Theologian Calls on Cardinal Sean Brady to Resign

BBC News
May 4, 2012

One of Ireland's leading theologians has said Cardinal Sean Brady should resign as Catholic Primate of all-Ireland.

It follows fresh claims about a church inquiry into clerical child abuse.

Fr Vincent Twomey, a former Professor at Maynooth College, told RTE that Cardinal Brady has lost his moral authority.

Cardinal Brady is accused of failing to do enough when alerted to abuse allegations when he was a priest.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the Irish deputy PM have both questioned whether Cardinal Brady should remain in his job.

On Tuesday, a BBC documentary revealed that in 1975, a 14-year-old boy who had been sexually abused by a paedophile priest, Fr Brendan Smyth, gave the then Fr Brady the names and addresses of other children who had been abused.

It said Fr Brady did not pass on the details to the police or parents.

On Friday, Helen McGonigle, an American lawyer, who is a victim of Brendan Smyth, also said Cardinal Brady should resign.

She said she was "outraged" by the cardinal's reaction and said she felt for Brendan Smyth's victims.

She said she knew the cardinal was standing by his statement that he had "acted and recorded the information and passed it on".

"But the analogy I draw is you see a burning building with children inside and you say that you have called your boss and you have told them," she added.

"There are children inside a burning building and then you see that no-one is coming to rescue the children in the burning building why don't you call the fire department and the police?"

On Thursday, Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said detectives would look at the documentary to assess whether it should be included in their investigation into institutional abuse.

"For the last number of months there has been an investigation ongoing under an operation called Operation Charwell into alleged institutional abuse and this is really the context in which we will examine the material that was made available through the BBC documentary," he said.

"Before we launch into an investigation or make knee-jerk responses to that, we will take an objective, evidence-based assessment of the material that was in that programme."

Meanwhile, on Friday, Fr Gerard Cusack, abbot of the Norbertine Order at Kilnacrott Abbey in County Cavan, of which Father Brendan Smyth was a member, said he felt Cardinal Brady should not resign.

"I think it is a difficult decision for Cardinal Brady, I would be supporting him in his efforts to continue," he told Northern Sound radio.

"I think he should hold on.

"I think he has moral authority, he has called himself a wounded healer in the past and he is."

Fr Cusack, who was not abbot at Kilnacrott Abbey when Brendan Smyth was there, said the order was "gravely sorry" for what had happened.

He also said it was endeavouring to help with counselling and was prepared to meet anybody.

Fr Cusack said the order had "helped a lot of people with out-of-court settlements".

The abbot said Brendan Smyth was "a difficult man".

"It is only now we can see how he was grooming victims, little did we know he was abusing these people," he said.

"Very few people were aware of the cunning nature of people with this disease, it is a real affliction."

Fr Cusack said that Brendan Smyth had been taken to a number of psychiatrists on the island of Ireland for treatment.

"Every effort was made to get the best professional treatment for Brendan Smyth," he said.

"We did our best, but our best was not good enough."


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