herald

Monday 18 December 2017

PJ Browne: It's simple Cardinal Brady, you've committed a crime

Cardinal Sean Brady became a prince of the Church of Rome in 2007. He supported the calls for other clergy who knew and hid abuse by fellow clergy to resign for the good of the Church because it would be the right thing to do. Now he states that that concept does not refer to him personally.

By what concept does Sean Brady abide? He inquires as to what he has done wrong. Well I will spell it out to you Sean: you were informed that you were to interview two young children on allegations of rape by a fellow priest from the Norbertine Order in Kilnacrott in Co Cavan. You did so, but to who or to what was your loyalty placed?

By not reporting the allegations to the only organisation commissioned to carry out investigations, An Garda Siochana, Sean Brady committed a crime -- that crime is called misprision of felony.

Now Sean, let me tell you how you committed that crime. The children told you that Brendan Smyth raped them and sexually abused them. You know that those offences are crimes and rape is a felony. You did not inform that felonious crime, you hid your knowledge from the civil authorities.

Ergo you committed the crime of misprision of felony. You cannot hide behind canon law, you committed a crime. A crime is a crime is a crime. At all times even, though you are a prince of the Church of Rome, you are also a member of Irish society.

As a member of that society you have obligations to that civil society, to report a crime. You failed to do so. Was this because of your loyalty to your church?

Remember those young rape victims, abused by the cleric Smyth, a man clothed in the same clerical garb as yourself.

Let's query the swearing of an oath by the children in your presence. Who administered that oath, what was the wording of the oath and the rider attached thereto?

If the purpose of your actions were loyalty to the Church as against the reporting of these horrific crimes to the gardai, then the crime of misprison of felony should lie heavily on your heart and mind.

Now let me return to Monsignor Maurice Dooley, Professor of Canon Law, who said Sean Brady then had no obligations to report a crime because his duty was to his church authorities. What about the victim? Had Sean Brady any obligations to these children?

Dooley also has the audacity to protect his own and blame the gardai for not getting Smyth and putting him away. This beggars belief.

The first obligation in any allegation of serious crime is to victim. The Director of Public Prosecutions -- and no one else -- will decide on what indictment should be preferred. There is ample law to support this. So Maurice Dooley, drop the canon law book and read up on the criminal law.

Sean Brady cannot now eat his words to other bishops and indicate that the suggestion of their resigning does not refer to him. Ara Coeli cannot be used as a hiding place.

Do the right thing Cardinal Brady. You did commit a crime by an act of omission. There are going to be no winners in this issue and, tragically, the victims are the biggest losers.

This is a holy and princely cover up.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent, with over 35 years' experience policing serious crime.

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