Monday 16 December 2019

Cardinal says sorry over paedophile priest

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland apologised today over revelations that he failed to alert police about a notorious paedophile priest.

Cardinal Sean Brady, who has defended his role in a 1975 meeting where two children abused by Father Brendan Smyth were asked to take a vow of silence as part of the internal church investigation, also signalled today that he would reflect on his future.

Senior clergymen removed Smyth from some priestly duties and recommended psychiatric treatment, but critics have said the failure to notify police at the time allowed Smyth to carry out a further 18-year reign of terror against children.

But addressing a congregation in St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, where he said Mass to celebrate the feast day of Ireland's patron saint, Cardinal Brady said sorry to those who felt let down.

"This week a painful episode from my own past has come before me. I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events 35 years ago," he said.

"I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart. I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back, I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in."

Dr Brady, who has so far refused to resign despite intense pressure for him to step down, added: "Be certain that I will be reflecting carefully as we enter into Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost.

"I will use this time to pray, to reflect on the word of God and to discern the will of the Holy Spirit. I will reflect on what I have heard from those who have been hurt by abuse."

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