02May Cardinal Brady’s dilemma: Malachi O’Doherty reflects

Most of us, if we had been priests of Fr Sean Brady’s age in the 1970s would have done as he did. The priest takes an oath of obedience to his bishop. Brady was assigned by his bishop to investigate a fellow cleric who was raping children and to report back. He did everything that was expected of him by the only authority to which he had pledged himself answerable. He ascertained that the odious Brendan Smyth was indeed a paedophile priest making use of children for his sexual gratification. And he spoke to two boys who had been used in that way and he believed them. Then he swore them to secrecy.

All of this, in the practical secular view of a later age was what we would now call collusion in the cover up of a vile crime and the manipulation of victims for the protection of an offender and of the institutional church to which that offender belonged. But what was it in the mind of Sean Brady? It was the exercise of unquestioning obedience and loyalty. It was an outward expression of his faith in the power of the church to do the right thing.

No more could possibly be expected of Brady other than perhaps that he be a person of a type we rarely see, someone of heroic indvidual conscience. You don’t get many of them in churches.

Sean Brady was not a hero on the day he made two boys kneel and swear to keep secret the name of a rapist; he was an obedient priest. And the failing that has to be identified is not in him but in the very system by which he was expected to swear obedience to superiors who were no wiser or more principled than himself. With that oath of obedience a priest divests himself of his conscience and his citizenship and, as this case demonstrates, makes himself untrustworthy. Once he has decided that he will do as he is told by another, then he is no more reliable or admirable than that other. He has agreed to be the tool of an insitution and of its representatives in the hierarchy over him, people who have now been exposed as conniving and dangerous.

So, should Sean Brady resign as head of the church in Ireland, when any other priest of his generation would have done the same as he did? Nothing distinguishes him from his brother priests or they from him.

And that is precisely the problem. As head of the church, though not the direct boss over those other priests, Sean Brady is best placed to make clear that the docile enslavement of priests, to an institution which always knows best, is over. He has said that he wants to stay in his job to mend the church and heal the damage caused but he could do far more good by acknowledging that a priest is answerable to the whole of society and the law, not just to a hierarchy or even to a flock, a congregation. By leaving he would accept that he is properly answerable to the civil order and the secular society which has basic legal principles and expectations of those who hold office. It is civic order to which he owes an apology.

He may have met the standards of a church which expected only that he do as he was told but he failed – as all sworn priests in his position would inevitably fail – to recognise his wider responsibilities to the rest of us. He should not resign to declare himself guilty of shameless management of coverup. In a sense he has almost nothing to be ashamed of there anyway because he acted within the limits his church imposed on him.

If we don’t think we would ourselves have been up to such a brave act of rebellion we shouldn’t criticise him for not managing it either.

But he should resign as the man who should now better understand than anybody how dangerous tthe church’s limitations are. he should resign as a declaration of the responsibility of priests to the wider society they thought they had the right to ignore. Faced with this challenge in the past, Sean Brady said that he would listen to church-going Catholics and take his guidance from them. That is where he went wrong, and it is not far removed from what was most wrong in what he did to those boys for it amounts to wilfully ignoring the standards that a wider society expects of people, particularly of people in power.

There can no longer be a hermetically sealed Catholic church whose priests refer only to their own authority and moral codes. That is what many priests themselves are saying and being silenced for saying. Sean Brady is only the most conspicuous victim of the way in which the church abuses its priests, stripping them of the right and responsibility to hear guidance from anywhere but above, even from their own consciences. It is time he owned up to the damage that has been done to him and through him.

25 Responses

  1. John, Lord Alderdice

    I appreciated the article, Malachi, but I think there is a third responsibility of the priest, which was not fulfilled by Sean Brady, and under which he stands condemned. As a priest he has a responsibility to God, which goes beyond his responsibility to the Church, or the views of society. This was the fault line which led to the Reformation, and other changes, developments, schisms etc in history. It was the Bonhoeffer position. It is the position of Christ – condemned by the church of his day and executed by the political authorities at the behest of a baying (and fickle) public. These are difficult times, but they may also be the times when something dramatically positive may be in the offing. Maybe we can meet and talk about this some time?

  2. Pádraig McCarthy

    I have some questions: if Seán Brady in 1975 had reported the facts to the civil authorities (Garda or police), and if those authorities had not taken effective action, would we now be demanding Seán Brady’s resignation?
    Would we expect that he should have followed up the families himself, although he had reported the matters to the authorities?
    Would we expect that he should have followed up the matter with the civil authorities to check whether they were taking action?
    If the answer to each of these questions is “No”, what makes the difference now?

  3. Martin Murray

    “But he should resign as the man who should now better understand than anybody how dangerous the church’s limitations are.”
    From his point of view it may be unfair, but Cardinal Brady is a symbolic focus of the failure and inherit abusive nature of our church’s structures. However, there is a way out of this for him. His honour and credibility can be restored by an equally symbolic resignation and by becoming a high profile voice for change, joining those of us who are struggling for the reforms that are so badly needed. It wouldn’t be easy for him, as he would meet with the full fury of his current masters in the Vatican curia. Also, as with St Paul, the community would but be sceptical. But in time he could again walk the streets of Ireland with his head held high.

  4. Brian Eyre

    Reflection on Brendan Boland’s BBC interview: Brian Eyre, Catholic married priest, Brazil

    As a father of two children I find it abhorrent that Brendan Boland’s father, who was in the building at the time of the Brendan Smyth investigation, could not participate because of Canon Law regulations.
    The 3 priests, present at the investigation, separated the boy from his father at a time when he needed him most. Remember that these 3 priests, all adults with academic experience had themselves had the experience of family life, yet they passed over the authority of Brendan’s father.
    The right of parents over their children is sacred and is above any Canon Law regulation. The presence of parents is all important for children especially in important and stressful situations such as going to a doctor, a dentist, being in hospital etc, a child needs his mother and father at these times just as he/she welcomes their presence when performing in school plays, taking part in sport events and so on.
    Everybody knows this then how come these three priests acted differently, was it because of this all powerful and untouchable Canon Law? Is it possible that they lost contact with basic human values?
    The training that they received in the seminary and the role that they were given later as priests needs to be examined. Human family values should be part of priest’s training.

  5. Peter Doran

    I think Malachi has identified Brady’s dilemma with great precision. The Cardinal insists that he did what was expected of him by the institution to which he had handed over his personal authority. And, paradoxically, this is the very reason he should now resign if he is to redeem his own integrity.

    His resignation is the only way in which he can convey a credible understanding of the challenge facing both the church (in terms of its accountability & its role in the world) and the priest. For both, a radical new model of power consistent with a truly prophetic role in the world, must supersede the corrupting model that relies on a profound network of internalized moments of oppression (stretching from the personal, the sexual and the vocational through to the colonial relations with the off shore Curia in Rome). The disciplinary fetishes bound up with the continuities of oppression in the prevailing model of power help to explain the deep contradictions in the Catholic Church’s attitude to private and public morality.

  6. Mary O Vallely

    I applaud Malachi for this very well balanced reflection which I think is very fair and very charitable towards Sean Brady and which shows a depth of understanding lacking in many of the usual “off with his head” or “he shall not be moved” reactions.
    Sean Cardinal Brady is my PP. I park my car outside his house every morning and as I click my key to lock it I look over towards Ara Coeli and I always say a prayer for its incumbent.
    I believe that it is right that he should resign but I think that he will only do so if he is told to do so because he is an obedient son of Rome. That, in a way, is his tragedy. He should follow the dictates of his own conscience and of his own heart. Great good could come from his resigning and his decision would do so much to heal the hurt. I do not mean to insult those good priests who are obedient to Rome but we do have to follow our own consciences and be led by the Spirit that speaks to each of us if we only listen.
    I wish to plead with all priests reading this that whilst it is right and just to pray for Cardinal Brady as we did at morning mass in Armagh today it is imperative that we pray also for the victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse AND their families. Sadly I think there is still a lack of awareness of the enormous devastation and the ongoing trauma of abuse and that it is with survivors every day of their lives. PLEASE remember to pray for them too.
    My heart goes out to Sean Brady. It is obvious that the man is suffering but my heart goes out more to all those who suffered from the abuse and cover up. Let us not forget them. THEY are our priority, not the Cardinal.
    I recently came across a novel, “Father Ralph” by Gerard O’Donovan, written in 1931, which painted a damning portrait of a priest-ridden Ireland at that time. Sadly, much of it is still very relevant today. At the end of the book Fr Ralph dropped the Fr but retained his integrity and his soul. It’s worth a read despite the heartrending suffering of the protagonist and the people (and the slightly sentimental tone though I loved it as I did the main character!)
    Another plea:- We can disagree but let us at least listen to diverse views and hopefully we will learn from each other and support each other. I am aware of the huge emotions gathering in us and around us and fear more hurt caused to good people. Prayer is needed more than ever.
    Mary V

