Cardinal Brady confirms parish priest investigation


A parish priest serving in the Diocese of Armagh has been asked to take a period of leave from his ministry due to concerns over child safety.

After celebrating vigil mass in a parish in the Archdiocese of Armagh yesterday, the cardinal spoke to the congregation about a decision he has made concerning their parish priest.

Cardinal Brady said that in the light of information relating to child safeguarding issues, he has asked the priest to take a period of leave, which he has agreed to do.

“This is to allow the civil authorities, who have been informed, to investigate this matter” he said.

“The policy of the Archdiocese of Armagh is that in all matters relating to child safeguarding, the safety and welfare of the child must be our paramount concern," added Dr Brady.

The cardinal emphasised that the priest “continues to enjoy the right to the presumption of innocence whilst these matters are being investigated.”

He also invited any person who may have been abused by a priest or religious to come forward to the diocese and/or to make contact with the civil authorities.

Earlier this month, Cardinal Brady apologised for his handling of complaints against paedophile priest Brendan Smyth and expressed shame that he has not always upheld the values that he professes and believes in.

The apology came after it emerged that Cardinal Brady had conducted canonical inquiries into allegations of child sex abuse by Smyth 35 years ago, involving two young people whom he swore to secrecy at the end of his inquiry.

It also emerged that at no time, then or since, did he report the allegations to gardaí or any civil authorities.

Separately, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin today called on catholics who are considering leaving the church over the clerical child sex abuse scandal to consider staying in order to lead reform of the church.

"The church in Dublin is still stung by the horrible abuse which innocent children endured through people who were Christ’s ministers and who were called to act in Christ’s name," said the archbishop in his Palm Sunday homily.

"If we really understand how we all belong to the one body then we cannot feel that the answer to renewal in the church can come about by leaving the church or by leaving it to others," he added.

Dr Martin said he was committed to working with anybody who wished to "purify our church from all that has damaged the face of Christ".