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