Sex abuse survivor’s ‘hope for new start’

The Irish representative on the Vatican’s new child protection council said "it would have been better" for the survivors of abuse by Brendan Smyth if Cardinal Sean Brady had resigned two years ago.

Sex abuse survivor’s ‘hope for new start’

The Catholic Primate confirmed yesterday that Cardinal Brady offered his resignation to Pope Francis this week in advance of his 75th birthday, which falls today.

Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin will take over Cardinal Brady’s role as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland when his resignation is accepted by the Pope.

Speaking in a personal capacity, clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins, who called for his resignation when his role in the Smyth canonical tribunal came to light two years ago, said the Cardinal’s failure to resign then “created a deeper wound for survivors of Brendan Smyth”.

“I couldn’t understand his decision to not resign at the time, it was causing huge pain to the survivors,” she said. “I could not understand the reasoning behind it. I hope there will be a new start with Archbishop Martin because as long as somebody in his position. that was in this way connected to the past, the credibility and moral authority of the Church was undermined.”

Ms Collins now sits on the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors, which is charged with advising Pope Francis on the Church’s continued efforts to ensure that child protection guidelines are in place.

Last month, Irish clerical child abuse survivor Marie Kane met Pope Francis and asked him to remove Cardinal Brady as Primate of All Ireland because of his handling of a clerical child abuse inquiry in 1975.

While investigating allegations of abuse against serial paedophile priest, Brendan Smyth, Cardinal Brady swore two boys to secrecy. He did not report the allegations to the police either and Smyth’s reign of terror continued unabated for nearly 20 more years.

Cardinal Brady will remain a member of the College of Cardinals until his death and will be able vote in Papal conclaves until he reaches the age of 80.

Cardinal Brady was ordained a priest 50 years ago in 1964. In February 1995, he was ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and, a year and a half later on the retirement of Cardinal Cathal Daly, he became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in October 1996.

In his statement, Dr Brady said he looks forward to the day when Pope Francis accepts his resignation and “when Archbishop Eamon will take over as Archbishop”.

Dr Brady was born on August 16, 1939. He was ordained a priest on February 22, 1964, going on to be ordained Coadjutor Archbishop on February 19, 1995.

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