Pope Benedict has named New York priest Msgr. Charles Brown to serve as his new official representative to Ireland.
The news of the 52-year-old priest's appointment on Nov. 26 was welcomed among Church leaders as relations between the country and the Vatican have reached their lowest point since the two states established diplomatic relations in 1929.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York praised Msgr. Brown in comments to CNA on Nov. 24, calling him a “young, vibrant, very theologically savvy but pastorally sensitive guy.”
Archbishop Dolan noted that Msgr. Brown is “loved in New York” and has “a wonderful pastoral side to him” due to his work in university apostolates.
A native of New York, Msgr. Brown earned his bachelor's degree in history at the University of Notre Dame before obtaining advanced degrees in theology at Oxford and medieval studies at the University of Toronto. He was ordained a priest at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City in 1989 and earned a doctorate in sacramental theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Anselm in Rome.
Since 1994 he has been an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith where he worked closely with Cardinal Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict—up until 2005. The congregation is also the Vatican body that deals most closely with issue of clerical abuse.
Those who have worked with Msgr. Brown say he is well-loved in the Roman Curia and is a “good and holy” man. Over many years, Msgr. Brown has given up much of his spare time—including holidays—to work with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in some of the poorest parts of the world.