The head of the Catholic church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady has indicated he has decided to stay at the head of the Irish Catholic church despite an unprecedented scandal over clerical child abuse and a subsequent cover-up by the church hierarchy.
In a statement issued following a report from the Catholic Church’s ‘National Board for Safeguarding Children’, he said he would he would ask Pope Benedict to appoint a bishop to assist him.
He has done this, so he could be assisted “in addressing the vital work of healing, repentance and renewal, including engagement with survivors of abuse, as well as the many other challenges and opportunities which confront the diocese of Armagh and the church in Ireland at this time.”
His decision to remain has been severely criticized by victims and survivors of clerical abuse.
Marie Collins, who met the cardinal in person some weeks ago to request his resignation, says she is not surprised by Brady’s decision.
On RTE television’s Frontline programme on Monday night, Ms Collins said the cardinal was not taking responsibility for his actions.
“Cardinal Brady, as a canon lawyer, had young witnesses swear oaths of secrecy about their abuse while the abuser was allowed to walk around in his clerical garb without parents or children knowing he was dangerous. Cardinal Brady, who was Fr Brady at the time, knew he was and for 18 years afterwards.
“Nothing is changing in the church. The attitudes are still the same despite the words we are getting,” she said. Ms Collins said she met the cardinal six weeks ago, and that he gave “no indication whatsoever that he felt any remorse or regret, or even grasped that he’d done anything wrong in the Brendan Smyth case”.
Survivors of Child Abuse spokesman John Kelly says Cardinal Brady “is a decent man who has not done the decent thing.” He had also failed “to do the honourable thing” at the time of the allegations “and because of that children were abused, which makes his position untenable”.
Christine Buckley, of Dublin’s Aislinn centre, said it was appalling to think of two vulnerable victims being “coerced into a code of secrecy”. “The only strengths respected by the Catholic Church are power, prestige, secrecy and money,” she added.