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New calls for Cardinal Brady to resign over role in Irish sex-abuse investigation

Catholic World News - May 02, 2012

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, is hearing new calls for his resignation after the airing of a BBC television program that probed his involvement in a 1975 investigation of sex-abuse complaints. The cardinal has insisted that he will not step down.

As a young priest, Father Brady was asked by Bishop Francis McKiernan of the Kilmore diocese to participate in the investigation of complaints against Father Brendan Smyth, who was eventually exposed as a serial molester. His role in that case has been well known in Ireland for some time. However, the BBC program unearthed some new evidence, reporting that the future cardinal learned the names and addresses of several children who had been molested by Smyth, and took no action to protect them from further abuse.

In a lengthy statement released after the BBC broadcast, Cardinal Brady emphasized that he was not responsible for the investigation of the charges against Smyth, but was a junior priest working under “others who were more senior to me” in the probe. He was, in fact, a “note taker,” he said.

“I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth,” the cardinal said in his own defense. He noted that because Smyth was a member of the Norbertine religious order, even the diocesan bishop did not have full control over him.

In his statement Cardinal Brady cited the judgment of Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s chief prosecutor in sex-abuse cases, that he bore no responsibility for covering up the evidence of Smyth’s crimes.

Nevertheless, critics in Ireland questioned whether the cardinal’s defense of his own conduct was persuasive—particularly in light of the charge that he was aware of evidence that Smyth had molested other children. "If a child can see the need to save other children, how come priests, ministers of Christianity, cannot have the same awareness?" asked Garry O’Sullivan, the editor of the Irish Catholic.

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