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Cardinal Brady will not resign over 'abuse failure'

The Catholic primate of all-Ireland has said that he will not resign as Church leader despite revelations in the BBC's This World programme.

It found Cardinal Sean Brady had names and addresses of those being abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

However, he did not pass on those details to police or parents.

Cardinal Brady said he accepted he was part of "an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church".

"With others, I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the Church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"However, I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past."

The cardinal said he was "shocked, appalled and outraged" by Smyth and said he had trusted that those with the authority to act in relation to Smyth would treat the evidence seriously and respond appropriately.

He accused the BBC of exaggerating his authority in the programme.

"The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time and that because of the office I hold in the Church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975.

"I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my Bishop had limited authority over him. The only people who had authority within the Church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his Abbot in the Monastery in Kilnacrott and his Religious Superiors in the Norbertine Order."

He added that he had worked with others in the Church to put these new procedures in place and looked forward to continuing that vital work in the years ahead.

Senior Vatican Prosecutor Monsignor Charles Scicluna has defended Cardinal Brady.

"My first point is that Fr Brady was a note taker in 1975, he did what he should have done. He forwarded all the information to the people that had the power to act," he said.

"My second point is that in the interest of the Church in Ireland, they need to have Cardinal Brady as the archbishop of Armagh because he has shown determination in promoting child protection policies. You need to have leaders who have learned the hard way and are determined to protect children."

The BBC investigation centres on a secret church inquiry in 1975 when a 14-year-old boy was questioned about abuse.

Smyth abused him and others in guesthouses on trips across Ireland.

In 1975, Cardinal Brady was a priest and teacher in County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland, when he was sent by his bishop to investigate a claim of child sexual abuse by a fellow priest.

That priest was later exposed as Ireland's most prolific paedophile, Father Brendan Smyth, who died in prison in 1997, one month into a 12 year prison sentence.

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TAGGED: CHILDREN, HARM, RELIGION


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