Archbishop Martin pays tribute to the late Fr Enda McDonagh

‘A colossus on Irish theological landscape,’ says Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary

Fr Enda McDonagh was lauded by clerical colleagues for his warmth and humility. File photograph: The Irish Times

Fr Enda McDonagh was lauded by clerical colleagues for his warmth and humility. File photograph: The Irish Times


Archbishop of Armagh and Catholic Primate of All Ireland Eamon Martin has responded to the death of influential theologian Fr Enda McDonagh (90) at St Vincent’s hospital, Dublin, on Wednesday.

“Rest in peace, Fr Enda McDonagh. God comfort his family, colleagues and many friends throughout Ireland,” said Archbishop Martin.

In a tribute Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson described Fr McDonagh as “a household name in Irish religious life” who throughout a long life “carried his learning and erudition gracefully and at the same time fearlessly”.

He continued: “Those of us who now take for granted a whole range of human rights and shared ecumenical opportunities are indebted to this soft spoken and fiercely argued man of God and man of ideas – but also man of justice – for the lifting up into the public consciousness of so much that is good and needful.

“I had the privilege of knowing him and on every occasion I met him came away enriched and humbled at the same time. He is sorely missed and greatly appreciated.”

Catholic Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary described Fr McDonagh, a priest of the archdiocese, as “a colossus on the Irish theological landscape for more than six decades”.

Respectful and considerate

Fr Enda “was known and respected by people of all theological hues and none, and because of the way he wore his learning so lightly, and because of his genuine humility and personal warmth, people felt comfortable in his presence, and enriched by the encounter,” said Archbishop Neary.

“While he had well thought-out opinions of his own, he was always utterly respectful of those who had different and sincerely held opinions. And his good-humoured and personable manner always saw to it that nobody felt belittled in a discussion or debate,” he said.

The Archdiocese of Tuam “was always proud of the fact that he was a priest of this diocese” yet “he was at home in every diocese because of the simple fact that he taught generations of Irish priests, most of whom served in Ireland, some of whom brought the Gospel to the very ends of the world,” said Archbishop Neary.