News archive 2007

Archbishop Seán Brady receives Leadership Award from US University

PRESS RELEASE

10th May 2007

Archbishop Seán Brady receives Leadership Award from US University

Most Rev. Seán Brady DD, DCL, Archbishop of Armagh and President of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, was today presented with the honourary degree of Doctor Ewen Chias Live Internet Income of Divinity by the oldest Catholic Seminary in the United States, St. Mary’s University, Baltimore, in recognition of his leadership of the Catholic Church in Ireland and his work for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the Commencement ceremony, which included thirty six lay people receiving Bachelor degrees in theology and fourteen graduating seminarians who are to be ordained to the priesthood in the month of June, the President Rector of the University, Fr Robert Leavitt S.S., said of Archbishop Brady;

“During his eleven years as Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop Seán Brady has been a steady, thoughtful, and articulate spokesman for the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on social justice and peace, on bio-ethics, on ecumenism, and on the protection of children.

Archbishop Brady has used his strategic position and ecumenical influence to help bring peace to Northern Ireland. His words convey the spiritual terms for reconciliation in this typical passage: ‘A genuinely free and confident Ireland will only come about when we stop thinking of our own rights and freedoms first, and take responsibility for the freedom and rights of others, not least the other whom we find most difficult to accept or tolerate.’ He has also written: ‘the situation in Northern Ireland is the result of a complex mixture of history and politics, of culture and identity, of tensions over land and resources, of fear of those who are different and the need for each of us to belong.’

Noting Archbishop Brady’s recent historic meeting with Dr. Ian Paisley and his earlier meeting with leaders of the Loyal Orders in Ireland, Fr Leavitt went on to say;

Respect for the other and the need for an identity that also includes the possibility of change have been hallmarks of his leadership.

In recognition of his ministry as a seminary professor both in Ireland and Rome, his distinguished position as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, his leadership in bioethics and social justice issues, and his influence in bringing about social peace, political stability, and ecumenical understanding in Northern Ireland, St. Mary’s Seminary & University awards to Seán Brady the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.”

Accepting the award, Archbishop Brady said:

‘I accept this award on behalf of the many victims of violence in Northern Ireland who issued heroic words of forgiveness and restraint in the midst of their pain. I also accept it on behalf of the many clergy, of all denominations, who have worked tirelessly to promote understanding, tolerance and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, sometimes at great cost to themselves and without recognition or thanks.’
‘At a time when humanity is acutely aware of the potential for conflict based on history, culture, religion or political philosophy in our world, Northern Ireland offers a beacon of hope. Even the most intractable conflicts can be resolved through patient dialogue, a willingness to compromise and a commitment to a future based on solidarity rather than domination, on respect and tolerance rather than threat and fear. It is Jesus who teaches us this attitude, the attitude that makes for peace.’

NOTES:

St. Mary’s Seminary & University is America’s first Roman Catholic Seminary, founded in 1791 by the Sulpician Fathers from France. Details available at www.stmarys.edu

Father Robert F. Leavitt, S.S. is the President Rector and is concluding his twenty seven year tenure as President Rector this June. His tenure is the longest for any Catholic or non-Catholic Seminary in the United States.

Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)

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