Friday, May 04, 2012

Cardinal Brady should go

There is an interesting little piece in the Herald this week Al-Qaeda official said Catholics in Ireland were ‘fertile ground’ for conversion, there is not much to suggest why Ireland should be fertile ground for this particular terrorist organisation.
But "nature abhors a vacuum", at the moment there is no credible leadership in the Church in Ireland. Cardinal Brady seems so mired in scandal that will not go away, to such a degree that what ever he has to say is overwhelmed by child abuse cover-up allegations. Despite what the media say there are orthodox, believing priests and people in Ireland they deserve leaders rather than hirelings and placemen.
The Good Shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep, the scarlet a cardinal wears signifies his willingness to give his life for the faith, often it is not the shedding of blood that is necessary but the willingness to suffer opprobrium, humiliation and even false accusations, what we see is a bishop defending himself and his reputation to such an extent that it does discredit to the Church. Cardinal Brady should go and go quickly.

The problem is who should replace him, maybe the answer is a good Nigerian!


Tonia Marshall said...

I think you're right about the vacuum. I joined a book group that had a large contingent of atheists, all former Catholics and Anglicans. A few of them went on an Introduction to Islam course and came back impressed, whereas they're scathing of Christianity.

Tom said...

I agree, but at least Cardinal Brady was already in the Sacred College when his part in this terrible saga was made known - unlike another bishop who was elevated to the Sacred College after his part in it was known. As a result of that action, we now have such a person advising on the appointment of bishops. Roll on August.

But, two wrongs don't make a right.

Kinga Grzeczynska said...

I watched the BBC 2 programme on Wednesday evening.

There are a number of calls for the Cardinal's resignation.

Before any person joins that call, we need to find out more information.

It is beyond doubt that minors were sexually, physically or mentally abused. It is beyond doubt that there were senior Priests in the Catholic Church in Ireland, who knew about this.

As for Fr (John) Sean BRady (as he signed BRady in this way - strange!!!) I want to know what his Bishop did or did not do at the time.

I want to hear from the other priests on the panel who heard evidence from the minors. (If they have not already gone to their Final Court Hearing). What was said? What was concluded?

Ideally, I also want to know from the victims of the abuses, when and where they were asked to sign the 'barring from discussing the matter' document. What was said to them? Was now, Cardinal Brady privy to to this?

What was said to the parents of the child?
Why did they not talk to the Police?
Was the Cardinal involved with this?
As Secretary to the Bishop and then Bishop himself, why did the Cardinal not monitor the abusing priests? Even if this was in another Diocese?

Were Religious Orders involved? Who and when?

There are many questions which remain unanswered.

I think that there needs to be a full disclosure Vatican Enquiry.

Soon - not in Vatican time. The Enquiry needs to take place while the witnesses are still alive and are able to give evidence.

I suggest that Cardinal Sean Brady takes immidiate prolonged leave from his position.

I also suggest any other senior Priests or Religious Superiors who will be identified to have known or had failed to take action to safeguard minors in the Catholic Church, to take immidiate leave also.

Many of you are sitting on a very hot chair waiting stressfully to see if you will be found out.

To the Priests or Regious Monks or Sisters who took part in abusing children or in concealing evidence or who ignored evidence - I say this to you -

You can run but you cannot hide.

Kinga Grzeczynska

John w. said...

what's the significance of "Roll on August"?

John W.

parepidemos said...

Father Blake, I certain concur that Cardinal Brady should resign, but must disagree with your statement that there is no credible leadership in the Irish Church.

I would posit that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin is a fine leader and one who has faced this festering scandal with humility and admirable resoluteness.

Ma Tucker said...

Since when do we condemn a man on the basis of BBC reports. Please don't make me laugh. If there is a case to answer it should be heard in the proper forum. The BBC are purveyers of every filth. They really are not a forum for justice. Auntie the pervert has no place in dictating which cardinal should stand or fall.

