Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

The Brendan Smith case and the church’s strange relations with the power of law

Thu 3 May 2012, 8:12am

Just caught up with the latest on the Cardinal Brady story. Whatever way you cut it, it remains deeply disturbing. All the more so for Catholics because of the explicit connection between their faith and the authority of the church. But, I suspect, given the grim detail, only just. One passionate caller to Nolan yesterday morning called Seamus recalled one of the most powerful passages of the New Testament: Matthew 18:6.

Look it up in whatever version suits your Catholic (or non Catholic) taste. But the meaning strikes me as being as unambiguous as much now as it when I first heard as an impressionable young child back in/of the sixties/seventies. The image is exceptionally brutal.

However, Cardinal Brady’s defence is well worth reading. I won’t try to parse it. But it alludes to a power structure within the church and one which has echoed more widely in what passed back then for secular society.

Father Brady was a notary. A note taker. He may be head of the Catholic church today. But in the 70s, he did what every other clergyman did, and did exactly what he was told to do by his church within the church.

In yesterday’s print edition of the Belfast Telegraph, Malachi O’Doherty (mar is gnach leis) wastes not time in cutting directly to the real chase here:

He has say that he wants to stay in his job, to mend the church and heal the damage caused, but he could do far more by acknowledging that a priest is answerable to the whole of society and the law – not just to a hierarchy, or even a flock or congregation.

By leaving he would prove that he is properly answerable to the civil order and secular society which has basic principles and expectations of those who hold office.

But, and this is the most difficult bit to admit for anyone who retains even the least affection or even gratitude to the Catholic church, for the many good things it has gifted its followers over the years, the truth is that, shocking as it may be, the church felt at the time, that it had taken the case as far as it was required by cannon law. There was no court of appeal.

Then Malachi takes a very precise cut:

He should not resign to declare himself guilty of shameless management of cover up. In a sense, he has almost nothing to be ashamed of there anyway, because he acted within the limits his church imposed on him. If we don’t think we would ourselves have been up to such a brave act of rebellion, we shouldn’t criticism him either.

But he should resign as the man who should now better understands than anybody just how dangerous the church’s limitations are. [emphasis added]

The argument points back a particularly problematic early moment when Benedict picked with with the historic separation of the book of god and the book of nature. What reverberates with me, rather more closely and mundanely to home, is my old school motto: “Lex dei in corde meo”.

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Comments (62)

  1. dwatch (profile) says:

    Irrespective of the support from Rome, maybe Cardinal Brady should have followed in the former Bishop of Galway’s footsteps, before the media came down on him and the RC church’s name once again.

    “Pope John Paul did not want Dr Eamonn Casey to resign as Bishop of Galway when he went to Rome to do so in May 1992, Bishop Casey has claimed…………….Dr Casey says he resigned because he wanted “to get out before the media descended on me”.

    http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.co.uk/2007/01/bishop-casey-tells-allalmost-2.html

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  2. Nordie Northsider (profile) says:

    Patsy McGarry, on last night’s Vincent Brown programme, went through the ‘Seán Brady was only a note-taker’ argument for a short-cut. When the swearing to secrecy element of this story broke two years ago, the Catholic press office issued statements specifically referring to Brady as the investigator in this case – their own words, which Brady could have corrected if he thought them inaccurate. Also, Brady admits to having interviewed a second boy on his own. Would a ‘note taker’ have authority to do that? Clearly not.
    Those are damning facts, without even going into the matter of why an institution should use a theologian and Canon-lawyer in his mid-thirties as a glorified secretary.

    There’s a linguistic point too: apologists for Brady take refuge in the word ‘notary’. ‘Notary’ has an coincidental similarity to ‘one who takes notes’ but in fact it indicates a specific legal role. Ask any ‘notary public’ or French ‘notaire’.

    McGarry makes another, devasting point. Defenders of Brady paint a scenario where the then priest could not have followed the further handling of the case other than by a confrontation with his Bishop. Not so. The boys, on being sworn to secrecy, were ordered not to speak about the matter other than to certain ‘nominated’ priests. It’s hard to believe Brady wouldn’t have known the identity of the nominees appointed to handle the cases of the two children from Cavan. They were almost certainly local priests and Brady could have contacted them to follow up on the conduct of the investigation. He didn’t, despite staying in Cavan for a further six years after the events in question.

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  3. carl marks (profile) says:

    I’m sorry Mick no matter what way you look at this either from a theological, civil or moral angles the cardinal was wrong.
    I was only obeying orders would be laughed out of court for any crime.
    We are all responsible for our own actions Brady failed to live up to that responsibility.
    Indeed his actions contributed to a monster going free and as a result more children had great damage done to them and in many cases they will carry those wounds for the rest of their lives.
    Priests, ministers and pastor all claim to represent a higher moral authority and that claim puts a duty on them to behave in a manner which reflects the beliefs that they espouse, no one expects them to be perfect none of us are, but this goes beyond a few beers to many or other minor personality or moral failings, abusing children and abusing your authority over them is one of the worst crimes possible, and failing to protect children and instead protecting the abuser is a obscenity.
    Brady should resign any other priest or lay person who was aware of child abuse (including Brady) that abused or by either cover-up or inaction allowed these beasts to carry on their vile actions should answer in a court for what they did.

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  4. articles (profile) says:

    There was an old man from Armagh,
    who, in his youth, was a stenographer.
    His defence of obedience
    suits today’s need for expedience.
    But there is no rhyme, no reason, no excuse.

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  5. tacapall (profile) says:

    The Church, all Churches, should be viewed and treated like all other corporations and institutions, be accountable to the law. Those members that covered up or turned a blind eye to crimes that the rest of the population would be required by law to bring to the attention of the police, should be charged with perverting the course of justice. Sean Brady and his accomplices should be put on trial never mind having to resign.

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  6. stephen.mcvey (profile) says:

    A continual ethos of: If we admit just a little, it will create a huge lot of damage for us. But what is more important? Protecting the Church or admitting responsibility?
    Watching your own back? Or giving resolution to victims and their families?

    Yes Cardinal Brady was just another priest at the time and awareness and the structures weren’t in place in 1975.But he is Cardinal now and everyone is aware of what happened.

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  7. Ultonian (profile) says:

    The Nuremburg defence “I was only following orders” doesn’t cut it. Nor does – it was a different time and different rules applied.

    Personally I have always found apologises by those not involved in events or decisions worthless – e.g. Tony Blair’s apology for slavery – but those involved, even on the periphery, even at this distance of time, can I believe take responsibility for their actions and make the right moral choice.

    In this case, first an abject apology, followed by taking personal responsibility for actions or inactions – then resignation.

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  8. Carl Marks
    Brady ‘s claim to have felt betrayed that his iformation was not acted on, doesn’t really hold to the road, since his averred ‘disgust’ didn’t stop him setting out to reach the highest office of his church in the land. So he’s shown up for what he is, a moral coward.

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  9. tapacall. Very apt. There are three letters missing from the Catholic Church’s title. LTD or it’s successor, since it’s a business first and foremost. They’ll always look after their own. There was a claim in 1981 by a cleric on a plane, thast the declared third secret of fatima should be revealed, but in 200 the vatican claimed it was reference to the attempted assasination of the then Pope JPII. This may be successfully rebutted at some point, as it may have been about the final fall of the Church itself due to financial ruin from the litigation over the sex abuse cases.

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  10. carl marks (profile) says:

    danielsmoran
    .
    You are of course right. We should expect better from our leaders either civil or religious.
    Cowardice by those in responsibility has through history allowed great evil to be carried out,
    Didn’t someone once say “ that all that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing”

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  11. carlota martinez (profile) says:

    Cardinal Sean Brady will not resign.

    On a personal level he may well wish to resign, but he will not.

    The Vatican has drawn a line in the sand; this far and no further. If Brady, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, were to be forced out it would represent a calamity to the institutional chruch in Ireland. A prospect they will not countenance.

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  12. Framer (profile) says:

    The Catholic Church – not unlike Murdoch – is paying the price for having once been all powerful. This means relentless media pressure where previously there was none. Unfair in a sense but that’s life.
    The truth is, even in the 1970s, in Northern Ireland, the church was above the law and knew it, and of course expected to be.
    This status was accepted by the RUC and whatever government existed at Stormont – be it Unionist or direct rule.
    Think of the NIO reaction to the Claudy bomber, Father Chesney, and Whitelaw’s collusion with the then Cardinal on the matter.
    And similarly in the 1980s, in the investigations following the Kincora Boys Home cases, abusing Catholic clergy in other homes were allowed to retire to monastic locations in the south on spurious health grounds rather than face conviction.

