The Pope’s man in Ireland has given a strong indication that the Vatican will be in no hurry to replace the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.
Dr Martin is due to submit a letter of resignation on April 8 when he turns 75 in line with Church law.
Speculation has been rife in Church circles about potential candidates. However, in an interview with The Irish Catholic Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo poured cold water on talk of a quick succession.
“It is delicate and still very premature for discussion. Otherwise, it could raise a flurry of undesired opinions. We wait until the Holy Father gives the go-ahead.
“As a servant, I cannot go ahead of my master. We wait until he blows the whistle, and the race takes off. I will let you know!” the archbishop said.
On speculation on the succession, he insisted that “there is a season for everything. It will be a fascinating moment, because many people are very interested, including those who have nothing to do with the Church. We shall need the graces and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”.
He said that it will be a while before there is movement in Dublin. “There is no move yet and there is no move foreseen until the archbishop submits a letter to the Holy Father [in April 2020].
“And when he does, the Holy Father will read his letter and then get back to the nunciature and say, ‘all right, go ahead.’
“Until that is done, I don’t know anything about it because the step will begin from the archbishop himself. That is why we wouldn’t put the cart ahead of the horse,” he insisted.
Asked whether Dr Martin may stay on for a prolonged period like his predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell who stayed on until he was 78, Archbishop Okolo said: “I don’t know. Everything depends on the Holy Father. So, we cannot foresee.”