Monday, 7 May 2012

Ireland's new ambassador!

Pope Benedict XVI warmly welcomed Ireland’s new ambassador to the Holy See, David John Cooney, at a ceremony in the Vatican on May 4.

Ambassador Cooney presented his Letter of Credence from the President of the Republic of Ireland, Michael D.Higgins, to the 85-year old pontiff, and the two men spoke together briefly.

He was one of a group of five ambassadors to present their credentials on this day in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall; the others were from Armenia, Ethiopia, Fiji and Malaysia.  

He presented his credentials at a particularly delicate moment in relations between Ireland and the Holy See because the previous day, May 3, some of Ireland’s top politicians, including Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, the Deputy Prime-Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, suggested or called for Cardinal Brady’s resignation for failing to protect children from abuse by a priest predator, by informing their parents in 1975. (See Vatican Insider stories, May 3).

Pope Benedict, however, made no reference to this, or indeed to any specific country, in his speech welcoming the new ambassadors. Instead, he asked them to convey his greetings to their “civil and religious authorities” and to “reassure” the Catholic communities in their countries of his prayers for them. His words are likely to be well received in Ireland where 84% of its 4.6 million people identified themselves as Catholic in the 2011 census. 

Read more of this good news here 

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