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Ireland's top Catholic Sean Brady urged to step down over sex abuse

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, is facing further calls to resign in the wake of a BBC documentary over a pedophile priest.

Sean Brady sex abuse 2012 5 4Enlarge
Catholic Bishop Sean Brady carries the relics of St John Vianney, the Patron Saint of Parish Priests, during a procession into a service at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland on April 28, 2010. (PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, is facing further calls to resign in the wake of a BBC documentary accusing him of helping to cover up 1970s child abuse committed by a pedophile priest.

Ireland's foreign minister and the editor of the influential Irish Catholic newspaper have both called on Brady, who leads Ireland's 4 million Catholics, to stand down.

However, according to the Guardian, Brady has said that even though he was part of the 1975 investigation into allegations Father Brendan Smyth had attacked at least five children — and a note-taker at a meeting where a young victim agreed not to expose Smyth — he blamed superiors for failing to stop the priest abusing over the next 20 years.

The BBC investigation alleged that a victim gave Brady a list of names and addresses of children being abused by Smyth.

However Brady, then a priest, did not inform the children's parents or the police.

He said after interviewing two teenage boys abused by Smyth that he gave his report to his bishop, who in turn had responsibility to tell Smyth's religious order leaders.

They, not he, had the power to act and failed to do so, Brady said, according to the Huffington Post.

"I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them. However, I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past," Brady said.

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However, Brady said he accepted he had been part of "an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past."

The cardinal said he was "shocked, appalled and outraged" by Smyth and said he had trusted that those with the authority to act in relation to Smyth would treat the evidence seriously and respond appropriately.

He accused the BBC of exaggerating his authority in the program.

"The commentary in the program and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time and that because of the office I hold in the Church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975.

"I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my Bishop 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." 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/ireland/120503/ireland-child-sex-abuse-catholic-church-sean-brady