The Primate of All-Ireland has paid tribute to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on his retirement as Archbishop of Dublin.
The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, said it has been a “privilege” to work alongside Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who he described as “a tireless worker for the mission of the Church at home, and universally”.
His tribute came amid the news that Pope Francis had appointed Archbishop-elect Dermot Farrell as the new Archbishop of Dublin after he had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Martin, who turned 75 earlier this year, the mandatory retirement age for bishops.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, President of the Irish Bishops Conference, said Archbishop Martin had brought “courageous leadership skills, not only to his role as chief pastor of the largest diocese on the island, but also to the table of the Bishops’ Conference”.
He noted how, from the outset, the archbishop had faced robustly the need to manage a change of culture in the Church in Ireland, particularly in the important area of child safeguarding.
“In this he led by example, confronting the past, engaging in regular outreach to survivors and their families, and modelling best practice in transparency and accountability – thereby setting the template for other Church leaders both here, and across the world,” he said.
The primate noted how during Archbishop Martin’s time as Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference he was a key representative at Church-State structured dialogue meetings in the Republic of Ireland.
“He has served with distinction on the Conference’s Standing Committee, as chair of its Commission for Social Issues and International Affairs, chair of the Council for European Affairs, co-chair of the Council for Marriage and the Family and on the Catholic Education Service and other Church educational bodies,” he said.
“He has worked closely during his tenure on many joint committees and initiatives with the Religious and Missionaries in Ireland.”
The primate also noted that Archbishop Martin had brought to the Church in Ireland “a wealth of insight and experience from his involvement on the international stage”.
“This,” he said, “included his significant previous tenure as Secretary of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace where he worked to help tackle global social injustice by representing the Holy See at plenary United Nations conferences.
“Archbishop Martin has continued to apply his commitment and passion for the social teaching of the Church in his ongoing vocal support for those on the margins: the homeless, Travellers, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and for the diocesan charity Crosscare, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin City.”
The Archbishop of Armagh also pointed out how Archbishop Martin’s abilities and expertise continue to be recognised internationally.
“He held the post of Vice-President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE); he has remained an important advisor on intercultural dialogue in Europe and he was appointed to the Vatican Secretariat for Communications in 2016 in recognition of his valuable insights into social communications in the Church,” he said.
The primate also recalled how he played a major part in two major events that occurred in Dublin in recent years.
“Archbishop Martin was largely personally responsible for two of most significant global Church events coming to Dublin in recent years: the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012 and the 9th World Meeting of Families in 2018, which included the visit of Pope Francis,” he said. “He devoted huge energy and commitment to attracting and organising these momentous and memorable moments in the life of the Church in Ireland.
“Archbishop Martin has been a tireless worker for the mission of the Church at home, and universally,” the primate added. “It has been a privilege to work alongside him in recent years, to observe and learn from him in so many ways.
“I pray God’s blessing on Archbishop Diarmuid, for his good health and happiness in the years that lie ahead, as well as for a well-deserved rest from what has been a very intense and busy ministry.”
Picture: (left to right) Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Archbishop Eamon Martin. (Brenda Drumm, Catholic Communications Office).