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I thank George Bouchey for this link.
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Irish cardinal admits inquiries into child rapist priest were only to protect church
Seán Brady tells historical abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland that Catholic clerics kept investigations into Brendan Smyth secret to protect church’s ‘good name’
Cardinal Seán Brady leaves the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry at Banbridge courthouse, Co Down. ‘The scandal was kept a secret – very, very secret,’ he told the inquiry.
Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA
Senior figures in Ireland’s Catholic church set up inquiries into historical sexual abuse by [sic] solely to protect the church from scandal, the former leader of Ireland’s Catholics has admitted.
Dr Seán Brady, the former primate of All Ireland, told an inquiry into historical abuse on Thursday that he and other Catholic clerics were sworn to secrecy about these tribunals so that the “good name” of the church could be protected.
Brady was giving evidence on Thursday at the historical abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland, a wideranging investigation into the abuse of children at state and church-run care homes and other institutions across the region.
The retired cleric’s evidence focused on the scandal surrounding Father Brendan Smyth, a serial child rapist who continued to abuse for decades after the church first learned that he was a paedophile.
The cardinal has faced heavy criticism for keeping secret a meeting in 1975 between senior clerics and victims of Smyth, Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priest whom the inquiry was told earlier this week possibly abused hundreds of children.
Although the Catholic hierarchy knew about Smyth’s abuse in the mid-70s they failed to report it to the police in Northern Ireland. Instead, the church moved Smyth around parishes and even hospital chaplaincies for two decades while he raped and abused children in Ireland, Britain and the US.
Asked why the 1975 meeting in County Armagh was kept secret, Brady told the inquiry, sitting at Banbridge courthouse in Co Down: “There was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view not to destroying the good name of the church.
“The scandal that somebody who was ordained to serve people should so abuse the trust for their own pleasure was appalling and it was. To offset that, the scandal was kept a secret – very, very secret. Everybody involved would be bound to secrecy too.”
Although Brady was the notetaker for the church at the meeting with two teenage victims of Smyth, he never spoke publicly about it until newspaper reports revealed his role in the encounter nearly 30 years later. The cardinal never passed on the recorded evidence the two young people gave the church leaders in 1975 to police on either side of the Irish border.
Brady told the inquiry that he was motivated by an anxiety to stop the sex offender but acknowledged that little or no consideration was given to the effects on the victims – instead the focus was on the offending priest.
The cardinal said: “I have reflected a lot on this. The reasons for such an inquiry would be to assess the impact of the scandal – the scandal being the unspeakable crime being committed against a minor.”
The evidence emerging in relation to Smyth from the inquiry, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, has also put the Irish state in the dock for the first time. On Wednesday, it was revealed that the Garda Síochána and the Republic’s health service had been aware of allegations about the priest abusing children in Finglas, north Dublin, as far back as 1973. Neither Gardaí or health officials acted on the evidence, leaving Smyth free to abuse children until his arrest in 1994.
It is understood that victims of thepaedophile priest are now considering suing the Irish state as a result of these specific revelations. Smyth was jailed for abusing more than 100 children in both the Republic and Northern Ireland over a period of 40 years. In 1997 he died in prison of a heart attack.