Cardinal Seán Brady confirms offering resignation to Pope

Statement from Catholic Primate comes ahead of 75th birthday tomorrow

Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has confirmed that he offered his resignation to Pope Francis last month. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has confirmed that he offered his resignation to Pope Francis last month. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 11:08

Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, has confirmed that he offered his resignation as Archbishop of Armagh to Pope Francis last month.

In a statement Cardinal Brady said the offer was made to the pope in anticipation of his 75th birthday tomorrow.

Cardinal Brady said he did so “in accordance with Canon Law”.

As soon as his regination is accepted by Pope Francis, Archbishop Eamon Martin will become Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, he said.

Eamon Martin is Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and was appointed to the role in January 2013 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Brady said he looked forward to “the day when my resignation will be accepted and when “Archbishop Eamon will take over”.

Cadinal Brady said the Eamon Martin was “excellently prepared” for the role.

It was expected that the Cardinal would submit his resignation as bishop to Rome on turning 75. He must do so at this age under current Vatican practice after which Rome decides on its immediate acceptance or otherwise.

Cardinal Brady will remain a member of the College of Cardinals for the rest of his life and will be entitled to vote in Papal conclaves for five years until he reaches the age of 80.

Last month Irish clerical child abuse survivor Marie Kane (43) met Pope Francis and asked him to remove Cardinal Seán Brady as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland due to his handling of a clerical child abuse inquiry in 1975.

In 1975, while investigating allegations of child sexual abuse against paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth, Cardinal Brady swore two boys to secrecy as part of a canon law investigation process. The allegations were not reported to police and Smyth continued to abuse children before being jailed in Belfast in 1994.

Cardinal Brady was ordained a priest 50 years ago in 1964 . He returned to Cavan to teach at St Patrick’s in 1967.

In 1980, he was appointed vice rector of the Irish College in Rome - becoming rector in 1987 - and remained there until 1993, when he was appointed parish priest of Castletara, Ballyhaise, Co Cavan.

In February 1995, he was ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and, a year and a half later on the retirement of Cardinal Cahal Daly, he became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in October 1996. In November 2007 he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI.

The man who is set to succeed Cardinal Brady as All Ireland Primate, Archbishop Eamon Martin, is aged 52 and was ordained a priest in 1987.