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Irish primate charged with abuse cover-up under pressure to resign

March 15, 2010

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, is facing mounting public pressure to resign after being connected to the case of a notorious pedophile priest. The cardinal has insisted that he will not resign unless Pope Benedict XVI asks him to do so.

The calls for Cardinal Brady's resignation followed the disclosure that in the 1970s he had heard complaints about sexual abuse of teenagers by Father Brendan Smyth. The cardinal said that he took vigorous action to have Smyth removed from priestly ministry. "There was no cover-up," he said. But he conceded that he did not bring the case to the attention of law-enforcement officials. Smyth, who was suspected of molesting scores of victims, was eventually convicted of abuse in another case and died in prison.

"Yes, I knew that these were crimes, but I did not feel that it was my responsibility to denounce the actions of Brendan Smyth to the police," Cardinal Brady said. He now realizes that he should have been more aggressive, he said, but he does not believe his failure to inform civic officials warrants resignation.

Writing in the Irish Times, columnist Mary Raftery argued otherwise, saying: "When clerics are shown to have blatantly breached the principles they preach, they must accept the consequences and resign."


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