Pope accepts Sean Brady's resignation
POPe Francis has accepted Cardinal Sean Brady's resignation as leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Cardinal Brady, who has been Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland since 1996, wrote to Pope Francis several weeks before he approached his 75th birthday in August.
His successor, Archbishop Eamon Martin (52) is from the Derry diocese.
"I am pleased that Pope Francis has today accepted the resignation which I offered to him on the occasion of my 75th birthday," said Cardinal Brady.
"I warmly congratulate Archbishop Eamon Martin who becomes Archbishop."
"The people of the Archdiocese of Armagh and the people of Ireland will remain in my prayers for the rest of my life.
"I ask the favour of your prayers to help me continue to serve God as best I can all the days God gives me.
"God bless you always."
Archbishop Eamon Martin said that he is grateful for the support from members of the church and his family.
"I have discovered that, as well as giving encouragement, I too need to receive encouragement," he said.
"I am blessed with a wonderful family and very special friends who never stop encouraging me. I am very grateful also for the warmth of your support, welcome and prayers, not just today, but every day since I came to Armagh, 16 months ago.
"This is not just my day. It is a day for us to recognise the years of service which you have given to the Church in Armagh and beyond.
"I want to thank Cardinal Sean personally for the kindness he has shown me, and for allowing me every opportunity to get to know the diocese," he added.
Archbishop Martin has been lined up as a replacement since his appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh in January of last year.
Cardinal Brady was formally installed as Archbishop of Armagh in November 1996.
His time as Catholic primate of All Ireland was marred by controversy as revelations emerged about clerical abuse in the church at home and abroad emerged.
His actions, and inaction, as a priest and later as a cardinal, were part of the era.
However, Cardinal Brady led the Catholic Church in Ireland to take account of its responsibilities for victims in this area.