Cardinal Sean Brady, Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland, should resign today. Last December he told RTE that he would resign if a child had been abused as a result of a failure on his part. He has now admitted that he attended meetings in 1975 at which teenage victims of the paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were sworn to silence about the crimes committed against them.
At the time Cardinal Brady was a priest, and was investigating the complaints in his capacity as Secretary to the Bishop of Kilmore. Brady now says that he believed the victims were telling the truth but was only following orders from his Bishop in how he dealt with them. The Cardinal’s office said yesterday:
“In 1975, Fr Sean Brady, as he then was, was the part-time secretary to the then Bishop of Kilmore, the late Bishop Francis McKiernan. At the direction of Bishop McKiernan, Fr Brady attended two meetings: in the Dundalk meeting Fr Brady acted as recording secretary for the process involved and in the Ballyjamesduff meeting he asked the questions and recorded the answers given. At those meetings the complainants signed undertakings, on oath, to respect the confidentiality of the information gathering process. As instructed, and as a matter of urgency, Fr Brady passed both reports to Bishop McKiernan for his immediate action.”
As it happens, Bishop McKiernan’s “immediate action” was to report the matter to Smyth’s Abbott and withdraw Smyth’s right to hear confessions, but not to tell the police about the crimes that he was aware of. cardinal Brady’s statement last December, which ironically was made when he was putting pressure on the Bishop of Limerick to resign over similar allegations, was:
“I would remember that child sex abuse is a very serious crime and very grave and if I found myself in a situation where I was aware that my failure to act had allowed or meant that other children were abused, well then, I think I would resign.”
Well, that is exactly the position Cardinal Brady now finds himself in. Father Brendan Smyth continued to sexually abuse children for almost two decades after those meetings with Brady. Cardinal Brady is now (and has for many years been) aware that his failure to act allowed or meant that other children were abused by one of Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priests…