Irish Times. Published 20 March 2010.
  37. ^ Martin refuses to call for cardinal's resignation. The Irish Times. Published 17 March 2010.
  38. ^ Bishops summoned to Rome for abuse crisis talks
  39. ^ Press Release/ Diary Notice February 15th
  40. ^ Archbishop Martin makes explicit apology
  41. ^ 20/2/2011 Reflections from Liturgy of Lament and repentance
  42. ^ Vatican criticised for 'slowness' on church renewal
  43. ^ a b c d Martin welcomes plan to reduce Catholic schools. The Irish Times. Published 6 March 2010.
  44. ^ [1]
  45. ^ Homily post Cloyne Report
  46. ^ Archbishop warns over obstruction of inquiries into abuse
  47. ^ Order of Mass - new translation
  48. ^ Martin defends new Roman Missal
  49. ^ a b c d Archbishop Martin Addresses Knights
  50. ^ "Archbishop Martin makes explicit apology". RTÉ. 20 February 2011.
  51. ^ Address by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to the Cambridge Group for Irish Studies, Magdalene College, Cambridge
  52. ^ Archbishop hits out at mud-slinging by politicians
  53. ^ [2]

External links

See also

Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Jan Pieter Schotte
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
1994– 17 January 2001
Succeeded by
Giampaolo Crepaldi
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Giuseppe Bertello
Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva
17 January 2001 – 3 March 2003
Succeeded by
Silvano Maria Tomasi
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Desmond Connell
Archbishop of Dublin
26 April 2004–present
Order of precedence in Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Alan Harper
Archbishop of Armagh (Church of Ireland)
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin
Succeeded by
John Neill
Archbishop of Dublin (Church of Ireland)

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