May 02 2012

You need to have leaders who have learned the hard way

Cardinal Brady is still at the same old stand – saying he won’t resign despite new disclosures of his failure to pass on names and addresses of children being abused by Brendan Smyth.

The Catholic primate of all-Ireland has said that he will not resign as Church leader despite revelations in the BBC’s This World programme.

It found Cardinal Sean Brady had names and addresses of those being abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

However, he did not pass on those details to police or parents.

And Brendan Smyth went on abusing the children in question.

He says he had no authority. He says it was all the higher ups. He says he trusted them to deal with Brendan Smyth. He says he was just there to hold their coats. He says why is everybody picking on him. He says the BBC is being mean to him.

Senior Vatican Prosecutor Monsignor Charles Scicluna has defended Cardinal Brady.

“My first point is that Fr Brady was a note taker in 1975, he did what he should have done. He forwarded all the information to the people that had the power to act,” he said.

“My second point is that in the interest of the Church in Ireland, they need to have Cardinal Brady as the archbishop of Armagh because he has shown determination in promoting child protection policies. You need to have leaders who have learned the hard way and are determined to protect children.”

You need to have leaders who have learned the hard way. Really. So leaders should all be involved in botched self-protecting institution-protecting pseudo-investigations of child abuse early in their careers so that they can do a good job later, having “learned the hard way”? So it’s good that Ratzinger grew up under the Nazis and it’s a pity that other “leaders” missed out on that experience?

Sean Brady’s role in the affair became clear in 2010, when it became known that he had been present when the abused boy [Brendan Boland] was questioned.

He claimed, however, that the boy’s father had accompanied him, and described his own role as that of a note-taker.

However, the BBC This World investigation has uncovered the notes Cardinal Brady took while the boy was questioned.

The child’s father was not allowed in the room, and the child was immediately sworn to secrecy.

Brendan Boland’s father was not allowed in the room as a matter of canon law, according to Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent Patsy McGarry. Good old canon law, eh, protecting the clergy at the expense of anyone and everyone else.

H/t Sigmund.


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  1. 1

    It is called as ‘learning by doing’, I suppose. These fellows are so utterly shameless.

  2. 2

    Perhaps I would be finding it easier to land another job in accounting had I learned the hard way not to embezzle money from the company. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of knowing better from the get-go, leaving me with the disadvantage of having no prison time on me resume.

  3. 3
    Anna Lilley

    Is anyone doing a petition asking for his resignation? I am ashamed of of Catholic Church in Ireland and that the population has largely accepted the cover-ups and abuse.

  4. 4

    My first point is that Fr Brady was a note taker in 1975, he did what he should have done. He forwarded all the information to the people that had the power to act

    Good for him. I applaud him for doing so.

    And then, when it quickly became apparent that the people with the power were not going to do the right thing and act to protect the children, he came forward himself, gave the information to the police, and demanded that they act.

    Oh no, wait. He didn’t do any of those things. Because he’s a coward.

  5. 5

    Is anyone doing a petition asking for his resignation?

    Screw resignation. Arrest and jail time. He had knowledge of a crime and did not give it to authorities.

  6. 6
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Ah, yes. The most moral child-rape-excusing institution in the world. it feeds the hungry! it comforts the sick! And by “it”, I mean nuns, because fake-lord knows the boys in prada slippers don’t do a damn thing positive for anyone.

  7. 7

    Seems to me the least of his worries should be resigning. Arrested and charged with aiding abetting seems like the more likely fear. You can always proselytize in prison.

  8. 8

    The church sees raising children as a virtue (more catholics). What they failed to see is that there is a difference between raising children child rearing (parental duty) and child rearing (preacher – altar boy interaction).

  9. 9

    Rape-facilitating, abject low-life filth. Scarcely deserves to be recognised as a human being.

    What is clear is that these wankers don’t believe a single word of the bullshit they espouse. Unless they are genuinely at peace with the knowledge they are destined for an eternity of torment in Hell.

  10. 10
    'Tis Himself

    Brady is just following the lead of Benny Ratzi. His popeness has made it clear that the prestige and dignity of the Catholic Church are more important than the welfare of children.

  11. 11
    John Morales


    Oh no, wait. He didn’t do any of those things. Because he’s a coward.

    That he’s a coward is an unwarranted inference — religious contumacy ≠ cowardice.

    (Much more likely that he’s a true Catholic and therefore Church doctrine trumps personal ethics)

  12. 12

    Taz says “… Because he’s a coward”. I would agree with one minor amendment.

    Because he’s a moral coward.

    The Roman Catholic church seems to have failed every test of it’s courage.

    Even with condom use it cannot come out and say what it believes – that wearing condoms is so bad it’s better people die of AIDs – it has to make out that condoms don’t provide protection.

    Pure, unmitigated moral cowardice.

  13. 13
    Torquil Macneil

    “Arrested and charged with aiding abetting [and] seems like the more likely fear.”

    Surely this is right. Does anybody know the law? It must be illegal to know that a crime is being committed and to take no action? Is it simply that the events happened so long ago? I am amazed that nobody is bringing or calling for a prosecution even if only to make the point.Brady was on the news last night and in the clip he was so steeped in self pity that his lip was trembling on the verge of tears.

