His Eminence 
Seán Brady
Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland
Cardinal Sean Patrick Brady.jpg
See Armagh
Enthroned 3 November 1996
Predecessor Cardinal Cahal Daly
Ordination 22 February 1964 (Priest)
Consecration 19 February 1995 (Bishop)
Created Cardinal 24 November 2007
Rank Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Quirico e Giulitta
Other Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh (1994-1996)
Personal details
Birth name Seán Baptist Brady
Born 16 August 1939 (1939-08-16) (age 78)
Drumcalpin, County Cavan
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Seán Baptist Brady (Irish: Seán Ó Brádaigh; born 16 August 1939) is an Irish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the current Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007.

Early life and education

Brady was born in Drumcalpin, near Laragh, County Cavan, to Andrew (d. 1968) and Annie (d. 1990) Brady.[1] One of three children, he has a brother, Con, and a sister, Kitty.[1] He attended Caulfield National School in Laragh and St Patrick's College in Cavan.[2]

In 1957, he entered Maynooth College, from where he later obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ancient Classics in 1960. He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Irish College and Pontifical Lateran University, where he earned a licentiate in theology in 1964.[1]


Brady was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Luigi Traglia on 22 February, 1964.[3] Finishing his studies at the Pontifical Lateran University, he there earned a doctorate in canon law in 1967.[1] Upon his return to Ireland that year, he served as a professor at his alma mater of St. Patrick's in Cavan until 1980. At St. Patrick's, he taught a variety of subjects including Latin, Commerce, Religion, and French, as well as training college football teams at all age levels.[4]

Brady then returned to Rome, where he was vice-rector (1980-1987) and later rector (1987-1993) of the Pontifical Irish College.[1] In 1990, he introduced Jack Charlton and the national football team to Pope John Paul II.[4] Following his return to his native country, he became parish priest of Castletara (Ballyhaise) in 1993.[2]

Archbishop of Armagh

Styles of
Seán Brady
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Armagh

On 13 December 1994, Brady was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh by John Paul II.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on 19 February 1995 from Cardinal Cahal Daly, with Archbishop Emanuele Gerada and Bishop Gerard Clifford, serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.[3] He selected as his episcopal motto: Jesum Christum Cognoscere, meaning: "To Know Jesus Christ" (John 17:3).[2]

Brady later succeeded Cardinal Daly as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland upon the latter's retirement on 1 October, 1996.[3] He was formally installed as Archbishop on the following 3 November.[3]

On 24 November 2007 in a consistory Brady was created Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quirico e Giulitta as a symbol of the new cardinal's role in helping the pontiff to minister to the diocese of Rome. Following his elevation to the cardinalate he joined Cahal Daly and Desmond Connell as one of three living Irish cardinals, a record in Irish history. Senior Vatican figures suggested that the Archbishop's positive contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process weighed heavily in Pope Benedict's decision to make him a Cardinal.

Cardinal Brady, as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was elected President of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

On 12 June 2008 in addition to his main duties he was appointed by Benedict as a member of congregations in the Roman Curia.[5] These are: the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Culture.


Cardinal Brady has kept a somewhat lower profile than the recent Archbishops of Armagh, Cardinals Cahal Daly and Tomás Ó Fiaich, both of whom developed their reputations during the difficult days of the Troubles and the Hunger Strikes.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II chose to make the then Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, Desmond Connell a cardinal, even though Connell was technically number two in church ranking behind Brady. It was the first time in a century that the red hat was given to the Archbishop of Dublin rather than the Archbishop of Armagh. This was balanced in 2007, when Brady was elevated to the cardinalate. In 1984, the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Ryan, was nominated a cardinal by Pope John Paul II and transferred to a position in Rome, the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. However, Archbishop Ryan died before the consistory that would have elevated him to the cardinalate.

On 4 November 2008, Cardinal Brady criticized the Government's plan allowing for the recognition of cohabiting and same-sex couples describing it as "perhaps the greatest revolution in the history of the Irish family".[6]

On 13 August 2009, Cardinal Brady suggested that, with confidence in commercial banks declining, the time may have come economists to take the lead in developing credit union-type institutions. These would focus on systems of lending, saving and insurance built on an ethic of authentic human development, the cardinal stated at the opening of the national novena in Knock Shrine, County Mayo. He noted that "Such initiatives would certainly increase the hope of a more humane and ethically robust economy." One such initiative was the credit union movement. Another was the Knights of Columbus ethical investment programme.[7]

On 26 October 2009 Cardinal Brady said that further cuts to Ireland’s overseas development budget would have a devastating impact on the lives of some of the world's poorest people, In a letter to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan he said: "These vulnerable people have had no part to play in creating the multiple crises now facing them – climate, financial, food – yet the challenges they face are unprecedented. I appeal to you not to turn your back on them. We must ensure that we maintain our current level of aid spending until such a time as we are in a position to build it up again."[8]

Cardinal Brady told RTÉ News in an interview, broadcast in December 2009 after the publication of the Murphy Report, that he was confident Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick will “do the right thing” in terms of considering his position in the wake of criticism in the Dublin diocesan report.[1]

On 9 December 2009, the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference, of which Brady was president, stated: "As an initial response to the Report, we agreed today to request the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church to explore with the relevant Government departments and statutory authorities, North and South, a mechanism by which to ensure that the Church's current policies and practices in relation to the safeguarding of children represent best practice and that allegations of abuse are properly handled. We are deeply shocked by the scale and depravity of abuse as described in the Report. We are shamed by the extent to which child sexual abuse was covered up in the Archdiocese of Dublin and recognise that this indicates a culture that was widespread in the Church. The avoidance of scandal, the preservation of the reputations of individuals and of the Church, took precedence over the safety and welfare of children. This should never have happened and must never be allowed to happen again. We humbly ask for forgiveness."[9]

External links


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Cahal Daly
Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland

ga:Seán Mac Brádaigh

id:Seán Bradyla:Ioannes Baptista Bradyno:Séan Bradyru:Брэди, Шон Бэптист fi:Seán Baptist Brady

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