Sun 20th Apr 2014 | Last updated: Sun 20th Apr 2014 at 07:27am

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Cardinal Brady’s situation is now irretrievable, and he would be wise, therefore, to retire; but the storm beating down on him is wholly undeserved

This is one of those media witch hunts which have nothing to do with justice

By on Monday, 7 May 2012

Cardinal Seán Brady speaks to the media outside Armagh Cathedral last week (PA photo)

Cardinal Seán Brady speaks to the media outside Armagh Cathedral last week (PA photo)

I begin by quoting an article by Jenny McCartney in this week’s Sunday Telegraph. Firstly, because she is normally a fair-minded and well-informed commentator; secondly because she sums up well enough what seems to be the general tenor of the obloquy now raining down on the head of Cardinal Seán Brady. Jenny McCartney puts it like this: “It has become a painfully self-evident truth – surely, even to the silent onlookers at the Vatican – that the longer Cardinal Seán Brady stays in place as Primate of All Ireland, the greater the damage inflicted on the reputation of the Catholic Church in Ireland and beyond.”

I wonder, I really do wonder, if anyone has really thought through the implications of all this. What we have here, it seems to me, may well be nearer to the phenomenon we call today a “witch hunt” than to a common understanding based on an equitable understanding of the reality of the situation. The mass psychology of these affairs is rarely based on reason or justice; and such, I suggest, is the case here.

It may well be that Cardinal Brady, who is 72, should take early retirement, given the wholly intractable nature of the situation that has now arisen. It coud be that this is the only way forward, since fighting on is likely only to exacerbate the situation: he cannot expect to be listened to now, however reasonable his self-defence may be. Fr Vincent Twomey, the eminent retired professor of moral theology at Maynooth, says with some justice: “There is a sense of a Greek tragedy in all of this. In the Greek tragedy, people do things intending to do the good thing but instead some awful, dreadful things happen as a result of their actions and they have to pay for it… I think for the good of the Church, I’m afraid I am of the opinion that he should resign….”

But even that perpetuates the notion that it was because of something the young Fr Brady actually did, or failed to do, that Brendan Smith carried on abusing children, as though Fr Brady had episcopal responsibility even then. But he wasn’t the bishop, he was the bishop’s secretary: I wonder how many of those calling for his resignation have read in full the statement he issued following the BBC programme which triggered off this furore:

The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time and that because of the office I hold in the Church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975. I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my bishop had limited authority over him. The only people who had authority within the Church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his abbot in the Monastery in Kilnacrott and his religious superiors in the Norbertine Order. As Monsignor Charles Scicluna, Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, confirmed in an interview with RTÉ this morning, it was Brendan Smyth’s superiors in the Norbertine Order who bear primary responsibility for failing to take the appropriate action when presented with the weight of evidence I had faithfully recorded and that Bishop McKiernan subsequently presented to them…

As he says, the documentation of the interview with the first child to be identified as a victim of Fr Smyth identifies the then Fr Daly simply as the “notary” or “note taker” of the proceedings. He did not formulate the questions asked in the inquiry process. He did not put the questions. He simply recorded the answers.

Even within the more stringent state requirements exiting today in Ireland, he would not, as he says, have been what is now called the “designated person” whose role would now be to report allegations of child abuse to the civil authorities. There was no such defined role, of course in the 70s, when all this happened; and it is worth remembering that that wasn’t the only thing that was utterly different then. It seems incredible to think of it now, but in this country, quite respectable people (some of whom later became prominent politicians) campaigned for “paedophile rights”: you can read about one such in the Daily Telegraph here, who wrote in 1978 that a proposed new law tightening the laws on child pornography could lead to “damaging and absurd prosecutions” and “increase censorship”, and that a pornographic photograph or film of a child should not be considered indecent unless it could be shown that the subject had suffered, and that prosecutors would have to prove harm rather than defendants having to justify themselves.” This was the decade in which organisations such as Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and Paedophile Action for Liberation became affiliated to the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL, today known as Liberty). NCCL itself campaigned to reduce the age of consent in the United Kingdom and argued that court cases could do more damage than the acts themselves, arguing that “childhood sexual experiences willingly engaged in with an adult result in no identifiable damage”.