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  13. stephen.mcvey (profile) says:

    I wonder if priests also felt fear towards the power of the Church.

    Danielsmoran calls Cardinal Brady a moral coward but the only reason he is now singled out is because of his present position. Dozens of priests must be accountable on the same level as they watched sex offenders being moved around from diocese to diocese

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  14. iluvni (profile) says:

    Time the PSNI knocked on the Cardinal’s door.

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  15. carl marks (profile) says:

    carlota martinez (profile)
    3 May 2012 at 10:35 am

    Cardinal Sean Brady will not resign.

    On a personal level he may well wish to resign, but he will not.

    The Vatican has drawn a line in the sand; this far and no further. If Brady, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, were to be forced out it would represent a calamity to the institutional chruch in Ireland. A prospect they will not countenance.

    If they fail to act in a open and correct manner in this issue and fail to not only make those involved resign but to send all the information they hold to the police then they are the ones doing the damage.
    The church has been damaged by this, perhaps beyond recovery the church has no one else to blame but itself.

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  16. sdelaneys (profile) says:

    We need to bear in mind that Brady was not ‘just another priest’, he was a cannon lawyer and a teacher as well as a priest. Cannon law and protecting the reputation of the brutal priest Smyth were his overriding concerns and it appears that he never made any contact either with the complainant or the other children he named in the following years while some of them were suffering abuse.
    What a disgusting man who claims to be a ‘man of god’ and would aspire to lecture the rest of us on morality.

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  17. wild turkey (profile) says:

    Tap

    your comments are right on the money. i’m on the bored of guvs of a primary school. i know from training, obligatory training, on child protection policies and practices that if any member of school staff is aware of any alleged child abuse; whatever its nature, there is a statutory obligation on the school to report the allegations to the relevant civil authorities.

    dumb question 118: regardless of jurisdiction, isn’t the church under the same or similar statutory obligation ?

    dumb question 119: if not, why not?

    iluvni. yep, it is time, well past time actually, for the PSNI to go knockin.

    but is never gonna happen. and i wish i was wrong on that.

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  18. sdelaneys (profile) says:

    I should have added that he was also secretary to the Bishop of Kilmore as well as a professor of cannon law.

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  19. Turgon (profile) says:

    I am usually reticent about commenting on the Catholic Church. Clearly I profoundly disagree with it yet I recognise that is has a position of very high esteem in the lives of many people whom I know, respect and like. Furthermore having met a large number of priests I have never met one whom I did not like and respect.

    However, this defence by Brady is actually very weak. It is true that people sometimes viewed child abuse differently in the 1970s. The central difference was sadly children frequently were not believed. However, in these cases it seems that the investigatory group in which Brady was heavily involved did indeed believe the children.

    Furthermore in view of the way paedophile priests were moved it seems that very frequently very many of the allegations were believed. As such a defence of things were done differently then simply does not wash. Raping children has always been a serious criminal offence.

    Rather than report these rapes to the police the commission of which Brady was a central member made children take an oath to the highest authority (God) not to disclose what they had said: effectively banning them from speaking to the lawful authorities of the state.

    Furthermore these perverts were not even removed from involvement with children. They were moved to new places giving them new access to new children. That at a time when the Catholic church had no lack of priests.

    Brady may well have been a decent man trying to make the best of a disaster. However, he is still morally and legally culpable. In which parallel universe should he not have reported people whom he believed to be guilty of child rape? In which parallel universe should he not have taken absolutely all actions available to him as an individual to try to stop these rapists?

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  20. Blue (profile) says:

    Was Brady the victim of abuse as a child?

    Was Brady the victim of abuse as a Priest?

    Does Brady view actions of Brendan Smyth as a crime

    Did Brady ever hear a confession from Brendan Smyth

    Does Brady view the questioning of a minor without legal or parental support to be (1) against the law (2) immoral?

    What was the purpose of oath requested or demanded from a minor?

    Brady speaks of no guidelines at the time – Does he not view the 10 commandments as sufficent guidelines?

    Brady speaks that at the time the Church did not have guidelines, understanding or awareness – perhaps he dosnt have the same awareness or understanding of how society views the Church inaction and that his position is untenable

    As a Christian I would ask one direct question to Brady -what would Jesus have done.

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  21. carl marks (profile) says:

    Turgon
    It is not often that i agree with everything you say but on this issue i do.
    The issue is not as you point out like or dislike of the Catholic Church, this is too important a subject to be turned into a anti catholic diatribe I also think as I assume you do(with that I hope I’m not making a ass out of u and me) that it should be noted the terrible harm this and similar things that have come up in the past have and will do to the many Priests who have served their flock well and been of help and comfort to the congregations they work with.
    I am no longer a catholic but still manage to feel a sense of betrayal when these things come up and regard the decent priests as among the victims here. I am certainly not claiming that they have suffered anywhere near as much as the children who were abused but for no reason of theirs some of the stuff hitting the fan will stick to them

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  22. As Nolan pointed out last night to Jude Collins, 1975 wasn’t the dark ages so the excuse about a different age is completely spurious as well as the one about guidelines.
    The phrase Brass Neck springs to mind.

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  23. CW (profile) says:

    The irony of it all is that if Brady actually did something sensible (ie sensible in the context of wider society rather than church society) like call for the ordination of women priests or say it’s ok to be gay he’d be summoned to the Vatican forthwith where Bavarian Benny would demand his head on a plate.
    Yet the church seems to think it’s ok to withhold information relating to serious criminal offences, but it’s not ok to encourage equal rights within society.

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  24. There are actually four audiences watching Armagh at the minute.
    Very different groups.
    As “Turgon” moderately states it is largely seem by fellow Christians as an unfortunate but internal matter. And Catholics are wished well. There is of course quite properly a legal dimension.
    There is frankly a second anti-Catholic dimension, usually led by ex Catholics. Their effec is of letting Cardinal Brady and the rest off too easily. Any good Press Office can bat anything away.
    The two other groups are within the Catholic Church and for convenience rather than accuracy, I will label them as “republican” and “monarchist”(emphasising in a religious rather than political sense).
    The former are happy enough in Catholic belief but would always have wanted to keep priests and bishops at arms length. Cafeteria Catholics if you like. But just as committed. They just reject the mystique that the Church has given itself over 2,000 years.
    The “monarchists” love that kinda thing. Annointed priests and bishops are “special”.
    While one group draws a distinction between God and Bishop, the second group doesnt. To some extent that split in Church thinking is much older than the present crisis.
    The first group would always have been skeptical of nuanced and dare I say Jesuitical press releases. But the evidence of the last few days suggests that Cardinal Brady’s core constituency has deserted him.
    The obvious end game is retirement thru ill health to “let my successor get on with the difficult job etc etc”. It might be days, weeks or months but Id say the Press Release is already drafted.
    Reference to the 1960s is interesting. Most children of the 1960s that I know have an almost obsessive interest in making sure that their childrens school lives are somewhat more happy than their own and I think that has largely been dealth with.
    I think most people would have thought the Church was a safer environment than school and I think a lot of people were taken by surprise when the first sexual abuse findings emerged.

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  25. Ah, organised religion and the joys it brings…

    Cardinal Brady acted within his remit, he went no further in questioning what was going on because he had passed it on up the line. He put his faith in the system to sort the bad thing out and trusted its judgement if it were to act no further on the issue…

    Where would we be today if people did not question the system the operated within, did not speak out against injustices and did not put themselves on the line to protect the better interests of others?

    I understand the context of the Catholic Church at the time. Although I also understand the context in which many marginalised groups in society were operating within when they fought back. Civil rights for Catholics in the North, black people in America. I am not trying to equate the two. I am saying that there is a line. When you see suffering, criminality, injustice, marginalisation and unfair discrimination against a group – you act. Cardinal Brady chose not to act. I can only say that I am relieved that many of the great figures in history did not follow his baffling logic.

    Brings the oft misquoted Edmund Burke quote to mind.

