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Cahal Daly

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His Eminence 
Cahal Daly
Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh
See Armagh
Ordination 22 June 1941 (Priest)
Consecration 16 July 1967 (Bishop)
Created Cardinal 28 June 1991
Rank Cardinal-Priest of S. Patrizio
Other Bishop of Down and Connor 1982-1990; Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise 1967-1982
Personal details
Birth name Cahal Brendan Daly
Born 1 October 1917(1917-10-01)
Loughguile, County Antrim, Ireland
Died 31 December 2009 (aged 92)
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Cahal Brendan Daly (1 October 1917 – 31 December 2009) was an Irish philosopher,[1] theologist, writer and international speaker[2] and, in later years, a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Daly served as Archbishop of Armagh and thus Primate of All Ireland from 1990 to 1996, the most elderly man to take up this role for nearly 200 years.[3] He was then was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991.[4] He was the country's highest ranking Cardinal by the end of his life.[5] His death in 2009 brought to an end a two-year period during which Ireland had three Cardinals for the first time in its history.[6]

Prior to this Daly he was based for three decades in Longford as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. He served for much of the 1980s as Bishop of Down and Connor at which time he was based in Belfast during The Troubles.

Considered "the hierarchy’s foremost theologian", he vocally disregarded the Irish Republican Army (IRA) throughout his reign.[7][3] Daly had many published works, as recently as 2004, and was known for his views on philosophy, theology and on the Northern Ireland situation, attracting global acclaim for writing the speech which Pope John Paul II used on his 1979 visit to Drogheda to ask for an end to violence on the island.[8][9][10][1]


Early life

Cahal Brendan Daly was born in Loughguile, County Antrim, Ireland to a woman from County Antrim and a man who was a teacher of primary school children and came from Keadue, County Roscommon.[9] He had six siblings; he was the third-born child.[9] He was educated at St. Patrick's National School in Loughguile, and then as a boarder in St. Malachy's College, Belfast in 1930. Writer Brian Moore was a student there at the same time.[9]


Daly then studied Classics at Queen's University in Belfast.[9] He earned his B.A. with Honours and also the Henry Medal in Latin Studies in 1937 and completed his M.A. the following year. He entered St Patrick's College, Maynooth and was ordained to the priesthood on 22 June 1941.[11] He continued studies in theology in Maynooth, from where he obtained a doctorate in divinity (DD) in 1945.[9] His first appointment was as Classics Master in St. Malachy's College (1944-1945).[9] In 1945 he was appointed Lecturer in Scholastic Philosophy at Queen's University, Belfast, retaining the post for 21 years.[9] From 1952–1953 Queens granted him sabbatical leave, which he spent studying at the Catholic Institute of Paris where he received a licentiate in philosophy. He would return to France at many points, particularly for holidays.[9] He persisted with his studies well into his retirement.[9][10]

Bishop years, incl. Second Vatican Council

“For God's sake, rid our hearts of this poison. Evil must be rejected totally and unequivocally. There must be no ambivalence, no double standards, no selective indignation.”
Daly's reponse to the IRA's abduction and shooting dead of two British soldiers in west Belfast (1988).[3]

Daly was a peritus, or theological expert, at the Second Vatican Council (1963–1965) to Bishop William Philbin during the first session of the Council and to Cardinal William Conway for the rest of the Council.[11] He dedicated himself to scholarship for 30 years, and published several books seeking to bring about understanding between the warring factions in Northern Ireland.

Daly became a Reader in Scholastic Philosophy at Queen's University in 1963, a post he held until 1967, when he was appointed Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise[9] on 26 May. Daly received his episcopal consecration on the following 16 July from Cardinal William Conway, with Archbishop Giuseppe Sensi and Bishop Neil Farren serving as co-consecrators. He would remain there until 1982.[12]

From 1974 on, he devoted himself to ecumenical activities for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. His famous pastoral letter to Protestants, written in 1979, pleaded for Christian unity.

Daly succeeded William Philbin as the 30th Bishop of Down and Connor when he was installed as bishop of his native diocese at a ceremony in St. Peter's Cathedral Belfast on 17 October 1982.[9]

Sinn Féin representatives left St Patrick's chapel, Belfast during a sermon by Daly in his time there.[13]

Archbishop and Cardinal years

His Eminence 
Cahal Daly
Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland
See Armagh
Enthroned 6 November 1990 (appointed)
Reign ended 1 October 1996 (retired)
Predecessor Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich
Successor Cardinal Seán Brady

On 6 November 1990, Daly was appointed archbishop of Armagh and, as such, Primate of All Ireland. He was aged 73 by this stage.[11] His age made him an unexpected occupant of the post.[3] Despite this it was requested that he stay in the role for three more years than originally intended.[14] Daly took a notably harder line against the Irish Republican Army than his predecessor, Tomás Ó Fiaich.[9][3] He was later created a Cardinal Priest of S. Patrizio by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1991. Cardinal Daly retired as Archbishop of Armagh on his 79th birthday, 1 October 1996.

Although Catholic bishops offer their resignation at the age of 75, Cardinal Daly remained in office until his 79th birthday. He subsequently suffered considerable ill health. Although it was announced that he would attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, he stayed home on the advice of his doctors. As he had turned 80 in 1997, he was ineligible to participate in the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI, due to his age.[9]

Cardinal Daly has the motto, "Jesus Christ, yesterday and today" taken from Hebrews 13:8. His armorial bearings are a personalised variation of the arms of the Ó Dálaigh family. As Archbishop of Armagh he impaled them with those of the Archdiocese of Armagh.

Daly opposed formal integrated education of Roman Catholics and Protestants. This policy was criticized by those who believed segregated education to be one of the causes of sectarianism in Northern Ireland, but was seen by the Roman Catholic clergy as important for passing on the faith to future generations.

