Tuesday 12 December 2017

Emer O'Kelly: There's no excuse under civil law

Brady had neither the courage nor the sense of righteousness to do his human and legal duty, writes Emer O'Kelly

Senior church figures in the Vatican have come, once again, to the defence of the now intensely beleaguered Cardinal Sean Brady.

In 1975 Fr Sean Brady, a 36-year-old canon lawyer, was appointed to be one of three churchmen conducting an inquiry into the sexual molestation of children by the Norbertine priest Brendan Smyth. Sean Brady says now, as he said after the publication of the Murphy report in 2009, that he had believed the children's allegations. And that he presumed that when he passed his report to his superiors, he believed in good faith that it would be followed up to protect those children and others. At the time, after one session in company with the other religious lawyers, and one where he questioned at least one child alone, he swore them to secrecy about their abuse. He did nothing further.

Those are the bones of the actions which the Vatican was defending last week, saying he "acted correctly". And that is the core of the problem. He did act "correctly" according to canon law. He did not act compassionately; he did not act responsibly; he did not act justly.

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