No Pope here?

Did the Vatican over-rely on the advice of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on a papal visit to the North, asks Martin O’Brien   Why should a Papal visit to the North that enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the Irish and British governments, the Protestant Church leaders, not to mention the Northern bishops to a man, (and…

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There’s something about Mary…

A look back at our 2015 profile of the former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese   Four years, almost to the day, since she retired after 14 momentous years as eighth President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, devout and questioning Catholic, stateswoman, peacemaker, Pope Francis admirer, qualified Canon lawyer, wife, mother and grandmother, is relishing the…

Under-fire Bishop McAreavey admits his abuse failings

The Bishop of Dromore tells Martin O’Brien about ‘missed opportunities’ to expose appalling crimes   During my long stint producing BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence, dominated by the apparently unending clerical sex abuse scandals, one bishop was more available than any other to come on the radio to face the music. That bishop demonstrated then…

A mission to ignite passion for God’s Word

Martin O’Brien meets Fr Edward O’Donnell, a priest happy in his ministry and his own skin   Fr Edward O’Donnell, first ever Catholic ecumenical canon in Belfast’s Protestant cathedral, parish priest in one of the North’ s most well to do areas, former private secretary to the late Bishop Cahal Daly, noted homilist, and proud…

Walking tall with God’s grace

Having been thrust into the public eye in the most awful circumstances imaginable, John McAreavey remains a man of immense faith 
and courage, writes 
Martin O’Brien   The two hours we had agreed for this rare and exclusive interview, requested by The Irish Catholic, just flew by. So, I was sorry when John McAreavey, husband…

Unearthing Cahal Daly’s contribution to peace

The Vatican foreign minister’s lecture raised as many questions as it provided answers writes Martin O’Brien   It was a considerable coup for the organisers to secure as distinguished and high-powered a figure as the Vatican’s foreign minister to deliver the Cardinal Cahal B. Daly Centenary Memorial lecture in Queen’s University, Belfast at the weekend.…

In service of community and parish

There are three words that recur when you talk to Seamus McDonald, KSG, retired teacher, first-ever Irish secretary general of Unum Omnes, the International Council of Catholic Men, stalwart of the Knights of Saint Columbanus for more than 30 years and former pioneering GAA official in Co. Tyrone. They are ‘service’, ‘community’ and ‘parish’. They…