Brendan Smyth denied his abuse damaged Catholic Church

Paedophile priest wrote to late Cardinal Daly from Derry prison, inquiry told

The inquiry is looking at  how the Catholic Church and Norbertine Order failed the children abused by Brendan Smyth.

The inquiry is looking at how the Catholic Church and Norbertine Order failed the children abused by Brendan Smyth.

 

Paedophile priest Brendan Smyth wrote an angry letter from prison to the late Cardinal Cahal Daly to deny that his sexual abuse of boys and girls had caused serious damage to the Catholic Church. A second letter he sent stated that he was “at peace with my God”.

The letters, written from Magilligan Prison, were read out yesterday at the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down.

In one he expressed sorrow to those he had abused while in the second he expressed annoyance that Cardinal Daly had publicly stated the allegations against him had “done serious damage to the church”.

Smyth, convicted in 1994 for sexual abuse of children in Northern Ireland, wrote that year to Cardinal Daly protesting at his remarks.

He said if the cardinal had been misquoted he could dump the letter but if not then he had to “express my anger and disbelief that a person with your lofty intellectual qualifications could possibly have made such a statement”.

‘Sins and failings’

“I did not in any way create or encourage the media extravaganza. Rather the contrary, I pleaded guilty to wildly exaggerated and in some instances false charges to try to limit media coverage. In that . . . I failed dismally.”

He said the church was “God’s gift” and “as a moderately informed Catholic Christian I do not believe it is possible for anyone to damage the church”.

‘Deep sorrow’ Smyth

thought the church would emerge renewed and maybe strengthened from the publicity, anger and controversy his abuse generated.

In the second letter, in 1995, he said: “I express my deep sorrow to anyone who has in any way suffered as a result of my actions and also to those friends and also members of my religious community who suffered because of the media treatment . . . For a long time now I have been at peace with my God and I trust that they too will find similar peace.”

This week the inquiry is examining how Smyth carried out sexual abuse at three care homes – Rubane House Boys Home in Co Down, and homes on the Ormeau and Ravenhill roads in Belfast.

The focus this week is on how the Catholic Church and Norbertine Order failed the children abused by Smyth.

Smyth died in prison of a heart attack in 1997.