    “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

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  26. tacapall (profile) says:

    If any citizen can be convicted of a crime that was committed 40 years ago then why is the Irish and British and indeed governments around the world turning a blind eye to people like Sean Brady and whoever else who perverted the course of justice and covered up the rape and abuse of children. Although child abuse is not confined to the clergy, a significant number of those who make and implement our laws are also frequently being outed as child rapists or sex offenders.

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  27. Granni Trixie (profile) says:

    You could compare the present case to that of the Shankill Butchers (bear with me):serial killers could only sustain crimes for over 20 years if people like the RUC looked the other way plus the silence and intimidation within their subculture.

    In the present case, I think it is useful to think of priests as living within a subculture also (yes,I accept that there are ‘good,priests too) . It is
    The only way to understand the weird defences of Brady. The sooner that culture is changed through a leavening of married priests the better. Listening to some priests nowadays (and I include the Cardinal) you sense that they just dont get it. As a mother and teacher in the 70s. I for one refute the suggestion that “it was different then” to explain the lack of action when a child was raped. Even very junior teachers I imagine would have a sense of agency if a child told you about being molested and there was not a appropriate response from those higher up in the school. ..surely the ‘normal’ thing would be for that junior teacher to leave no stone unturned?

    Also, through backchat channels did he and the others involved not know that Smyth was being moved around And why? I cannot believe that many priests did/do not know who within their ranks were molesting children. The church is an all Ireland institution in a relatively small island . Surely priests talk teach other?

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  28. Nevin (profile) says:

    From Cardinal Brady’s press release:

    [Fr Brady's] actions were fully consistent with his duties under canon law. ..

    Today, Church policy in Ireland is to report allegations of abuse to the civil authorities.

    Cardinal Brady was also a citizen so he would appear to have failed in his duties as a citizen, a Christian and a human being; there was nothing to stop him also reporting the allegations to the civil authorities. Or did some members of the civil authorities also defer to the canon law?

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  29. I think Malachi has identified Brady’s dilemma with great precision. The Cardinal insists that he did what was expected of him by the institution to which he had handed over his personal authority. And, paradoxically, this is the very reason he should now resign if he is to redeem his own integrity.
    His resignation is the only way in which he can convey a credible understanding of the challenge facing both the church (in terms of its accountability & its role in the world) and the priest. For both, a radical new model of power consistent with a truly prophetic role in the world, must supersede the corrupting model that relies on a profound network of internalized moments of oppression (stretching from the personal, the sexual and the vocational through to the colonial relations with the off shore Curia in Rome). The disciplinary fetishes bound up with the continuities of oppression in the prevailing model of power help to explain the deep contradictions in the Catholic Church’s attitude to private and public morality.

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  30. dwatch (profile) says:

    $64 000 question: Had Cardinal Brady reported the results of his findings after his investigation into the Brendan Smyth case to the civil authorities back in 1975, would he have ever
    become a Bishop never mind a Cardinal?

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  31. carl marks (profile) says:

    dwatch

    Never mind becoming a cardinal I don’t doubt he would have ended up in the real world version of Craggy Island, but he would still have his honour.

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  32. carl marks (profile) says:

    chrisbrowne28
    I Forgot it was Burke and I misquoted him,
    Thanks for the correction,

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  33. stephen.mcvey (profile) says:

    “The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!” Napoleon

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  34. Old Mortality (profile) says:

    dwatch ‘Had Cardinal Brady reported the results of his findings after his investigation into the Brendan Smyth case to the civil authorities back in 1975, would he have ever
    become a Bishop never mind a Cardinal?’

    Presumably he would have reported to authorities in the Republic which, taking the example of similar cases, would have referred it back to the bishop. Such was the Irish state of the day. The Orange Order was right all along even if they didn’t know why.

    Where was the ‘Republican movement’ when all this was going on? Was kneecapping a priest out of the question?

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  35. carl marks (profile) says:

    fitzjameshorse1745
    “There is frankly a second anti-Catholic dimension, usually led by ex Catholics. Their effect is of letting Cardinal Brady and the rest off too easily. Any good Press Office can bat anything away.”

    Perhaps some of this second group you refer to are ex Catholics because people like Brady put canon law and tribal loyalty before moral and civil law (I’m not one I’m a ex catholic because it’s nonsense) and as a result they were harmed. And the anger they feel is both understandable and justified.
    As to a good press office being able to bat anything away, a West Indies cricketer couldn’t bat this one away.
    Even If Brady was to fall on his sword right now the damage to the Catholic Church will take a very long time (If ever) to go away and it will never be the power it was on this island.

