21 Dec 2010

Irish Cardinal who protected pedophile priest unaware of criticism within church, says he will not resign

CNN - September 1, 2010

Irish cardinal will not resign after scandals, he says

From Nic Robertson and Thomas Evans | CNN

Armagh, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Months after the revelation that he helped cover up for one of Ireland's most notoriously abusive priests, the country's top Catholic churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady, says he has "moved on" and will not resign.

"I've moved on there, I think, and I got a lot of support in my decision," he told CNN in a rare interview.

Brady was part of an internal church investigation into Father Brendan Smyth in 1975, he confirmed early this year. He did not report his findings to the police and asked two teenagers who gave him evidence to sign oaths of secrecy.

In March, Brady apologized for his role in the Smyth investigation.

"I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologize to you with all my heart," he said at his home church, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.

Smyth died in prison in 1997, having been convicted in both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom of child abuse.

Deeply Catholic Ireland has been profoundly shaken by a series of government-backed reports that found Catholic clergy committed physical and sexual abuse of children across the country going back at least 70 years.

Church officials systematically hushed up the abuse, the reports found.

Brady said he was not aware of criticism of the church's response to the reports from within the clergy.

Told that there are priests who say the crisis has hurt the morale of the clergy, Brady said: "I haven't met many of those priests, to be honest."

But child abuse by Catholic clergy in Ireland has become such a widespread scandal that Pope Benedict XVI addressed it in an unprecedented pastoral letter to Irish Catholics earlier this year.

The pope is due to visit England and Scotland later this month, which will put him just across the Irish sea from Ireland.

But Brady said he was not disappointed Benedict was not coming.

"The pope has already reached out to us by sending us a pastoral letter," he said, adding he hoped Benedict would come to Ireland in the future.

But one critic said if the Catholic Church had responded differently, a papal visit could improve matters.

"The visit could have helped if the church had admitted that it had acted wrongly in the cover-up. But they are not admitting overall responsibility, just blaming individual priests," said Maeve Lewis of the charity One in Four, which counsels victims of sexual abuse.

In the wake of the scandals, three out of four Irish adults said Brady should resign, a poll for the Irish Times newspaper found in June.

But Brady told CNN he would not.

"I have re-evaluated my position and I have decided to continue as the archbishop of Armagh," he said.

Only one in 10 Irish people think the church has responded adequately to the most recent investigation, summarized in the document known as the Murphy report, the Irish Times poll found.

More than eight out of 10 -- 83 percent -- felt the church had not done enough to respond to the report, which looked into the abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report

This article was found at:



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  1. Cardinal Brady sorry for abuse response

    by Lesley-Anne McKeown, The Irish News June 26, 201

    THE response to child sex abuse allegations was totally inadequate and ineffective, former Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady told an abuse inquiry.

    Cardinal Brady said he had been horrified by the unspeakable crimes and hoped a public inquiry would shed light on the church's dark history.

    He said: "You have been tasked with inspecting a dark chapter in our history. But, I am confident that your patient and diligent work will cast a welcome light of truth on this situation and hopefully lead to a better future."

    The 75-year-old, who resigned as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland on age grounds last year, was giving evidence to the Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA) at Banbridge, Co Down.

    The senior cleric was fiercely criticised after it emerged he had attended meetings in 1975 where two teenage victims of paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were sworn to secrecy.

    One of the pair, Brendan Boland, has waived his right to anonymity and said he was abused by Smyth from the age of 11. He was 14 when he was sworn to secrecy.

    The pair's evidence was never handed over to police, allowing the west Belfast churchman to continue abusing children before he was finally jailed in 1994.

    Cardinal Brady, then priest and teacher Fr John Brady, was a note-taker during the secret meeting at St Malachy's Priory in March 1975.

    The churchman, who had studied canon law in Rome, said it did not cross his mind to inform the civil authorities.

    "I wasn't aware of Smyth's history which has now emerged," he said. "It just did not cross my mind to consider informing the statutory authorities. Now, of course it is the first thing that we would do.

    "But, for various reasons it was considered that the in house way of doing it ourselves was more prompt, we thought more effective, but it was not; it did not involve the boys having to take the witness stand. We thought that we would deal with this ourselves."

    The Cardinal told the inquiry he was motivated by an anxiety to stop Smyth and believed everything he heard from victims.

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  2. But he acknowledged the church response was poor with little or no consideration for those who had been abused.

    "These were unspeakable crimes," said Cardinal Brady. "There was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view not to destroying the good name of the church.

    "The scandal that somebody who was ordained to serve people should so abuse the trust for their own pleasure was appalling and it was.

    "To offset that, the scandal was kept a secret - very, very secret.

    "Everybody involved would be bound to secrecy too."

    The Cardinal also conceded that the secret inquisition would have been intimidating for a 14-year-old and that some of the 30 questions were "inappropriate".

    Cardinal Brady added: "I once again offer an unreserved apology to all those who suffered as a result of the crimes of Brendan Smyth.

    "I commend the courage of (the victim) who came forward in 1975. I believed everything he said and set about getting a prompt and effective response to his complaint. Unfortunately the response that emerged was neither adequate or effective. It was partly effective.

    "For this I am truly sorry."

    Speaking after yesterday's hearing, Margaret McGuckin from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) said: "This is the truth coming out. There was nowhere else for it to go."

    Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is leading the HIA probe which this week focused on the activities of Smyth and whether systemic failings allowed him to get away with his crimes for so long.

    The serial child molester frequented Catholic residential homes and groomed children in family settings after befriending their parents.

    Instead of reporting him to the civic authorities Smyth was moved between parishes, countries and even continents where he continued to target children. The only sanctions imposed were temporary bans on hearing confessions and celebrating mass.

    Sir Anthony said: "Brendan Smyth was able to abuse children in many places - not just in residential homes. Schools and families and other places outside Northern Ireland and outside the Republic of Ireland whether it was Wales, Scotland or the United States of America.

    "He was able to perpetuate his crimes because of his position as a priest."