None of that, of course, applies to the Church, within which such sexual activity has always been considered deeply sinful: I refer to the contemporary secular understanding of the matter simply to recall the fact that it was a different era entirely in our understanding of this phenomenon: it was little understood then, for instance, that paedophiles are rarely “treatable”; many cases of clerical sex abuse went effectively unchecked because a clerical sex abuser’s superiors thought that his apparent penitence and resolutions of reform could be taken seriously: after all, Christianity is the religion of the second chance. We now know that paedophiles must never be given a second chance. And in case anyone thinks that I am thinking up excuses for the abuses of the last 30 years, I’m absolutely not doing anything of the kind. Whatever mitigating circumstances may exist in particular cases, there is ultimately no excuse: this is something we should have cleaned up many years before we did.

As Dr Pravin Thevathasan wrote in his book “The Catholic Church & the Sex Abuse Crisis” (CTS) “It is true that the abuse of minors is rife within society. But we claim, by the grace of God, to be members of the one Church founded by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and we are therefore called to a higher standard than that found in society at large.” But that doesn’t mean that this is a problem that can be seriously addressed by mounting witch hunts against senior clergy for what they did or failed to do 40 years ago: particularly when it is absolutely clear that they had no direct responsibility for making decisions in the particular case concerned.

There is much more that could be said in defence of Cardinal Brady: but who would listen? I fear that his position is now irretrievable, and that for the good of the Irish Church, it would probably be wise for him to ask for the Holy Father’s permission to take early retirement. It seems to me, nevertheless, that he has suffered, at the hands of the This World programme, a profound injustice (which he has eloquently rebutted in his official response to it); and that when he finally does bow before the storm, as he almost certainly must, it should be well understood that this is one of those resignations for the greater good which have nothing to do with any culpability on the part of the person resigning.

  • chiaramonti

    I agree. The hysterical and irrational reaction to Jenny McCartney’s unbalanced article based on a typically unfair BBC programme is evident from the overwhelming number of anti-Catholic comments it has produced. It is grossly unfair and manifestly unjust to attribute to the Cardinal the failings of others. The idea that anyone in a minor functional position nearly 40 years ago could be expected to over-ride his superiors (who, on the evidence, had made the offender’s superiors fully aware of the position) is laughable. In those days, the Irish police would have done nothing. Indeed, in England in those days the penalties imposed by the courts for this sort of offending were unbelievably lenient, on the rare occasions that a prosecution was initiated.  There has, rightly, been a fundamental shift since the 1980s in both the understanding of such perverted activity and the criminal consequences. I am afraid that rational debate about these matters is virtually impossible, such is the hatred of many for the Church. No-one seems to consider that the Church is not simply made up of priests and bishops. The overriding concern of the whole of society in the 60s and 70s was to pretend that such abuse did not occur, and to sweep under the carpet any complaints that were raised. The fault lay with the whole community, including in particular, the Irish state and the police who reports show simply did not want to know. That being said, while it will undoubtedly be grossly unjust to the Cardinal, there really is no option but for him to retire from the fray in the hope that a new beginning will enable the Church in Ireland to renew its mission. But I pray for any priest who is the victim of false allegations of his nature. The chance of him obtaining justice is remote.

  • Joanna

    I warmly agree.

  • Christinecasey5

    Fr. Brady broke the law, he should be arrested. He administered the oath of secrecy, as required by Clause 13 of Crimen Sollicitationis, and then sent his information on to his superiors, and presumably destroyed his own copy, in accordance with Clause 22.
    Yes, Brady performed his duties precisely as required by Canon Law. The parents were not told, either by him or the bishop, and nor were the police notified, despite the fact that both of them were committing the crime of misprision of felony under Irish law. He directly aided and abetted at least one pedophille and should do time.

