Independent Catholic News logo Welcome Visitor
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Old enemies unite to honour Ireland's new Cardinal
Comment Email Print
¬†Important relationships formed between political leaders in Britain, Dublin and Northern Ireland since the cessation of violence, were further strengthened in Rome during a weekend of celebrations to mark the elevation of Archbishop SeŠn Brady of Armagh to the Sacred College of Cardinals, on the 24 and 25 November. The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and senior representatives of the Irish and British governments attended the Public Consistory held by Pope Benedict XVI, in St Peter's Basilica, on Saturday morning. The Northern Ireland Executive was represented in the person of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, described as a "former IRA commander by the Irish Independent on Monday. Mr McGuiness, a practising Catholic from Derry, revealed that it was his first visit to the Vatican and St Peter's. "I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience, he told me in the Paul VI Hall, during the Visite di Calore, or Courtesy Visits. For two hours in the late afternoon following the consistory, the new cardinals receive all those who wish to pay them a courtesy call. It's a rare opportunity for members of the public to get into the Paul VI Hall and the Apostolic Palace without the usual many passes or letters of invitation! The conversations and informal meetings held by the political leaders in Rome were a fulfilment of a dream articulated 28 years ago by the late great Pope John Paul II when he made a heart-felt plea for an end to violence in Northern Ireland during the first day of his historic Pastoral Visit to Ireland, 29 September to 1 October 1979. "On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and to return to the ways of peace, the Polish Pontiff pleaded during his homily at Drogheda, situated not far from the border with Northern Ireland. This correspondent covered the Papal Visit to Ireland and heard first-hand the dramatic appeal made by Pope John Paul II, the first Pope from a Communist country. Pope John Paul said: "To all men and women engaged in violence. I appeal to you, in language of passionate pleading. On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and to return to the ways of peace. "You may claim to seek justice. I, too, believe in justice and seek justice. But violence only delays the day of justice. Violence destroys the work of justice. "Further violence in Ireland will only drag down to ruin the land you claim to love and the values you claim to cherish. "In the name of God I beg you: return to Christ, who died so that men might live in forgiveness and peace. He is waiting for you, longing for each one of you to come to him so that he may say to each of you: your sins are forgiven; go in peace. There was a mood then, of confident expectancy that the cycle of violence and bloodshed would cease. Yet hopes for a cessation of violence were quickly dashed. The plea for peace by Pope John Paul II fell on deaf ears and was met by an intensification of the vicious terror campaign by Republican Provisional IRA and Loyalist UVF and UDA gunmen and bombers. It was years later before "the men and women engaged in violence" heeded the words of Pope John Paul II and peace was restored to the troubled provinces. The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, summed up the mood in Rome perfectly during her speech a lunch held at the Irish College in honour of Cardinal SeŠn Brady (Vice Rector and then Rector of the College from 1980 to 1993) following the Consistory, held in St Peter's Basilica. She said: "It is an historic and very happy occasion, a cause for great celebration. As Cardinal of All Ireland he is the first to become Cardinal at a wonderful grace-filled moment in Irish history when there is a new mood of partnership within Northern Ireland and between North and South. The President emphasised: "In Ireland we have been privileged after much suffering to see hearts soften, to see perspectives change, to see old enemies find the good and bring out the best in one another. Cardinal Brady has always believed such things possible even against huge walls of scepticism. He has been proved right. Addressing the press when he arrived at the Irish College, Cardinal SeŠn Brady said: "These have been difficult, at times traumatic years for the Church in Ireland. Yet in the midst of these challenges, the overwhelming majority of priests and religious have continued to serve their people, in humble patience, with quiet devotion and outstanding generosity. He concluded: "Being created a Cardinal is about strengthening the bonds of affection and unity between the See of Peter and the Church in Ireland. I have therefore no hesitation in saying to the lay faithful of Ireland today: take heart! Today is recognition of your goodness and fidelity. Today the Successor of Peter has not so much honoured me as honoured the people of Ireland for their dedication to faith, family and fair play.
Share:  Bookmark and Share
Tags: None

Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: