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athgarvan

The "Apple of God's Eye"

These days we are reading little else in Irish newspapers but the role of Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh in the Irish child sexual abuse scandals. The Cardinal is being urged to retire as he has "lost all moral leadership". Will he be the last Irish Cardinal?
The first Irish Cardinal was Paul Cullen (1803–78). Is this where the Irish Catholic Church's problems began? Contemporaries spoke of the ‘Cullenization of Irish society’; a Times obituary celebrated him as ‘an agent of great change’, and a critical James Joyce lampooned the cardinal as the ‘apple of God’s eye’. It has been asserted that he was the most important figure in Ireland during the third quarter of the 19th century. Again, the Times says: "No man in the kingdom has exercised a greater personal influence, or wielded more absolute power.”  Critics considered him suspicious, narrow, intransigent, and intolerant. Even Cardinal Newman, whom he had invited to be Rector of the Catholic University, complained that Cullen treated him and the laity not as equals but as his subjects. Other powerful Bishops since then have been MacHale of Tuam, Croke of Cashel, William Walsh of Dublin, and John Charles McQuaid. 
Yet it is the quiet, humble Seán Brady, who gets the boot!
Only last June a new book on the life, times, and influence of Cardinal Cullen was launched in Trinity College Dublin.  It was edited by Dáire Keogh & Albert McDonnell.

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