Cardinal Brady says that he will not resign and that the BBC programme ‘The Shame of the Catholic Church’ had “set out to deliberately exaggerate and misrepresent” his role in the events.
Responding to the BBC ‘This World’ programme entitled ‘The Shame of the Catholic Church’, broadcast on 1 May 2012, Cardinal Seán Brady has issued the following statement.
“In the course of the programme a number of claims were made which overstate and seriously misrepresent my role in a Church Inquiry in 1975 into allegations against the Norbertine priest Fr Brendan Smyth.”
Cardinal Brady goes on to state that he “drew the attention of the programme makers to a number of important facts related to the 1975 Church inquiry into Brendan Smyth, which the programme failed to report.”
He says that he did not lead the investigation but only assisted others who were “more senior” than him and that he is clearly identified as the “notory” in documentation of the interview of Brendan Boland, He did not formulate the questions or even put them to Boland himself, his only role was to record the answers that were given.
He claims that at that time he did not have the autority over Brendan Symth and that his authority is greatly exaggerated by the BBC.
“The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this Inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time and that because of the office I hold in the Church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975. I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my Bishop had limited authority over him.”
“It was Brendan Smyth’s superiors in the Norbertine Order who bear primary responsibility for failing to take the appropriate action when presented with the weight of evidence I had faithfully recorded and that Bishop McKiernan subsequently presented to them.”
This information was sent in a statement from Monsignor Sciclund to the BBC programme makers six weeks in advance of the programmes broadcast but was not acknowledged by them.
The Cardinal says that he was “shocked, appalled and outraged” when he discovered that Brendan Smyth had gone on to abuse others and had
“assumed and trusted that when Bishop McKiernan brought the evidence to the Abbot of Kilnacrott that the Abbot would then have dealt decisively with Brendan Smyth and prevented him from abusing others. I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the Church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them.”
However he did accept that he “was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church” and that he
“deeply regrets that those with the authority and responsibility to deal appropriately with Brendan Smyth failed to do so, with tragic and painful consequences for those children he so cruelly abused. I also deeply regret that no guidelines from the State or the Church were available to guide the sincere and serious effort made to respond to the allegations made by the two boys interviewed in the Inquiry process.”
Cardinal Brady then added that that was now a thing of the past and he has since worked with others in the Church to put new procedures in place to assist in responding to allegations of abuse and looks forward to continuing this work in the upcoming years.