  7. Marie Gallagher

    As a little girl preparing for the Sacraments, I was taught that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Today, as a mother, I know that to be true. I also know that when a child is raped, not only is the body defiled, but also the mind, the heart, and, critically, the soul. Cardinal Brady spent many years looking the other way as one child after another was defiled. If he believed his own teaching, he could not have stood by and allowed the destruction of even one temple of the Holy Spirit. But he did. And that is what breaks my heart.

  8. Malachi O'Doherty

    On Primetime tonight both David Quinn and Vincent Twomey said they believed that Sean Brady had lost his moral credibility and should resign. It’s time we heard from Diarmuid Martin.

  9. skippy

    The catholic church set, and sets, itself up as a moral authority yet it seems that the bar for a moral standard is lower for them than it is for other, non-uniformed, people.

    In 1971 my sister (who was 21 years old at the time) learned that a girl and boy who lived in our road were being shown lewd things by their father. The father didn’t touch them but when my sister was told of this abuse she went to social services and the father was arrested and never returned to the family home.

    My sister was 21, it was 1971, she was a catholic and maybe god advised her what to do.

    How can an educated man of 36 years lose his own conscience in favour of a church view?

    How can you excuse this?

    The boy Brendan Boland was brave but the same can’t be expected of a priest? No, a priest can be excused for toeing the party line where a mere someone can rise above that.

    What is the point of priests if they can’t even do what the man or woman in the street would when when challenged with a moral dilemma?

    The catholic church have failed the people and if I was a right-thinking priest I would leave because they are morally corrupted beyond repair

  10. Malachi O'Doherty

    There has been speculation that Sean Brady was contained by a culture of deference. This, I think is nonsense. What constrained him was an oath of obedience to his bishop. I have spoken to fine priests who say they would have done the same. The wrong at the heart of this was the subjection of men to such oaths and their indoctrination in slavish adherence to the will of others above them in the hierarchy. This is what connects the Brady scandal with the silencing of priests today; the Vatican wants obedient priests but obedience is dangerous. Every priest should look at the fate of the docile and compliant Sean Brady and fear the prospect that he might reach his old age himself to find that he hasn’t got a mind of his own and can’t even recall why he should have.

  11. Soline Humbert

    In his homily on St Patrick’s Day 2010, Cardinal Brady referred to his role in the 1975 canonical enquiry into Brendan Smyth in these terms:
    ” I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologize to you with all my heart.”
    ” I also apologize to all those who feel I have let them down”.
    ” Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.”
    What exactly was he apologising for? What failure? What values had he not upheld?
    I agree with Mary V that we need to pray with all our hearts, especially for all those who have suffered abuse. There is immense suffering. May we as a Christian community courageously find a way forward where there is true healing and hope. THe truth will set us free.