  • APR

    The tragedy is,  this is just the tip of the iceberg

  • theroadmaster

    The  team responsible for the BBC World programme in question, resemble someone who on finding a piece of garment belonging to a chosen victim,  throws it to a  pack of 
    voracious dogs, in order that they pick up his scent and rip him apart.  The piece of evidence they scraped up relates to a time, when the then Father Brady, was the equivalent in corporate terms, to the proverbial cog in the wheel, whose main focus was passing vital information to his bishop that he had gleaned in notified form from the young victims of clerical sex-abuse.  Hindsight is 20:20 and time and distance allows us to view with clarity the mistakes made and the better route that we should have taken.  The arcane, secretive processes that form part of the Church’s Judicial system, are understandably viewed with a certain impatience and suspicion by outsiders looking in.  They are rarely understood and a case can be made  for greater transparency regarding them.  

     It is unfortunate, that the Cardinal by his then strict adherence to the internal legal demands of Canon law, regarding interviews in criminal investigations, has found himself in a growing storm of controversy that does have elements of Greek tragedy within it.  He is holding on boldly to his position as Primate of all-Ireland, but the present circumstances have conspired to undermine very badly the authority that was vested in him . The liberal malcontents have taken advantage of the present situation to gain the maximum publicity for their own agenda in the form of today’s meeting of the ACP(Association of Catholic Priests) and their supporters.  They gathered around a thousand in total, with such old hoary chestnuts as the abolition of celibacy and ordination of women among the changes they are demanding to herald a revival of Catholic fortunes in Ireland.  Well, they have to look no further than the anglican communion or the lutheran national churches in Scandinavia to see how such alterations to well-established key Church doctrine or practices have failed to halt their downward trajectory over recent decades in terms of adherents and religious practice.

  • http://twitter.com/ValDalton1 Val Dalton

    I personally don’t agree with a lot of what the ACP stand for but it is disingenuous to make out their meeting today was to take advantage of the current crisis. Their meeting was planned many months ago, as can be confirmed by their website.  

  • theroadmaster

    Even if this meeting was organized some months ago, it still feels like they are taking advantage of the current controversy effecting the head of the Church in Ireland and the decision by the Vatican to impose a vow of silence on certain priests who have expressed dissident views.

  • Taoiseach

    A small group of individuals, including Fr Brady, had information that Brendan Smyth was raping children, and that particular named children were at risk.  None them, including Brady alerted the police. IN canon law Brady had lesser responsibility;  In terms of civil law, Brady didn’t have a lesser duty than the bishop of the abbot – he had the same public duty to report the crime.  As they failed so did he.  Difference is he’s Archbishop of Armagh and they are dead or retired already.

  • David Lindsay

     
    Be in no doubt: in its call for the “ordination” of women, in
    particular, the Association of Catholic Priests is already a schismatic
    body. As well as a knowingly deceitful one, equating that absurd and
    heretical demand with more legitimate discussion about the discipline of
    priestly celibacy (specifically reaffirmed in the Latin Church by
    Vatican II) and about how bishops are appointed.

    They will not join the Church of Ireland, nor would it take them. The
    tribal division is still far too deep and too wide for that. It always
    will be. But how the two bodies relate to each other will hasten the
    coming schism within the C of I, between those in the Republic who think
    exactly like this Association but who happen to identify more with
    their English and Huguenot than with their Gaelic ancestors, and those
    in Northern Ireland who are fully integrated into that territory’s
    Conservative Evangelicalism and in many cases never wanted the
    ordination of women any more than the Pope does.

    The belief in some right to an autonomous “Catholic” church baptising
    the morality of the politically dominant class, and effectively subject
    to the anti-Papal State, has arisen in eleventh-century Byzantium, in
    sixteenth-century England, in seventeenth-century France and the
    Netherlands, in eighteenth-century Austria, in nineteenth-century
    Germany and Switzerland, among the Croats at least since the early
    1990s, and in today’s China, although at least that last makes some
    effort to involve the Holy See and to preserve traditional forms of
    piety. None of those histories is a happy one. Munich laymen who
    imagined that their financial contributions entitled them to run the
    Church through quasi-parliamentary institutions gave much succour to
    early Nazism, although that went on to become absolutely peculiar to the
    Protestant areas of Germany and to the anticlerical Third Lager in Austria.

  • David Lindsay

    In the words of a comment over on my blog: “They have no more right to call themselves by that name [Association of Catholic Priests] than Mabel
    Thompson has to claim to be the guardian and arbiter of orthodoxy. They
    should be excommunicated and so should she.”

