Brady: 'No hiding place' for abusers

Cardinal Seán Brady in his Easter homily today said there was "no hiding place for abusers in the Church in Ireland".

Cardinal Seán Brady in his Easter homily today said there was "no hiding place for abusers in the Church in Ireland".

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said the wounds of abuse survivors were aggravated by serious mismanagement on the part of bishops and other leaders in the Church.

Cardinal Brady again apologised to all survivors of clerical child sexual abuse.

He said the desire to avoid scandal had meant proper procedures were not followed and until recent times abusers were not brought before the courts.

“I realise that, however unintentionally, however unknowingly, I too allowed myself to be influenced by that culture in our church, and our society,” he said.

“I pledge to you that, from now on, my overriding concern will always be the safety and protection of everyone in the church – but especially children and all those who are vulnerable.”

Cardinal Brady has previously apologised for his role in mishandling the case of serial child abuser, Father Brendan Smyth, who was eventually convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.

It emerged last month that Cardinal Brady was present when children signed vows of silence over allegations against Fr Smyth in 1975.

In his homily Cardinal Brady also said Pope Benedict XVI, who last month wrote a letter to the Irish faithful in which he apologised for the abuse scandals, referred to a “misplaced” concern for the Church’s reputation.

In his own Easter homily last night the Pope did not directly refer to the scandals.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was yesterday forced to apologise for suggesting the Catholic Church in Ireland had “lost all credibility” over the abuse revelations.

In his Easter sermon delivered at Canterbury Cathedral today he chose not to refer to the abuse scandal.

The Archbishop’s remarks on the abuse scandal caused a furore here, with Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin saying the comments left him “stunned” and would be “immensely disheartening” to church workers.

Archbishop Martin’s Church of Ireland counterpart Dr John Neill also said the comments caused him “deep regret”, while his fellow bishop in Meath and Kildare, Richard Clarke, branded them careless and reckless.

Dr Williams said he had not meant to offend or criticise the Irish Church.

And he telephoned Archbishop Martin to express his “deep sorrow and regret for difficulties which may have been created” by his words.

Dr Williams told the BBC: “I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it’s quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.

“And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility – that’s not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland.”

Pressure has been mounting on the Catholic Church since a bombshell report in November that detailed decades of child abuse in Ireland and found paedophile priests were shielded by peers and officials.

The wider Catholic Church has been engulfed by sex abuse scandals this year, with victims coming forward in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Meanwhile Archbishop Martin was met by angry protesters as he arrived at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin for Easter Sunday mass.

Hundreds of children's' shoes were tied to railings outside the cathedral to represent victims of abuse.

Kevin Flanagan, whose brother Michael was abused at Artane Industrial School in Dublin in the 1950s, organised the protest.

He is calling for an independent international investigation into clerical abuse in Ireland.

More in this section

Text header

From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

Execution Time: 0.206 s