Cahal Daly

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Cahal Cardinal Daly
Primate of All Ireland
Archbishop of Armagh
Appointed6 November 1990
Term ended1 October 1996
PredecessorTomás Ó Fiaich
SuccessorSeán Brady
Other postsCardinal-Priest of San Patrizio
Ordination22 June 1941
Consecration16 July 1967
by William John Conway
Created cardinal28 June 1991
Personal details
Birth nameCahal Brendan Daly
Born(1917-10-01)1 October 1917
Loughguile, County Antrim, Ireland
Died31 December 2009(2009-12-31) (aged 92)
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
Alma materSt Malachy's College
MottoJesus Christus Heri et Hodie

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

Daly served as the Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh from late 1990 to 1996, the oldest man to take up this role for nearly 200 years.[3] He was later created a Cardinal-Priest of S. Patrizio by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1991.[4] His death in 2009 brought to an end a two-year period during which Ireland had, for the first time in its history, three living Cardinals.[5]

Early life[edit]

Cahal Brendan Daly was born in Loughguile, a village near Ballymoney in County Antrim, the third child of seven. His father was a primary school teacher originally from Keadue, County Roscommon, and his mother a native of Antrim.[6][6] He was educated at St. Patrick's National School in Loughguile, and then as a boarder in St. Malachy's College, Belfast, in 1930. The writer Brian Moore was a contemporary.[6]


Daly studied Classics at Queen's University in Belfast.[6] 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.[7] He continued studies in theology in Maynooth, from where he obtained a doctorate in divinity (DD) in 1944.[6] His first appointment was as Classics Master in St. Malachy's College (1944–1945).[6]

In 1945 he was appointed Lecturer in Scholastic Philosophy at Queen's University, Belfast, retaining the post for 21 years.[6] In the academic year 1952–53 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.[6] He persisted with his studies well into his retirement.[6][8] He was a popular figure with the university and fondly remembered by his students.


"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 response 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 (1962–1965) to Bishop William Philbin during the first session of the Council and to William Cardinal Conway for the rest of the Council.[7] 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[6] on 26 May.

Daly converted his forename Charles into Cahal ahead of his episcopal consecration in St. Mel's Cathedral, Longford, on 16 July 1967 from William Cardinal Conway, with Archbishop Giuseppe Sensi and Bishop Neil Farren serving as co-consecrators.

He spent 15 years as bishop in Longford and was diligent about parish visitation and confirmations gradually assumed a greater national profile.[9] From 1974 onwards, he devoted himself especially to ecumenical activities for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. His 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.[6]


On 6 November 1990, Daly was appointed Archbishop of Armagh and, as such, Primate of All Ireland.[7] His age made him an unexpected occupant of the post.[3] Despite this it was requested that he stay in the role for three years before usual age of episcopal retirement at 75.[10] Cardinal Daly took a notably harder line against the Irish Republican Army (IRA) than his predecessor, Tomás Cardinal Ó Fiaich.[3][6]

Daly was respectful of Protestant rights,[clarification needed][11] and opposed formal integrated education of Catholics and Protestants. This policy was criticised by those who believed segregated education to be one of the causes of sectarianism in Northern Ireland, but was seen by the Catholic clergy as important for passing on their faith to future generations. He was utterly orthodox in opposing divorce, contraception, abortion, the ordination of women and any idea of dropping clerical celibacy.[12]

He was heckled by the audience on live television during a broadcast of The Late Late Show on RTÉ One on the topic of paedophilia in the 1990s.[13] After his retirement in 1996 he made no public statement on the issue.[14]

Daly retired as Archbishop of Armagh on his 79th birthday, 1 October 1996, and subsequently suffered 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. His age made him ineligible to participate in the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.[6]

Cardinal Daly had 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.