  • JabbaPapa

    As an official of the Church Court, in fact he also had a clear duty in civil law to remain impartial and obey the normal procedures of that Court, including a requirement of discretion.

    It was the Court’s duty, and in this case either the duty of the Bishop or Smyth’s Superior, to notify the Police ; not Fr Brady’s own personal duty.

    The fact that the Court, the Bishop, and Smyth’s superior all failed to carry out that duty is ghastly ; but Fr Brady is not personally responsible for the failures of his superiors at the time, nor their betrayal of the very principles of both civil and church Justice.

    In fact, Fr Brady was himself betrayed in his confidence that those people would act on the information he was providing them with.

  • JabbaPapa

    He broke no civil law, because no Irish laws existed in the 1970s requiring him to do anything whatsoever.

    He broke no canon law, because he strictly followed precise canon procedures for the reporting of such abuses to his superiors — who then betrayed his and the victims’ own expectations that these reports would be acted upon, including by complaints to the Police.

    Rather than aiding and abetting a paedophile, he in fact followed what he thought – and what should in fact have been, without the betrayal of the senior clergy – proper procedure towards the prevention and punishment of that person’s actions.

    This is a ghastly witch hunt, pure and simple.

  • buckingham88

    ‘The mass psychology..is rarely based on reason or justice..but who would listen?’
    Good question. This story has made it to Australia,particularly in a local Sydney paper that tends to lift whole articles from UK papers and publish them.This paper also managed to make a front page story about a local catholic college last saturday.No one else did.With all the drive by shootings,political problems and warnings of global financial ruin they chose yet another story about the Catholic Church.Their masthead is sinking fast, but I think that they need us more than we need them to keep themselves financially afloat.Why bother telling you this?
    Its because if the Catholic Church, through its publications, moralists and followers fails to give its members justice then it fails them.This is what was not given to the victims of paedophilia.Apart from the ‘sin’, the problem was the response.Yet here someone who is blameless except to those with the most amazing ‘standards’ of probity,must go because the accusers are acting in an unreasonable way and demanding blood.
    ‘But who will listen?’ This is not a new problem.In Australia, particularly in the area of educational justice the reply is ‘Keep publishing the truth until someone eventually listens’.
    And what about the mob?They are always with us,like death.
    What about the past? The damage in Ireland looks to me as if it has well and truly been done.Why add to it by forcing a bishop to resign unjustly?
    And the future?Who would ever want to be a leader of the Catholic Church if they knew in their heart of hearts they would be disgraced for no good reason?
    Who would want to be a member of such a Church?The gullible?
    In whose interest is it that he should go?Is it expedient that one should go for the good of the people?

  • sarah

    For the sake of the Church – please go!!!   The longer this drags on the greater the suffering for everyone.

  • Jonathan West

    Brady isn’t just a note-taker in all this. 
    According to the programme, he went on to interview one of the other abused children, swore him to secrecy and passed on the report to his bishop.

    There is a simple question of right and wrong here. Brady knows now and I’m sure he knew then that what Smyth was doing was both wrong and illegal. 

    Canon Law does not supersede what is right and wrong, so at any time Brady had the means of phoning the police and saying what had been disclosed to him, and at any time he had the means of contacting the parents of the other children named by Boland and warn them to keep their children away from Smyth.

    No matter how much Brady claims to have been just a minor functionary in all this,and no matter how much Brady claims that he did nothing illegal, the fact remains that he was a willing participant in a process that hid the matter from the law and failed to prevent continued wrongdoing by Smyth.  

    Given the moral authority claimed by the church, for that reason alone Brady should resign.

  • Jonathan West

    Does the fact that people above him at the time also failed in their moral duty excuse Brady? In my view it does not. He was a willing participant in a process which both hid Smyth’s crimes from the law and did nothing to protect his victims from further attacks.

  • Jonathan West

    By the way. there’s something awfully strange about the claim made at the start of the quoted part of Brady’s statement. He says

    “The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time”

    The programme is extremely clear in saying that Brady was one of three priests who interviewed Boland, and that Brady asked no questions himself and was there to take notes, and that the report was passed to his bishop. Take a look at the programme from 31:00 to 35:40 for Brendan Boland’s account of his abuse and of his interview by three priests at which he was sworn to secrecy.

