Practise what you preach

Irish Examiner

By Michael Clifford

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cardinal Brady has no right to lecture anyone on the morals of abortion when, back in the 1970s, his ineptitude failed to protect children from clerical sex abuse, argues Michael Clifford

THERE are times when irony descends into farce. On Sunday, Cardinal Seán Brady was interviewed on RTÉ radio’s current affairs programme, This Week. He was on the phone, which was a strange way for the Primate of All Ireland to address the nation in this day and age. His chosen subject was abortion, a good choice for a hierarchy reeling from scandals. But what amazed was the sheer neck he displayed in lecturing on morals.

The cardinal referred more than once to “respect for all human life”. He described the Supreme Court judgement in the X case as “flawed”, as if he knew better than the judges appointed to administer the law in a republic. And he made a point of referencing the welfare of small children, in relation to the forum from where he threw himself into the abortion issue on Friday.

Coming from another member of the hierarchy, these issues would be regarded as standard fare. But the cardinal is a man who has practically no moral authority in light of what has emerged about his role in covering up clerical sex abuse.

Earlier this year, it emerged that he was one member of a team of clerics that in 1975 interviewed a 15-year-old Brendan Boland about the activities of paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth. The boy told the panel of others who had been abused by Smyth, yet he was sworn to secrecy about the process, and Smyth kept on abusing. The report was passed up to the hierarchy, and the 35-year-old Fr Brady, as he was then, washed his hands of it.

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