Parepidemos, you simply have to read Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's speeches to see where he comes from. He speaks for himself quite well for all who have eyes to see. I do not think him a fine leader at all. The virulently anti-Catholic Irish press love him. I'm sure the BBC would love him too. There's a reason for their love for him. It is not difficult to work it out.

Rosemary remembers said...

Ireland needs strong and inspirational leadership, one who is not afraid to proclaim the Chruch's teachings as they have always been and explain their relevance. It is a great sorrow to me to see the Republic fighting for things such as abortion when our forefathers fought and won the fight for the Republic so that they could live and practise the faith in peace without persecution. Can no one see that this is a sell out of those who fought so hard and even gave their lives. What a deeper sorrow it wilol be if Islam were indeed to start to wins the minds of the irish. St Patrick pray for us and for all the irish.

Anonymous said...

No,he should not resign. To do so would be to give an undeserved and unwarranted "scalp" to the Church hating "Irish Independent"

nickbris said...

Some of the comments on the linked blog are very interesting.Nobody seems to have been educated properly.

If they are Catholics they need to go back to the Catechism or at the very least get someone to proof -read for them.

Hughie said...

Fr Ray, much though I admire you, I believe that in this you are completely wrong.

Tom states: "Cardinal Brady was already in the Sacred College when his part in this terrible saga was made known..."

I should make it clear that I have a very high personal regard for His Eminence whom I have met only once. That was in the Paul VI Hall on the day he was made cardinal. Indeed, a photograph taken that day may be viewed on my haphazardly used Blog (Scottish Catholic Observant).

Cardinal Brady's "part" in this "terrible saga" was almost, but not quite, wholly inconsequential in relation to what was or was not done in relation to Fr Brendan Smyth, the Norbertine convicted, firstly, in Belfast in 1994 on 17 counts of sexual abuse and then, secondly, three years later in Dublin on another 74 counts, to which he had pleaded guilty.

As a priest competent in canon law (Professor at Maynooth 1967-80), Fr Brady was tasked by his bishop, Mgr Francis Joseph MacKiernon, Bishop of Kilmore, to take statements from certain witnesses in relation to serious allegations about Fr Smyth. This he did properly, expeditiously, well and promptly. These statements were then typed up, properly notarised and passed to his superior. There, fr Brady's involvement ceased.

Were any further action to be taken against Fr Smyth by competent Church authority in Ireland, and that competent authority was not even Fr Brady's bishop, Smyth could not have enjoyed any realistic hope of appeal to Rome on a technicality, at least in relation to those matters relating to Fr Brady's role.

Could somebody tell me what more could the now Cardinal Brady have done then AS THINGS WERE PROPERLY DONE AT THAT TIME and not as we would now like them to have been done. (That same question can reasonably be asked also in relation to police officers, social services employees and others, going all the way back to the 1940s.)

And remember, the Fr Brady of 1975 had no way of knowing whether or not the allegations properly recorded by him were true. That was for others to decide after further enquiry. That that did not happen for many years is no fault of Cardinal Brady. So why should he resign to placate the abuse industry, and it is an industry, in Ireland? It is as well to always bear in mind when allegations are being made against our clergy the sage words of the late, great Councillor Bernard Brogan (Cons, old Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw): "Allegations have been made and I demand to know who the allegators are!"

There are "allegators" out there whose sole aim is to destroy the Church. Cardinal Sean's resignation would only serve to encourage them further in their work.

GOR said...

I agree with Hughie and Pastor Emeritus. We are being driven to view the past through the prism of today by the media and those who have no love for the Church. Questions such as: “Why weren’t the police informed?” “Why weren’t the parents informed?” are imposing on a former time what we have come to consider standard operating procedures today.

It wasn’t that way in times past. No one would have thought to bring the police into it. I don’t know if there even were any laws back then that could have been invoked. Even if there were, who would take the word of a 13 or 14 year old over an adult – and a priest, to boot? I know it is hard to conceive of this for people who did not live through that time or were too young to know.

