The appointment of Monsignor Eamon Martin as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and successor to Cardinal Sean Brady is a very important indicator of how the Vatican would like its future relationship with this island to unfold (News, January 19).
While theoretically, Cardinal Brady will continue to lead the church until his 75th birthday in August 2015, it is privately acknowledged he is unlikely to still be in office by the end of this year.
It is generally accepted Cardinal Brady has been an impotent leader ever since it was revealed in 2010 that he had failed to report the abuse of Fr Brendan Smyth to the authorities in the mid-70s.
So this is a chance for Pope Benedict to put his own stamp on the Church and thus shape its immediate future. Winning back the confidence of a dwindling flock at a time of increasing secular and materialistic values would be a steep climb in itself.
But, considering the Catholic Church has a huge credibility issue to surmount, one of Mgr Martin's first tasks must be to win the confidence of his fellow bishops.
He can only do this by proving his appetite to lead. But he is not short on commitment to core moral issues. For instance, by attending last month's pro-life Vigil for Life, Mgr Martin took a visible stand on the issue. Such a gesture, at such a pivotal time, will have reassured traditional Catholics.
We wish Mgr Martin every success in his new role. He will have the prayers of the faithful to guide him.
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