Catholic World News

Cardinal Brady apologizes, says he is 'reflecting' on his position

March 17, 2010

As Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh came under growing pressure to resign because of his indirect role in the handling of a pedophile priest, the Irish bishops' conference pointed out that the cardinal's involvement, which has dominated headlines this week, had been thoroughly aired by a London newspaper nearly 14 years ago. In his annual St. Patrick's Day address Cardinal Brady-- who, as Archbishop of Armagh, is successor to the Irish patron saint-- offered an apology "with all my heart" for having failed to stop the abuses of a notorious pedophile priest, Father Brendan Smyth. "Looking back, I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in," he said.

The future cardinal became aware of Smyth's case in the 1970s, while he was a priest working on canonical affairs. He reported the accusations against Smyth to Church officials but not to police. The cardinal has pointed out that he was not required to inform police.

Meanwhile the Irish bishops' conference had alerted reporters to the fact that Cardinal Brady's involvement in the Smyth case has been a matter of public record for years. The bishops' press office called attention to a November 1997 story in the London Sunday Mirror, laying out the facts of Brady's involvement.

The cardinal himself seemed anxious to bring an end to the barrage of negative publicity that has hit the Church since the revival of the story this week. "For the sake of survivors, for the sake of all the Catholic faithful as well as the religious and priests of this country, we have to stop the drip, drip, drip of revelations of failure," he said.

However the cardinal still faces loud calls for his resignation. Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister of Nothern Ireland, told a radio audience that Cardinal Brady should "consider his position" in light of the "very grave situation" facing the Church.

Cardinal Brady left room for speculation about his plans in his St. Patrick's Day address. As Lent comes toward a close and Holy Week approaches, he told the faithful that he would be "reflecting carefully" and asked for prayers of support. " I will also talk to people, priests, religious and to those I know and love," he said.

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