  12. Clare McMahon

    “I know the plans I have in mind for you – it is Yahweh who speaks – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you.” (Jer. 29.11)
    I am very saddened by what is happening right now with regard to Cardinal Sean Brady. I am disturbed at the way he is being hounded, his words twisted, his actions misinterpreted, his integrity assaulted. In some ways these past few days have felt like a re-enactment of Gethsemane. There is a sense of a mob with swords and clubs baying for blood, incapable of listening, closed to any possibility of compassion for a conscientious, committed Christian leader. As a silent bystander I have felt sickened, yet somehow tainted and guilty by association.
    Why then am I so saddened by the cardinal’s own response? Because I am hearing all the wrong language from him. I have no doubt that such a good and humble man has spent many hours in prayer, agonising over what has happened in the past and his own involvement; agonising over what is happening now and how he should respond. But we are not hearing that. What is coming across is endless self-defence – ‘I did nothing wrong’. I suspect that our cardinal is listening to the wrong advisers – still trying to do what is ‘right’.
    I have no problem accepting that by the standards of the time Fr Sean Brady did all he believed was possible in 1975, that he did his duty and passed on his findings in good faith. But with the gifts of hindsight and new insight, and from a place of emotional and spiritual maturity, I would now expect his opening words and continual refrain to be ‘I am so sorry! I got it wrong.’ I would expect him to acknowledge that his actions is 1975 were totally inadequate and to express regret that he was so blinded and brainwashed by the Church culture of the time that he was indeed sorely wanting in his response. I would like to hear him say that he is heartbroken at all the suffering subsequently inflicted on children due to the inadequacy of his response. I would like him to step back from his own hurt, from his duty to ‘the Church’ and focus with compassion on ‘the mob’ who are baying for his blood. And finally I would like him to make peace with himself and with his God, and to step aside in humility and trust in Jeremiah’s prophecy, which is my prayer for him at this time.
    Cardinal Brady, May God bless and keep you! May God’s face shine on you! May God be kind to you and give you peace!
    Clare McMahon. Carrickmacross.

  13. Malachi O'Doherty

    Here is the script of a piece I broadcast on BBC NI’s Hearts and Minds programme last night.

    Are we facing into a Catholic Spring?
    It’s possible.

    Last Sunday two hundred people picketed the home of the Papal Nuncio to Ireland. That wouldn’t have been particularly surprising given the scale of animosity against the institutional church but this protest was organised by priests. We haven’t seen anything like that before.
    And in the next few days, priests will convene a conference in Dublin to discuss setting up an assembly of the Catholics of Ireland.
    They are not asking the permission of bishops this time.
    The revolutionary ardour, if that is what it is, is driven by several things.
    There is the humiliation of priests like Brian Darcy and others who have aired their personal opinions.
    Priests, it seems aren’t supposed to have personal opinions.
    The Association of Catholic Priests has conducted its own survey to ask the Catholics of ireland what they really believe and they have worked out that it differs greatly from what Rome teaches in relation to the ordination of women and the celibate priesthood.
    Well, the straight-laced faithful say, the word of God isn’t up for debate; you don’t take a vote on it, the truth never changes. That’s Rome’s line.
    More incessantly than ever the Pope is saying, you are in or you are out, you buy the whole package or you can go and accept that you are a protestant and be done with it.
    And there is animosity growing in the country with even priests writing blog entries raking up Benedict’s Nazi past in the Hitler youth movement, accusing him of a blitzkreig against the liberals in the church.
    This is all heavy stuff.

    But what can it lead to?

    Well, one possibility is that the priests will be cowed as they have been before, that the scale of the challenge before them, will prove to be too great. They can protest nicely, call their pickets vigils and plead with the Pope to be gentle with them, or they can assert firmly that they will break this church in two again rather than have it crush them.

    Their problem is that priests who accept further humiliation will be no use to anyone.

    We have the perfect reminder at the head of the church of what happens when a priest only does what he is told. Sean Brady is an example to every priest of the pathetic outcome of a slavish obedience and the denial of reason and conscience.

    The other possibility is that priests who simply can’t stomach the church in its present form will just leave. That is what most of them do already.
    And then what?
    Then we run so low on priests that we hardly ever see them.

    Local churches will be run by lay committees which means by women. They will lead eucharistic services and the available priest will drop by once a month.

    And the link to Rome by which the pure message is conveyed intact to a docile and penitent people will be broken anyway.

