Benedict unlikely to want Brady to quit in Rome
VATICAN VIEW:THE HOLY See yesterday made no comment in response to calls for the resignation of the Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Seán Brady.
While officially the Holy See offered no response to the call made by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the Dáil yesterday, off the record senior Vatican figures repeated the view, already expressed this week, that Cardinal Brady should not resign.
One Vatican official said that for the cardinal to step down would be to admit he was in the wrong in how he handled his evidence-taking with sex abuse victim Brendan Boland in 1975, whereas the Holy See remains convinced that the then Fr Brady did nothing wrong at the time.
It is also true that the sometimes perverse logic of Vatican realpolitik is working against any possible resignation by Cardinal Brady.
The more public and media opinion clamours for his resignation, the less likely it is that Pope Benedict XVI will want him to go.
Pope Benedict would never want to be accused of taking an important decision during his pontificate in response to public or media pressure.
Cardinal Brady’s fate sits fair and square in the hands of Pope Benedict.
Vatican insiders say the cardinal is a “servant of the church” who “will always do exactly what the pope tells him to do”.
Many observers believe “silenced” priest Fr Brian D’Arcy may be correct in his claim yesterday that Cardinal Brady had wanted to resign two years ago when the Boland case re-emerged.
However, it is believed that at no point did Pope Benedict want the Irish primate to resign.
Vatican insiders say the most prominent of all sex abuse-related resignations, that of Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston in December 2002, came against the will of John Paul II.
Law finally stepped down many months after he had originally asked to be allowed to resign.
The Holy See does not gladly contemplate the fall of church princes, especially if brought about by sex abuse allegations from 37 years ago.
Ironically, Ireland’s new non-resident ambassador to the Holy See, David Cooney, is to present his diplomatic credentials to Pope Benedict in the Vatican this morning.
Mr Cooney, secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs, will clearly be meeting the pope at an especially delicate moment, given not only the Brady affair and the Tánaiste’s remarks yesterday but also the fact that last weekend saw a vigil outside the Papal Nunciature in Dublin in protest against the Holy See’s “censoring” of at least five prominent Irish priests.
Given that Mr Cooney will be one of five new non-resident ambassadors presenting their credentials, he is unlikely to have any protracted discussions with the pope this morning.
However, he has been in Rome for most of this week, holding meetings with several senior Holy See figures.