Brady talks of victims' suffering


THE PRIMATE of the Irish Church, Cardinal Seán Brady, yesterday expressed the hope that this week’s unprecedented symposium in Rome, Towards Healing and Renewal, might prove to be an “important step” on the Catholic Church’s long and difficult road to healing the damage done by the sex abuse crisis.

Speaking on the last day of the symposium, Cardinal Brady said that the presence of representatives of 110 bishops’ conferences, as well as experts and senior curia figures underlined the significance of the event.

“It is important that this symposium brings home to people how serious this problem is and just what the cost of it is, not just in financial terms but more importantly in moral terms, in terms of the damage, the scandal, the shame,” he continued.

Cardinal Brady was speaking on a day when at least one delegate, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, said that he hoped his church would not repeat the mistakes made by the Irish church in dealing with the sex abuse crisis. Talking to the National Catholic Reporter, Archbishop Tagle said that the “sad experiences” both in Ireland and the United States had “really taught us a lesson”.

Cardinal Brady took the point, saying: “The aim of the symposium is to achieve a consistent, sustained global response to the problem and obviously there are people who are on different parts of the journey and to a certain extent it falls to those who are further along [the Irish church] to help share their experience with others.”

At the opening news conference for this symposium, which took place in the Pontifical Gregorian University, Cardinal Brady had been criticised by Irish survivor Marie Collins.

Addressing that criticism yesterday, he said: “I’ve talked to her many times and I shook hands with her at the penitential ceremony here on Tuesday night. She was very moved and I was so pleased to hear her say that she had recovered meaning and purpose in her life, and that is the important thing. That is something that gives great heart to people involved with this , the fact that people can recover.

“In Ireland, too, we need to be reminded of certain basic things such as the experience of victims . . . To hear a victim like Marie Collins just describing her personal experience was very powerful.”