Clerical abuse victims call for cardinal to resign

 

HIGH-PROFILE clerical child sex abuse victims were unanimous last night in calling for the resignation of Cardinal Seán Brady as Primate of All-Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh.

Marie Collins, Colm O’Gorman and Andrew Madden all agreed he should step down.

Ms Collins said: “Cardinal Seán Brady should resign as he has lost all moral authority or credibility.”

She continued: “He knew in 1975 that Brendan Smyth was a child abuser but remained silent for the next 20 years, allowing Brendan Smyth to wreak havoc on many innocent young lives.

“He took part in a canonical proceeding that ensured Smyth’s victims in 1975 were silenced. According to his spokesperson, this was not to cover up but ‘to protect the good names of all those involved’. The only person whose ‘good name’ was in danger was Brendan Smyth, who did not deserve to have one.”

Mr O’Gorman referred to what Cardinal Brady said in an RTÉ interview on December 5th last. Then, when asked what he would do if it was found children had been abused as a result of any failing on his part, the cardinal said he would stand down.

“I would remember that the abuse of children is a very serious crime in civil and canon law. It’s also a very grave sin,” he said.

“If I found myself in a situation where I was aware that my failure to act had allowed or meant other children were abused, well then I think I would resign,” he said.

Colm O’Gorman commented that, “by the standard he himself set in December 2009, he must resign his position as Primate of All Ireland immediately.”

He said the cardinal’s “reported defence of ‘I was following orders’ is a disgraceful attempt to further abdicate responsibility for his own failures to do the right thing back in 1975 and act to protect children from a known serial abuser.

“Having once again been protected by an institutional church with little care or regard for the safety of children, Brendan Smyth emerged from this 1975 investigation free to continue to rape and abuse for a further two decades.”

Mr Madden said it was “no surprise” that yet another member of the hierarchy has been found to have been involved in covering up the sexual abuse of children by a Catholic priest.

Noting that the cardinal had said he would not resign, he said: “This brings to five the number of those within the Irish Catholic hierarchy who are known to have been involved in the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by priests, either by acts of commission or omission”.

Mr Madden added: “Given the Catholic Church’s role as a secular power and its role in our publicly funded services, the Irish Government’s silence is most inappropriate.

“It is not good enough for Taoiseach Brian Cowen to hide behind the bishops’ role as religious leaders, as he did when the Murphy report was published. He must be asked to explain to the Irish people why each of these bishops has not been asked by him to remove themselves from any role within our health and education services.”