The same denial, the same blinded psychopathology
On Tonight with Vincent Browne, Irish Times religious affairs correspondent Patsy McGarry, Marie Collins, who was abused by a paedophile priest as a child, and Fr Joe McDonald will discuss the new allegations about a 1975 church inquiry into paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth brought to light by a BBC documentary, and Cardinal Sean Brady's insistence that he will not resign his position.
There will also be a feature interview with Cardinal Sean Brady, and Niamh Lyons will be in studio to preview tomorrow's newspapers.
Below, Vincent blogs ahead of the show.
Sean Brady has persistently denied he had any responsibility for the protection of children, even after he submitted a report on how two children had been abused by a priest and how one of these children had given him credible information that other children were being abused or in danger of being abused. Repeatedly he has asserted the “only” and the “sole” person who could “stop Brendan Smyth (the abusing priest) in his tracks was the latter’s abbot at Kilnacrott. He said today in an interview with RTÉ: "I did what I thought was the most effective (means of protecting children)."
It still has not occurred to Sean Brady that we live in a society where there are forces of law and order and a justice system, which might well have stopped Brendan Smyth “in his tracks” and which might well have been the most effective way of protecting children. Nor has he appreciated he is and was not just a priest of the Catholic Church with responsibility to his bishop but a citizen of this country with responsibility to the other citizens of this country and with an obligation to cooperate fully with the civil authorities to protect children.
He said in one of the interviews today that perhaps a sense of deference to episcopal authorities inhibited him from enquiring whether his report had been followed through and whether Brendan Smyth had indeed been stopped “in his tracks”. That deference has stood to the lowly priest of 36 years ago, as is evident from his eminence today.
And that deference and that embodiment of the church’s culture of secrecy and self-regard has stood him well also, as is evident by the remarks of monsignor Charles Scicluna, Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in an interview with RTÉ this morning.
This promoter of justice said, "It is clear to me that in 1975 Fr Brady, now Cardinal Brady, acted promptly and with determination to ensure the allegations being made by the children were believed and acted upon by his superiors. His actions were fully consistent with his duties under canon law. But the power to act effectively to remove Brendan Smyth from priestly ministry lay exclusively with the abbot of Holy Trinity Abbey in Kilnacrott and his superiors in the Norbertine Order. This is where the sincere efforts of Bishop McKiernan and others like Fr Brady to prevent Brendan Smyth from perpetrating further harm were frustrated, with tragic consequences for the lives of so many children.
"I know that in his role as president of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Brady has worked tirelessly with his fellow bishops to ensure such a situation could never occur again and that the civil authorities in Ireland are now promptly informed of allegations of abuse against children. We have all learned from the tragic experience of the church in Ireland but also from the sincere efforts of so many lay faithful, religious, priests and bishops to make the church in Ireland an example of best practice in safeguarding children.’
The same denial, the same blinded psychopathology.
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