Brady defends hosting of Congress


The Catholic Church in Ireland was addressing issues around child abuse in a meaningful way through hosting the International Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Seán Brady has said.

“I always felt if we got the opportunity to host the Congress we should take because there is a grace and respect in itself for all of it,” he said, after comments that it might not be wise to host the Congress because of the issues around clerical child abuse.

“It has pressed us to address them in a meaningful way,” he said.

Thursday was the day of reconciliation for the Congress, with the meeting of abuse survivors with the papal legate in Lough Derg. They also had a liturgy of lament, a healing stone which will now go to Lough Derg, he said on RTE radio’s This Week programme.

He said that “in the mass of reconciliation I referred to it and apologised once more”.

But that was “only one part of the Eucharistic Congress”. Five sacraments were marked during the week of the Congress and the “eucharist is the crown of all in the sacramental system”.

Cardinal Brady described the International Eucharistic Congress as an occasion of “great joy” and said “people are here because they want to be here”.

He he had personally been buoyed up by people wishing him well and praying for him.

Asked why he had taken so long to make a public personal apology to the two men who as boys had sworn to secrecy about being abused, he said “I’ve many, many times apologised and I was specifically addressing various people …. and when people ask I’m certainly prepared to apologise and say I’m sorry”.

He added that he was “sorry for all my failings and faults of the past” and that the Church was trying “to see how we can best address the situation and be set free from it”.

Asked the Church’s view on the global economic crisis, the Catholic primate “the system as it is, is very unequal and unjust”.

He said the “social doctrine of the Church is the answer to it, and that’s the challenge of Vatican II, which we have not taken adequately on board”.

Cardinal Brady said it had been described as “the best kept secret of the Church but it needs to become public and well known and taken to our hearts”.