Skipping The Bishop Step, The Pastor’s Too

Msgr Eamon Martin has skipped the perfunctory step of being an “ordinary” bishop and appears ready to leap right into an archbishopric when Cardinal Sean Brady’s retirement puts an end to a scandal-scarred ministry. Irish Times reporter interpreted Msgr Martin’s quote as exemplifying shock at being named coadjutor for Armagh:

I am very conscious of the great trust that the Holy Father has placed in me, but in truth I have to admit it was with considerable nervousness and trepidation that I accepted his call.

I’m a little surprised, too. A red hat see gets a Monsignor, though the man is a diocesan bureaucrat. Usually a high-profile see gets someone who has seen at least two other dioceses. Sometimes as many as four. Msgr Martin, however, has spent almost all of his clerical career as a teacher or school administrator. Never as a parish pastor.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Skipping The Bishop Step, The Pastor’s Too

  1. Brendan Kelleher svd says:

    In the UK and Ireland moving up to Abp without doing time as a Bp is not unknown. While Cardinal Brady did time as a PP, his predecessor but one, AbpTomas O’Fiach was a Professor of History at Maynooth College. Of the Abp’s of Dublin since 1940, therefore including the legendary Abp John Charles Mc Quaid (1940-1971), who was a high school principal before his elevation, you have, a Professor of Semitic Languages, Abp Dermot Ryan (1971-1984), a Professor of Systematic Theology, Abp Kevin McNamara (1984-1987) – he was however Bp of Kerry for eight years, a Professor of Metaphysics, Abp Desmond Connell (1988-2004), and now Abp Diarmuid Martin (2004 – ), formerly a Papal diplomat. A Professor of Moral Theology was rumoured to be the favoured candidate after Abp McNamara, but his theology was considered too progressive. Not one has had pastoral experience before their elevation. So there you see the roots of the trials of the Irish Church.

    • Joe McMahon says:

      Thanks to Brendan for the biographical information he gives. However, in his final sentence, I would replace “the roots” with “some roots,” as other practices also contributed to the recent trials.

      • Brendan Kelleher svd says:

        Agreed, it isn’t the full story, but too many of the “old school” who made it to the episcopacy, because they had little or no pastoral experience, only seemed to be able to respond by the book, which meant keeping it in house. The clerical ethos – clericalism.
        When I did theology at Maynooth (1972-1976), as an SVD, I was an external student of the Pontifical University, but saw almost too much evidence of emotional immaturity among the diocesan students. Working on the student union Welfare Committe, among the problems I found myself dealing with were problems brought in by female students in the Arts and Science faculties was what nowadays we’d name as “stalking” and/or sexual harrassment from diocesan seminarians. Thankfully there were one or two Profs on the theology faculty whom I could bring the problem to – the Dean’s response was, “Well, boys will be boys”. He was later relieved from his post.
        Maynooth now has less diocesan students in toto studying for the priesthood than there were in my year when we began theology. And it is the only seminary for diocesan students left, where once there were half a dozen.

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