Declining health and death[edit]

Cardinal Daly was admitted to the coronary unit of Belfast City Hospital on 28 December 2009. His health had already been declining,[15] leading to prayers being ordered for him.[7][8][16][17] Dr Daly died in hospital in Belfast on 31 December 2009, aged 92.[18][19][20] His family were at his bedside at the time.[21][22]

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.[19] 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.[18] Warm tributes also came from the Primate of the Church of Ireland, the Most Rev. Alan Harper, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev. Donald P. Ker,[18] and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Stafford Carson.[20]

He lay in state in Belfast [23] and then his remains were taken to Armagh.[24] Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute at this stage.[25] Large numbers of people travelled from as far as County Westmeath to attend Mass at Armagh on 4 January, at which Monsignor Liam McEntaggart, the former parish priest of Coalisland, said, "When the history of peace making in Ireland comes to be written, the contribution of Cardinal Daly will be accorded a high place".[26] Monsignor McEntaggart himself died on 22 August 2010, aged 81, just seven months after Cardinal Daly's passing.

Daly's funeral was held on 5 January 2010, attended by the president Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Brian Cowen.[27] Cardinal Daly was buried 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.[18]

Written legacy[edit]

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]

Cardinal Daly said at the time:

His collection Philosophy in Britain from Bradley to Wittgenstein and The Minding of Planet Earth was published as recently as 2004.[8][13][28]

Two of his speeches 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[edit]


  1. ^ "Cardinal Cahal Daly, Leader of Irish Church in Time of Violence, Dies at 92". The New York Times. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b Oliver V. Brennan (September 2003). "Teachers of the Faith: Speeches and Lectures by Catholic Bishops". Catholic Education. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Cardinal Cahal Daly dies: an IRA critic who sought to build bridges". Daily Telegraph. London. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  4. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "Cahal Daly". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  5. ^ Owen, Richard (1 November 2007). "Pope seeks dialogue with non-Catholic Christians". The Times. London. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dan Keenan and Patsy McGarry (29 December 2009). "Cardinal Daly seriously ill in hospital with heart trouble". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d "Catholics urged to pray for former Primate Daly". Belfast Telegraph. 30 December 2009. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Dan Keenan (30 December 2009). "Brady urges prayers for seriously ill cardinal". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Cardinal remembered in west Offaly". Offaly Express. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  10. ^ Gordon Deegan (8 March 2007). "Bishop Walsh will be 'happy to retire' in 3 years". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  11. ^ Obituary in The Independent, 5 January 2010
  12. ^ Independent obituary, op cit
  13. ^ a b Henry McDonald (1 January 2010). "Cardinal Cahal Daly, former leader of Ireland's Catholics, dies at 92". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  14. ^ "For the record". The Observer. London. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  15. ^ John Cooney (29 December 2009). "Cardinal Daly seriously ill with heart problems". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Cardinal Daly remains seriously ill". RTÉ. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  17. ^ "Prayer appeal for sick Irish cardinal Cahal Daly". BBC News. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  18. ^ a b c d Tributes paid to Cardinal Cahal Daly, RTÉ, 31 December 2009
  19. ^ a b Irish cardinal Cahal Daly dies, BBC News, 31 December 2009
  20. ^ a b Pogatchnik, Shawn (1 January 2010), "Cardinal Cahal Daly, 92; led Irish Catholics amid Troubles", Boston Globe.
  21. ^ "Ex-leader of Irish Catholic Church Daly dies at 92". Taiwan News. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  22. ^ Victorial O'Hara (1 January 2010). "Cardinal Daly dies with family at his side". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  23. ^ "Cardinal Daly to lie in state in Belfast". RTÉ. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Remains of Cardinal Daly lie in state". RTÉ. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  25. ^ "Remains of late cardinal arrive in Armagh". RTÉ. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  26. ^ "Crowds attend mass for Cardinal Daly". RTÉ. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  27. ^ "Cardinal Cahal Daly funeral today". RTÉ. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  28. ^ "Cardinal Cahal Daly seriously ill". BBC News. 28 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.

External links[edit]

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
Tomás Ó Fiaich
Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland

Succeeded by
Seán Brady
Preceded by
Tomás Ó Fiaich
Cardinal-Priest of San Patrizio
Succeeded by
Thomas Christopher Collins