Cardinal Seán Brady: had names and addresses of those being abused and did nothing

I watched the BBC’s “This World show” last night regarding the complete moral failure of Cardinal Seán Brady. I knew this was coming, but thought that I would watch the program first before I commented on it so that I could that share my reaction to the details and not simply comment on reports of the details.

So let us look now at what was presented.

Who is Cardinal Seán Brady? – He is the current Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, in other words this is the top Catholic in Ireland, so when it comes to all things catholic, the buck stops with him.

What exactly did he know? – Back in 1975,  obviously before he was Cardinal, a complaint was raised about a paedophile priest called Brendan Smyth. Apparently this complete gobshite would collect children and take then on road trips that involved overnight stays. One of the boys involved was Brendan Boland. At the age of 14 he was sexually abused by Smyth on a trip to Dublin. Boland later complained to another priest, and so an investigation was launched. The Investigator appointed was Seán Brady. Boland gave him the names and addresses of all the other children.

So what happened? – Nothing, Smyth went on to abuse many other children, including those on the list, over the next 16 years. No attempt was made to warn the parents or contact the children, and nothing was done to stop Smyth. The only interest Brady had was to get Boland to sign an oath of silence.

What about Smyth, was he ever stopped? – During a period of over 40 years, Smyth sexually abused and indecently assaulted hundreds of children in parishes in Belfast, Dublin and the United States. His actions were frequently hidden from police and the public by Catholic officials. It was only in 1994, almost 20 years after Cardinal Brady had all the details, that he was finally sent to prison. The only reason for that conviction was due to a complaint made directly to the police of Northern Ireland. Brady went on the run and was then hidden by the Church for over three years.


So the program has now been broadcast and the reports are in the media, here and here, and also many other outlets. Obviously the media have now directly challenged the church and Brady to explain, so what excuses have we been given?

Vatican official Monsignor Charles Scicluna said: “I think he fulfilled his duty well.” – Seriously!! … you find out about ongoing child abuse, you are given a list of all the other children, including names and addresses, and doing nothing about it is a job well done!! … I’m sure you can suggest some appropriate four-letter terms to describe the claim being made by Mr Scicluna here, personally I am completely lost for words. Remember that these are the folks who also claim to hold the high moral ground, yet apparently are incapable of working out that doing nothing does not equate to doing your duty well.

An official church response to all this also points out that in 1975, “No state or church guidelines for responding to allegations of child abuse existed in Ireland.” – Again seriously!!! … unless specifically told that buggering young children is not a good idea, they had no way of working that out, and so the default option is to do nothing at all except to simply move the abuser so that he could simply carry on, and gag the victims.

And so now the investigator who knew all this and helped to cover it all up turns out to have been an ideal candidate for promotion and is now primate of all Ireland.

So what is the official vatican stance on this? The promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – a major force inside the Vatican – has stated that he was sure Brady was still a fit person to lead the church in Ireland.  What this actually tells you is that even today, right now, they remain utterly clueless, completely devoid of any human decency, and lack a grasp of basic morality.

Thankfully, there are decent people out there and they are refusing to let all this be brushed under the carpet and quietly forgotten about:

  • The Irish justice minister, Alan Shatter, described the testimony that a list of names and addresses of victims had been given to Brady as “tragic and disturbing”, and called for the cardinal to publicly explain his handling of the list given to him.
  • Amnesty International has called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland to launch a criminal inquiry into the allegations against Brady. The human rights organisation said that, as two of the children named on the list were from Northern Ireland, the PSNI should open a new investigation into the role of the Catholic hierarchy in the scandal. The PSNI have responded and said … “The PSNI will study the content of this programme. We can make no further comment at this time.

Hopefully the PSNI will act and Brady will at the very least be questioned by police officers and held to account for his inaction.

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