Cardinal Sean Brady - “to not lose face”
The depth and breadth of the abuse crisis in Ireland is not over. The religious programme ‘Sunday’ on radio 4 this morning updated events in Ireland since the BBC documentary ‘This World’ aired last week. The BBC investigation revealed more details of his role in investigating Ireland's most notorious paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth in 1975. Brady was given the names of several children who were being abused. He did nothing with that information. He even swore the informant to secrecy on the bible. Remarkably, Brady has since issued a writ against the programme makers. Another gem was that Brady was still refusing to resign and that his defence was in effect that he was ‘only obeying orders.’
A priest who is an opponent of the catholic hierarchy painted in some background. Twenty years ago 97% of the population of the Irish Republic attended mass weekly. That figure is now down to 30%. Of those, the majority of attendees are over 60. The number attending mass who are under 30 is in single figures.
The Vatican continue to operate in denial mode. Surprise, surprise. Michael Kelly, Deputy Editor of the Irish Catholic Newspaper said that they would not bow to public pressure. They would put another Bishop in place alongside Cardinal Brady who would then act as his shadow until the heat had died down. At that point Cardinal Brady would stand down ‘without losing face.’ This has happened before in Ireland. The Bishop of Dublin was exposed in 2003 in a RTE documentary covering up abuse and rather than resign immediately he left several months later.
It is hard to comprehend how the ‘loss of face’ in any way remotely compares to the damage done to thousands of children by abusing priests. It is also very surprising that the police have not become involved. The sight of Cardinal Brady being arrested and charged with aiding and abetting criminal acts would concentrate minds in the Vatican. There is a concern in the Vatican that there could be a domino effect. Bring it on.
How much ‘loss of face’ have the victims suffered?