He was heckled by the audience on live television during a broadcast of The Late Late Show on the topic of paedophilia in the 1990s.[13] Upon his retirement in 1996 he made no further public statement until his death.[15] A photograph of him at the ceremony initiating Seán Brady as a Cardinal in 2007 was entered by the Irish Independent for a national award (judged by an international panel).[16]

Declining health and death

Daly was rushed to the coronary unit of Belfast City Hospital on December 28, 2009. His health had already been declining,[17] leading to prayers being ordered for him.[18][19][10][11] Dr Daly died in hospital in Belfast on 31 December 2009, aged 92.[20][21][22] His family were on his beside at the time of the incident.[23][24]

In tributes, both Taoiseach Brian Cowen and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair stressed Cardinal Daly's contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland.[21] The deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, the Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness, said it was no secret that Republicans and Cardinal Daly had never enjoyed a close relationship during The Troubles, but that relations had warmed since then.[20] Warm tributes also came from the Primate of the Church of Ireland, Most Rev. Alan Harper, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Rev. Donald P. Ker,[20] and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt. Rev. Dr. Stafford Carson.[22]

Cardinal Daly will be buried on 5 January 2010 in the grounds of St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Armagh next to his three predecessors in the see, Cardinals Ó Fiaich, Conway and D'Alton.[20]

He lay in state before this in Belfast.[25] He was then brought to Armagh.[26] Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute at this stage.[27] Large numbers of people travelled from as far as County Westmeath to attend Mass at Armagh on January 4, at which Monsignor Liam McEntaggart spoke of "when the history of peace making in Ireland comes to be written, the contribution of Cardinal Daly will be accorded a high place".[28] The funeral was held on January 5, 2010 and attended by the President and An Taoiseach Brain Cowen.[29]

Written legacy

In 2001, eight years before his death, Dr. Daly donated his entire set of writings to the Political Collection of the Linen Hall Library. His donation to the Library, which is bound in handsome volumes, includes 500 sermons, essays, addresses and press statements.[3]

Daly said at the time:

Where feelings run high and community resentments are strong on both sides, truth itself becomes an early casualty. St Paul wrote of speaking the truth in love, and that is what the Christian pastor must always seek to do. Whether or to what extent I succeeded in doing so is for others to judge, not me.[3]

His collection Philosophy in Britain from Bradley to Wittgenstein and The Minding of Planet Earth was published as recently as 2004.[30][10][13]

Two of his speecehes feature in Teachers of the Faith: Speeches and Lectures by Catholic Bishops, a book of international addresses by members of the clergy spanning 26 years.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Cardinal Cahal Daly, Leader of Irish Church in Time of Violence, Dies at 92". The New York Times. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Oliver V. Brennan (Sept, 2003). "Teachers of the Faith: Speeches and Lectures by Catholic Bishops". Catholic Education. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Cardinal Cahal Daly dies: an IRA critic who sought to build bridges". The Daily Telegraph. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  4. Miranda, Salvador. "Cahal Daly". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  5. "Cardinal Cahal Daly 'seriously ill'". RTÉ. 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  6. "Pope seeks dialogue with non-Catholic Christians". The Times. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  7. Dan Collins (2010-01-01). "Tributes as Cardinal Daly dies at 92". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  8. "Cardinal credited with famous John Paul II speech dies", Herald Sun, 1 January 2010, .
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 Dan Keenan and Patsy McGarry (2009-12-29). "Cardinal Daly seriously ill in hospital with heart trouble". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Dan Keenan (2009-12-30). "Brady urges prayers for seriously ill cardinal". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "Catholics urged to pray for former Primate Daly". The Belfast Telegraph. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  12. "Cardinal remembered in west Offaly". Offaly Express. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Henry McDonald (2010-01-01). "Cardinal Cahal Daly, former leader of Ireland's Catholics, dies at 92". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  14. Gordon Deegan (2007-03-08). "Bishop Walsh will be 'happy to retire' in 3 years". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  15. "For the record". The Observer. 2009-12-20. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  16. Edel Kennedy (2008-01-21). "Snap decisions focus on best photographs". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-01. "Link to photo" 
  17. John Cooney (2009-12-29). "Cardinal Daly seriously ill with heart problems". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  18. "Cardinal Daly remains seriously ill". RTÉ. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  19. "Prayer appeal for sick Irish cardinal Cahal Daly". BBC. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Tributes paid to Cardinal Cahal Daly, RTÉ, 31 December 2009, .
  21. 21.0 21.1 Irish cardinal Cahal Daly dies, BBC News, 31 December 2009, .
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Cardinal Cahal Daly, 92; led Irish Catholics amid Troubles", Boston Globe, 1 January 2010, .
  23. "Ex-leader of Irish Catholic Church Daly dies at 92". Taiwan News. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  24. Victorial O'Hara (2010-01-01). "Cardinal Daly dies with family at his side". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  25. "Cardinal Daly to lie in state in Belfast". RTÉ. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  26. "Remains of Cardinal Daly lie in state". RTÉ. 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  27. "Remains of late cardinal arrive in Armagh". RTÉ. 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  28. "Crowds attend mass for Cardinal Daly". RTÉ. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  29. "Cardinal Cahal Daly funeral today". RTÉ. 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  30. "Cardinal Cahal Daly seriously ill". BBC. 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James Joseph MacNamee
Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise
Succeeded by
Colm O'Reilly
Preceded by
William Philbin
Bishop of Down and Connor
Succeeded by
Patrick Joseph Walsh
Preceded by
Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich
Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland

Succeeded by
Cardinal Seán Brady
no:Cahal Brendan Dalyru:Дэйли, Кэйл Брендан

fi:Cahal Brendan Daly

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