Tuesday 12 December 2017

Brady to meet survivors

Abuse charity to quiz head of church about his future

John Cooney

Embattled Cardinal Sean Brady's campaign to stay on as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland could be decided today when he holds talks in Armagh with victims of child clerical abuse.

Last night, John Kelly of Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) Ireland said he would tell Cardinal Brady that he needed to be "open" about his future.

Mr Kelly said his charity group would ask the Archbishop of Armagh: "When can we expect his eminence to bring to an end the speculation about his future as cardinal and Primate of All Ireland?"

The pressure on Dr Brady to offer his resignation to Pope Benedict has been intense for a fortnight after he admitted that in 1975, when he was a priest in Co Cavan, he swore two children to secrecy about their brutal abuse by paedophile priest, Brendan Smyth.

Dr Brady has asked for forgiveness and said he was ashamed, but added he would only resign if asked by Pope Benedict. He has also asked to remain as cardinal, as "a wounded healer" to implement fully child protection measures in the church across Ireland.

Although Dr Brady set himself a deadline for his decision of May 23, Pentecost Sunday, he is under renewed pressure to bring this date forward.

The Irish Independent has learned that last Thursday Dr Brady issued invitations to a number of victims' groups to meet him in his residence.

Asked if SOCA planned to call for Dr Brady's resignation, Mr Kelly said: "Following the meeting we will be holding a news conference.

"I'm sure we may know a bit more if he ends the speculation. We will see what clarification we can get out of him."


Mr Kelly said that he would tell Dr Brady to back the call by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, for the whole truth to come out into the open.

"A major concern will be to find out if Pope Benedict supports a national inquiry of all Irish dioceses," Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said that he would tell Dr Brady that television stations around the globe were interviewing Irish victims as abuse cases were emerging in their own countries.

"We will tell the cardinal that the abuse crisis will get worse for the Vatican and the Catholic Church."

Meanwhile, a Co Tyrone parish priest who stood down while child safety concerns are investigated has gone into hiding. The priest left the parochial house at the weekend, and attempts to contact him yesterday were unsuccessful.

Dr Brady told parishioners about his decision to temporarily have the priest stand down during Mass on Saturday evening.

He said the priest had been asked to take a period of leave from his ministry "in the light of information relating to child safeguarding issues".

It is understood to relate to alleged incidents that took place a number of years ago. The identity of the priest or parish concerned has not been officially disclosed by the diocese.

Dr Brady said the priest had agreed to stand down, stating it would allow the civil authorities to investigate the matter.

"The policy of the Archdiocese of Armagh is that in all matters relating to child safeguarding, the safety and welfare of the child must be our paramount concern," he said.

Dr Brady emphasised that the priest "continues to enjoy the right to the presumption of innocence" during the investigation.

Irish Independent

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