    Go into a Catholic church on a Saturday night or a Sunday morning in Belfast or Galway or Derry or Cork in ten years from now and you can be sure that the person at the front delivering the homily and blessing the babies will be a woman. There are already more women than men studying theology in Ireland.

    So the Irish Spring may fail and Rome may run out of priests on the ground because it couldn’t get enough men as spineless as sean brady to do its bidding.
    But still thousands will still call themselves Catholic and go to church, and the utterly changed church that they dream of will be there in front of them.

  14. Eddie Finnegan

    As someone who has on occasion wondered why our shepherds are such sheep, or even whether it’s because they may have much to be sheepish about, nevertheless this is one rolling bandwagon I’m not going to hitch any of my hobbyhorses to. To declare an interest of sorts: even after 35 years in Westminster Archdiocese, this Armaghman would still look to Seán Brady, and his predecessors or successor in Ara Coeli, rather than Vincent Nichols as my shepherd. So, OK, if that makes me a “cultural Irish Catholic”, well so be it. I could think of worse insults.
    And to declare another interest: half a century ago I was one of a small group of Classics students who looked back with respect to our immediate predecessors from Armagh and Kilmore, two classics strongholds. One of those was Seán Brady, by then sent off to Rome for Theology and Canon Law. There but for the (lack of) grace of God . . . . When Fr Vincent Twomey (with whom I usually don’t find much common ground) said on Prime Time last night that he has reluctantly concluded that the Primate’s position seems unsustainable and that he must resign, I found myself in very reluctant agreement. Twomey thought that for Seán Brady it was a Greek tragedy. I thought that very appropriate, though the main character can hardly be expected to appreciate it.

    Like Mary O (6 above) I found Malachi O’Doherty’s original article balanced and thoughtful, but his later characterisation of Fr Brady in 1975 and/or Cardinal Brady today as merely “docile”, “compliant” and finally “spineless” is way off the mark and even, in my opinion, despicable. Not only do we now have the repetitive “he-needs-to-reflect-upon-his-position” queue of office-holders in both jurisdictions (some of whom could usefully and silently reflect upon their own life around 1975) but also an apparent yen on the part of Lords of the northern and Westminster scene to manage our ‘Catholic Spring’ on the back of Cardinal Brady’s seemingly intractable difficulties.

    Somehow I’d have more faith in Mary Vallely’s prayer for her parish priest and all who have suffered, as she parks her car on Sandy Hill tomorrow morning. Say one for me, Mary, and for Monday’s Teacht-le-Chéile. I hope it’s not about to be railroaded or hijacked by the immediacies of the moment.

  15. Pádraig McCarthy

    Seán Brady does not come across well on television; he seems to find it difficult to speak naturally, and this puts him at a disadvantage.
    It seems to me that what he is being blamed for is trusting his bishop to act effectively; in this he was betrayed. Brendan Boland, and his family, were the source of Seán Brady’s information, and they also trusted the bishop and the diocesan authorities to act effectively. In this, they too were betrayed. Yet nobody is blaming them for not going to the civil authorities, although they are the source of the matter. If they are not held accountable for failing to notify civil authorities, why should Seán Brady be blamed?
    Even one case of abuse is abhorrent, as also in the case of Fergus Finlay. Mr Finlay is reported in the Irish Times as saying, “I knew it was abuse, when I told my father he knew it was abuse. He knew exactly what action needed to be taken and it was taken.” He said that as far as he knew the action meant that other children were not later abused by the same man.
    Mr Finlay did not specify in the report what action was taken. (I confess that the “módh díreach” was came first to my mind!) It was in 1961 and 1963. Did his father report the matter to the Garda? Or did his father report it to the superiors of the religious brother in question? Did he follow up to check what action was taken? Is it possible that the brother in question was simply removed from that school and posted in a school elsewhere, or that he was dismissed from the congregation? How were such matters handled at that time in other cases, and by other authorities? How could we know that other children were not later abused by the same man?