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  36. I think youve just proven my point.

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  37. FJH I would alter that slightly to say ‘….never be the power it was – but should never have been – on the island, in the first place. That it was above the law in the state for amost the entire duration of the republic’s exitence is the fault of the political leadership there since the founding of the state. I would recommend following the French example of creating a second republic to distance the nation from the follies of the first republic and start again.

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  38. Sorry FJH, took your name in vain there, i meant carl’s quote.

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  39. carl marks (profile) says:

    FJH
    do you seriously believe that this one can be batted away by a press office, in very many ways ex Catholics angry or not are still part of the wider catholic community because or tribal make up of the north and the fact that the south is mainly catholic and as thus their opinions will be heard as the catholic community debates this issue and I suspect in a lot of cases treated with a great deal of respect so to dismiss them as anti catholic and irrelevant because they are ex Catholics is a mistake.
    I await you pointing out the flaws in my reasoning.

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  40. No I dont.
    You clearly havent read what I said.
    I made a clear distinction between non-Catholic thought and anti-Catholic thought…….and pointed up that much of that is led by ex-Catholics.
    Frankly nobody within the Catholic Church would worry about that.
    The real issue is keeping the “faithful” on board. Those who I described as “republican” in tought already take and leave the Church on their own terms.
    The Church would be more worried about them as it strengthens the hand of priests who might be described as “liberal”.
    From my perspective, these people will have made up their minds progessively over the last two decades. This weeks revelations wont change them.
    The people most likely to feel disappointed are those who might have staid faithful to bishops as well as the Church.
    The point I make is that increasingly more and more Catholics draw a distinction between the religion of their choice and their pastors, particuarly Bishops.

    As a great mind once said, the best Protestants in Ireland are the Catholics.

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  41. carl marks (profile) says:

    “FJH
    You said
    Their effect is of letting Cardinal Brady and the rest off too easily”

    I don’t think they will have this effect don’t forgot they are the people in the catholic community who were wise enough to see the absurdity of the whole thing and the harm it was doing, or at least in many cases that is how they will be seen by a lot of the catholic community and that is something the church should worry about.

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  42. Alias (profile) says:

    “But he should resign as the man who should now better understands than anybody just how dangerous the church’s limitations are.”

    That is an arbitrary condition that renders every member of Church hierarchy to be socially-irresponsible and an ignorant fool. If only the rest of the world could be as enlightened as Malachi…

    Given that most of this abuse is historical and no greater than occurred within secular or other religious institutions, the Cardinal might take a more pragmatic view.

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  43. carl marks (profile) says:

    Alias
    The man knew children were being abused and let it continue of course he should resign and I believe that every member of the church hierarchy who was aware that child abuse was happening and didn’t do their upmost o stop it should also resign.

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  44. Alias (profile) says:

    Carl Marks, I don’t disagree that he should resign for that reason. However, that isn’t the particular reason I was referring to.

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  45. carl marks (profile) says:

    Fair enough, but you must admit i doesnt help his case.

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  46. carl marks (profile) says:

    meant, it doesnt

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  47. dwatch (profile) says:

    I wonder what Gerry Adams has to say about the Cardinal?

    “Cardinal Sean Brady: McGuinness and Gilmore critical”

    “Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the Irish deputy PM both questioned whether Cardinal Brady should remain in his job.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17939024

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  48. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    dwatch

    Given what we know about Adams’ father, Gerry would be more akin to the relatives Smith.

    The BBC have been trying to get political reps on for 2 days and no one would come on. It took politicians relatively long enough to throw their tuppance in. What’s that about?

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  49. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Should read: Given what we know about Adams’ father, Gerry would be more akin to the relatives Smith’s victims

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  50. hfmccloy (profile) says:

    The church then have the same chain of command as social services today, report it up the line, time for radical changes in child protection, it might start with the church but must include state abuse as well

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  51. Zig70 (profile) says:

    For me Matthew 23:13 has some resonance.
    The bit I choke on is that the same thing could happen today. Reported to a designated person but no ownership of the moral necessity to ensure that the abuse is stopped. I can accept someone being weak, they either didn’t really care or were in fear but then you shouldn’t be in a position of moral authority if you can’t do what is right.

