Thu 21st Aug 2014 | Last updated: Thu 21st Aug 2014 at 15:11pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Irish abuse survivor asks Pope Francis to remove Cardinal Seán Brady as archbishop

By on Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Cardinal Seán Brady (PA)

Cardinal Seán Brady (PA)

One of the Irish survivors of clerical sexual abuse who met Pope Francis on Monday asked the Pontiff to remove Cardinal Seán Brady as archbishop of Armagh, Northern Ireland. Marie Kane also described the encounter as a “huge vindication” for her.

Cardinal Brady was the subject of sharp criticism after a 2012 documentary revealed that he had been involved in a 1975 canonical inquiry into a notorious abuser-priest, Norbertine Father Brendan Smyth. Despite the canonical process, Father Smyth evaded the civil authorities for decades and went on to abuse in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and the United States before finally being arrested in 1994.

Kane, 43, told Ireland’s state-run radio RTE that she asked Pope Francis to remove Cardinal Brady due to his handling of a clerical child abuse inquiry in 1975.

“It’s a big thing with me that there are still members of the hierarchy there who were involved in the cover-up. I feel personally they (the Church) cannot contemplate any change happening, there will be no success,” as long as such people remained in place, she said.

Kane said she told the Pope that a “cover-up is still happening, and you have the power to make these changes.” There were others besides Cardinal Brady, she said, but “I didn’t want to go into a litany.” She said that Pope Francis responded that “it was difficult to make these changes,” she added, “but it’s a big thing with me that Sean Brady is gone.”

On August 16, Cardinal Brady turns 75 and, under canon law, will be obliged to submit his resignation as archbishop of Armagh. Canon law does not require the Pope to accept a resignation.

Kane, one of six survivors who met the Pope at the Vatican, said she met with him privately for about 20 minutes. She was accompanied by Marie Collins, also an abuse survivor and a member of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which met July 6 at the Vatican.

Apart from seeking the removal of Cardinal Brady, the rest of Kane’s discussion with Pope Francis was “more personal” she said. She discussed the effect of her abuse and its subsequent handling by the church on her two children, ages 18 and 14.

“They have no belief in the church in any shape or form,” she told RTE.

She said she found Pope Francis “very, very humble. There was no standing on ceremony. No pomp. I felt very comfortable, relaxed. He seemed genuinely frustrated at what he was hearing. He listened and seemed genuine. There was a lot of empathy. There was no looking at watches. I was the one who ended it as I had said all I wanted to say.”

COMMENT POLICY

The Catholic Herald comment guidelines
At The Catholic Herald we want our articles to provoke spirited and lively debate. We also want to ensure the discussions hosted on our website are carried out in civil terms.

All commenters are therefore politely asked to ensure that their posts respond directly to points raised in the particular article or by fellow contributors, and that all responses are respectful.

We implement a strict moderation policy and reserve the right to delete comments that we believe contravene our guidelines. Here are a few key things to bear in mind when com
menting…

Do not make personal attacks on writers or fellow commenters – respond only to their arguments.
Comments that are deemed offensive, aggressive or off topic will be deleted.
Unsubstantiated claims and accusations about individuals or organisations will be deleted.
Keep comments concise. Comments of great length may be deleted.
We try to vet every comment, however if you would like to alert us to a particular posting please use the ‘Report’ button.

Thank you for your co-operation,
The Catholic Herald editorial team