Rome, Italy, Feb 21, 2012 / 13:55 pm
You don’t have to be named O’Brien to become a cardinal, but it seems to help. Just after Cardinal Edwin O’Brien became a member of the College of Cardinals on Feb. 18, he was welcomed by a man with the same last name, Cardinal Keith O’Brien from Scotland.
“O’Briens are descendents of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, and I’m sure Edwin, like me, can trace his ancestry directly back to him.
“So it is only fitting that the two of us should be Princes of the Church at this present time,” laughed the Scottish Cardinal O’Brien.
The American Cardinal O’Brien was also amused that their family name is currently the only one to appear twice in the 213-member list of the Church’s Sacred College of Cardinals.
“I know there have been a lot of O’Brien bishops, but I doubt there have ever been two Cardinal O’Briens. It’s a great distinction, and I thought of that pretty soon after I was appointed,” the American cardinal told CNA.
The two men met at the Rome headquarters of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.