Pope Francis has appointed Nigerian Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo as apostolic nuncio to Ireland.
Archbishop Okolo is the first African to represent the Holy See in the country. The archbishop previously served as nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad, then as diplomatic representative to the Dominican Republic. He will take up his new role in Ireland in the summer.
Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh welcomed his appointment, saying: “Archbishop Okolo’s rich experience in the diplomatic service of the Holy See means that he brings many gifts to bear on his new mission in Ireland.”
Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests, a pressure group that says it represents 1,000 clergy, welcomed Archbishop Okolo’s appointment while strongly criticising his predecessor Archbishop Charles Brown, who has been posted to Albania. “It is no secret that under the last nuncio, [Pope] Francis’s vision of an open Church was not reflected in the appointment of bishops,” the association claimed.
“During that time there has been, with one or two exceptions, a clear lack of leadership from Irish bishops, even a marked reluctance to follow the example of Pope Francis.”
They said that in recent years, only “safe, compliant, ultra-orthodox men” had been appointed bishops, adding: “Men with either vision or leadership ability were largely excluded from consideration.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday Ireland celebrated the first ever beatification on its soil.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the saints’ congregation, said the new Blessed John Sullivan, who was raised a Protestant but became a Jesuit priest, had “reached a high degree of perfection”.
Quarter of non-religious still pray
A quarter of people who say they have no religion admit to praying, a report has found.
Nearly one in four Britons who claim to be non-religious say that prayer forms a part of their life. A similar proportion attend services. The study by the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University found that nearly half of Britons call themselves “non-religious”.
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