Irish cardinal ashamed over abuse cases — will he resign or not?

March 18, 2010
Cardinal Seán Brady

Cardinal Seán Brady after Mass in Armagh, 17 March 2010/Cathal McNaughton

Cardinal Seán Brady, the Patriarch of Ireland, said at his St Patrick’s Day Mass that he was “ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.” This sermon came after days of calls for his resignation after it was revealed that he played a small part in keeping quiet the case of an abusive priest in 1975. Although he said back in December that he would resign if it turned out he had caused any child to suffer, Brady has refused to step down over this case despite loud calls in Ireland for him to do so.

Will he resign?  He got warm support from the congregation after his sermon but victims still want to see him go.  Vatican Radio seems to think he might be going. Its German-language service, which has naturally been following these abuse cases closely because of the scandals in Germany, said that “the Primate of the Irish Church, Cardinal Seán Brady, is apparently thinking about a possible resignation.”

But John Cooney of the Irish Independent writes that “Cardinal Brady’s powerful plea for “a wounded healer” to be allowed “a new beginning”, a bridgehead towards making the church a safe environment for children, was a clear signal of his determination to stay in office.”

Below are excerpts from what Brady said in his sermon at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. Click here for a video of his short news conference after the Mass.

“Today, Irish people across the world are remembering St Patrick and the land of their birth. Most will do so with joy and pride. They will celebrate the enormous contribution of this nation to the Christian faith and heritage across the world. They will celebrate a people renowned for generosity to others in need.


Cardinal Seán Brady after meeting Pope Benedict at the Vatican, 16 Feb 2010/Max Rossi

 “Ireland and its people have much to be proud of. Yet every land and its people have moments of shame…

“This week a painful episode from my own past has come before me. I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events thirty five years ago. I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart. I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in…

“…We must humbly continue to deal with the enormity of the hurt caused by abuse of children by some clergy and religious and the hopelessly inadequate response to that abuse in the past.

“… We as Bishops, successors of the Apostles in the Irish Church today must acknowledge our failings. The integrity of our witness to the Gospel challenges us to own up to and take responsibility for any mismanagement or cover-up of child abuse. For the sake of survivors, for the sake of all the Catholic faithful as well as the religious and priests of this country, we have to stop the drip, drip, drip of revelations of failure.

Cardinal Seán Brady

Cardinal Seán Brady (centre) and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (left) after meeting Pope Benedict at the Vatican 11 Dec 2009/Tony Gentile

“The Lord is calling us to a new beginning. None of us knows where that new beginning will lead. Does it allow for wounded healers, those who have made mistakes in their past to have a part in shaping the future? This is a time for deep prayer and much reflection. Be certain that I will be reflecting carefully as we enter into Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. I will use this time to pray, to reflect on the Word of God and to discern the will of the Holy Spirit. I will reflect on what I have heard from those who have been hurt by abuse.  I will also talk to people, priests, religious and to those I know and love.

“Pray for those who have been hurt. Pray for the Church. Pray for me.”

Do you think he should resign? Or that he will resign?

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Another v. topical article, right on the mark.
That is QUITE a statement by the Vatican Radio of a possible resignation.
I did some quick research earlier this week on cardinals that have resigned. Cardinal Law did NOT resign his cardinalate. He is still a cardinal! What he resigned, or more to the point, what Pope John Paul II ACCEPTED, was his Archbishopric of Boston. Last cardinal to resign was PROBABLY in 1927. I didn’t spend a ton of time researching, but here is the pertinent post: d_the_papacy/2010/03/last-pope-to-abdica te-ie-resign-last-cardinal-to-resign-pro perly.html
I that post I also cover the last pope to resign.
I am not sure whether YOU follow CNN <> but they got the last pope to have resigned WRONG BY 300 years! Even by the 1950 year span of papal history that is pretty bad. OK, many would excuse them for missing Gregory XII. But, how can you overlook ‘poor’ Celestine V who took so much trouble to ‘normalize’ his abdication.
Keep up the good work. Reuters REMAINS my first destination for news on this ongoing scandal. Keep up the good work.
Anura Guruge

Posted by aguruge | Report as abusive

Your readers may find this post about when the next cardinal creating consistory may occur of interest: d_the_papacy/2010/03/the-next-cardinal-c reating-consistory-looking-at-trends-sin ce-1903-part-ii.html
I posted an earlier comment but it seems to have gone missing. C’est la vie.
All the best.
Anura Guruge

Posted by aguruge | Report as abusive

The cardinal is responsible for every child who was abused by the priest he let walk. He should resign. Then he should be prosecuted for abetting felonious behavior. He will have to stand before his Lord and Savior for the ultimate judgement of his role in abusing Jesus’ “little ones.”

Posted by WVBill | Report as abusive

I remember here in he Philippines that one Bishop, Teodoro Bacani was accused for sex abuse by a male who claimed to be an altar boy but when asked to point to the Bishop whom he accused for molesting him,he was never able to recognize him. What was shameful was the media were there covering the event and they NEVER lift a finger to criticize that impostor sex abuse victim. Worse, it was the accused Bishop who asked him to point to his abuser.

I do not see any motive for that boy to accuse Bishop Bacani for sex abuse except to discredit the Church by destroying first the clergies. Sometimes I doubt the veracity whenever one says he was molested by a Priest. The same Bishop was also accused by her secretary yet that Secretary never go to the Prosecutor’s Office to file a complaint notwithstanding that many powerful politicians were supporting her including feminist groups. Is this an orchestrated move to topple down the Church? Maybe some accusations are true and some are not.

I don’t think Cardinal Brady must resign. This is just a clear demolition job against the Catholic Church and the Pope is not even spared with this sex abuse. The Church is rectifying its mistakes. The Church had already asked forgiveness for the crimes committed by some priests who succumbed to their earthly desires. There were now convicted priests on these abuses. Cardinal Brady and Pope Benedict were not the criminals yet they are the ones who are attacked! They are the ones penalized and made to suffer thru trial by publicity! The liberal media are instigating the people to pressure these Bishops and the Pope to resign. True, they might have some lapses in the past but it would be an injustice if they are made to resign just because a crime was committed by a fellow priest. Those who committed the crime must be penalized. But those who did not, they should not.And all these must be brought in the proper forum to ascertain whether the accusation is false or not.

Posted by drosaupan | Report as abusive

I think all of the congregations of the Catholic Church should nominate a Sunday in the next few weeks and on that day at mass, all should stand up and turn their backs to the priest during his sermon/homily as a sign of protest against the cardinal and the pope

Posted by alanlawlor | Report as abusive

I think in reverse, we should nominate every sunday and on that day at mass, all should show their all out support on the beleaguered Church of Christ by celebrating the triumph of Christ against evil thru the mass. When the priest asks forgiveness in his homily, let us rejoice for that act of repentance. When the Eucharist is offered, let us pray that our love for God and his Church will not be shaken nor grow cold. This demolition job against the Catholic Church must be expunged from our minds and this is just part of the trials to test our faith. Pray for our priests that they remain faithful to their vows and those who have committed infidelity, let them repent. And I challenge those critics of the Church, he who has no sin, cast the first stone.

Posted by drosaupan | Report as abusive

I happily will cast a stone, but it is far from the first and it won’t be the last.

As for the spotless credentials you have requested, I’ve done a few things wrong in my life but I have never raped a child.

Get some perspective.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive