Monday 18 December 2017

Defiant Brady insists he won't resign as cardinal

John Cooney Religion Correspondent

A DEFIANT Cardinal Sean Brady yesterday insisted he would not resign.

Speaking to the Irish Independent in Ennis, Co Clare, Cardinal Brady quashed rumours circulating in clerical circles that he had offered his resignation to Pope Benedict.

According to some church sources, Cardinal Brady travelled to Rome before Easter to tender his resignation.

This was shortly after it emerged last spring that, 35 years ago when a canon-law expert in his native Co Cavan, he had sworn two children to silence about their horrendous abuse by notorious paedophile monk Brendan Smyth.

After avoiding media comment for six months, Cardinal Brady yesterday broke his silence to say: "This is not true about my resigning. I am not resigning."

The Cardinal revealed that he may have the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict next month during the pontiff's visit to Scotland and England.

"I plan to accompany Pope Benedict in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Birmingham," he said.

But the Cardinal refused to answer questions about last week's revelations that his predecessor, Cardinal William Conway, transferred a Derry priest -- believed to be responsible for the Claudy bombing that killed nine innocent people in 1972 -- across the border to a remote Donegal parish.


An investigation by the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland published last week showed that, at the request of the British Government and the RUC, Cardinal Conway colluded in giving the priest the church's sanctuary rather than urging them to arrest the priest for suspected murders.

Cardinal Brady was speaking ahead of the consecration as Bishop of Killaloe of missionary priest Kieran O'Reilly in succession to Bishop Willie Walsh.

Later, dressed in his crimson robes, Cardinal Brady presided at a colourful ceremony of dance and song at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Ennis, where he received a standing ovation from the large congregation, which included Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin.

Also making his first public appearance since his controversial Italian-language only speech in Rimini, in which he criticised the level of theological literacy in the Irish church, was Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin.

But the Irish church's second senior prelate also remained tight-lipped.

"This is Bishop O'Reilly's day," said Archbishop Martin. "I have nothing to say today."

But when asked if he stood by his Rimini address, which was widely criticised for being "patronising" of Irish priests and lay Catholics, Archbishop Martin told the Irish Independent: "I am unrepentant about what I said, but not what was reported as what I said."

Support for Archbishop Martin's call for more theological education and formation of Catholics came last night from Bishop Walsh.


"I would support Archbishop Martin in saying that theological formation of the laity is a serious need in the church in Ireland," Bishop Walsh said.

To prolonged applause from the congregation, Bishop Walsh, almost in tears, took a back seat among other bishops as his successor took possession of the Bishop of Killaloe's throne.

In his first address, Bishop O'Reilly cited the work of the American poet, Robert Frost, about choosing the "road less-travelled".

"Perhaps that is the road that we, members of the church, are asked to travel into the future, a pilgrim road," the new bishop said.

"A road that offers us opportunities and challenges in preaching the message of love and hope brought by Jesus Christ.

"It may be the road less-travelled -- without prestige and power, different from what we have known in the past."

Proudly watching the ceremony were Bishop O'Reilly's parents, Sean and Theresa, his brother Joseph, his sisters Therese and Deirdre and their families.

Analysis: Page 27 Crisis in the Belgian church

Irish Independent

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