Grasp nettle on sex abuse now
THE children who were sworn to secrecy in the presence of the then Fr Sean Brady were effectively being threatened with eternal hellfire if they broke the oath and told anyone about the "internal inquiry" into Brendan Smyth's abuse.
Taken together with the failure of the priests and the bishop to tell the civil authorities about Smyth's activities, this possibly constituted a criminal offence. At best, it was inhuman bullying by the very figures of authority who taught children, on a daily basis, about the torments of purgatory and hell.
A Vatican spokesman has said the oath "served to protect the good name of all the people involved, the victims themselves and the accused priests who have the right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty".