This video is the first part of BBC's The World program mentioned in the article. The links to the other three parts are at the end of each segment.
The saga of Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland is both sad and illustrative of what happens when good men participate in a rotten system. They lose their humanity. They become robots in and to the system. The following article by Alf McCreary of the Belfast Times poignantly makes this point.
Clearly Cardinal Brady’s time at helm is almost upOne of the saddest sights this week has been watching Cardinal Sean Brady trying to defend the indefensible. He is a good man caught up in a public struggle for the soul of the Irish Catholic Church, and he is now well out of his depth.
Two years ago when the story broke about his involvement in a secret meeting with a young victim of the paedophile Brendan Smyth, I was one of the few commentators to suggest publicly that Cardinal Brady should resign.
Even then it was obvious to me that the game was up, and afterwards a number of prominent people told me privately that they agreed with my view.
However, Cardinal Brady chose to struggle on, in an attempt to spearhead reforms as a “wounded healer”. He has tried to do so with dignity and courage, and his many friends inside and outside the Catholic Church wince for this decent human being who became the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The latest important revelations in the BBC’s This World programme have put further pressure on Cardinal Brady, and his involvement in the Brendan Smyth scandal is symbolic of the Catholic Church’s failure to deal properly with the cancer of clerical child sex abuse.
Cardinal Brady has chosen to stay on and to fight his corner. This does not surprise me. Whatever he may feel personally, you can be sure that the Vatican is watching every move.
Even if the cardinal decides to hand in his resignation, I doubt if the Vatican will accept it just now. Sean Brady is a high profile scapegoat for an institutional failure that goes right to the top.
Of course he should have done much more in 1975 when he discovered that young people were being abused. However, he was no better and no worse than his peers in a system where no-one had the courage to by-pass the Catholic Church and go straight to the police and the children’s parents.
Lest any one is tempted to take a holier-than-thou attitude, we all have known of situations where it was better not to sacrifice a career by making a stand and to push the problem up the line.
When Sean Brady’s superiors failed to put pressure on the relevant church authorities in 1975, the problem got much worse, and now that church is deservedly reaping the whirlwind.
My guess is that Cardinal Brady, now 72, will be kept in post until after the important International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin next month, and that sooner rather than later he will retire, or be retired.
However, the cardinal is under immense pressure and his position seems precarious but whether Sean Brady goes or stays in the short term is beside the point. The major problem is that the Catholic Church in Ireland has badly lost its way and has betrayed its people.
By trying to censor a popular and perceptive priest like Fr Brian D’Arcy and others in the Republic, the Vatican is showing that autocracy still rules all. But did any one really expect a hardliner like Cardinal Ratzinger to become a ‘liberal’ Pope Benedict overnight?
However, the most damning indictment this week was the Irish Church’s claim that in 1975 there were no church or state guidelines about dealing with allegations of child abuse. That is a total cop-out, from an institution which is supposed to base its existence on the teachings of Christ, who is quoted in St Matthew’s Gospel with this devastating judgment:
“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
That really says it all.
The train wreck known as the Catholic Church in Ireland, just underwent another derailment. This one seriously implicates it's conductor, Cardinal Sean Brady. The above linked video is the BBC documentary which has precipitated another earthquake in the Irish Church. What's been especially sad to me is watching Cardinal Brady and his PR people use every spin they can to keep the real truth at arms length. That truth is Fr Sean Brady, back in 1975 risked his own excommunication if he went to the authorities or the parents of the children he knew were actively being raped by serial pedophile Brendan Smyth. "Crimen Sollicitationis" was in full effect. The penalty for violating these oaths was automatic excommunication and it applied not only to the two witnesses Cardinal Brady interviewed but also himself. This insured the boys suffered in silence without any outside support, including from each other, and that Brendan Smyth was free to continue abusing the very children for whom Cardinal Brady had been given both names and addresses. Brady was under this silence until 2010 when the Vatican finally changed it's Canon Laws to free investigators and bishops to release information to those with a need to know. Hence Cardinal Brady said nothing of any substance about this incident when it first came to light in 2008. He was still under obligation to honor the code of secrecy.
In the interests of adhering to Papal demands, and protecting both the Church and his own soul, Cardinal Brady kept his silence while dozens more children were raped by Brendan Smyth. At least a dozen of those were US children because Smyth was transferred to the US by the Norbertine Order just as police in Northern Ireland were finally getting on to him. I just had this really difficult time putting together the fact most of this could have ended in 1975 if one Fr Sean Brady had not been so vested in self serving Catholic Canon Law and protecting his own soul and career. But he was far from alone as one wag pointed out in a comment: "The mental reservation is getting full. Another inmate is coming." It's time to close this particular reservation and let the full truth out.