Cardinal Cahal Daly RIP

The former primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Cahal Daly, who died on New Year's Eve aged 92, was the Irish Church's leading intellectual. As a priest he wrote background papers for the bishops attending the Second Vatican Council; as a bishop he worked tirelessly for peace and ecumenism, speaking out forcefully against the IRA's mystique of violence. He was made Archbishop of Armagh in 1990 by Pope John Paul II after eight years as bishop of Down and Connor at the height of the sectarian murders in his native northern Ireland. 

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He wrote many books, including The Minding of the Planet Earth in 2004, a lodestar for Christian ecologists whose call on the Churches to make the environment a theological issue fell often at the time on deaf ears -- see his Tablet interview on the issue here.

His period as Primate (1990-1996) would have been outstanding were it not for the Irish Church's crucifixion over its handling of abuse allegations. Cardinal Daly was an outstanding theologian and bishop --- but by the time he had a platform to match his abilities, the Irish had stopped listening.   

There is an excellent obituary by Louis McRedmond in the Guardian, while his role in the peace process is detailed in the Telegraph. The Irish Times obit is here, and The Times of London -- also very good -- is here.

I met him once. He was a good man: clever, holy, wise.

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david power
8 years ago
Thank you so much for this.Your finishing words are beautiful.Clever,holy,wise.A man apart who was a good pastor to his people and capable of original thought.His rebuke of the IRA was a reminder to the Irish that the Gospel calls for more than political thinking and justice is not got from the gun but from God.A cultured man in vulgar times but we can say he was one cleric who transmitted love in Ireland.Growing up in Ireland it was only the Church that told us there was no glory in killing,a flawed church but with a few Giants.
R.I.P Cardinal Daly

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