Cardinal Brady's role questioned
Sir, – Your Legal Affairs Editor (Home News, May 3rd) reports that the then Fr Seán Brady was not under an obligation to report to the Garda that a crime had been committed against two boys.
But the BBC programme, broadcast this week, alleged that Fr Brady not only did not report the offences to the Garda but was a party to the boys swearing an oath on the Bible that they would not divulge what had occurred to anyone – including their parents. If the allegation is true then – quite apart from the immorality of such behaviour – the priests would seem to have been involved in a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
This should surely be investigated by the Garda, regardless of the current status of Fr Brady. However long ago this occurred, the boys involved were not only damaged by the sexual offences but also by the cover-up of the crime. – Yours, etc,
Sir – Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore’s call in the Dáil for Cardinal Brady to resign, a call echoed by the Minister for Education, must be taken to express Government policy Home News, May 4th).
No explanation was given of what makes the cardinal’s position a public policy issue. But the Government presumably considers its expressed desire in itself a further reason for the cardinal to resign.
Simultaneously, the Tánaiste proclaimed his belief in church-state separation. Yet his statement implies that the Government has a right to pressure the church on episcopal tenure. It’s only a short step from there to the right to veto episcopal appointment.
The Tánaiste is not serious about church-state separation. The logic of the government’s (and Micheál Martin’s) position leads to making the church accountable to the state.
If Cardinal Brady were to resign now, it would have resulted partly from Government pressure. The Government’s intervention actually creates a reason for his not resigning. That reason arises from the goods of religious freedom, the independence of the church, and church-state separation. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Why does the clumsy coalition of Catholic PR advisers and canon lawyers continue to load and fire the gun that is pointing so directly at the episcopal feet?
Once again – after The Shame of the Catholic Church, broadcast this week on BBC – we had the routine notice from the church that guidelines on child sex abuse did not exist in 1975 . . . or words to that effect.
Rape has been a crime on the Statute Book in Ireland since 1829. In fact, between 1829 and 1837 it was punishable by death.
In 1906, Pope Pius X, in his encyclical Vehementer Nos, to the French clergy, wrote: “The one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led and, like a docile flock, to follow the pastors.”
It follows that Pius X thought that the pastors had it in them to lead.
In these circumstances, it is tragic that it never occurred to the pastors – armed as they were with the best brains in the country on the criminal, civil, canon as well as the moral law – that they should formulate and promulgate clear guidelines on child sexual abuse.
In the event, we now know full well where their priorities lay.
At the same time I believe that new strident calls for the resignation of the Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh are misplaced, because he won’t listen.
On the other hand, if we believe the word of God, the cardinal’s mind will be occupied for a very long time with thoughts of necks and millstones and troubled seas. – Yours, etc,