And as others have pointed out elsewhere, abuse was hardly confined to some priests. It was much more prevalent elsewhere – within families, schools, sports. Why was nothing done? Probably because many people had skeletons in their own closets – even within their own families. And that was not just an Irish phenomenon – it has been documented in other countries also.

So before anyone gets all ‘holier than thou’ looking for a scapegoat in Cardinal Brady, they need to look in the mirror first.

Fr Ray Blake said...

There comes a stage where the presence of a priest does more harm than good and all he can do is "shake the dust from his feet". From my reading of the Irish press this has long been the case with Cardinal Brady.
There is a need for a sign that change is coming.

Peter said...

Father wise comments from you and Hughie.
May I compare this to the navigator and first officer on the Costa Concordia cruise liner that sank on the italian coast. Were they to obey the Captain? What was the procedure for them to take action if they thought he was wrong?
The Cardinal seems to have admitted to deferring to his superiors. It requires great courage to denounce your leaders. I wonder if the police would have listened had he done so.

Anonymous said...

"There comes a stage where the presence of a priest does more harm than good and all he can do is "shake the dust from his feet".

I understand that Cardinal Brady tendered his resignation two years ago, but it was refused.
Since he is an innocent man why should he put out to dry just because the secular press say so?

One "Protestant" newspaper challenged the Irish Independent in an editorial and accused it of trying to undermine the Church. Now we have Catholic blogger(s) believing the Independent and abandoning moral theology, and Canon Law.

Hughie said...

Peter avers: "May I compare this to the navigator and first officer on the Costa Concordia cruise liner that sank on the italian coast. Were they to obey the Captain? What was the procedure for them to take action if they thought he was wrong?"

Most of us are more intimately aware of the Nuremberg Trials. To this day neither Her Majesty's Government nor the government of the United States of America accept that in practice their soldiers can legitimately challenge their superior officers lawfully instituted.

You do what you are told. In 2012.

Kinga Grzeczynska said...

You are all missing the point here, Fathers,ladies and gentlemen;

It is not simply a matter of following procedure at the time - and then washing the hands.

It is a matter of knowledge of serious and concerning behaviour of an individual - Priest or Religious.

The important factor is when one received the information and what one then did with the information.

As for parents and the possibility of the parents not needing to know or not wanting to know that a serious offence had taken place against their child and that their child was giving verbal evidence concerning these allegations in front of a panel which involved the Curia Staff - then I think that the parents would have been insisting on knowing something and in all probability everything -as to why their child had been taken into a room, without them, and interviewed by senior Priests.

I can only think that parents were told to be quiet or leave the matter in the hands of the Church and not to go to the Police.

The whole matter of Cardinal Brady is very sad and the responsibility was not his alone.

Don't turn on him as the only culprit - there are others who need to be named.

Kinga Grzeczynska

epsilon said...

The fact remains that whoever the individuals concerned were, leaders in the Church now should be donning sackcloth and ashes instead of looking affronted when somebody dares to go up to them in a car park and asks them to speak as concerned human beings. Presumably if Cardinal Brady had agreed, the interviewer would have afforded him the opportunity to speak to the man who was an 11 or 12 year old boy at the time when Fr Brady (then) recorded the boy's complaint. We're talking about human beings here! Where's the compassion of Jesus Christ being shown by a cardinal of the Catholic Church? He's playing right into the hands of the anti-Catholic media.

I am certain that if Cardinal Brady were to do some difficult traditional pilgrimage, faithful Irish Catholics would not have him walk alone. I even believe he might be joined by perpetrators and victims of abuse from outside as well as inside the Church. A walk of shame could be turned into a walk of reconciliation.

Replacing Cardinal Brady is not going to take away the problem. Certainly Archbishop Martin is not the answer! I think your suggestion Fr Blake is an excellent one! On second thoughts - with all those Irish militant Islamic converts... maybe Nigeria is too close

Delia said...

