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In the Media

article imageIreland's top Catholic cleric told to resign over new abuse claim

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By Yukio Strachan
May 5, 2012 in Religion
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The leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics faces pressure to resign following fresh allegations that he failed to act on claims of sexual abuse, which in turn led to more children being abused.
As Reuters reported, the BBC documentary, "The Shame of the Catholic Church", broadcast on Tuesday said Cardinal Sean Brady was given, in 1975, the names and addresses of children being abused by notorious pedophile Brendan Smyth during a Church investigation but had failed to act to ensure their safety. Instead, he secured his own.
"Considering the damage done by that awful man Brendan Smyth, considering the repercussions, one has to say that unfortunately the Cardinal has lost his moral credibility," Father Vincent Twomey, a respected retired professor of moral theology at Ireland's main seminary in the town of Maynooth, told national broadcaster RTE late on Thursday, Reuters reported.
"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."
Twomey was adding his voice to similar calls by groups representing victims of abuse and government ministers, led by deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore who called the revelations "another horrific episode of failure by senior members of the Catholic Church to protect children.
"I think for the good of the church, I'm afraid I am of the opinion that he should resign," Twomey said.
But Cardinal Sean Brady, the man in question, will have none of it. In fact, he said in a statement Wednesday that he didn't do anything wrong. Instead, he insisted that he, was wronged.
"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."
Brady would be the most senior Church figure to resign over the abuse scandals were he to step down, according to Reuters. Two bishops stood aside in 2009 after a report said Church leaders had covered up widespread sexual abuse of children by priests for 30 years.
New Mexico State University s Wave program offers information on how to recognize child abuse.
New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University's Wave program offers information on how to recognize child abuse.
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Gary O'Sullivan, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper, told the BBC that Cardinal Brady had questions to answer.
"If a child can see the need to save other children, how come priests, ministers of Christianity, cannot have the same awareness?" he said.
Lawmakers said on Friday that Brady could help the Church move on by stepping down, according to Reuters.
"Brady resigning would be a powerful force for healing and a great gesture for victims and his Church," Aodhan O Riordain, a member of the junior government Labour party said on twitter.
Abuse victims want Brady to resign
Abuse survivors, such as Andrew Madden, have echoed calls for Cardinal Brady to resign.
Madden, author of a memoir, told the BBC: "He's not a wounded healer - he's a spineless self-serving careerist and that's why he kept his mouth shut all the years Brendan Smyth was abusing children."
In an interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time, survivor Sam Adair said that at the time of the investigation, Cardinal Brady was a skilled canon lawyer and not simply a note-taker as he described himself.
"He knew of five children's names and addresses and to have a rabid pedophile of the Catholic Church visiting those homes and sexually molesting those children, the very, very, very least he could have done was went and made sure that he slept at night with his clear conscience that the parents of these children knew that this tea-drinking, Marie biscuit-eating pedophile was not lurking around their houses.
“He did not keep these children from this devil in a dog’s collar."
Adair told RTE that times are different, but that the cardinal's own conscience should have been guideline enough to motivate him to ensure children were not further abused, saying that the cardinal had lacked "moral courage".
"Anybody walking through a park who saw some sort of instance of abuse, surely would have intervened or reported it to the police or made a phone call,” Adair said.
"He done (sic) absolutely nothing and the most important part about this is that this isn't an ordinary man that's walking the streets - an ordinary 4x2.
“This is a man who is supposed to be the telephone line to God and people are relying on their eternal salvation on him.
“And this man hasn't even got the moral courage to report the child rape and the abuse of children," he said.
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More about sean brady, Roman catholic church, Sexual abuse, Catholic child abuse scandal, Brendan Smyth
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