Thursday, November 06, 2008

Primate on Politics

Quizzed by a parliamentary panel in Dublin yesterday on why he didn't lead an ecclesiastical charge in support of the EU-strengthening Lisbon Treaty -- which was handily defeated in a June referendum -- the cardinal-primate of All Ireland said such a push would've been "counterproductive," citing the prospect of repudiation:
"A 100 per cent resounding call for a Yes vote, I think, would have got people's backs up," [Sean Brady] said.
While the church remains a significant force in the 90% Catholic country, its bishops had their "Blue Tuesday" in 1995, when a referendum to legalize divorce narrowly passed in defiance of the hierarchy's strenuous opposition.

About to mark a year since his elevation to the Pope's Senate, earlier this week the 115th successor of St Patrick -- also the president of the Isle's bishops -- began his archdiocese's movement toward a significant clustering of parishes in the 210,000-member Armagh church amid a falling number of priests.

Among other changes in the offing: a renewed emphasis on the lay vocation in the mission of the church and -- in a seismic first for the historically priest-centric Irish church -- the institution of the permanent diaconate.