Thank you Ma Tucker and Hughie. I agree totally with what you have said. I live in Ireland and it is a big mistake to take your information from any of the Irish papers especially the Irish Times, The Examiner or The Independant. RTE and the BBC are likewise totally untrustworthy. John Waters one of the few decent journalists in the Irish Times said in a recent article that he knows of only 3 or 4 print journalists, 1 in Radio and none in television who are other than relentlessly negative to the very idea of Catholicism. I admire Cardinal Bradys courage in keeping to his post and I hope he does not resign as it would be a signal to the media and our pathetic politicians that their influence dictates the affairs of the Catholic church. On a personal note I would like to say that he came to my mothers wake and sat and talked to my father who was devastated--when he left my father was transformed. I don't know what was said but I will always be grateful to a good caring pastoral man who is a priest first and foremost.He must be suffering greatly at this time.

savio said...

Dear Father Blake
I believe you are wrong this time. The Cardinal’s explanation is credible. It is a mistake to judge anyone by todays understanding while ignoring what obtained in the past and which was acted on in good faith.

Sharon said...

Well said Hughie.

epsilon said...

savio - Cardinal Brady's explanation might be credible, but we're not talking about what happened in the 70s now. We're talking about the leader of a Church that since the 70s has failed to lead the people against the vicious secularist tide encircling it as well as the heretical waves engulfing it.

He needs to ask himself - what would St Patrick do? He would lead the people up the mountain on a donkey and preach the word of God to the priests as well as the people!

Is our last image of him going to be that of a rogue trader being hustled away boldly denying any involvement in murky business in a car park, or a shepherd leading his flock back to God?

PBROWN said...

From Cranmer's Blog:

We are not, of course, in possession of all the facts. There have been diverse responses to this BBC documentary: some say Cardinal Brady must go; others say that it was a warped presentation which sought to present him in a bad light. Having considered both perspectives, His Grace wishes to focus on the children.

This transcript is damning not merely because Cardinal Brady was given the names and addresses of other victims which he apparently decided not to pursue, but because the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland clearly sought to intimidate, humiliate and bully young and vulnerable teenagers who had already endured months and years of torture and rape. That Cardinal Brady was party to an inquisition which sought to impugn the victims’ motives and probe deeply into their sexual identity in order to deflect blame from the abuser offends every notion of justice and appals every sense of compassion. The Cardinal was not concerned with pastoral care: he was party to a process of psychological and emotional abuse after the victims had endured the trauma of physical and sexual abuse. One needs no ‘guidelines’ to deal with this: if the shepherd should care for his sheep, he should care all the more for his lambs.

There is never an excuse for bullying: Cardinal Seán Brady must go, and go now. That he cannot see this is manifest evidence of his unfitness for being Primate of All Ireland.

Hughie said...

PB Brown reasonably enough states: "We are not, of course, in possession of all the facts..." But he then goes on to state as fact: "Cardinal Brady was given the names and addresses of other victims which he apparently decided not to pursue..."

After conducting the initial interview he DID conduct a further interview of a named possible victim. But the facts of the matter are that at that time he was in no position to really pursue anything. He had no authority, no "locus standi" as would be said in Scots Law.

PB Brown continues in like manner "... the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland clearly sought to intimidate, humiliate and bully young and vulnerable teenagers who had already endured months and years of torture and rape."

Aside form the BBC programme and associated reportage (to be charitable in naming the overwhelming majority of it) from reputable accounts (that is the official court records as factually reported) there is absolutely no question that in regards to some of Fr Smyth's victims rape did, indeed, occur. But in by no means all, or indeed most, of the charges libelled against him and found proven.

Elsewhere, even in those cases in which there have been prima facie legitimate allegations of sexual abuse (in Ireland as in the UK and the USA as else-and every other where) rape is seldom a factor. Genuine paedophilia is almost unheard of in these situations.

And personally, I am aware of no actual allegations of torture made by alleged victims. Anywhere.

Since, then, PB Brown is seemingly more interested in giving vent to his own emotional attitude to the situation, I can see no point in trying to engage him, and/or like-minded individuals and groups, in further discussion.

George said...

Timidity is the norm in all institutions, especially as one progresses up the ranks. I'm not certain if this is due to some sort of institutionally-driven inculturation or if perhaps only the timid-in-heart are generally promoted in most institutions, secular and ecclesial.

Whatever the case, I'm continually amazed by the lack of audacity and courage by people of all rank within all institutions.

A married man will tend to console himself with the excuse that he has a wife and children to attend to -- and this trumps displays of counter-cultural courage. We tend to look at the clergy to take the hard moral stands against the grain, because they don't have families to concern themselves with. It seems they have "nothing to lose". But from their perspective, I'm sure the clergy have just as important reasons as the married man to chose the safer paths.

We all generally fail to follow Our Lord's teaching in Matthew 6:25-34.

georgem said...

The fact that a large number of priests and religious are publicly and scandalously dissenting from Catholic teaching is reason enough for the Cardinal and every single bishop to get the boot for dereliction of duty.
I am not convinced that present-day judgements can be applied to past events. Cardinal Brady did no less than he was asked to do at the time. Should he have followed it through and done more? Probably.
There is something very sad and demeaning about clinging on when the game is up.

Anonymous said...


Your response to PB Brown is disgusting. One rape by a priest was one too many. As to your query regarding the claim of torture, I suppose you don't recognise the mental anguish caused by the sexual assault of minors by figures of trust to be a type of torture. You are a disgrace and I am disappointed that no one else has challenged you.

Hughie said...

The anonymous contributor who asserted that my response to PB Brown was "disgusting" is, of course, entitled to his opinion but the fact remains that there is a certain lobby who routinely grossly exaggerate any and all allegations on any and all occasions. Thus, when PB Brown wrote of "years of torture and rape" one can only presume he meant physical torture else why did he not say "mental torture"?

And of course one rape is one too many. So shocking is one viable allegation of rape, why the need to exaggerate the frequency of the offence?

Moreover, why the need to lie about "paedophilia" when the misdeeds libelled in the overwhelming number of proven cases where in fact homosexual assault?

And why the need to volubly clamour for the resignation of a good man who was only tangentially involved and whose involvement was a positive contribution to the process?

Kinga Grzeczynska said...


I have read and re read your comments and I cannot agree with them.

You are delving into Criminal Law pre and post PACE 1984 which you clearly know little about.

Furthermore, your comments about rape by a Priest or any person man or woman are plainly wrong.

Leave law to the lawyers, Hughie.
Leave Canon Law to the Canon lawyers also.

'Personally, you are not aware of allegations of torture'.

Bold statement, Hughie. I suggest a change of Malt is in order for you.

Kinga Grzeczynska

Hughie said...

Dear Fr Ray, I have no real desire to draw this discussion out and feel that I have already presumed too much on the courtesy of your combox. However, I feel compelled to defend myself.

According to Kinga Grzeczynska I am “delving into Criminal Law pre and post PACE 1984” of which I “clearly know little about.”

In fact I know an awful lot more about law than she might think. Indeed, enough to have been asked by a prominent law firm in Belfast to help draft a brief in proceedings before Lord Justice Girvan in the Court of Appeal who to everyone’s surprise ruled for their client against the British Army. On a much more mundane level I used to act as a precognition agent for a couple of law firms, but changes to the legal aid system scuppered that nice little earner. But not before I got a lot of first-hand experience of interviewing witnesses.