  16. Barry

    A very useful and insightful article which correctly recognises the cult of obedience as being a major part of the problem.
    I believe that Cardinal Brady should resign for his own sake and as a witness of leadership. I suspect that his resignation would not be welcomed in Rome as it would break the firewall of local church responsibility which protects the central Curia.
    It is however, useful to reflect that by not resigning Cardinal Brady has fuelled and promoted the desire among Roman Catholic parents for reform; to prevent anything remotely like this ever happening to children again.
    He is certainly helping in his own way to foster a catholic spring.
    The Lord does move in mysterious ways!!

  17. Joe O'Leary

    “What constrained him was an oath of obedience to his bishop.”

    If you refer to the promise of obedience, not an oath, made by all priests at ordination, I think it would not at all cover a case like this, where issues of conscience arise.

    The Catholic Spring will not materialize if the motivation is only negative. It is so easy to destroy what is already in a state of collapse (see Breda O’Brien’s cry from the heart in today’s Irish Times) — but to build up again, there’s the rub. Who has the energy for it?

  18. Con Carroll

    What Gospels are we following, the ones of authority, submissive power, control? Or the one based on radical solidarity, humility, joy, prayer? One should read the Tablet magazine of Sat 4 May, about how women Religious in America have been treated by the CDF in Rome. interesting names come up: Bernard Law who was given shelter in the Vatican when the American state wanted to ask him questions on his silence regarding clergy involved in child sex abuse. Think for one moment the effect this is having on people who are survivors their loved ones and families.

  19. Mary O Vallely

    I agree with Clare that the Cardinal needs to “step back from his own hurt.” Please God he will but at this point in time, the Brady is not for turning. I regret my rather sarcastic remark about him being “a loyal son of Rome.” Think we need to moderate our language in order to avoid being seen to be more “riven with internal divisions and rancour”. (Breda O’Brien in today’s Ir. Times) Mea culpa.
    Denis Bradley, a voice of reason and moderation,writes in yesterday’s Irish News that the leadership of Irish Catholicism, “which involves many more than Sean Brady…. is compounding the confusion and the hurt by withdrawing into silence.” He goes on to say (and think of his experience and the wisdom gained from it) that “healthy debate is the very least that is needed” and he reiterates his view that that silence could be “a further act of betrayal.”
    Let us hope and pray that Monday’s gathering in The Regency Hotel will be a positive step forward in helping to heal the wounds of division in the Church. At the very least may it be a source of comfort and solidarity to the many priests and religious who must be feeling so alone and hurt. I am aware of terrible personal abuse levelled at some supporters of the ACP. It is not very Christian but anger sometimes is misdirected and we need to learn to listen and to trust each other above all.We haven’t been very good at this, on either side of this island. I look forward to Monday to listen and suppport you all and hopefully to meet up with others from my own parish and diocese of Armagh. Bail ó Dhia ar an obair.
    “Come, Holy Spirit, into my heart, that I may see the things which are of God…… Sanctify all that I think, say and do, that all may be for the glory of God.”
    P.S. Fr Declan Kelly, please tell me that the cappa magna is not making a comeback. Surely any such that are left over should be consigned to a museum or cut up and sent to be used as clothing for those in poorer countries.It was always a ludicrous looking garment and I cannot believe any true follower of the Nazarene would approve of it as episcopal apparel. Tell me it’s just a rumour!

  20. Dr Margaret Kennedy

    During the last week I have received several emails from victims of clergy sexual abuse for whom the ‘Brady’ tv programme stirred up immense pain and suffering. These were victims not of Brendan Smyth but of Christian Brothers and Sisters of Nazareth. but emails come most weeks from victims of other clergy also.

    Every time a church person is seen to ‘betray’ children the victims wounds are rubbed raw yet again. their struggle is in comprehending how a person with a collar around their neck or a habit that distinguishes them as vowed ‘people of god’ can so ignore the voice of Jesus to protect children above all else but do the opposite, protect themselves, their fellow clergy and the ‘name’ of the church. The victims just cannot, cannot deal with the disjunction of failure to protect and love with secrecy and cover-up.

