Dr Martin Set for Rome in Reshuffle at Vatican
By John Cooney
February 24, 2006
DUBLIN Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will return to Rome to take up a senior position in the Curia within six months.
Informed sources in the Vatican say he will be replaced as Archbishop of Dublin by his deputy Bishop Eamonn Walsh.
Archbishop Martin's departure will constitute part of Pope Benedict XVI's far-ranging reform of the Curia, the Catholic Church's central administration, which is due to take place later this year.
Contrary to a widespread impression that Dr Martin was snubbed by the Vatican earlier this week when he was passed over for a Red Hat, he has been marked out by Rome to take up a significant role in a revamped Curia.
A number of senior Vatican figures, including the Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Walter Kasper are due to retire from their high-level posts in the near future.
And Pope Benedict has earmarked Dr Martin as one of a younger generation to take over the upper echelons of the Curia.
He would do so while still holding the rank of an archbishop. But he would be a strong contender for a Red Hat at the next Consistory, expected to take place in 2008 at the latest.
The 60-year-old Dubliner is considered to be in line to head one of two major councils.
One is the expected merger of the Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue with the Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
The other is to take charge of an amalgamation of the councils for the Family and for the Laity.
Before his appointment as Archbishop of Dublin in April 2004, Dr Martin had been the Holy See's permanent representative at the UN and other international organisations.
An expert on Third World issues, and a friend of Bono whom he introduced to the late Pope John Paul II, he has represented the Vatican at important world conferences in Cairo and Bejing.
Dr Martin would rejoin the Curia while still holding the rank of an Archbishop.
But he would be a strong contender for a Red Hat at the next Consistory, expected to take place in 2008 at the latest.
Indications of these significant moves have been signalled by Jim Cantwell, a highly respected Vatican-watcher and a former press secretary to the Irish Episcopal Conference.
The double move is also understood to have the support of the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, whose advice is given a high priority by the Pope and the Vatican.
"Far from being sidelined, Dr Martin is in line for high office this summer or autumn," a high-placed church source said.
But the Pope wants him to complete his work before coming back to Rome.
This timetable would give Archbishop Martin, who is less than two years in the job as Primate of Ireland, enough time to cooperate with the initial work of the Government's Commission of Investigation into clerical child sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.
By the summer, when the Investigation will have begun its work in camera, and is getting down to the horrendous details of abuse of children, the media-skilled Dr Martin would have also laid the foundations for children's catechetical and adult education campaigns.
Bishop Walsh, a lawyer who won widespread praise for his handing of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Diocese of Ferns.
KEY ROLE BECKONS, P14
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.