What lesson can be learned from Cardinal Brady's resignation?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 08, 2014

Calls for the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady began to circulate in Ireland early in 2010. But the Primate of All Ireland resisted the pressure, saying that he planned to serve (note the verb: serve) until reaching the normal retirement age. And so he did. Now the Pope has accepted Cardinal Brady’s resignation, a few weeks after the cardinal’s 75th birthday. Right on schedule.

By remaining in office, the cardinal demonstrated that an archbishop cannot be hounded out of office by the pressure of public opinion. That’s a good thing; we wouldn’t want prelates to bow to every passing trend. But that is, understandably, a bitter lesson for the Irish people to absorb.

So tell me, please, what positive lesson can be drawn from the cardinal’s ability to withstand the pressure? What did Cardinal Brady accomplish, in those four years since the calls for his resignation were first aired? What did he do, in his capacity as Archbishop of Armagh, that another prelate couldn’t or wouldn’t have done?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Sep. 09, 2014 10:36 PM ET USA

    One positive thing is the support of a person's right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. Since he was not charged and convicted by either a civil or ecclesiastical court there is no legal reason to resign until required to do so by ecclesiastical law.