Malachi Brendan Martin (July 23, 1921 – July 27, 1999) was a Roman Catholic priest and a former Jesuit. Author of several books on religious and geo-political topics, he was a controversial commentator on the Vatican and other Catholic matters.
He was a brother of the Irish historian F. X. Martin.
Martin was born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland and studied at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. There he received doctorates in the Semitic Languages, Archeology and Oriental History. Subsequently, he studied at Oxford and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He was ordained to the priesthood on August 15, 1954. From 1958 to 1964 he served the Holy See in Rome. Martin was the private secretary of Augustin Cardinal Bea in Rome and lived and worked at the Vatican for many years. According to his book Hostage to the Devil, he assisted in several exorcisms while a priest.
In 1964, Pope Paul VI released Martin from the vows of poverty and obedience in the Jesuit Order, but at Martin’s request confirmed his vow of celibacy. This step has been explained by Martin’s growing dissatisfaction with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, but others argue that his traditionalist bent only came later and that he sought the release to pursue a literary career.
Martin relocated to New York City in 1965, and was active in the communications and media field for the rest of his life. He received a Guggenheim fellowship, which enabled him to write his first bestseller, Hostage to the Devil.
Martin was also a member of the Vatican advisory council[clarify] as was privledged to secretive information pertaining to Vatican and other world issues.
Martin worked closely with the paranormal researchers Dave Considine and John Zaffis on several of their independent cases.
Martin continued to privately offer Mass and vigorously exercise his priestly ministry all the way up until his death. He is said to have been closely allied to sedevacantists, among them Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy, in his very last years, though this claim remains disputed.
Martin produced numerous best-selling fictional and non-fictional literary works, which became widely read throughout the world.
His writings cover a range of Catholic topics, such as exorcisms, Satanism, Liberation Theology, the Tridentine liturgy, Catholic dogma, and the geopolitical importance of the Pope. Martin was a guest on Art Bell’s radio program throughout the 1990s.
His books frequently present a dark view of the present state of the world, invoking dark spirits, conspiracy, betrayal, heresy, widespread sexual perversion, self-advancement, and demonic possession, each being asserted as rife throughout the Catholic Church, from its lowest levels up to its highest.
Malachi Martin’s writings and honesty were criticized most notably by the book Clerical Error: A True Story by Robert Blair Kaiser, Time Magazine’s former Vatican correspondent. In this book, Kaiser accuses Martin of carrying on an extramarital affair with his wife and for being a notorious womanizer during his time in Rome, as well as a liar and fantasist.
In 2004 Father Vincent O’Keefe SJ, former Vicar General of the Society of Jesus and a past President of Fordham University affirmed that Martin had not been laicized. O’Keefe stated that Martin had been released from all his priestly vows save the vow of chastity. It is claimed that attacks were mounted on Martin in retaliation for his book The Jesuits, which is hostile to the Jesuit order of which Martin had once been a member.
With regard to the accusations that his non-fiction writings are suspect, Martin supporters say his writings concerning exorcism are in line with similar writings by Father Gabriele Amorth, the senior Roman Catholic exorcist of Rome.
Martin died after a fall in his apartment in Manhattan, New York, in 1999. His funeral wake took place in St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Chapel of West Orange, New Jersey. Requiem Mass for his repose was offered by the late Father Paul A. Wickens (April 14, 1930 – July 8, 2004).