Letter: Irish Catholics deserve a voice in selecting successor to Archbishop Martin

  • Alan Whelan

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Alan Whelan writes: 2020 is likely to be a momentous year for the Catholic Church in Dublin and the whole island of Ireland. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has clearly indicated that he will submit his resignation letter to Pope Francis in a few months time when he reaches his 75th birthday. His time at the helm of Dublin archdiocese has rarely seen him out of the news and he has not been slow to engage with difficult issues of the day. If it is his wish, he deserves many years of peaceful retirement.

Now is the time to think about possible leadership successors. Catholics deserve a voice in selecting his successor. I suspect that the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, would welcome suggestions from faithful Catholics for the three names to be submitted to Pope Francis when the time comes.

When I lived in London I remember several occasions when both Cardinal Heenan and Cardinal Hume asked parishioners to submit names of possible area bishops. Lay Catholics felt very empowered by the experience.

Priests too have their ways of having their voices heard, as back in the '70s the priests of Brentwood Diocese engaged in an exercise which included a very professional questionnaire to determine the qualities they sought of their next bishop. Bishop Patrick Casey was duly appointed bishop and undertook to serve in that capacity for ten years. After ten years he returned to his home diocese as a parish priest.

Surely now is the time for Irish Catholics to speak up and suggest names of priests or bishops that they feel would provide the leadership needed for the next ten years.

Alan Whelan, Killarney, Co Kerry.

Fr Tom Grufferty comments:

Alan Whelan, this is an excellent suggestion and well worth responding to. Perhaps, Alan should set up a means whereby people, especially lay people, can submit their suggestions and ideas. Set a time scale of say three months and then pass on all the ideas to the Apostolic Delegate and to all the Hierarchy. In that way all the Church Leaders will know what kind of Pastoral leadership people are looking for. We really need Church Leaders who have a vibrancy for the Faith, enthusiasm for Church and a genuine love for all peoples.
Well done Alan

Tags: Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Alan Whelan, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo

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