Cardinal Brady is facing renewed calls to step down from his position as the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland following a Thursday night Ulster Television documentary in which it was stated hundreds of people could likely have been saved from abuse if he had reported Fr Smyth to the police during the 1970s.
The Irish Examiner contacted the Catholic Communications Office yesterday requesting any response from the cardinal to the allegations. The offices failed to respond, despite releasing a statement by the cardinal early in which he expressed concerns about the termination of pregnancies stating “no law which subordinates the rights of any human being to those of other human beings can be regarded as a just law”.
In the UTV insight special — the Resurrection of Brendan Smyth — it was stated that hundreds of children could have been saved from abuse by Fr Smyth if his activities had been dealt with properly by the Catholic Church. In the programme, an American victim of Fr Smyth’s abuse, which stretched for four decades, said the priest told him “he had one more test he wanted to give me; that God wanted him to administer one more test for me. It was there that he sodomised me”.
The documentary maker journalist Chris Moore also revealed that, in an interview, a former priest who was sent to five areas afflicted by clerical sex abuse stated: “His job was to go in there and to clean up the mess, to move the priest on, to make sure that the information about the scandal was not made public. He took that for five assignments; he said it was like working for the mob and he decided to leave. He now works for survivors of sexual abuse.”
In March this year, prior to a court case when the information was to be revealed, Cardinal Brady confirmed he was present at a 1975 meeting where two teenagers abused by Fr Smyth were asked to take a vow of silence.
Mr Moore said: “I think for the first time we were actually seeing some new information about how the cover up of paedophile priests worked.”
He added: “Cardinal Brady was telling us how he, as Fr Sean Brady, a 36-year-old canon lawyer, was covering up for a crime by a paedophile priest.”
Smyth was later jailed in the 1990s; aged 70 he died in August 1997. On Thursday evening the Northern Ireland government announced they were to launch a inquiry into clerical sex abuse modelled on those in the Republic.