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  52. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Aside from the just following orders crap. As a parent, withholding that information from me, would result in me falling foul of the law myself. As a catholic parent I’ve started work, after listening to the radio, 2 days in a row, angry at the church, the lack of apology, grovelling, and humble as it should be.

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  53. sdelaneys (profile) says:

    I was in the houses of three practising Catholic families today (I’m long term ex) and all were disgusted at the antics of Brady and their Church leadership. I found the same attitude in several shops too and no sympathy for Brady whatsoever.
    It’s amazing that in all the interviews nobody has asked Brady where his Christianity or his Catholicism was at this time and why Cannon law could override that Christianity he is supposed to hold dear.

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  54. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    The boy’s father had to wait outside while he, the child, faced an inquisition by bullies who seemed to enjoy emotionally torturing him. They were trying to blame the boy by suggesting he consented, but he was too young to do so ( and sodomy was still a crime in Ireland anyway, even if he had been a consenting adult).

    Another irony is that many priests have been cruelly punished for having gay relationships, but it seems it was acceptable to rape a child. As a woman victim said, Brady would be sacked for wanting to ordain women priests, but being a child-rape enabler is fine.

    It’s actually false to say Brady used the Nuremberg defence like Albert Speer. Speer admitted the system was rotten, much to the chagrin of his co-defendants. Brady thought everything was hunky dory, at least in terms of getting promoted.

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  55. Shibboleth (profile) says:

    03 May 2012
    Dear Chief Constable,

    I refer you to the recent ‘This World’ programme broadcast on the BBC and dealing with child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

    It appears from the said programme that Cardinal Brady, in 1975 and since, was in possession of knowledge of serious allegations of criminal activity against a named priest(s), as well as knowledge of victims and likely victims. In consequence, I wish to enquire if, having regard to his obligations under Section 5 of The Criminal Law act (NI) 1967, at any time Cardinal Brady’s apparent withholding of information has ever been investigated? Moreover, will such now be investigated, as I believe it ought to be.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jim Allister

    http://www.jimallister.org/default.asp?blogID=2623

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  56. dwatch (profile) says:

    BluesJazz, if similar feeling regards Cardinal Brady is believed by a majority of practicing RC’s throughout NI & ROI, why has the present Pope not asked him to stand aside? In fact had Brady not been elevated to Cardinal in 2007 this recent BBC progamme would have little impact.

    After all the former Pope John Paul requested Cardinal Hans Groër to resign over child abuse in Austria in 1995. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Hermann_Groer
    So what is it with this present traditional Pope since 2005 who continues to bury his head in the sand? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI

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  57. Coll Ciotach (profile) says:

    It would be an injustice for the cardinal to resign, and he should resist it, the baying mob should not be sated. He was not at fault and should not take the blame for others.

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  58. Granni Trixie (profile) says:

    As a rule I do not like trial by media. But with every statement that Brady made it became clearer that he just doesn’t see how terribly wrong Child rape and the way he and other priests dealt with it were,even in 1975. Yes,he wasn,t the only one , but he still is culpable and unfit to lead the Church into a better system.

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  59. Stephen McVey. Wasn’t it also Napoleon [or Franco?] who said ‘Give me the boy until aged seven, and I’ll give you the man’ Brady obviously favoured Bill Clinton’s rule [in another context] ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’

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  60. Granni Trixie (profile) says:

    Daniel

    I think it was the Jesuits who made that statement.

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  61. That’s right, granni trixie. It was Napoleon who stated, when asked what he thought was the most important event in his life, that it was his first holy communion. Or was that Franco?

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  62. seamus60 (profile) says:

    Andwhatabout…….Whats that about ?

    Most likely afraid to face the media just in case one of them broke ranks and mentioned the Adams thing.
    Need`nt have worried. Maybe the media are determined to concentrate on the religious sector before broadening their scope. Anyway its not like Gerry moved Liam round in the same fashion as the church did Smyth. Imagine that Smyth popping up all round Donegal and even Dundalk not to mention America, Surely he must have ran into liam at one of their simular locations.

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