Head of Catholic Church drawn into sex abuse row

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Head of Catholic Church drawn into sex abuse row

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There have been calls for the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to resign due to claims he was involved in the cover-up of widespread sex abuse by a paedophile priest.

It is alleged that, when Cardinal Sean Brady was a Bishop’s secretary in the 1970’s, he was present at meetings where two victims of Father Brendan Smyth were persuaded to sign vows of silence.

Cardinal Brady says it was not his job to report the abuse to the authorities:

“There was no cover up, I believe those people. I brought what I heard to the bishop who proceeded to act. I thought about this and I thought about the work that has gone into child safeguarding over the years and frankly I don’t believe this is a resigning matter.”

Smyth was jailed in the 1990’s for sex abuse. Now dead, he is thought to have abused at least 20 children over a 40 year period.

Campaigners think the true figure may run into the hundreds as Smyth was moved around by the Church. They say Cardinal Brady has lost credibility and should go:

“Sean Brady determined in his own mind that these children were telling the truth, but he then simply passed the information up the line and did nothing and for another 18 years as Seán Brady rose through the ranks of the catholic church hierarchy, Brendan Smyth continued to rape and abuse children.” said Colm O’Gorman, a former director of the campaign group “One in Four”.

Cardinal Brady says he will only resign if the Pope asks him to do so.

It comes after the Vatican denounced attempts to link Benedict XVI to a child abuse inquiry in his native Germany. It has emerged he unwittingly approved accomodation for a priest accused of child abuse in the 1980’s.