15/03/2010

Cardinal Resists Abuse Resignation Call

In a story that continues to haunt the Catholic Church, Primate Cardinal Sean Brady said today that he will only resign if requested to do so by the Pope.

Mr Brady is facing down calls for his resignation after it emerged at the weekend that Mr Brady was present at a meeting where children abused by convicted sex offender Fr Brendan Smyth were forced to take a vow of silence.

The Cardinal defended his role in the 1975 investigation, stating his actions were part of a process that removed the shamed cleric's licence to act as a priest.

"Frankly I don't believe that this is a resigning matter," said Cardinal Brady.

Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Ireland, which led to the collapse of the Irish Government's Fianna Fail/Labour coalition in 1994.

The prolific offender was later jailed for sex attacks on about 90 children in the north and south of Ireland over a 40-year period.

Survivors of sex abuse - who believe the cleric could have abused hundreds as he was moved around parishes, diocese and countries - accused the Cardinal of reckless endangerment and demanded his resignation.

The Cardinal has denied he was involved in a cover-up, adding he was not the designated person to report Smyth to authorities back in the 1970s.

"I insist again I did act and acted effectively in that inquiry to produce the grounds for removing Fr Smyth from ministry and specifically it was underlined he was not to hear confessions, and that was very important," he said.

The latest revelation to hit the Catholic Church comes following two high-profile reports criticising its handling of sexual abuse against children.

(BMcC/GK)

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