Cardinal Brady confirms resignation offer

August 18, 2014

By Christine Keighery

Cardinal Sean Brady, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, has confirmed that he has offered his resignation as Archbishop of Armagh to Pope Francis ahead of his 75th birthday, which fell on Saturday.

In a statement issued last Friday amid speculation that he was to stand down, the Cardinal said he did so in accordance with a requirement of church law, and added that he looked forward to the day when Pope Francis accepts his resignation and when Archbishop Eamon Martin will take over as Archbishop, “a position for which, I believe, he is excellently prepared.”

The senior churchman had faced widespread calls for his resignation over four years ago when it was revealed that as a note taker in the investigation of the late Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse of teenager Brendan Boland, he had not reported Smyth’s horrific abuse of Boland and other children to the civil authorities.

The Cardinal apologised publicly to the victims of Smyth but after reflecting on his position for weeks, said he would not resign over the affair.

Last month, Mr Boland’s book, Sworn to Silence, was published which detailed his account of the church authorities’ handling of his abuse by Smyth and revealed transcripts signed by Fr Brady from the 1975 canonical process and the oath of secrecy which the 14-year-old Boland was made to sign and which Fr Brady countersigned.

Mr Boland has invited Cardinal Brady to read his book so he could “reflect on it and consider whether, in the light of his role in the events described, he should retire in the normal fashion, or resign.”

Marie Kane and Vincent Healy, both survivors of clerical abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Dublin, had also met with Pope Francis on July 7th this year and, following their meeting, had publicly called for Cardinal Brady to be removed from his position.

Ms Kane said she told Pope Francis a ”cover-up is still happening” and he had ”the power to make these changes”.

Commenting on the Cardinal’s offer of resignation, Ms Kane said he should have stood down a long time ago, and that his resignation at this stage “is just a matter of procedure.”

She said Cardinal Brady was now standing down because he was turning 75, and “that was what he had to do.”

She said Cardinal Brady should now offer a huge apology to survivors for what had happened in relation to the handling of clerical sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, the Association of Catholic Priests here said it had no comment to make on the Cardinal’s offer to resign.