Friday 28 April 2017

Vatican's man an enigma among his own

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, centre, at a procession against gangland violence on Buckingham Street, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, centre, at a procession against gangland violence on Buckingham Street, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron

Michael Kelly

No man has done more to ensure that the Catholic Church in Ireland retains credibility than Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. It's a reputation that he has sometimes paid a heavy price for, but also one that he's been loath to claim credit for.

A career Vatican diplomat, Martin (71) was thrust into the maelstrom in 2003 when Pope John Paul II handpicked him to return to his native Dublin to manage a Church in crisis. Cardinal Desmond Connell - then at the helm of the country's largest diocese - had been mortally wounded by the punishing revelations in Mary Raftery's 'Cardinal Secrets' documentary which exposed a corrupt culture that put the avoidance of scandal and the reputation of the Church ahead of the needs of children.

To be fair to Connell, he had acted to remove abuser-priests from ministry, but, crucially, he had been lax in reporting suspected abusers to the civil authorities.

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