    So, on this issue, not to put too fine a point on it, Brady is lying.

  • Dantescomedy

    Agree, so many children are abused in their homes by people who are supposed to love and protect them and it’s sad that Cardinal Brady and the Church are being used as a scapegoat to distract from what’s below the waterline. 

  • JabbaPapa

    How can he be a willing participant in the betrayal of his own expectations that postive action would be taken against that individual ???

    Your opinion makes no rational sense whatsoever.

  • Jonathan West

    It’s not just about his silence at the time, but his continued silence in all the years after, when he must have realised that no action had been taken to bring Smyth to justice. The simple fact is that Brady by that time had no “expectations that positive action would be taken against that individual” because he knew for a fact that no positive actions had been taken against him.

    And he continued to say nothing.

  • JabbaPapa

    He describes his own shock at the cover ups when the truth about them began to emerge in the 1990s.

    Remember the 1990s ? Weren’t ALL of us completely and utterly shocked when the true extent of paedophilia throughout society became known to us, and the extent to which society had been deliberately ignoring this sort of crime ?

    The most common error of those accusing NOT paedophiles nor those manifestly guilty of cover-up, is to assume that the non-guilty should be seen as guilty by association.

    The whole *point* of covering up these crimes, whether in ordinary families or in large organisations, is to prevent other members of those families or organisations, as well as outsiders, gaining knowledge of their existence.

    But it is irrational to suggest that someone who acted to make an internal report condemning the actions of that paedophile was somehow participating in cover-up by attempting its precise opposite.

  • Jonathan West

    Even before the 1990s, he knew that child sex abuse was wrong. 

    And yet, in a case he had direct knowledge of, he remained silent towards the outside world. And he didn’t make an internal report condemning the abuse, he (by his own claim) merely acted as a note-taker to record what was said at the interview with Brendan Boland.
    Stop inventing facts to make the church look better.

  • JabbaPapa

    You are both inventing and ignoring facts, in order to publicly calumniate Cardinal Brady.

    Your hard-hearted failure to understand that his trust and his ordinary expectations at the time were betrayed by his hierarchy is quite repulsive, IMHO.

  • Greenmoon

    So you are repulsed by this man having been betrayed by “his hierarchy”. How would you describe the feelings of those children who were  abused after their names were recorded by Fr. Brady in his notes. 

    The saddest moment during the BBC program was when Brendan Boland met the man whose name he had given to the inquiry 40 years ago and said “I thought I was saving you”.I am saddened that my church has someone in a position of responsibility who does not have the moral strength of a 14 year old boy. 

  • Jonathan West

    Actually, let’s analyse in full Brady’s statement, as quoted in the article above.

    The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time

    Not true, for reasons stated previously.

    and that because of the office I hold in the Church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975.

    That’s not being asserted. What is being asserted is that Brady had the power to pick up the phone at any time and call the police about Smyth, and he never did so.

    I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth.

    Nobody suggested he did. But you don’t need any authority in order to pick up the phone.

    Even my bishop had limited authority over him.

    Neither did the bishop need any authority to pick up the phone.

    The only people who had authority within the Church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his abbot in the Monastery in Kilnacrott and his religious superiors in the Norbertine Order.

    And they didn’t pick up the phone either.

    As Monsignor Charles Scicluna, Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, confirmed in an interview with RTÉ this morning, it was Brendan Smyth’s superiors in the Norbertine Order who bear primary responsibility for failing to take the appropriate action when presented with the weight of evidence I had faithfully recorded and that Bishop McKiernan subsequently presented to them…

    Well, since they didn’t take action, at any time in the 20 years between Brady knowing about the abuse and Smyth finally being arrested, he could have picked up the phone and told the police, since it was clear nothing else was being done.

    By picking up the phone, he could have prevented further abuse. But he didn’t. 

  • JabbaPapa

    So you are repulsed by this man having been betrayed by “his hierarchy”.
    How would you describe the feelings of those children who were abused
    after their names were recorded by Fr. Brady in his notes.

