Garry O'Sullivan: Mortally wounded by the deeds of an evil man
HAD it not been for his part in a 1975 canonical process that essentially resulted in child abuser Fr Brendan Smyth going on to abuse more children, Cardinal Brady could have been basking in the knowledge of a job well done.
He had maintained that as a canon lawyer he was only doing his job when he passed on details to his superiors, but failed to inform the police.
His position was that it was up to his bishop and the head of the Norbertine Order to take action against Fr Smyth.
But Smyth victim Brendan Butler laid ruin to this excuse when he told the BBC last May that he gave the names and addresses of other victims to the then Fr Brady. Hauntingly, at the end of that documentary, Mr Butler turned to one of the other victims, whom Smyth continued to abuse and, now 40 years on, said: "I thought I saved you."
Not even dinner with the Pope on Thursday night can have assuaged the conscience of Cardinal Brady, who must ask himself if he could have saved those children.
Whoever his replacement is has a tough job ahead.
The Catholic Church in Ireland needs a strong leader who, with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin, can lead a campaign to breathe some life back into a wounded church grown too used to wounded leaders.
Garry O'Sullivan is the former editor of 'The Irish Catholic'