The Pope’s representative in Ireland has poured cold water on speculation that Diarmuid Martin could soon be replaced as Archbishop of Dublin.
Dr Martin – who is due to tender his resignation on turning 75 in April next year – has hinted on several occasions that he would like to go early. Ahead of the Pope’s visit last year the archbishop was asked about the issue of his retirement and he insisted: “I don’t want to open the stakes and have the stakes for succession going. That’s only damaging, so I may get out early,” he said.
However, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo has appeared to hint that the Vatican will be in no hurry to replace Dr Martin. Dr Okolo moved to quash speculation reportedly telling a Catholic gathering that there is “no vacancy” in Dublin.
When asked about this by The Irish Catholic, the Nuncio replied “apparently, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin is in good health. We are all praying that God would give him some more time of fruitful, pastoral ministry.”
“We all know that it is still early to speculate on the matter…And of course, much depends on the decision of His Holiness the Pope,” the Nuncio told this paper.
Dr Martin – who first came back to Dublin as coadjutor archbishop in 2003 and succeeded Cardinal Desmond Connell the following year – has presided over one of the most turbulent times in the history of the diocese and has been widely credited with facing the crisis of clerical abuse head on.
Priests and parishioners have been speculating about succession for some time and the archbishop has appeared to indicate that he has no desire to stay on.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio before the Pope arrived last August, Dr Martin said on the topic of young people disconnected from the Church: “My days are nearly over – I’m 73 and a half. Whoever takes over from me I will say to him: ‘here’s an area where I have failed. That’s the big challenge for you – how do you get in touch with these great young people?’.”
He added: “I’m moving on”.