    Beyond mere repulsion — shared betrayal, shared disgust, shared pain, shared anguish, shared suffering and shared guilt.

  • Damien

    Judging the actions of the past by the standards of the present . . .

  • Greenmoon

    Shared responsibility?

  • Skepicalsam

    The news has reached Ealing and the witch fuinder general  is putting the boot in.

  • gabriel_syme

    oops double post!

  • gabriel_syme

    The media keep raking up Bradys story because they want a head to
    justify their years of obsession with Catholic – and Catholic alone –
    abuse cases.

    Look at the way the current abuse case in the North of England is being reported, and compare with Catholic cases. 

    If a priest has committed abuse, the word “Catholic” is central to the
    story.  But when it comes to muslim men of pakistani origin grooming and
    abusing white girls, we only hear of vague “sex abuse”, with no
    perpetrator identifiers applied, much less reveled in. 

    The Police even made a statement to say that neither the fact the men were pakistani muslims, and the victims white english, (at least nominally christian), girls, was of any significance whatsoever (yeh, right).

    The double standards are shocking, comparing press treatment of
    Catholics with other minority groups.  There is gleeful and savage
    reporting of Catholic issues, while various other British minority
    groups are given all kind of deference to avoid stigmatising them. 

    There should be consistency one way or the other, that’s all I ask.

  • gabriel_syme

     Excellent post JabbaPapa.

  • gabriel_syme

     Brady had the means of phoning the police and saying what had been disclosed to him
    —-

    Yes that’s true.

    The thing is, he was part of the team which was to report the information to the person (bishop) who was supposed to digest this and then take appropriate action (phone the police – canon law has always required the reporting of criminal acts to relevant secular authorities).

    The investigation team appear to have done their bit competently, but it seems the process (and the victims) were betrayed by the Bishop who had the authority.

    I presume the relevant Bishop, 37 years later, is now dead, which is why you and the press are demanding Bradys head for the ‘crime’ of failing to 2nd guess his superiors and act unilaterally.

    Given how deeply corrupt Irish society is generally – and especially 37 years ago – I would not be surprised if the Bishop had an off the record chat with the Gardai friend who advised him to hush it up, but that they would give the abuser a talking to, to ensure it didn’t happen again.

    Nudge-wink is how things often worked in Ireland, even today.  To be sure.

  • Jonathan West

    Are you trying to suggest that in the past it wasn’t understood that child sex abuse is wrong?

  • Christinecasey5

    Look, it comes down to the basics. The difference between right and wrong. It was just wrong to conceal and sit back doing nothing whilst he knew children were being abused. It doesn’t matter who or what he was. What would Jesus have done? Certainly not sat on it! Brady would have realised that Smyth was active, he would have met him at official functions or seen him attending them. He certainly would have heard on the grapevine had he been reported to police. Why would anyone make excuses – do you think it was acceptable these children were abused for decades after his self confessed investigation? This is not a witch hunt. This is a cleansing of the catholic church (and indeed society). It has to include revealing the truth about those who have conspired with cover-ups. The church will come out stronger and cleaner though it may upset some, especially those that may have taken similar approaches in the past to the pedophilles that used a clerical collar to access our most precious children. 

  • JabbaPapa

    That’s what Church means, yes.

  • daclamat

    Brady is a disgrace to his calling. Child abuse isn’t just a matter of sexual misbehaviour.  There is cruelty and the abuse of power, terrifying children with the threat of eternal damnation to force their silence. I suffered such abuse sixty years ago. Thank God the media now have the courage to speak out, albeit with muted tones insofar as the catholic press is concerned.  It could hardly be otherwise when some have convicted fraudsters not to mention complicit hierarchs on their boards of directors.

  • Christinecasey5

    I agree that in a battle to counteract racism the law has gone to far. These pakistani muslims were being racist in their abuse but the press is too scared and hamstrung to call it as it is. That said, I don’t expect the Primate of all Ireland to be perfect and beyond reproach but my goodness I expect him to uphold basic human standards of decency. He did nothing to save those children, he could have but chose not to. A clerical collar/canon law does not excuse you from being a decent human being. If nothing else it has cause dreadful damage to the church and really hurt the many,many decent priests who have given their lives to serving their congregations. I feel so sorry they are being led by Brady who was a career priest.