    Skippy’s sister aged 21 in 1970 knew from her heart the right thing to do. A young woman, just past childhood herself, had the spirit of children in her heart. Skippy, please say ‘thank you’ to your sister for her loving wisdom. I’d love to meet her!

    This is what has been missing in our church…the ‘spirit of children’ has been lost, rejected, overlooked, ignored. The pain in the emails i am receiving is unadulterated agony, pain so deep and wounding, nothing can repair the damage. It is the pain of the children in grown bodies. Only love and support can help victims believe we care enough to walk this road with them so they are not so desperately alone.

    Cardinal Brady does need to reflect on his actions born out of a terrible indoctrination of obedience. He does need to reflect on how he lost sight of the children.

    Could I please beg everyone on this site to recognise how this church ‘lost the children’ and how those same children are alive, in our midst and suffering, and have suffered for years. We still have so much to do for these ‘children’ – not just offer compensation. We need to repair the damage or at least try to. We have to return to basic messages: ‘Children first…and always’ (the motto of Great Ormonde Street Hospital where physical illness and disabilty is lovingly cared for).
    The ‘always’ for me is to walk the path with victims until they find their rest in God – be they 10, 30. or 80 years old.

  21. Maureen Mulvaney

    Just to say, Malachi, in your no.13 response above you referred to last Sunday’s protest outside the Papal Nuncio’s home being organised by the priests. It was organised by a lay group known as, WE ARE CHURCH Ireland (WACI) It is an Irish group of concerned Catholics affiliated to the International Movement We Are Church. For futher detailes see our website http://we-are-church-ireland.org/

  22. Gráinne Tobin

    It is encouraging to find people within the Catholic church who are willing to think and feel as proper human beings. Good conversations on your website. If my parents were still alive they’d be praying for you all.

  23. Dolores Devlin

    Monday, 07.05.2012

    Still closely following the discussion about Cardinal Brady and what happened in 1975.

  24. Rory Connor

    Brady was assigned by his bishop to investigate a fellow cleric who was raping children and to report back. Fr Brendan Smyth was neither accused nor convicted of RAPING children. He was accused and convicted of indecent assault. Is Malachi O’Doherty unaware of that fact? I know from personal experience that it’s dangerous to point this out because people claim you are excusing a paedophile. The problem with that hysterical reaction is that it cuts BOTH ways i.e. the logical conclusion is that a real rape victim is no worse off than someone who has been indecently assaulted!
    <>
    All of this, in the practical secular view of a later age was what we would now call collusion in the cover up of a vile crime and the manipulation of victims for the protection of an offender and of the institutional church to which that offender belonged. What on earth is Mr. O’Doherty talking about? The current Government proposals on mandatory reporting do NOT require a person in (the then) Fr Brady’s position to report abuse to the Gardai. The requirement only applies to the person designated to carry out that function. If mandatory reporting had existed in 1975 Sean Brady would not have been the designated person. That would have been his Bishop or the Norbertine Abbot. So it appears that this “practical secular view” still has no objection to the cover up of a vile crime!
    <>
    I assume the reason why this boy and his parents made their complaint to the Church in 1975 is that they did NOT want the police to be informed. If they really wanted Fr Brady or any other priest to go to the police, they would have done it themselves. The position in relation to current mandatory reporting requirements, is that they will NOT apply if the alleged victim says he does not want the allegation reported. (I think it was social workers who insisted on that amendment, as otherwise their position would have been impossible.) Again it seems that the legal position is this particular type of case has changed little since 1975 – and you can hardly blame the Catholic Church for this.
    <>
    Basic facts do not seem to be intruding much on this discussion.

  25. George Doherty

    I was taught by nuns and priests,
    It is wrong to defend this guy Brady. He did something very very wrong. It does not matter what the pope says he had to do or if he swore loyalty to hitler, he sentenced those two young boys to a life of silent hell. He had a chance to help them but instead he destroyed them. You cannot excuse that. No amount of dancing around the truth with clever writing, makes a case for a cute old fox like Brady. He is a bad old egg and that is the truth. He gets away with it because like Desmond CONNELL: he is an expert at looking confused and harmless.
    George Doherty