  14. 14
    Torquil Macneil

    “Much more likely that he’s a true Catholic and therefore Church doctrine trumps personal ethics2

    I think it more likely that he was just ambitious and he wouldn’t do anything that interfered with his career plans and was rewarded for his ‘discretion’ and dedication to the cause. You see the same mechanisms operating everywhere, from corporate malfeasance to police brutality, but it is rarely quite so brass necked these days.

  15. 15

    In answer to Torquil MacNeil, there is, believe it or not, no legal requirement under Irish law to report sexual offenses against children. The current government are in the process of putting a law into effect that will make it obligatory to do so.
    As might be expected the proposal is opposed by the Irish church – due to the reason that they will be legally obliged to inform the police of child abuse they hear about during confession.
    There is a possibility, however that the northern Irish police may be able to act against Brady as his silence resulted in the abuse of numerous children in Belfast.

  16. 16
    David Evans

    From the Irish Times story:

    “With many others who worked regularly with children in 1975, I regret that our understanding of the full impact of abuse on the lives of children as well as the pathology and on-going risk posed by a determined paedophile was so inadequate,” he added.

    This from an organization which claims a unique understanding of sin and the human heart, and which has heard it all many times in confession?

  17. 17
    David Evans


    But now, apparently, they know better. Do you suppose this knowledge has come from listening to secular psychologists and child care experts?

    Or from being found out.

  18. 18

    As a child in rural Ireland in the 1960′s I learned this from an old International Brigade volunteer.

    Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre,
    Au défaut d’un cordon pour étrangler les rois.
    (Denis Diderot)

    After the latest series of revelations I’m beginning to think that he had a point!

  19. 19

    I heard on the British news that his excuse is that there was no written procedures for dealing with abuse at the time. This is completely understandable coming from someone who gets their “morality” from a book and very clearly highlights the problems with that. A normal empathetic, reasoning adult has no difficulty determining that someone who sexually abuses children needs to be stopped at all costs and also understanding that a child should not be questioned about abuse without his parents present. As well, any non-idiotic, irreligious person would be aghast at a child being sworn to secrecy about abuse they have suffered. Not Brady though. He requires his morality to written down by somebody else just like any good christian (or muslim or jew). What an asshole.

  20. 20

    I also heard some of his deluded flock saying he should be left alone because “he’s a good man”. Bullshit. When a good man becomes aware of a child being abused, they do whatever is necessary to ensure the abuser is stopped. He didn’t. He is not, therefore, a good man.

  21. 21
    Torquil Macneil

    By the way, if anyone wants to read a brilliant account of the shattering effects of child abuse which is, at the same time (improbable though it may sound) extremely funny, take a look at the ‘Melrose’ novels by Edward St Aubyn. They are largely autobiographical and you should read them all in order, once you start you won’t be able to stop anyway. ‘Nobody should do that to anyone else.’

  22. 22

    As MarkNS says “He requires his morality to written down by somebody else just like any good christian (or muslim or jew)”

    Religion is a prosthetic conscience for people whose empathy has been damaged or removed.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes, there are several horrors in this one story – not allowing the father to stay with young Brendan while he was questioned; citing “canon law” as the reason; forcing young Brendan to swear secrecy as the very first item of business (no wonder Daddy wasn’t allowed to come with!!); doing nothing; claiming it was enough to “inform superiors” and then forget the whole thing. And claiming that was then and they just didn’t know any better – as David Evans points out, how could they not know any better?! They’re always telling us they’re the experts on morality – and anyway, why didn’t Jesus or Mary just tell them? They’re supposed to be the pipeline to god, so how could they possibly just not know?

    In fact…by admitting that they’ve torched their whole justification for existing. If morality is temporal and cumulative and improvable over time, then why the fuck is anyone still listening to them? Why are they still demanding that everyone pay deference to “church teachings”?

    Why are there no “church teachings” that say

    Don’t allow priests to rape children.

    Don’t use the confessional to coerce children into allowing you to rape them.

    Don’t take children away from their parents in order to force them to swear secrecy about a priest who raped them.

    Don’t take children away from their parents in order to question them about a priest who raped them so that you can better cover up the whole matter and protect the organization’s reputation.

    Don’t protect priests who rape children from secular law enforcement.

    Don’t ignore and conceal the whole thing as long as you can get away with it.

    Don’t worry more about yourselves and your colleagues than about their and your victims.

    Have some basic compassion.

    If you don’t already have a working moral compass, find one, and use it.

  24. 24

    And here is what happens to someone who acts in a moral way in that great moral insitution.

    Priest risked church career to expose paedophile but concerns dismissed

    BRENDAN SMYTH: NOT ALL Irish priests in the 1960s and 1970s were as enthralled by silence as Fr Seán Brady, it would appear. He had been “part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church . . . ” he said on Wednesday.

    Not so Fr Bruno Mulvihill.

    From the late 1960s he tried to have child abuse by Fr Brendan Smyth addressed through direct contact with two papal nuncios, one bishop, an abbot-general and two abbots. He might as well have stayed as silent as Fr Brady.

    Fr Mulvihill left the priesthood in frustration. He went to Germany, where he died in a car crash in October 2004. He was 59.

    It is estimated that, between 1945 and 1989, Fr Brendan Smyth sexually abused and indecently assaulted 117 children in Ireland. The number of victims in the US and other countries is unknown.


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