  • JabbaPapa

    Interestingly, one of the more hysterical supporters of the DT position as provided in that obnoxious article has engaged in child abuse cover-up because “protecting” friends was more important than going after the guilty ; and another of them has overtly supported the reasoning behind this cowardly non-denunciation of these crimes to the Police.

    BUT – Catholic clergy are still apparently to be blamed for their own failures.

    These hypocrisy and double standards are not conducive to being taken at all seriously.

  • daclamat

    Balanced reporting by the BBC is inevitably described as hysterical, irrational and biased.  It is the first line of defence whenever such affairs are brought to the surface, not just in Britain and Ireland, but to my certain knowledge in the US and across Europe. Those who have been abused, who have been terrorised into silence, are immensely grateful that at long last the scandal has broken. Are there enough mill-stones to go round?  I suppose once used they can be reycled, or maybe one could be used for two. To say that things were different in the 60s and 70s is naive ignorance. It occured in Catholic schools, seminaries and parishes: many of the abuses coming to light today occurred then and before. The fault didn’t lie with communities.  They were duped.  Bishops denied it, but as Mandy Rice Davies said, they would, wouldn’t they?

  • Christinecasey5

    Hysterical reaction? If you had been abused then just maybe you would have the right to comment such. Rape and the hurt caused is not to be underestimated/ignored/minimised.True it was a policy of society not to mention it, to sweep it under the carpet. However, a priest should know the difference between right and wrong. I too pray for any priest who is the victim of false allegations, as I would a doctor, refuse collector or anyone else. In fact I know a teacher who was falsely accused and only when it went to trial that the girl confessed she had made it up. The damage to the poor man was savage.
    That said, the church needs cleaned up. Only then can it grow and get strong again – this time without a corrupt seam of abuse lining it’s core. My own cousin went over 20  
    years ago to St Patrick’s Seminary Maynooth, at that the time he came back upset and I heard something inappropriate had happened  and he left – though I didn’t know what. It was only years later I found out about Micheal Ledwith (who was actually promoted after the church was informed of what he was up to).This was a man who was the vice president of the biggest priest training college. For goodness sake there was a rot in the church, I don’t really care what muslims do or what one legged giraffes do. I very much care about belonging to a church which strives to be fair, clean and know the difference between right and wrong.

  • Alba

    As a parent, the very idea that someone might know that a child of mine was being abused, and not inform me, fills me with horror. A person’s being “junior” makes no difference. Brady should resign on those grounds, if nothing else.

  • Christinecasey5

    Jabba are you a canon lawyer? You think a desire to not betray senior clergy was more important than the rape of at least 5 children over decades. I honestly cannot believe that anyone can think that is acceptable.Also the church here is subject to civil law.

  • JabbaPapa

    a desire to not betray senior clergy

    I have no idea why you imagine me to have supported any such notion.

  • Greenmoon

    I think we will just have to agree to differ on where we see Cardinal Brady’s responsibility ending. You agree with him that once he passed the findings of the enquiry onto someone else then he had discharged his duties.I believe he should  have ensured that the relevant information was acted upon, even it it meant him going outside any restrictions placed on him  by Cannon Law in relation to his position in the Church’s hierarchy

  • daclamat

    A basic precept, one should not lie, or conceal the truth, except to defend the honour of the Chuich, as respresent by the Pope, the curia, the cardinals, bishops, old uncle Tom Cobleigh and all

  • Nat_ons

    Had he still the good sense God gave him at birth he would have saved the Church a great deal of distress, anger and wrangling by going when the tumult first rose against him. But, liked or disliked, I agree with him here – he is not an elected representative for the will of the majority .. to be bullied out of office by media and mass displeasure .. he is a minister of God, allotted to rule among the People of God as the Lord has seen fit. Why the Good Lord has seen fit to lay so heavy a disciplining hand on the church catholic in Ireland (as elsewhere) is not hard to fathom; what benefit there is in having a living symbol of the cause as an abiding head to the Church there is more mysterious – and troublesome; yet ‘the greater good’ is not served in pandering to the taste of the world, for only in preserving what the Lord has revealed to all Creation in a natural law, that of moral reasoning, can it be rightly understood .. let alone applied.

