The new Nuncio to Ireland. Some thoughts and a request to readers.

There will be a new apostolic nuncio in Ireland, and his name is.. will be Archbishop Charles Brown.

A glance at his CV shows that he’s got real intellectual game.

Il Santo Padre ha nominato Nunzio Apostolico in Irlanda il Mons. Charles John Brown, Officiale della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, elevandolo in pari tempo alla sede titolare di Aquileia, con dignità di Arcivescovo. Mons. Charles John Brown Mons. Charles John Brown
Il Mons. Charles John Brown è nato a New York il 13 ottobre 1959.
Ha compiuto i seguenti studi accademici: B.A. (Storia), Università di Notre Dame, Indiana (USA); M.A. (Teologia), Università di Oxford (Inghilterra); M.A. (Studi Medievali), Università di Toronto (Canada); M. Div. Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers (USA); S.T.L. e S.T.D. (Teologia Sacramentale), Pontificio Ateneo S. Anselmo (Roma).
È stato ordinato sacerdote il 13 maggio 1989, nella Cattedrale di San Patrizio a New York, per l’Arcidiocesi di New York.
Dal 1989 al 1991 è stato Vicario parrocchiale presso la parrocchia di San Brendan nel quartiere del Bronx, New York.
Dal 1994 è Officiale della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede.
È stato nominato Cappellano di Sua Santità il 6 maggio 2000.
È stato nominato Segretario Aggiunto della Commissione Teologica Internazionale nel settembre 2009.

Apart from the brains, I know Msgr. Brown to be a prayerful, devout and dedicated priest, very close to Pope Benedict for whom he worked for many years at the CDF.

Msgr. Brown is not from the diplomatic corps crowd.  He is an American.  He is young.  He has no diplomatic experience in the sense of having worked in nunciatures.  There are a lot of reasons why his appointment is a departure from the norm.  On the other hand, with his background in theology and his experience at the CDF, it will be nearly impossible successfully to lie to Msgr. Brown about the state of affairs in Ireland.

Perhaps it is time for less diplomacy and more Catholic identity?

One of the pressing tasks facing the future Archbishop Nuncio will be to help gather dossiers on new bishops for Irish dioceses.  About a quarter of the dioceses are now vacant.   It may also be necessary to determine whether all those dioceses are… well… necessary to maintain.

I ask WDTPRS readers to stop and, right now, say a decade of the Rosary for Msgr. Brown, also invoking Our Lady of Knock for him and for the reevangelization of Ireland.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. cumecclesia says:

    From what I know of Monsignor, soon to be Archbishop Brown, having meet him a number of times, all that you said of him is absolutely true, Father. Thanks for the good suggestion of prayers–he will receive the intention of my full Rosary today!

  2. Yes, prayers and blessings for His Grace!

    He was gentleman enough to make sure I made it off the Gran Sasso d’Italia after I had a day out with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith some twelve years ago to go mountain climbing on this highest of mountains in central Italy. The whole crowd took the easy way up, but another official and I went straight up the mountain. I had a pair of crutches and hard soled street shoes, having gotten out of the hospital only ten days earlier with a shattered leg, which was now pretty much unbreakable with about ten pounds of metal in it. I had no thought of going up the mountain, but couldn’t resist when I got there. We made it up, but heard a torrent of rebuke from Father Charles (at the time) as we neared the top, asking if we didn’t know that many people died going up that route to the summit of the mountain every year. Anyway, I hopped down the entire mountain on one foot, having the time of my life, taking the easy way down as darkness fell. His Grace accompanied me, not willing to leave anyone behind. That’s a good attitude for a Nuncio to have in the situation he’s going into now. I should mention that His Grace is a world-class mountain climber. All types of mountains.

    I wish him all the best in one of the most difficult assignments in the Church today.

    What a great appointment by our Holy Father!

