Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Pope Benedict

Surprise, surprise, no red hat for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the outspoken head of the Dublin Archdiocese, in Pope Benedict's latest list of new cardinals.

Martin is far too honest, straightforward and unable to play the Vatican game to be made a cardinal of course.

No doubt if Martin had kept his mouth shut and made the usual apologetic noises without ever slamming the institutions of his own church he would have been seated in the next conclave.

That was never to be with Martin showing forensic honesty and addressing the root causes of the massive child abuse scandal that has so badly damaged the Catholic Church in Ireland.

In the process, Martin has become the most popular clergyman in Ireland, but a pariah within the corridors of power. The Vatican even walked back his decision to suspend two auxiliary archbishops for their roles in alleged cover ups.

Martin's forthright statement when the Cloyne diocese cover-up was exposed almost definitely ended his hopes pf promotion.

‘There may be a cabal in Cloyne’, admitted Dr Martin. ‘They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vatican. ‘The numbers that are involved in this are few. The damage that these people cause is horrendous. '
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Reading the list of cardinals, it is striking how many are current members of the Curia, essentially civil servants, who have made all the right bureaucratic moves and have now reached the pinnacle of achievement outside of being named pope.

Ironically Martin was one of those Curia members before being dispatched to Dublin to stem the rising crisis there.

But once in Ireland he stopped being a man of the Vatican and became a man of the people instead.

Which is why he will never be a cardinal under this pope at least.