    If Sean Cardinal Brady goes now simply to appease the howls of anger against him, and what he represents to the popular view, not one minister of God (or of the world) could remain to stand; the principle would be the anarchy of a tail wagging the dog. His innocence of any crime, and he must be presumed innocent even if the media has found him guilty by past association, is not the point; his role as leading oversight in the Roman communion for the Church in Ireland today the point – though rarely made. Had he wilfully disowned the discipline of the Faith (not unwittingly dishonoured it), then yes he must go – or be removed – no one as yet has accused him of such heresy; thus he – and his charge of souls – must endure the divine whiplash on an impious disregard for the Way, the Truth, and the Life (in order not to disrupt any grubby little arrangement that cosily avoided immediate scandal).

    A monthly penitential pilgrimage to Lough Derg led by the Cardinal, bishops, clergy and people of Ireland might not ease the due pressure on the Church for its corporate failures, but it would set the tone of its right thinking response – acknowledgement of sin. Perhaps also accepting the blows rightly rained down (metaphorically) on the head of sinners, and facing the face-slaps lashed out against crimes unredeemed. But actions do speak louder than words .. even if no more than a late and thus worthless resignation – or, shock, horror, probe, a still meaningful genuine change of heart.

  • Bridget

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments you have expressed and you are absolutely right about double standards. I am also deeply offended by some of the reporting of these abuse cases, not because I want to bury my head and pretend it never happened but because I believe there is some obscene enjoyment or fascination that is driving it rather than a passion to bring to light the evil deeds of evil people. So very little is being made of the case on going in the north of England, the sad thing is that there are Catholics some who post on here who appear to hold a sneaky admiration for all things islamic and who are really reluctant to face the reality behind that so called religion.

  • Emma07

    Absoluetly and completely true.  I live in West Yorkshire and I know for a fact (daughters of church friends) that EXACTLY the same abuse is going on here.  Friends of the daughters have been repeatedly harassed and abused but the Police and Social Services and school do absolutely nothing.  If anyone mentions the origins of the men they are deemed “racist”. While like all other Catholics (I hope) I condemn utterly the child abuse it seems like the Church is just the public Scapegoat for all things evil. The Secularists who rule the country and the Public Services just want the Church marginalised and riduculed.  Problem is in my opinion that the Catholic heirarchy in this country is so  busy trying to cosy up to the government and so naive as to what’s really going on that as usual in its history the Church will get its fingers burnt.  You’d think the Church would have learnt from history wouldn’t you?  Do not ever appease secularists.  Do not ever trust them.

  • Fitzy103

    Mr Oddie,

    What you seem to be arguing is that the people are in some way wrong for making a big deal of this and putting the Cardinal under pressure. You really dont get it.

    For centuries, the church as told the people that they are the ones that do the thinking and that the people should be quiet and do as they are told. From Galileo, to Nazi gold, to the crimes committed in Magdalene laundries, the people in the church have consistently held our heads under water and not allowed us to question them.

    As with other cases of child rape, the church tried to sweep it under the carpet in order to protect themselves. Unfortunately, you are continuing with this same arrogant practice. You, like the so many who have defended the church will be on the wrong side of history. I have no doubt about that.

    This is not a witch hunt. It is a case where the church, and Brady are clearly in the wrong, and it is taking a certain amount of media pressure to get them to admit they were wrong. We are talking about child rape, and the failure to do anything about it. It’s inconceivable that 30 years ago the world was so different there was any doubt that it needed reported. To argueing to the contrary is inconceivable, and frankly makes you look ridiculous. I for one, wont step inside (or more importantly give money to, because thats all they understand eh…) a church so long as they deem it appropriate to employ a man who didnt report child rape to the police.

    I’ll say it one more time Mr Oddie. He didnt report to the police a case of CHILD RAPE. His failure to do so possibly paved the way for the abuse to continue. There are no circumstances when it is acceptable to turn a blind eye to this type of crime.

    If you dont understand this Mr Oddie, you are also part of the problem.