  3. shane says:

    I have heard great things about this man so if he lives up to those tributes we can be optimistic about the future. An independent minded nuncio who realizes how disastrous things really are (so many clergy and laity in Ireland are living in denial) is essential, so I will pray hard for his success. The number of dioceses is IMHO not a problem. Indeed, if anything, I would actually suggest decoupling and restoring dioceses that were amalgamated historically. In the great task of re-evangelizing a de-Christianised population, it’s essential that dioceses remain as small as possible (with respect for their historical integrity) to facilitate effective mission. The closer the church administration is to the lives of ordinary people the better.

    The great task of re-evangelization should be primarily about restoration, not just mere renewal. Restoring genuinely Catholic catechesis to the schools, promoting traditional liturgy, devotions etc, which were all cast aside in the turmoil that followed Vatican II. So much has been needlessly destroyed, we have to restore some sense of order. All this will do more good for the church here than any amount of bureaucratic tinkering.

  4. MargaretC says:

    An interesting choice on the part of the Holy Father. I’m impressed by his academic credentials, and I hope that Mgr. Brown is tough as well as smart. He will need to be.

    Our Lady of Knock, pray for him.
    Holy Saint Patrick, pray for him.
    Holy Saint Laurence O’Toole, pray for him.
    Holy Catherine McAuley, pray for him.

  5. TNCath says:

    Well, well! I think this appointment is a stroke of genius. For a number of years, the Church in Ireland has tended to have a reputation for circumlocution, temporizing, rationalization, and procrastination. Msgr. Brown is an interesting combination of unquestioning loyalty to the Holy See and the Holy Father, Irish ancestry, and an American sense of straightforwardness, practicality, and drive to “get things done.” While I predict he will meet a bit of resistance from some of the “old guard,” the key to his success in rebuilding the Church in Ireland will be from the appointments he recommends to the Holy Father for vacant dioceses: bishops who will lead their flocks back to the “Faith of Our Fathers.”

  6. Bill Russell says:

    This is highly significant. Could this be one more step taken by the Holy Father in downplaying the Vatican diplomatic corps? He never seemed impressed by it, far as I can tell. There was much grumbling among the diplomatic prelates when a non-diplomat, Cardinal Bertone, was made Secretary of State. I remember a line of Father George Rutler in one of his essays: “Of the twelve apostles, only one was a diplomat – and he hanged himself.”

  7. Stephen D says:

    If the rebels from the Association of Catholic (sic) Priests demand an interview as they almost certainly will, I hope that he agrees to it only after they have changed the name of their organization to something reflecting its membership and then ‘gives them hell’.

  8. Andrew says:

    Hey, does anyone know about Archbishop Brown elect’s connection to Fatima?

    He was born in New York on 13 October 1959, and was ordained a priest for this archdiocese on 13 May 1989.

    Years later, he was an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when in 2000 it revealed to the world, the Third Secret of Fatima.

    Pope Benedict when he visited Fatima last year, said tat it would be foolish to discount the notion that the events here, have concluded.

    Let us join in prayer that Archbishop Brown’s appointment, will indeed play a role in invigorating the Catholic faith in Ireland, and by imploring Mary, will lead to the triumph of her Heart, and its renewal there, and throughout the whole world.

  9. Supplex says:

    A decade prayed, and I’m not one who prays the Rosary that often, ha ha.
    May God give him many graces and use him for the work of His Kingdom.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    I did say a decade earlier today for Msgr Brown.

    Does Fr George the Hermit not feel pain? I suspect he does and I have been inspired by this priest’s apparently indomitable cheerfulness and good nature. O please God give me even an ounce of that, or more if You please.

  11. Liz says:

    These little requests for prayers really are helpful prompts, Fr. Z. Thank you. I would probably intend to pray for him and then forget, but I said the decade and I will try to remember him at mass tomorrow. God bless him.

  12. ContraMundum says:

    Well, somebody has to say it: “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown!”

    Given the apparent state of Ireland and the current time of year, he might appropriately start his tenure with a question.

  13. Liz says:

    ContraMundum, you crack me up! I was tempted to ask if he had a sister named Lucy.

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