It is reported that when Pope John Paul 1 was found dead in the Vatican - after been murdered by members of the Vatican Curia - a number of papers were found on his bed.
One of the files discovered was the file of Tomas O'Fiaich who was awaiting appointment as Archbishop of Armagh. Apparently the dead pope had written on the file: "Ireland deserves better".
I personally admired Cardinal O'Fiaich and I went to visit him on several occasions at his house in Armagh where he always treated me to tea and sandwiches and as much Irish whiskey as I wanted - depending on whether or not I was driving.
As far as I am concerned he was the best Archbishop of Armagh in my lifetime. I had no time for Daly who followed him and I regarded Sean Brady as a nobody.
|Brady resisting calls for his resignation|
But the current incumbent of Armagh is, to my mind, a non entity and using the words of Pope John Paul I would say that Ireland deserves better.
The Archbishop of Armagh is supposed to be the leader of the Irish Roman Catholic Church and as such you would expect the archbishop to be at least of the finest and most impressive clerics in the country.
I like Pope Francis. And if Pope Francis is double cream I would say that Eamon Martin is watery skimmed milk.
He comes across to me as a weak, effeminate, light weight who would be better placed being a bishop's secretary tied to a desk job.
My mother, God rest her, used to say: "Never trust a man with a tight mouth" and poor old Eamon has the tightest looking mouth I ever saw - so tight as to be water tight. Watch for yourself.
I find his tweets embarrassing - covering issues like how his Mammy advises him how to wash his pallium - the over shoulder ornament of an archbishop.
|Fairy or Surf ?|
Another of his tweets showed himself sitting in his Mammy's house on his birthday, in his immaculate Lacoste shirt, holding a balloon and blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.
I expect the Catholic Primate - or any primate - to have gravitas. I expect him to come across as competent in theological and social affairs. I expect him to have leadership qualities that incline his clergy and congregations to to consider the great matters of faith and the world.
But in poor Eamon I see someone who would have been more suited to have starred in an edition of Are You Being Served or behind the counter of the men's accessories department in Harrods.
I do not particularly like Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin but I have to admit that Diarmuid looks authoratitive and speaks with a certain authority.
Eamon - on the other hand - I can almost imaging running down the stairs screaming, in his palace in Armagh, a purple dressing gown and begging the 80 year old housekeeper to go up to his bathroom and remove the Daddy Long Legs from his bath.
The Catholic Church is in a state of great crisis here in Ireland and around the world. The Catholic Titanic has hit an iceberg and is letting in water. At such times as this the Church needs a great courageous and well admired captain - a Captain Testosterone.
But in poor Eamon it has a church mouse. And given his age he is going to be in Armagh for over 25 years.
All I can say is "God help us". Josiah Gilbert Holland summed it up well:
- GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
- Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
- Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
- Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
- Men who possess opinions and a will;
- Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
- Men who can stand before a demagogue
- And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
- Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
- In public duty, and in private thinking;
- For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
- Their large professions and their little deeds,
- Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
- Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.