herald

Monday 25 September 2017

I didn't realise impact of child abuse -- Brady

CARDINAL Sean Brady has insisted he had not been fully aware of the impact of child abuse, even though he heard harrowing victim statements.

The pressure on the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland to resign intensified today in the wake of revelations of his failure to shield children from paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth.

The priest defended not contacting gardai about the horrific details he heard from victim Brendan Boland and admitted he didn't realise the impact abuse had on children.

He said: "I knew chapter and verse of what was going on. I didn't have the awareness I now have of the impact that behaviour was having on those children."

But Cardinal Brady, who said he will not be stepping down, said he did everything in his power to stop the sex abuse.

BBC documentary The Shame of the Catholic Church named him as one of three clerics who investigated Smyth.

Dr Brady took notes as Louth victim Brendan Boland, then aged 14, outlined horrific abuse and gave the clergy the names of five other victims.

Despite hearing the boy's shocking testimony, the cardinal said he did not fully appreciate the effect of Smyth's abuse.



Outspoken

Rapist Smyth abused 30 or more children in the years after Cardinal Brady failed to report his crimes, a former RUC officer has revealed.

The officer, who was close to the Smyth investigation, said the priest would have been stopped if he had been reported in 1975.

Outspoken priest Brian D'Arcy today indicated he believes Cardinal Brady should resign.

However, the final decision may not be in the cardinal's hands.

"He would have to offer his resignation and if the Vatican did not take it, he would be back to square one," Fr D'Arcy told Newstalk Breakfast.

He said he believes Dr Brady would have been willing to offer his resignation two years' ago but for the Vatican's stance on the issue.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny called on the cardinal to "reflect on the contents" of the documentary.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said he was "shocked" by the failure to stop Smyth's abusing.

Clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins said she believed Cardinal Brady should stand down.

Ms Collins said "a 14-year-old boy knew what was right and wrong" and Cardinal Brady should have acted on the information he had.

Cardinal Brady insisted he had "absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth".

"Even my bishop (Francis McKiernan) had limited authority over him. The only people who had authority within the Church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his abbot in the monastery in Kilnacrott and his religious superiors in the Norbertine Order," he said.

He was "shocked and appalled" when he learned of Smyth's new victims and felt "betrayed" that the matter had not been dealt with, he said.

He has the support of the Vatican's chief investigator, Monsignor Charles J Scicluna, who said there is no reason for him to resign.

Cardinal Brady said the BBC documentary "deliberately exaggerated" his role as a member of a 1975 Church inquiry team set up to establish the accuracy of abuse allegations.

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