However, we don’t have PACE here in Scotland but, still, I know enough about it to know that it deals with Police powers in England and Wales and has no relevance to enquiries conducted by a priest on behalf of his bishop. Even were it relevant, although the law of the Republic of Ireland is founded on the Common Law of England, and whereas an English QC would feel entirely comfortable (and competent) in the Four Courts in Dublin, those courts do not put into effect acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Nor does PACE apply in Northern Ireland — the Diocese of Kilmore, of which Cardinal Brady was then a priest at the relevant time, 1975, includes a part of County Fermanagh — that would be the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

And Kinga Grzeczynska believes that my comments about rape “by a Priest or any person man or woman are plainly wrong.” (I was only concerned with priests, but I suppose that is nit-picking.)

Well, if my comments about rape ARE “plainly wrong” — Brendan Smyth raped some but by no means all or even most of his victims; rape is seldom a factor in legitimate abuse allegations (I could have cited, but didn’t, the Ferns Report, Chapter 4, pp. 70-123: Most allegations did not involve rape …); one rape is one too many — could she not help me by explaining exactly where I have got things so “plainly wrong” because it isn’t at all evident to me that I have. Although I suppose you could quibble with my use of the adverb “seldom”; but replacing it with “infrequently” or “rarely” would only really amount to a question of personal literary style, it would not alter the facts of the matter.

That I am unaware of any actual allegations of torture is not a “bold” statement, it is merely a statement of fact. I have read extensively on this matter and am well aware that discipline in schools run by the Christian Brothers was overly reliant on corporal punishment, and that it has often been characterised as brutal — "McCarthy is hopeless at English but he takes a good thrashing" — I have not seen it ever alleged to have amounted to torture. Although excessive recourse to corporal punishment is as close to torture as I have read of in this field.

Finally, if Clemenceau was correct — La guerre! C’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires — then is it not equally true that law, even canon law, is far too important to be left to the lawyers? I might even aver that Kinga Grzeczynska proves my point.
Hugh McLoughlin
Lad o' Pairts

Kinga Grzeczynska said...

The Catholic Times, this weekend, displays a very good article by Fr Francis Marsden, about the issues surrouding Cardinal Sean Brady.

It is well balanced, gives accurate facts and figures and sentencing of the individuals mentioned. It also gives far more detailed information about the whole matter which the BBC failed to provide although had the information.

Known to me as 'selective information'. Which the BBC is guilty of on a frequent basis especially with regards to the Catholic Faith.

Is the BBC preparing the same lines of enquiry about Clergy abusing minors by other Faiths and Sects? Let us see!

Still, the fact remains, that in the Norbertine Monesteries, religious men, are hidden with the very uncomfortable knowledge of serious criminal conduct by one of their priests towards minors.
Just the one case is it Fr Abbott?

Disgraceful, disgusting and very disappointing. You and others like you, in religious orders, who hide abusing members of your Order, have become the scandal of the Catholic Church.

In the law unto themselves jurisdiction of religious orders, there is a conveluted laberynth of escapism from the consequences of criminal justice.

I suggest that as Public Vatican Minister/ Prosecutor - Mgr Charles Scisluna applies the Vatican's 10 Commandments Against Child Abuse strictly and brings down the hidding places of abusing religious members.

Warn, prevent and enpower: key words used by the Vatican for several years, especially in the USA.

Did it work? No is the answer.
Now must it work? Yes is the correct answer.

The same applies to diocesan Priests. The powers of the Ordinary are now of course ruled and governed by the Vatican Guidelines for complaints, which involve a potential or sexual nature, made against a priest in a diocese, and have been with us for some 18 months.

It has taken years of individuals or groups or priests to move the 'walls' of secrecy, collusion, injustice and open a small pathway to clarity, transparency and Police investigation - which I do think that Mgr Scicluna will provide more -

The Priests who have hidden clergy who abused children or vunerable adults, who have passed the offending clergy from one diocese to another, have used their Office or their Powers to facilitate further pain, suffering and hatred for the Catholic Faith - should be named and shamed and the Vatican must take prompt action against them.

Kinga Grzeczynska

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