Cardinal Sean Brady Issues Apology over Paedophile Scandal

By Henry McDonald
The Guardian
May 7, 2012

Cardinal Sean Brady, who has apologised for failing to report a list of children abused by a notorious paedophile priest.

The embattled leader of Ireland's Catholics, Cardinal Sean Brady, has issued a public apology to a man who revealed that he failed to report to police and parents a list of children who were being abused by a notorious paedophile priest.

But one victim has denounced the move, saying it was part of a survival strategy by Brady and the Irish Catholic hierarchy.

Andrew Madden, an abuse victim who detailed his ordeal at the hands of a north Dublin priest in his book Altar Boy, said Brady's apology to Brendan Boland should not be used to help keep the cardinal in his position.

Madden said: "Ultimately it's up to Brendan Boland to decide what he thinks of the apology, but it looks like a very self-serving one now that he is in so much trouble.

"It makes it impossible to have any confidence in the church's attitude to child protection if it does not see that Cardinal Brady's actions and consequences are a resigning issue."

Madden and other clerical sex abuse victims have claimed that the church covered up many of the paedophile priest scandals. Several high-powered reports led by senior Irish judges concluded that there had been a culture of coverup in the church over abuse allegations.

Brady insisted he would not resign, claiming he had "many, many calls from people who want me to stay on".

And for the first time since the scandal emerged, Brady accepted that parents should have been told about a warning he was given in the mid-1970s of children at risk of abuse by convicted paedophile Father Brendan Smyth.

"I regret very much that they weren't," Brady said, acknowledging that it had led to further pain and trauma for the children.

Speaking at a religious retreat at Lough Derg, one of Ireland's holiest sites, the cardinal also offered a personal apology to Boland, the Dundalk man who claims the Catholic primate failed to act on information he gave him about other children being sexually molested by Smyth.

Brady, 72, was the Catholic church's notetaker during a secret meeting in 1975 between Boland, then 14, and senior clerics after the boy made allegations about Smyth. Although accompanied by his father to the meeting, Boland's parent was not allowed into the hearing between senior clergy and the boy.

Boland revealed to a BBC documentary last week that he gave Brady, then a priest, a list of names and addresses of other children Smyth was abusing. He claims neither Brady or the hierarchy acted on his information. A number of those children have since come forward over the past few days to claim that, had Brady handed over the information to the police on either side of the Irish border or even their parents, they would not have been subjected to years of abuse at the hands of Smyth.

Amid deepening anger aimed at the church's leadership, Brady said he would "apologise without hesitation" to Boland "and to any victim".

"I offered that apology last Christmas, I offered to come and see him in person," he said. "He wanted a public apology, it didn't happen, but I repeat now that I publicly apologise to him."

Brady said he wanted to apologise personally to Boland "at the earliest opportunity".

The clamour for Brady to stand down is unlikely to abate, with organisations representing clerical child abuse victims repeating their demand for him to resign.

That pressure intensified on Monday night when a senior Irish Catholic theologian said it was time for Brady to step down as Catholic primate.

Father Vincent Twomey said that given the damage done by Smyth and the repercussions of his actions, "one way or another the cardinal has unfortunately lost his moral credibility".


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