‘Cardinal’ Eamon Martin speculation heightens

Speculation continues to grow that the Derry-born leader of the Irish Catholic Church is set to be appointed a cardinal.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 1:31 pm
Press Eye Photography
Photographer Paul McCambridge   / presseye.com
28th May 2013 

Archbishop Eamon Martins pictured in Armagh
Press Eye Photography Photographer Paul McCambridge / presseye.com 28th May 2013 Archbishop Eamon Martins pictured in Armagh

Archbishop Eamon Martin has been Irish Primate since 2014 and is considered the clear-cut contender if there is to be a new Irish cardinal.

Michael Kelly, editor of the ‘Irish Catholic’, is among those who believes the Derry-born cleric is the obvious candidate for a red hat.

He told the ‘Journal’ that becoming a member of the College of Cardinals is something that is “absolutely in the personal gift of the Pope”.

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He added: “For over a century now, every Archbishop of Armagh has served as a cardinal, since Pope Leo XIII made Archbishop Michael Logue a member of the college in 1893.

“At the same time, in 2,000 years of Church history, Ireland has only had 11 cardinals in total and Pope Francis has shown that, when it comes to appointing cardinals, he does not necessarily follow the convention since we now have a situation where there are dioceses that traditionally had a ‘red hat’ that now don’t and other dioceses that never had a cardinal before that now do.

“Pope Francis has said that, in appointing cardinals, he wants to go to the ‘peripheries’ of the Church. Of course, Irish Catholics have never really thought of Ireland as being on the periphery of the Church given our huge contribution to the Irish missionary movement.

“But, now, it is certainly arguable that, given the rapid secularisation of Ireland and the fall-off in Mass attendance and vocations, Ireland is very much on the periphery and a voice like Archbishop Eamon Martin in the Pope’s Senate would be a powerful one to speak about the current cultural context in Western Europe.”

According to Michael Kelly, not even the Pope’s closest advisers know who he will appoint as a cardinal and when he will appoint them.

He added: “Cardinal Seán Brady is already over 80 years of age and, so, not now entitled to vote in a papal conclave if Pope Francis were to abdicate or die.

“So, it would certainly be an absence for Ireland if Archbishop Martin is not appointed before that time. We know that Francis has appointed cardinals every year since he was elected in contrast to his predecessors who only named new cardinals every few years. If he follows that pattern, we could well have more cardinals announced next month and Archbishop Martin could well be amongst those – though, given that he is relatively young in ecclesiastical years (60 later this month), it would not be a surprise if he was not on the next list.”